When July 1st hits it is looking more and more likely that the NBA owners will end up locking out the players. I wrote something last week about how I think it will end up getting worked up but this is about what is actually happening right now, not what I'm thinking and hoping will happen three or four months down the line. And what is happening right now is the owners are attempting to scare the players into giving in before the deadline by threatening to push for a $45 million hard cap and to eliminate guaranteed contracts. While I don't see either of those things happening, if the NBA is really going to be narrow-minded enough to not give in on those points, we are looking at a lost season.
Do I think that we are going to be without basketball? Before I read about that I would've bet my house on not missing any games in this next season. Now I'd still probably bet a paycheck or two on that fact, I'm not nearly as sure as I was just 2 hours ago. The league had a strike shortened season less then 15 years ago so it isn't out of the realm of possibility that come Halloween the only NBA players we'll be seeing will be knocking on our doors hoping for candy and not pencils and apples. And before anyone goes and compares this lockout to the current NFL one going on, let me point out the biggest difference. The NFL is making money, the NBA is losing it.
What that means to me is when the NFL gets to the point of losing games, more then likely they will suck it up and get something done so that the money making machine of professional football doesn't risk getting off the tracks. To hell with the rookies who are basically getting a wasted season because they can't meet with coaches and learn the NFL system and thus are stuck waiting until next off-season before they can really get the one-on-one work that they need as young players, they need to figure out how to split $9 billion.
The NBA though needs to figure out a way to protect their owners from themselves and in the grand scheme of things, that is more important to them then this season. It would be a tragedy for them certainly with the NBA on the heels of it's best season in a decade and with more stars then you can shake a stick at, but sometimes tragedy is necessary. But at least I get this lockout. It isn't two groups grabbing for as much cash as they can get their hands on, it's one group with a serious problem and both groups wanting to find a solution to keep things going along without a bump in the road.
I really do believe that it is going to come down to some form of revenue sharing. The players have said they are willing to come down from their 57% of profits that they get, but you can't expect them to keep taking pay cuts and losing other benefits like guaranteed contracts and a soft cap without looking at the big market owners like the Lakers and Knicks and asking them to chip in to help out at the same time. But it's looking more and more likely that instead of watching Chris Paul throw alley-oops we're going to see Sportscenter lockout highlights of guys in suits. And if that is still happening when it starts to cut into the actual season, it will be a damn shame.