I know, you hate reading and hearing about the NBA lockout just as much as I hate writing about it. I'd much rather be writing about the start of the Kevin McHale era, how the Rockets rookies are looking, and if I think Daryl Morey can swing a deal for a superstar; but this is the hand we've been dealt. Perhaps it was foolish, but I've always been very optimistic about this lockout and truly thought a deal would have been reached by the 1st or 2nd week of November. Unfortunately the actions taken this week by the NBPA has ruined my faith that smart men would make smart decisions and for the first time, I'm beginning to fear that missing an entire season is actually possible. The question then is, why?
What are they really even arguing over? Over 3 million for mid-level players instead of 5 million? Over the difference between 52% and 50% of the BRI? Are these minor differences worth risking an entire season? Of course not! Have you seen the paychecks players are already missing? LeBron missed out on $667K, Carmelo missed out on $771K, Nowitzki missed out on $795K, and Kobe missed over 1 million dollars; how long will it take to make that money back if they get their way? That's why their failure to reach a deal is so damn puzzling, they can't get that money back. At some point, and I believe that point is very soon from the numbers I've seen, the money they're losing by holding out will exceed the money they're looking to gain by getting their way on this new CBA. So if the main objective is money, and it always is, they've royally screwed this one up!
Unless the players win their anti-trust suit, and I don't think they will given the outcome in the NFL, they can't win this battle. Every game missed means less money to split up in the BRI and Stern has already said they're going to start rolling back their offer. In my opinion the losses they will suffer from being stubborn and letting their ego interfere with negotiations, outweighs the potential gains they are trying to achieve. Players like Kevin Martin have already spoken out on this as I mentioned in my previous article; he knows that they'll never have a chance to get back the money they lost. As we all do in everyday life, you have to pick your battles. Is your spouse forgetting to take out the trash or the drive-thru guy giving you a medium instead of large french fry really worth raging over? The players really need to ask themselves, is what we're giving up, worth what we MIGHT get? Is the lost money, the lost time, and ticking off every fan really worth an extra 1% in the BRI? Is this the battle we should be fighting?
With all of this said, the owners deserve quite a bit of blame as well; in my opinion the causes of this lockout are almost entirely their mistakes. On top of that David Stern issuing out ultimatums can only hurt the negotiating process. At this point though, it doesn't really matter who deserves the most blame. If both sides don't come their senses soon, it won't matter what the terms of the deal are anymore; everyone will lose. The owners and players will lose money, arena workers will lose their jobs, and the fans will turn their back. Is all of that worth 1% of the BRI? In that situation, everyone loses.