Blog Entry

Don't get your hopes up

Posted on: September 28, 2011 9:05 am
NEW YORK -- No one can predict what will happen Wednesday when negotiators for the NBA and the players' association get together for what is unmistakably a pivotal day in efforts to preserve a full season.

Whether they can agree on how to divide up the pie (or cake, as the case may be) ... whether they can find a middle ground on the system issues that bedevil them ... and basically, whether they can all just get along ... all of that is anyone's guess.


Sorry to say it, but don't get your hopes up.

Yes, there has been meaningful movement in the past several weeks. First, union chief Billy Hunter signaled a willingness to negotiate the players' share below his previously offered 54.3 percent -- but only if the owners agreed on the spot to give up their all-out pursuit of a hard cap.

Last week, the owners made an economic move -- albeit a modest one -- from the previously offered 44 percent of BRI (basketball-related income) to 46 percent, with system issues still to be addressed.

And Tuesday -- well, Tuesday was a turning point in these high-stakes negotiations, one way or another. On Tuesday, the owners checked their religious zeal for a hard team salary cap at the door of the negotiating room and hit the players with a series of what the two sides dubbed "concepts and ideas."

In speaking with several people familiar with the talks, the term "concepts and ideas" is merely code for "players give up stuff they've had for decades, but at least they won't have a hard cap .... except, they will." Some of the owners' concepts -- a more punitive luxury tax and limitations on the Bird and mid-level exceptions may strike union negotiators as having those "looks like a duck and clucks like a duck" characteristics. In other words, by the end of the day, you may very well hear from the players that the owners' idea of a soft or softer cap is really just another hard-cap proposal in disguise.

In fact, there are some rabble-rousing factions within the player ranks -- i.e. powerful. frustrated agents -- who do not consider the owners' willingness to drop their pursuit of a hard team salary cap as any kind of victory at all for the players. As far as these hard-liners are concerned, any system that caps the overall amount of player salary in the system -- such as the 57 percent in the previous agreement and whatever percentage the two sides agree on here -- is by definition a hard cap.

This interpretation is not lost on Hunter, who along with union president Derek Fisher finds himself in the hottest of seats Wednesday as the calendar marches toward more cancellations -- more preseason games next week, and soon, real ones. But Hunter's job isn't to placate the hard-line agents, just as David Stern's job isn't to please only the hard-line owners who want their, um, cake and eat it, too.

Their job is to get a deal done, and the time for the sort of meaningful compromise is just about here.

Could it come together on Wednesday? It could, and it should. As sources have maintained for at least a week, there is a deal there for the taking if both sides want one.

Will it come together on Wednesday? Look at the calendar. If the drop-dead date for canceling the start of the regular season is Oct. 14 (as is the case, in my thoughtful estimation), then will each side come forward with its last, best offer and move as far as it's going to move on Sept. 28?

Sadly, I doubt it. If you're a fan of the NBA and want this thing over with, my advice: Hope for the best on Wednesday, and prepare for the worst.


Since: Mar 22, 2008
Posted on: September 28, 2011 1:24 pm

Don't get your hopes up

At some point the players have to understand that they only make money if they play the game. Unless they enjoy their time being word travelers, the NBA is where they can live the kind of life they have been accustomed to. Whether it is 57 percent or 46 percent, they will still make more money than 99 percent of the Americans that are paying for the pleasure of watching their poor play. Players... go ahead and stay together with your oh so lovable and trustworthy agents. They obviously have your best interests at heart. I am enjoying watching baseball, football and oh yeah the college basketball season isn't far away. Imagine that, we will be able to watch basketball by players who actually do want to play.

Since: Mar 9, 2010
Posted on: September 28, 2011 12:28 pm

Don't get your hopes up

If the NBA stayed locked out and there was no season. Would anyone notice? My bet is NO!

Since: Jun 4, 2007
Posted on: September 28, 2011 11:49 am

Don't get your hopes up

I hope these dumbasses stay locked out for years and the league folds.  They (both players and owners) created their own monster.  the NBA product is garbage and rigged. 

Since: Mar 19, 2009
Posted on: September 28, 2011 10:20 am

Don't get your hopes up

Hoping for the best but am prepared for the worse! 

Since: Aug 27, 2006
Posted on: September 28, 2011 10:11 am

Don't get your hopes up

I hope the owners do stand their ground. This league has become a superstar driven league with many loop holes. It is time for a hard cap. I'm a huge Bulls fan but I rather live on a solid foundation and in a crappy house then on a faulty foundation and in a beautiful house. Wake up players, you're not worth as much as you think you are... Other than the whole Bulls team.

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