Friday, July 01, 2011

NBA lockout could jeopardize next season, affect composition of the Nets

While a strike jeopardizing construction of the Atlantic Yards arena has been averted, the next NBA basketball season--or, perhaps, just part of the off-season--could be in jeopardy, as collective bargaining talks broke down. reports, in NBA heads into lockout after sides can't get deal done:
Parting amicably but most definitely parting, NBA owners and players exited a final three-hour bargaining session Thursday, walked through a hotel lobby and headed directly into the uncertainty of the league's first labor lockout in 13 years.

...Hammer out a deal in the next two or even three months? Lockout jail might feel like an ankle-bracelet stay at one of those tennis-and-shuffleboard Club Feds. Spend five, six or (uh oh) seven months mostly staring across the great divide in their positions? Everyone involved -- players, owners, folks who make more modest livings from the sport, fans -- could be looking at hard time. For a long time.

...If the 1995 and 1998 lockouts can serve as primers, a full season could be played if a deal were achieved in September (as in '95). The 50-game version that began in February 1999 after a 204-day lockout had a drop-dead date for settlement of Jan. 7.

Go much beyond that and all of 2011-12 could be scuttled, taking with it the momentum of huge ratings and popularity gains of the recently completed season. That's when a seven-month lockout could become 15, much like the NHL's lost year of 2004-05.
Deep divisions

In the Daily News, Mitch Lawrence observed:
In case you really thought the two sides were speaking the same language, the players' last offer Thursday put that to rest. This is where Stern got the players, got them good.

Hunter and his guys had already left the building when Stern revealed that their last offer, made in the three-hour negotiating session leading up to the midnight expiration of the CBA, actually would have increased the average salary from $5 million this season to $7 million

How do you think that will that play in America today?

Do you think that will help the players, who already are considered overpaid and greedy?
Then again, as we're learning, team owners' claims of hardship may be bogus.

The New York Times summarizes it:
From the beginning, N.B.A. owners have been pushing for a hard salary cap, shorter contracts and a reduction in salaries of about $750 million a year: a package that would be the most significant change to the system in 25 years. The players adamantly oppose a hard cap, preferring to keep the current soft-cap system, with modest changes to save the owners money.

Despite annual revenue of about $3.8 billion, N.B.A. officials say the existing system is broken, with 22 of 30 teams losing money, and leaguewide losses exceeding $300 million a year. Silver said the owners wanted a system in which “all 30 teams could compete for a championship” and have “the opportunity to be profitable.”

The players union disputes the N.B.A.’s figures and objects to the inclusion of certain costs, like debt service and depreciation, in the loss estimates. The union contends that the league could solve most of the problem with greater revenue sharing.
Impact on the Nets

The Star-Ledger's Colin Stephenson assesses the impact on the Nets:
1. Deron Williams
Under the old CBA and the terms of his contract, the star point guard can opt to become a free agent in the summer of 2012. The Nets want to keep him, but to do so, they’ll have to convince him they can improve the roster quickly and significantly enough that he’ll believe he has a chance to win an NBA title over the next few years. But if the entire 2011-12 season is lost to the lockout, they may never get the chance to do that before Williams opts out and bolts for greener pastures.
Websites scrubbed

The Los Angeles Times reported:
Shortly after the lockout commenced Thursday night, the team websites joined in drastic overhauls, eliminating all references of players.

Coaches and cheerleaders replaced players in ticket advertisments, banner images and everywhere else on the sites.
Indeed, as the screenshot of the Nets site shows, the players are gone.

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