Deadlines are looming fast and being passed in the negotiations for an NBA season. We know for certain that the opening games are cancelled and unless something changes and fast there will be no season at all!

**Update 10/19/2011**

It’s either an encouraging sign or false hope but NBA players and owners met for more than 16 hours on Tuesday with a federal mediator, hoping to deliver the progress Commissioner David Stern says is needed to avoid canceling more games.

This was the longest negotiating session since owners locked out players when the old collective bargaining agreement expired at the end of the day June 30. The two sides will meet again as they try to salvage the season.

Last week, Stern says he could guarantee that more regular season cancellations would be forthcoming unless an agreement was reached this week. The first two weeks of the regular season have already been cancelled.

As the NBA owners continue their effort to beat the players union into submission, comes word that the remaining games scheduled for the 2011 calendar year could be lost as early as next week. The daily updates on the NBA labor crisis aren’t showing a hint of optimism but rather are sending louder and louder messages that the entire season could go down the drain.

If you’ve been following the labor dispute, it’s rare when any progress is reported. NBA fans know that the union wants no part of the owners’ proposal to replace their hard salary cap plan by making the luxury tax much more punitive. Players believe it would become such a deterrent to spending that it would essentially work as a hard cap.

Yahoo Sports is also reporting that the two sides aren’t even close to deciding how to divide the roughly $4 billion in annual revenues. Players were guaranteed 57 percent of basketball-related income in the previous collective bargaining agreement and have proposed lowering it to 53 percent. Owners are seeking the same 53-47 split in their favor.

The parties have discussed a 50-50 split, which the players rejected. Stern says that the original discussion of an even split was initiated by the players.

The two sides are still arguing over the length of the agreement, with players not willing to go beyond six years and owners insisting on a 10-year deal but offering the players an opt-out after six. Player contract lengths, luxury tax payments and the use of spending exceptions are among the other big items remaining.

ESPN’s Larry Coon, who covers sports and finance, broke down what the players stand to win and lose by holding out for the 53 percent which they maintain is the lowest they’ll go.

In the argument of 53-50 percent the players are basically holding out for an additional $120 million in 2011-12, that they would lose in less than two weeks of missed paychecks.

The head of the players union, Billy Hunter, says that the owners are making a mistake in thinking that the players would be threatened by the cancellation of games, which translates into a loss of paychecks.

"I think everybody is waiting for the players to cave. They figure that once a player misses a check or two it's all over. That would be a horrible mistake if they think that's going to happen, because it's not going to happen. The players are all going to hang in."

By all accounts the NBA lockout is going to be harder to settle than the NFL lockout. Neither side has seemed fit to address the fans, the people who pay the exorbitant prices that keep the league in business. Once again they’ve been tossed to the curb while the millionaire players battle against the billionaire owners.

While the handle on pro hoops is far less than football, the potential of games being missed is still on the minds of gamblers. It’s possible that any betting on hoops this season will be limited to NCAA basketball betting. The mind boggling part of all of this is that neither side appears willing to budge and seem content with losing millions if not billions.

If you can find a sportsbook willing to take your NBA lockout prop, consider this; If there’s no movement this weekend on the labor front, you likely won’t see any NBA action the remainder of this calendar year.

You can bet on it.

 



**Update 10/14/2011**

As the NBA owners continue their effort to beat the players union into submission, comes word that the remaining games scheduled for the 2011 calendar year could be lost as early as next week. The daily updates on the NBA labor crisis aren’t showing a hint of optimism but rather are sending louder and louder messages that the entire season could go down the drain.

Thursday Commissioner David Stern said he doubts there will be any NBA basketball on Christmas unless a labor agreement is hammered out by Tuesday. That’s the day when players and owners are scheduled to sit down with federal mediator George Cohen, the same man who tried to resolve the NFL’s labor dispute.

Owners will then meet on Wednesday and Thursday and without an agreement that seems unlikely at this point the Stern says he can almost guarantee that more cancellations will follow. The first two weeks of the regular season have already been cancelled.

If you’ve been following the labor dispute it’s rare when any progress is reported. NBA fans know that the union wants no part of the owners’ proposal to replace their hard salary cap plan by making the luxury tax much more punitive. Players believe it would become such a deterrent to spending that it would essentially work as a hard cap.

Yahoo Sports is also reporting that the two sides aren’t even close to deciding how to divide the roughly $4 billion in annual revenues. Players were guaranteed 57 percent of basketball-related income in the previous collective bargaining agreement and have proposed lowering it to 53 percent. Owners are seeking the same 53-47 split in their favor.

The parties have discussed a 50-50 split, which the players rejected. Stern says that the original discussion of an even split was initiated by the players.

The two sides are still arguing over the length of the agreement, with players not willing to go beyond six years and owners insisting on a 10-year deal but offering the players an opt-out after six. Player contract lengths, luxury tax payments and the use of spending exceptions are among the other big items remaining.

ESPN’s Larry Coon who covers sports and finance broke down what the players stand to win and lose by holding out for the 53 percent which they maintain is the lowest they’ll go.

In the argument of 53-50 percent the players are basically holding out for an additional $120 million in 2011-12, that they would lose in less than two weeks of missed paychecks.

The head of the players union Billy Hunter says that the owners are making a mistake in thinking that the players would be threatened by the cancellation of games, which translates into a loss of paychecks.

"I think everybody is waiting for the players to cave. They figure that once a player misses a check or two it's all over. That would be a horrible mistake if they think that's going to happen, because it's not going to happen. The players are all going to hang in."

By all accounts the NBA lockout is going to be harder to settle than the NFL lockout. Both sides are dug in and it’s no secret owners will have much more time in their lives to recap money lost during the lockout than the players will.

Neither side has seemed fit to address the fans, the people who pay the exorbitant prices that keep the league in business. Once again they’ve been tossed the curb while the millionaire players battle against the billionaire owners.

While the handle on pro hoops is far less than football, the potential of games being missed is still on the minds of gamblers. It’s possible that any betting on hoops this season will be limited to the college ranks. The mind boggling part of all of this is that neither side appears willing to budge and seem content with losing millions if not billions.

If you can find a sportsbook willing to take your bet, consider this. If there’s no movement this weekend on the labor front, you likely won’t see any NBA action the remainder of this calendar year.

You can bet on it.

 

**Original Article**

No new talks are scheduled and if and when they are it will more for publicity then for any actual nuts and bolts negotiations. Why could this be a long lockout? NBA owners lose less money if their venues are closed thus giving them no sense of urgency in getting a new CBA done. From the outside looking in, it seems the players either haven’t done the math or aren’t worried about it. But if you can save cash by keeping the ‘Closed for Business’ sign in the window why wouldn’t you do it?

Red ink

Unlike the NFL which just concluded its lockout, the NBA has teams losing real money. The league says 22 of 30 are operating in the negative while the players disagree with the number but do agree that several franchises either through bad personnel decisions or market size are operating in the negative.

The owners want a hard salary cap, even harder than the one that exists now. They would also like a cap that strengthens in each year of the next contract. The players say they’ll never agree to a cap while the owners insist they won’t sign off on a deal that doesn’t have exactly the one they want.

At the outset of the negotiations the players ‘offered’ to lower their cut of basketball-related revenue to 57 percent while the owners scoffed, saying nothing less a 60-40 split in their favor won’t fly. Those two issues alone put the two sides miles apart and unless the players capitulate on both than it’s going to be a long lockout. It’s no secret that the owners have given commissioner David Stern an edict; Hammer the players hard and when you’re done, hammer them some more.

Bon Voyage

Kobe BryantBefore you start actually believing those Kobe Bryant to Turkey and LeBron to Russia rumors keep in mind that many of the top European leagues in Spain, Russia and Italy have limits on the number of U.S. players on a roster meaning that not everyone who wants to play overseas will.

Also, most of the European teams are not interested in signing players who could and would, leave when the lockout ends. It’s called stability and if players can’t offer it doesn’t matter how good you are or how big a name you have teams won’t invest time or money on a player that could skip at the drop of a hat.

The players don’t seem too worried at this time. Kobe and Kevin Durant among others have taken to organizing games and tours both here and abroad but right now it’s more to pass the time, not to send a message to the league.

Harvey’ Take: One thing that hardly ever gets mentioned is how much the lockout is going to hurt the little guy. Those making minimum wage like the vendors or ticket takers will soon be out of work. Unfortunately when it comes to them, NBA owners believe strongly in the motto; “Out of sight, out of mind”. It’s for them I wish this lockout to be settled but otherwise the league could drop off the map and I wouldn’t blink an eye.

This is not to let the players off the hook either but all they’ve done is to take what the owners have offered. NBA owners were the ones who drew up these crazy contracts giving un-godly amounts of money to mediocre or unproven players and now they’re asking the players to save them from themselves. Only when both sides come to the understanding that life will go on without the NBA will a deal get done and maybe not even then.