Tuesday, October 11, 2011

NBA Players Need to Learn From NHL Lockout, Not NFL

If the NBA players and their leader Billy Hunter want to strike a deal and save their season, they should take their cues from the NHL lockout and its lost 2004-2005 season.  In fact, six of the NBA owners were a part of the NHL lockout.  If the players think that the owners will give into their demands, they are crazy.  According to ESPN's Ric Bucher, those group of six owners are telling the other NBA owners that the NHL's lost season was great for them in terms of getting what they wanted in the new collective bargaining agreement.  Billionaires do not become billionaires by making bad deals.  In the NHL's case, the players got far less in the new collective bargaining deal because they decided to sit out a season, and this will happen to the NBA players as well if they sit around too long.

In the old collective bargaining agreement, the NBA players took a 57% cut from all "basketball related revenues," and will not settle for anything less than 53% in any new deal (even though there was a 50-50 split on the table from the owners).  There's one problem with this theory: the owners can afford to not play basketball, the players can not.  If players decide to play in other countries, they will soon find out that everything is different (for the worse) compared to their cushy NBA lives.  Furthermore, some owners would lose less by not playing this season.  How many is still a mystery and until the teams reveal all of their financial data, I will not believe any number of teams commissioner David Stern says are in the red.  In negotiations, at the end of the day, it all boils down to what one can and can't do.  Nothing else.

To prove this point, there are already rumors that the owners will not accept any deal unless they get at least 53% of all basketball-related revenues.  The gap between the players and the owners is widening, and unless the players cave to that 50-50 split quickly, the season will be lost because the owners can, and will, sit out and the players will have to come back to the negotiation table with their collective tails in between their legs.

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