After the NBA announced they would be having their first lockout since the 1998-99 season, the next set of meetings resumed this week, as the parties met to discuss salary cap limits and player-owner revenue sharing.
Tuesday’s meeting was primarily focused on the “hard” versus “soft” salary cap issue. After a considerably short two hour session, the owners had relaxed their stance from a hard cap system to just a “harder” one, with more luxury tax-style consequences for failing to abide by the cap’s guidelines. Despite the possible move of compromise by the owners, it seems a deal is still remote. NBA Commissioner David Stern is encouraging another meeting between both parties on Friday. Stern said that after this week there are “enormous consequences at play” if an agreement is not reached.
By now, most fans and observers know the league’s failure to reach a collective bargaining agreement will result in at least a shortened season without any team training camps. But the financial consequences of the lockout could not have been more untimely for the NBA, which is coming off one of its most prosperous seasons in 2010-11 since the Jordan era.
Many players have voiced their frustration about the lack of urgency to get this lockout resolved. But the fundamental differences in each side’s demands leave a lot of uncertainty as to how much basketball will actually be played this season. In perspective, the issues in collective bargaining were basically irrelevant for the NFL compared to the differences in the NBA.
“We support Billy (Union Chief Billy Hunter) 100 percent, we support D-Fish (Union President and Lakers guard Derek Fisher) 100 percent,” Carmelo Anthony said about the lockout situation.
The player’s union seems to be remaining strong as the chances of an on-time start to the NBA season become dimmer by the day. Other all-stars in the NBA have also been finding positive ways to stay focused on basketball during the work stoppage. The “Big 3″ for the Miami Heat are hosting and participating in an exhibition charity game on October 8th along with other NBA stars, including Kevin Durant, Chris Paul, and Amare Stoudemire.
But as more time slips away, and the NBA season draws closer, the real loser in this work stoppage is going to be the fans. The Mavericks-Heat series last season was one of the most-watched finals in league history. There are more contending teams this year from both conferences than any other in recent years. Young teams like the Memphis Grizzlies, Oklahoma City Thunder, and New York Knicks all return with the potential talent to make a serious run at the finals. Despite all this, the future of the NBA remains uncertain for the time being.