Autumn has arrived and with it comes leaves changing color, crisp chill in the air, and high hopes for NBA fans that this year will be the year their team will win it all. Except this year. The NBA lockout has already canceled the preseason and threatened to cancel the entire season in general and it seems like a very real and legitimate threat. Will the season be called off? Only time will tell, but who exactly is to blame for this lockout?
It all started earlier this year when the NBA claimed they were losing up to $300 million a season and that 22 of 30 teams were losing money. The NBA also wanted to reduce players salaries 40% and institute a $45 million salary cap per team. The NBA does have a point, however, on reducing player salaries. Case in point, Rashard Lewis, a career average of 16.3 points per game, 5.8 repounds per game, and two assists per game, signed a six year, $118 million deal in 2007. $118 million! Granted, Lewis was coming off a career year with the now defunct Seattle SuperSonics, but really $118 million? Lewis became one of the richest players in the NBA and undeservedly so. Creating a hard salary cap would help things out too, so we wouldn't have these super teams like the Miami Heat (still not sure how they signed that many players with the bloated contracts of D-Wade, LeBron, and Chris Bosh), and it would create more of an even playing field so that smaller market teams like the Timberwolves and Raptors can compete. It would also stop teams from losing money, field a competitive team so people would attend games, and more revenue would flow in making the number of teams in the red reduce drastically. The NBA could adopt a plan similar to the MLB in that teams that spend over a certain amount would have to pay a luxury tax and write checks for the teams with a smaller payroll. It is working for the MLB with more and more smaller market teams fielding better teams and posting better numbers.
The players have their point too. Why should they cut their salary by 40%? If a player has worked hard to become the best in his sport shouldn't he be rewarded as such? It's not the players fault if the owners overpay on some players like Rashard Lewis, so why should they be penalized for the owners malfeasance?
Another problem arising in the NBA lockout are the agents getting involved. Yes, the agents. You know the agents who don't play the game or run a team's day to day operations and just collect a check from their client for doing basically nothing. The agents are telling players to do something while NBA Players Association president Billy Hunter and Lakers guard and union president Derek Fisher are telling them another. An example is the agents telling the players to decertify the players union like the NFL did, where as Billy Hunter has stated that decertifying the union hasn't even come up and are not considering it yet. Agents stay out of it, this isn't your fight. I know you will be losing money, but not nearly enough if the season is canceled.
With more and more players playing over in Europe and Asia, it seems as if the players are throwing in the towel on the new season. It doesn't look like an immediate end to this lockout anytime soon. So if you are an NBA fan, I say you follow the leagues in Europe this year because that looks like the only basketball going to happen. We basketball fans can take one positive out of this in that LeBron James needs to wait another year before winning his first title.