By Dennis Berry
Now that the calendar has turned to September it is time for the NBA to get serious. About Collective Bargaining Agreement negotiations that is. If the owners and players want to play a full 2011-12 season, the time for serious talks to begin is now.
Much of the offseason has been lost. The last thing that happened in the NBA was the owners voting in favor of a lockout. Since the lockout began in July we have lost free agency, rookie signings, and the NBA Summer League. Training camps are set to begin on October 1, but could we be in danger of losing them?
Now the owners and NBA players union appear to be far apart on what they want. The owners are looking to shorten player's contract length, reduce player's salaries, and change the salary cap. The players do not want to take a salary cut or have a new salary cap.
Of course it is hard to agree on something if you do not meet. The owners and players union met on August 31 for just the second meeting since the lock began on July 1. One would think it is pretty hard to agree on a new CBA if you do not meet to talk about it.
So how long will the lockout last? It is hard to say at this point. With little talks taking place over the last two months, it seems that both sides are prepared for a long lockout.
The players are doing their best to show they want to play basketball. As we have seen over the past couple of weeks the players have been taking part in a series of exhibition games across the country. The most recent that caught the attention of NBA fans took place in Baltimore and featured Kevin Durant, LeBron James, Chris Paul, and Carmelo Anthony. There will also be a summer league in Las Vegas.
Players are also looking at their options across the world for playing. A number of players have already signed contracts with teams in other countries, many with an "opt out" option if or when the NBA lockout is over. While the New Jersey Nets Deron Williams is the biggest name to sign, several other big names like Carmelo Anthony, Kevin Durant, Blake Griffin, and Dwight Howard say they will consider going overseas.
The length of the lockout may come down to the owners. While they say they are willing to keep the lockout last as long as it takes, will they be unified that long? The owners of larger market teams like New York, Chicago, and Los Angeles can probably be ok the longer the lockout lasts. They bring in more money from their various contracts; therefore. they have more set aside.
What about the owners of smaller marker teams though? These are the owners that were struggling under the old CBA. They say they need a new CBA to keep from losing money yearly. How long will they allow a lockout to last before they feel the pressure of no money coming in because of the lockout?
The answer appears that as of right now we will lose regular season basketball games. That can only be biased on the fact that both sides have only met twice since the lockout begin. If the two sides were close to reaching a compromise, meetings would be happening more regularly.
Perhaps the closer we get to the scheduled start of training camp, the more negotiations will pick up. Right now fans of the NBA are left with pickup game highlights.
At least there will still be college basketball come November.
Here's an article about Understanding the NBA's Lockout Terms.