The NBA lock out continues into its 120th day and the two sides have dug in with ultimatum offers. The owners offer the players an equal split of the basketball related income, while the players say they couldn’t possibly accept less than 52%, or at least some of them do.
In honor of the late “Smokin” Joe Frazier I will attempt to make a boxing analogy and I hope he forgives me, but these negotiations are akin to a great heavyweight fight back when Frazier, Ali and Foreman were in their prime and boxing mattered. The players and owners are exchanging punches, but both have great power and respect for the other side. In the NFL the owners had far less power over the players who had the public on their side. NFL fans needed their fix of 16 regular season games and felt sympathy for the employees who fought for benefits rather than revenue. Now as these two prize fighters bait and taunt each other to expose themselves by making the first move they threaten, if this bout goes another round it won’t be pretty.
Presently the gap is only two percent. When the bell rings at close of business tomorrow the gap becomes five percent, or so the owners have threatened. The players are in trouble going forward in this negotiation because they are not unified. Ownership has come to a consensus, while some could conceed the 52% others, most notably Bobcats owner Michael Jordan, look for as low as 45%, but they have agreed upon 50% as the ceiling. For players the union is crumbling. There are rumors of decertification as higher paid players clamor for a return to action. Derek Fisher, who represents the NBPA, is fighting hard for the best deal he can get his colleagues, but finds himself in a tough spot as he loses support.
It would seem that the players will have to accept the offer of the owners. They face a unified front that believes they cannot survive giving up any more than their offer. They are threatening to get nasty if these talks continue and show no signs of blinking. It is reported that upwards of 10 teams are losing money by opening for business, so we know those owners won’t bend and the other owners have other ways of making money. As pressure mounts from players dependent upon the pay checks from the league it appears a deal will be struck sometime late Wednesday, or at least the fans hope so.
Should the players cave so we can get back to real games, or should they continue to fight for a greater piece of the pie? Let us know what you think via our twitter (@seeuinoctober) or leave us a comment.