The NBA 2010-2011 season is in the books. Dallas are the new champions and James' ‘Decision’ to take his talents to South Beach turned out to be much ado about nothing. LeBron’s next venture will be selling T-shirts reading; The Decision. The Series. The Flop.

Now comes something even worse than LeBron’s television show, that’s NBA.TV’s wall-to-wall, one-sided coverage of the looming NBA lockout. Players Union Executive Director Billy Hunter has told sources that if a new labor deal isn’t in place by June 30, then you can kiss next season good-bye. That’s okay because we’ll have the NFL….wait a minute, hold that thought.

The first of what will surely be many legal salvos fired by both sides in the dispute, came in late May when the union filed a complaint with the National Labor Relations board that owners weren’t bargaining in good faith. The move was expected as the players try to head off the lockout which at this point is a foregone conclusion.

Owners are seeking to entirely revamp the collective bargaining agreement that was hammered out in 2005, an agreement they claim has cost them hundreds of millions of dollars league wide. Owners are looking to get rid of the ‘soft cap’ and replace it with a ‘hard cap’ on salaries. The league is hoping to lower player salaries by $750 million dollars annually.  The players are arguing that increased revenue sharing between the owners would help and that players shouldn’t be asked to protect the owners from themselves.

It’s believed the biggest issue is the division of revenues. Currently the players get 57% and the league says that number needs to and will come down.

Who takes the biggest hit?

Matt Moore, the NBA beat writer for CBS says that one thing that won’t fly with the players union is the idea of raising superstar salaries and paying the middle- and lower-class players less. According to Moore: “Several player agents citing a one-man, one-vote union says by cutting the highest salaries by 25 or 30 percent that alone would give the owners much of what they want. Once guys figure out that 400 or so players will benefit by the top few taking a major cut, what do you think they’re going to do?”

Moore added that “The league delivered an opening proposal to the Players Association in which it called for a fundamental change in the salary structure of the NBA. They don’t want to negotiate a fresh collective bargaining agreement, as much as they want to crush the union once and for all”.

If one NBA management figure is right then there’s little hope that an agreement is going to be reached anytime soon. “It isn’t just a matter of the union losing,” one Eastern Conference GM said. “It’s a matter of how badly they lose.”

The NBA Players Union has distributed mandatory reading material for its members. It’s the 56-page “Lockout Handbook” and on the front cover is the saying: “Hope for the Best. Prepare for the Worst”.

The NBA guide covers everything from how to budget your money and where to spend your vacations (Las Vegas and Atlantic City are a no-no). It’s pretty much common sense stuff dealing with mortgages and rents, car payments, etc.

Outside of the NBA draft later this month, there’s not going to be much to enjoy when it comes to the pro hardwood. 

According to all sources, the owners won’t settle for just getting what they want out of a new deal. They want their money back, the money they spent over the past six years and that want to start turning a profit—now. This is all about the owners and they’ve told Stern that when this process is over, they want the players bruised and battered.

With that type of rhetoric dominating the talks will a deal ever get done? Eventually, but not until the league gets everything it wants and then some. It very well could mean the players with the big salaries (and they know who they are) might have to give back part of their money. This could also mean contraction. Although it would cost a few marginal players their jobs it would give fewer owners a bigger piece of the revenue sharing pie.

Whatever betting odds you can get on the season not starting on time, take them. They’ll be the best and probably the only NBA numbers you’ll be able to get for a long time.

Sources from Yahoo Sports and CBS sportsline.com were used in this article