The latest news out of the NBA has Boston fans so flippin’ mad that they might actually start pronouncing their “ah’s.” Well, maybe not, but you get the point. The news broke today that the players have unanimously rejected the owner’s proposal and will now seek to disband the union in order to go the class-action route in order to sue the league looking to win the long, cold battle that has stretched out over 140+ days.
Can this be true, have we really come to this? Sadly, we have. The players blew their last good opportunity to save some face and get back on the court in order to play the proposed 72-game schedule. NBA commissioner David Stern stated over the weekend that he would not make any further cancelations this week. The proposed 72-game schedule is currently slated to begin on December 15th and is really just a pipe dream at this point as it would have given the teams and players just about 30 days to get everything in order and back on the court, and that is considering that the league issues get settled and ratified no later than tomorrow.
Either way, the main issue remains the basketball related income or the BRI. Under the most recent deal, the players had the lion share of 57% BRI leaving the owners to split the remaining 43%. Ideally, the owners want the players in the 47% range, but have settled for 50%. The players are not willing to go any lower than 53% and thus being the catalyst for why we are “Playing The Feud” this far into November with really no end in sight.
As each day passes without a deal, we become less and less hopeful in there being any games played this season. The league needs to and will continue to threaten to cancel the season at every given opportunity. The threats are legitimate, but the league is not going to cancel the entire slate of games this early. They are going to wait until the last possible moment in order to play some form of a season. The players know this and will continue to view this as just an idle threat meant more to sway the fans whilst working them into an uncontrollable frenzy. As stated before, we target the last day possible to strike a deal as December 31st. This would get the players back on the court by the end of January in hopes for an abbreviated 50-game schedule.
The players seemingly let their last good offer slip through their hands, they have no leverage and the owners are just waiting to crush them ending up with exactly what they want. Player spending has been out of control over the last decade and needs to be regulated. The owners have been shelling out a lot of money over the years and in some cases getting little to no on-court return of their investment. The NBA trade deadline is a prime example of this, players with expiring contracts should not be the equivalent of NBA gold making them worth far more than what they can actually do on the court.
The issue is going to drag out until one side caves under the pressure. Unfortunately, it has come to this with neither side willing to make a compromise. The Celtics had a good run and who knows what the future will hold for them. They have only a handful of players under contact for this season and will lose even more after this season. The future does not look promising and it could be a long time before the green team can climb back into the conversation as a member of the NBA elite.