(This graphic was NOT a creation of TWB, see above link)
Those interested parties can take a quick trip through the path that has been this lockout, which since this image was last updated, has continued to spiral out of control.
Overall, it is difficult to assess or form a basis of 'blame' here. No doubt the owners caused this and are irresponsible in their own right for presenting an unrealistic offer to their players and not bargaining in good faith. Furthermore, it is irresponsible of the players union representatives to not recognize the obvious reality of the situation: the offer will not improve and will never get to 52.5% of BRI. Their last chance to make a deal that nets them at a break even point for holding out on an extra 2.5 pts of BRI (that the union will not get) is sometime between now and next Friday, or the deadline for cancellations through mid-December.
If a deal is not agreed to at 50/50 next week, the players are making a grave mistake. But, no doubt the union will come out of their strategy meeting today ready to #StandUnited. Now, don't get me wrong here. The players have every right to want that, or to feel that way. But it will do them zero good through next week. I actually think holding out until then isn't the dumbest thing in the world, but beyond then? Moronic. (However, I will be surprised if the 50 50 offer is still on the table for the next meeting but that is neither here nor there). But, consider what the owner's BRI offer will be in early January when the players have absolutely zero choice other than to slam their tails in between their legs? 45%, 46%? If there is a lost season!? Low 40's? Inexplicable. Look, I don't care who you are, losing a year's pay will make anyone desperate, and that will be the only choice. And with reports surfacing every few days of players having a miserable time in Europe, the NBA is the only real option. Europe was always short term. If the players do not cave now, they aren't just shooting themselves in the foot, they are blowing off both of their legs and perhaps even an arm. This is a prime example of stubbornness leading to poor decision making. And I think Derek Fisher knows it. Alas.
What is more silly is Charlie Villanueva tweeting this yesterday:
"Saw a article on ESPN, the owners r asking for 50/50 spilt, sounds good, but in reality its a 46 or 47/50+ split, hell no, TOGETHER WE STAND"
2 things stand out here. 1. "50/50 spilt, sounds good." A deal at 50 50 would get ratified immediately, but we all know that. 2. Does this guy not realize that the players do not split total revenues (his inference that owners take credits off of the top)? It is called basketball. related. income. There is little to complain about here. In the NFL the players receive a sub-50 cut of total revenues as well. This is a perfect display of ignorance on the player's front. When fans understand more about this labor situation than the players you know the union is in trouble. Again, alas.
Here's hoping this thing ends rationally the way it should. Unlike what happened in the NHL. TWB favorite Alan Hahn of NY-based Newsday re-upped his comparative NHL timeline of events yesterday. It's a few months old but I recommend reading it closely to understand just how silly it is to believe in fairy tales of offer improvement. And it only contains one use of the word 'rhetoric' to boot. To summarize, the NHL players held strong on a no hard cap system, missed a season of play and pay and, shockingly, ended up with a 24% paycut and a hard cap. He posted an update to it yesterday (seemingly influenced by Twitter conversation with TWB).
This is not rocket science. The ultimate implications are obvious to millions of people worldwide. The players have the best offer they will get between now and next Friday and it isn't even a question. These small market owners are out for blood, and blood they will get. If they miss a season, compromise will not be a word used at the bargaining table. The owners probably realize their offer is just on the threshold of agreement. When the players reject it again next week and elect to miss more games, the owners will move one step closer to getting the players right where they wanted them all along: at a mid-40's% cut of BRI and a hard cap. Square one. This is why agreeing now is absolutely imperative. It is sickening how obvious this is.
The NHL player's advice? Make a deal. Per this nice write-up (which recieved national attention) from Jerry Zgoda, the players implore as much. The only hint of rationalization was the NHL used its time off to make rule changes, which may have made the game more exciting but was not even a remotely appropriate justification to cancel a season. "It's not worth it," said Bill Guerin (former VP of the NHL players association), who was perhaps the biggest crusader for the players' cause back then. "Get a deal done. I learned a big lesson: It's not a partnership, it's their league, and you are going to play when they want. It's not worth it to any of them to burn games or to burn an entire year. Burning a year was ridiculous."
As sickening as that may sound for fans constantly (and sometimes to a fault) behind the empty, player-driven rally cry, that is just the way it is. Don't hold out for nothing. Take the high road, get back on the court and everyone wins... even the players.
#StandUnitedforMillionsInLostWagesAndAnImmenselyWorseCBA. Good message, Sir Hunter.
UPDATE: Per the Boston Herald labor talks will resume Saturday