The owners made what they felt was a concilliatory, compromising offer last week in the NBA labor negotiations. That offer was met with derision from the players' union that felt it was essentially offering to them what they already own while still asking for far too much in the way of compromises. So now we have one more shot before the lockout we all knew was coming anyway starts Friday.
But a report from the San Antonio Express News makes the lockout sound even more frightening, because it alleges that if there is a lockout, and there will be (no way this gets done in a day), the owners will take all the small consolations and compromises they've offered off the table, and will opt instead for the NBA negotiating equivalent of a nuclear winter.
From the Express News:
According to NBA executives familiar with the league’s strategies, once the lockout is in place, the owners will push for a hard salary cap of $45 million, the elimination of guaranteed contracts and ask that the players swallow a 33 percent salary cut. The concessions made in recent weeks, including the “flex cap” of $62 million and a guarantee of $2 billion in annual player payroll, will be off the table.via Spurs Nation » Mike Monroe: It only gets harder for owners, players.
If this seems certain to guarantee the loss of the entire 2011-12 season, it is because there are owners who think it is necessary for the long-term viability of the league. The players likely know this is coming because hints have been leaked for weeks. How they react to the old, hard line once the anticipated stoppage begins will determine the prospects for next season.
A move back to the hard line for the owners would force the players into a fight-or-flight response. They'd have no option to digging a trench for the long haul other than complete surrender. And given that they feel this fight is not just about themselves and their money, but about the future earning potential of professional basketball players (it's a brotherhood, if you haven't heard), they would get the shovels and sink in. We could lose the entirety of next season, if this report is accurate.
For everyone's sake, the fans, the owners, the players, the league personnel, and the business owners who profit in the communities, let's hope the owners recognize that there's a reason the Cold War remained cold. No one wins in the other scenario, except rival sports.