NBA Lockout 2011: No Sympathy for Owners

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.

Categories: NBA, sports story

2 replies

  1. Good points. However, the toothpaste can’t go back into the tube.

    What the NFL did with revenue sharing was revolutionary. It stabilized the league and helped propel them to the top of the heap as the National Pastime.

    However, the NFL consoldated its resources back in the 60’s out of nothing other than dire necessity. They were trying to survive and just get a national TV contract, period. They banded together just to stay afloat.

    It would be a different story today. Could you imagine what Jerry Jones would say if you asked him to share his TV revenue equally with Cincinnati?

    Also, revenue sharing works in the NFL because there are so few games. Ratings are generally good all over the country regardless of the matchup. A football fan in Georgia will watch a Viking – Bronco game. A basketball fan in Georgia won’t watch a Timberwolves – Jazz game. (Gambling and fantasy football have a lot to do with this as well).

    You joked about socialism but it’s truly a weakness in the otherwise smart strategy of total revenue sharing. If revenues are shared, all owners must be committed to winning for winning’s sake. Otherwise, a team like the Bengals could just put out an inferior product, get their heads beat in on Sunday, not win a playoff game for 21 years and laugh when the bank deposits come in on Monday. Oh, wait. They do that already.

    The Lakers, Heat, Knicks, Sixers and Bulls would insist on contraction of the small market and/or poorly run teams before they would even consider additional revenue sharing. Look at all the money the Heat has laid out for the Big Three over the next four years. They can’t afford to share revenue now.

    Yes, it’s a tough situation. Small market teams, mid market teams, big market teams, superstar players, good players, role players and rookies all have a different agenda and a legitimate beef. If I had the answer, I’d sell it to Commish Stern for a $10 mil and call it a day. lol

    Good luck, Mr. Stern. You’re going to be able to get an Advil endorsement before this is over.

    • Whelp, here’s the deal: the owners need to get their own house in order. No one told them to spend that money on lousy players. Some of them cannot even secure sponsors and/or decent TV deals (Michael Jordan I am talking to you)…

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