Seeking Out Any Signs of NBA Optimism

by Dan M | Posted on Thursday, October 13th, 2011

The two sides don’t seem that far apart, but…


By Mike Fisher



At press time, it was Monday, October 10 – Deadline Day for the NBA. The word from Commissioner David Stern was that the league would have to start canceling regular-season games if the players and owners could not strike a deal by then. We entered day with optimism … and, with help from analyst David Lord, here’s why:


After the NBA players and owners broke off talks last week, our analysis of the situation was that – despite strident rhetoric from both sides – they were far closer to a deal than it seemed. We wrote then that the “next meeting,” most likely one that would beat the Monday deadline imposed by Stern, would bring a handshake deal and have the two sides start the extended process of working together to define the fine points and get the pact in writing. Our reading of the tea leaves then was that what we were seeing was posturing by each side, partly to get their members willing to compromise a bit, as well as to push for every last nickel left in dispute.


But since then, there have been several developments. First a recitation, then our updated analysis:


ITEM: In response to our article, we received word originating from multiple non-Mav NBA front office types that they did NOT expect to see the league have any games in early November. Their feeling was that the plan would be to move the season back a couple weeks, but tack on the missed games to the end of the season and still have a full schedule. But this expectation was in place before we had arrived at the deadline, while the public stance was that once we pass Monday, the NBA season will be abbreviated. Hmmmm, we thought.


ITEM: With the deadline of “games will be cancelled!!” looming, David Stern began pushing publicly for a meeting to be held on Sunday and/or Monday and the union was apathetic. Then the union offered a meeting, but Stern made a precondition that he would only meet if the union agreed in advance to a 50-50 split of revenues. The union refused, saying their members would never accept 50-50 because they are dead set on getting 53 percent. Stern replied that the owners are in the 47-48 percent range, the 50-50 is a compromise, but the players have to say they are open to moving if they want the owners to move. Both sides dug in their heels.


ITEM: Then Sunday evening the two sides met after all, with no preconditions beforehand. And no press conferences afterward, as we were writing this late Sunday evening. Oh, and then came a previously unscheduled Monday meeting, too.


So where are we? Let’s review the numbers to show how irrational a non-deal would’ve always been.


They emerged from the previous week’s meeting only 2 percent apart on the one issue that is holding up a deal, the split of revenues. All the other sticking points had been accepted by one side or the other, and a deal merely awaited a compromise on that last issue. The owners labeled their offer a 50-50 compromise, but reports say that label reflected an offer of 49 percent guaranteed (with triggers to increase that number to 51 percent), and the players asked for 51 percent (with the same triggers to push it to 53 percent).


Breaking it down further, for the players, there is a deal available that they want, except for that final 2-3 percent. If they compromise now, they may be able to get a bit more. Or they can hold out and try to get it all (with no assurance of success, of course), and if they get everything they want they will gain between $80 million and $120 million this season. However, every week they lose will cost them $80 million (they are guaranteed at least $2 billion for the full season, and there are 25 weeks in the typical season), and the ones who swallow the entire loss will be those playing this season. In a protracted holdout, they will soon have lost more than they could have ever hoped to gain in a best-case scenario. Is it really worth continuing the fight, at that cost?


The alternative to sealing a deal? Egos get in the way of good business sense, and the two sides let their pride rule in trying to get the last scrap left on the table that’s keeping them from a deal. Unfortunately, that sort of stupidity can certainly happen. Rest assured that if games are permanently cancelled, both sides were to get what they deserve no matter what – both sides will start losing lots of real money.



10 at Ten

Quarterbacks date cheerleaders. Ladies love the long ball. Here are 10 examples of jock-starlet hookups:

10 Tony Romo and Jessica Simpson

9 Kim Kardashian and Kris Humphries

8 Tony Parker and Eva Longoria

7 Tom Brady and Gisele Bundchen

6 David Beckham and Posh Spice

5 Lamar Odom and Khloe Kardashian

4 Andy Roddick and Brooklyn Decker

3 Wayne Gretzky and Janet Jones

2 Mike Fisher (of the NHL, not me) and Carrie Underwood

1 Joe DiMaggio and Marilyn Monroe


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