Today begins the NBA lockout. NBA owners decided, while being fed figs and stinky cheese by nude models, that they are losing too much money the way the NBA is currently structured. They use words like loyalty, salaries, salary cap, revenue sharing. The players use them as a punchline. Thus, the owners locked their golden gates interlaced with diamonds and rubies, the likes of which we have never seen. What does it mean to all of us, the people that Bron scoffs at? No round ball for the foreseeable future.
Conclusions should not be jumped to, as that is always a poor practice. In fact, we cannot even crab-walk to conclusions – the information is simply not there. The popular thought in the media is that the owners are being greedy. The old “millionaires fighting billionaires” dialogue is being thrown about, which is true. However, if one side is genuinely losing money (or damn-close to it), a new structure needs to be worked out. It is important to understand that the NBA’s media gets a paycheck when there is basketball to report on. With the owners calling for a lockout, the media’s livelihood is threaten. Obviously, the natural source to lash out against is the owners.
This is not to say that I agree with the owners. I believe there is little ground to back either side. There are articles that will damn the owners, citing trick accounting for their heavy losses. Yet, accounting is often like statistics, you can make them tell damn-near any story. According to my personal accounting, I drive a Ferrari and won the PGA Tour last year. See, I told ya so! The point is that I am a tad leery on numbers that come from a sports writer doing investigative journalism on the books of a NBA franchise. Hell, they are probably correct, most of the owners are most likely doing quite well. However, when I flipped on games from some the NBA’s smaller franchises and saw crowds smaller than those at the beginning of Major League, it is hard to imagine those owners are raking in the bread.
Personally, I would like to see one of two outcomes come of this lockout. First, and much more important, I want a 2011-12 season. The cancellation of next year’s NBA journey would be a major disappointment for me and a monumental devastation to the sport. After the MLB strike of 1994 canceled that year’s World Series, it took juiced balls and athletes to get America to pay attention again, and that was the national pastime. What would it take for the NBA? I would not mind a shortened season. Truthfully, the NBA regular season is too long as it is. A lockout that put the regular season at 60 games would make it right at where it should be.
The second outcome, which is not as important and completely unlikely, would be contraction. No one is showing up to New Orleans Hornets games, even with one of the more exciting players in the game? Close up shop. Revenue sharing would be a more attractive option to the successful franchises if they did not have the drain of the worst franchises. Contraction would not only cut franchises that continually do not attract fans and “lose” money, but it would also make the game much better. Right now more than half (16+ f’n teams!) have no chance of competing for the title (regardless of the upcoming free agency period)*. Most of these teams cannot even do it in the next few years. There are even a handful that do not even have a shot at the playoffs. By contracting just four teams, the NBA’s product would get much sexier. There would be more talent out there for below average teams to choose from in order to increase their chance of competing. If only. As I stated above there is no chance of this happening.
The NBA lockout is here, and you better get used to it. It ain’t not going nowhere, not never. What makes it even more sad is that neither side will come to the table for the next few months. When it starts to get closer to when the season should begin is when talks will resume. The pressure increases as we approach fall. So enjoy your summer, y’all, and get the NBA lockout out of your head.
*I will concede that as long as teams like the Timberwolves are around, there is always a chance of making trades for a championship-caliber team.