Not surprisingly, the NBA has decided to lock its players out at [12:01] AM tonight – well, technically tomorrow.
It’s too bad because it appeared the NBA was getting its mojo back. Its playoffs had been the most exciting in recent memory, and it garnered its highest ratings in about a decade largely thanks to the villain known as the Miami Heat (thank you LeBron James). One would think the NBA and its players would not want to kill that golden goose.
Having said that, I saw the lockout coming the last two seasons. The owners did not like paying its stars maximum contracts which goes up to six years and average over $20 million a season. Watching Dwyane Wade, LeBron and Chris Bosh conspire to join the Miami Heat also did not well with the owners of other teams not named New York, Boston, Chicago and the Lakers.
Worst of all, NBA commissioner a.k.a. “Regulator” David Stern claimed 22 of the 30 teams are losing money.
First of all, I have a message to the NBA owners: cry me a friggin’ river.
These are the same owners that spent ridiculous amounts of money on free agents last summer. A six-year, $123-million for Joe Johnson? Really? Six years and $80 million for David Lee? Seriously? Five years and $35 million for Josh Childress? Wow. Here’s the rest of the list here.
If the owners are losing money, why go ballin’ out of control on free agent contracts? No one put a gun to these owners to pay these ridiculous amounts of money to those players.
And why get mad at the players? If some owner is stupid enough to over-pay your ass by a good $10 million, would you do the magnanimous thing and give the money back? I didn’t think so.
Here’s the deal. In order to fix this labor crisis, the owners need to get its own house in order. They want to have their cake and eat it too, when they really need to protect themselves from themselves.
If I were running the NBA, here is how I would fix the problem: implement strict revenue sharing. I’d do it NFL-style: all the revenue generated from TV deals, ticket sales, merchandise – you name it – distribute that loot evenly among the teams. That way, none of the teams could cry poverty. (Straight socialism baby!)
A win-win situation if you asked me.
If the owners won’t go for that, then do it MLB-style: set a cap, and use the luxury tax from teams exceeding the cap to distribute among the “sisters of the poor” franchises. Teams still have the option to exceed the cap and teams not doing (spit) can still get some extra cash. It’s another win-win.
If the owners do not go for that, then threaten contraction. That’ll learn ’em.