It looks like the NBA is on the verge of another lockout, making it the second time ever in professional basketball history.
A lockout means the owners refuse to let the players take the court in order to drive down the amount of money all players get – from the highest to the lowest paid.
In the 1998-99 season games were reduced to 50 as a result of the NBA’s owners locking out the players until a new collective bargaining agreement was reached.
Of the 450 NBA players that played in the 2009 season, only 55 experienced the lockout.
The NBA needs to decide by Dec. 15, 2010, whether to extend the collective bargaining agreement through the 2011-12 season. It’s set to expire June 30, 2011.
With an ailing economy, NBA teams nationwide are seeing profits fall faster than Shaquille O’Neal’s game. Right now NBA profits are ranked at a quarter of a billion dollars — $250 million – and losses were projected to be $400 million. NBA’s David Stern revised the number Monday, July19, to $370 million.
The NBA’s Players Association takes issue with the owners’ numbers. “Our position is that David is mistaken,” NBPA Executive Director G. William Hunter told The Associated Press, adding he believes things are “much, much better than they maintain.”
But the decrease of ticket sales means the NBA’s salary cap is expected to drop for the second time next season. The cap is expected to drop $2-3 million from its current $58.6 million and has a strong possibility of another decline in the 2010-11 season.
The league has a $1.7 billion credit facility. Twelve teams accepted the league’s offer to borrow $200 million from JPMorgan Chase.
“I’m preparing for a lockout right now and I haven’t seen anything to change that notion. Hopefully I’ll see something over the next several months,” NBPA’s Hunter said. “As of this moment, it’s full speed ahead for me in preparing the players for a worst-case scenario,” he told ESPN.com
The most “hated” man in the NBA right now, LeBron James, is the only reason the NBA hasn’t had a lockout. His popularity and impact has made a huge difference. Before he was signed to Miami, many teams knew he would be a free agent, and all the teams in the NBA made sure they had enough money to offer a good deal. This cleared cap space, therefore improving the NBA’s financial issue a bit.
For basketball fans, no need to worry. If there is another lockout the NBA will get through it easily once again. Players will have to re-sign. Those multi-million dollar contracts mean nothing after players give more than half of their contracts to the government and their agent. We can’t forget to mention the massive houses and fancy cars players buy. Then factor in their entourage and a couple of bad investments, this is your formula to end the lockout.
Photo: Basketball fanatic and radio station employee Marty Anderson gives a jubilant double thumbs-up to passing, honking traffic in Portland, Ore., in 1999, after hearing that the NBA owners and players union had come to an agreement. Don Ryan/AP