The situation surrounding the NBA Lockout looks bleak with Wednesday not necessarily serving as a day that the season could be cancelled but is the last day before the league once again digs in and tries to crush the players' union. Over the weekend, David Stern set a deadline, or ultimatum in the players eyes, to accept the league's latest proposal which is in the realm of a 50-50, 51-49 split of basketball related income. If it is not accepted by Wednesday, then the league's next proposal will be much worse as they try to recoup losses from cancelled games thus far this season.
Lets be clear about one thing. Neither side is completely united. There are members of both sides that would like to accept the deal on the table and get back on the court. There are also hardliners on both sides that are ready to blow this thing up over some meaningless posturing and percentage points.
The reality is the union has already lost and they had better cut their losses and take the deal or it is only going to get much worse. It is the Union that has negotiated down from 57 percent to a reported 52 percent and made many concessions on system issues without getting little to anything in return from the league. It is a big reason why I am confident that Billy Hunter's days as union leader are numbered.
In my opinion, these negotiations were lost way back in July when the union decided against decertification. It is also pointless now for hardliners on the players side to come running to the table now about concessions that Hunter has made. Where have they been all of this time?
Likewise the owners who have from my standpoint fleeced the union in these negotiations. Wouldn't it still be considered a victory to just accept 52-48 split so that everyone can get back on the court and start making money?
Ken Berger sums things up nicely:
Beginning Monday morning, there are three full business days for someone -- anyone -- with a shred of reason to pick up the phone and connect the dots between the differences that remain. Anybody can see it: After 2½ years of cutthroat negotiations, a 20 percentage point economic difference between the two sides has been shaved to 1 percent -- $40 million in the first year of a new CBA and $262 million over six years, a fraction of the $800 million that already has been squandered by sacrificing a mere month of games with this idiocy.
If a deal is not completed by Wednesday, then I feel that this thing is destined to follow the NHL and become the second professional league to lose an entire season in the US. The union will likely have no choice but to seek decertification and the negotiations will be fought out in the courtroom. It seems union lawyer Jeffrey Kessler is intent on not letting it turn out any other way.
That will leave countless fans, arena workers and everyone who loves the game on the sideline.