Once again, we have another league that fighting to get a new collective bargaining agreement together. The happiness brought on by the finality of the NFL lockout will only last a few more months, but once the season is over and the last pieces of Super Bowl confetti settles, what will we have left to keep us entertained? God knows I will do anything not to have to resort to hockey.
So what's the deal here? What is keeping the players and the owners from reaching a settlement on this contract which will define the NBA for the next 10 years? Well, we could say that it is a lot more than just money on the line here is some cases, but then again in most of these cases, the root cause is money. Here are some of the "need to knows" about the NBA Lockout.
The most important part of the argument is the Basketball Related Income (BRI) split. Basketball related income consists of ticket sales, concessions, parking, television contracts, etc. The current CBA split was 57/43 in favor of the players. Owners began the discussion wanting 61/39 in favor of the owners, but had talked to down to a 50/50 even split, and are currently offering 53/47 for players. The problem the owners have with this is that the money for marketing and other expensive comes straight out of their cut of the pie, while the players' cut isn't touched. So the owners feel they've lost a lot of money due to the fact that the expenses that are used to generate the revenue are coming out of the owners' pocket. So one of the biggest issues is how to split the total revenue coming to the NBA.
This leads us into the issue of the Salary Cap. With the collective bargaining agreement (CBA) that just expired, the salary cap was set as a soft salary cap, meaning that there are ways to get around the cap. One of the more famous ways around the cap was coined as the Larry Bird Rule, which allows a team to exceed the cap if it is trying to sign its own players. The players don't like the idea, because they feel the owners are punishing them for the owners' own faults. They're basically saying that no one is forcing the owner to sign at-best average players like Joe Johnson for huge contracts that will pay him over 20 million a season. The owners contend this will be a rule to protect them from themselves basically. Or to protect the stupider owners among them who make it a habit of signing players to huge contracts who don't deserve it. What a bad contract does is inflate the contract rates; when you give mediocre players huge contracts, those set the minimum contract for players of his caliber much higher than it should. So when a talented player like Tyreke Evans is ready for a new contract, he's going to push for money three times higher than what a mediocre player received.
Tune in next week for Part 2.