November 15, 2011

A lot of questions for the NBA and the union

by Dan Bilicki In: Basketball

The NBA and its players really messed this one up. Because everybody waited until the last minute to start serious negotiations, the 2011-12 season is about 90% not going to happen.

There are a lot of questions that should be asked, so why not throw them out here and then not expect a reply from the NBA or the entity formerly known as the union.

-Why wouldn’t these two sides start sitting down with each other seriously back in August, when the players seemed too busy because many were touring the states, playing charity event or pickup games at places like Rucker Park?

-Why wouldn’t the owners realize that they’re also losing money too and damaging their product and its reputation by cancelling games and possibly an entire season. Did they not see how their sister sport, the NHL did? After all, many of these teams play in the same buildings and even have some of the same owners.

-Why didn’t the players start the decertification process earlier if they were seriously interesting in it? When the NFLPA decertified, it was long before games were at risk of being cancelled giving it a realistic chance of helping them get a deal. This move by the NBPA now puts this entire season in serious jeopardy by getting the courts involved.

-Why didn’t the owners offer up a better deal? The proposed 50-50 split in Basketball Related Income seems fair to just about everyone on the outside, but it would be a massive loss for the players, who were getting 57% in the previous deal. I don’t see why the owners couldn’t accept the 52.5% deal the players were offering and then set the deal for only three or four years, then come back to the table.

-Why didn’t the players offer a counter proposal at their press conference? The NBA’s final proposal, as posted by the New York Times, didn’t seem too terrible and featured a system that would have helped level the playing field in the league. So why did the NBPA push the proverbial button and blow things up? Could they not have thrown back a proposal based off of that deal?

-Why were none of the league’s proposals even put to a vote by the union? The NBPA seemed to act like most sports unions, catering to its top stars while somewhat ignoring the middle class. So what if one of these deals was better for those guys, the majority of its constituency? Well, we’ll never know now.

-Will more players head over to Europe and China now to play? One would think that with the season on the verge of cancellation, a mass exodus to the European leagues could start very soon.

-Will a deal get done in time to save the season? Considering the decertification process will tie the two sides up in court for a while now, the best case scenario may be a season like 1999: Shortened to half the length in games, but still seriously compressed. Then, we’d see a lot of out-of-shape players playing a lot of back-to-back-to-back games. That’s not fun for anybody and even further punishment for fans.

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