All Locked Out And Nowhere To Go

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Written by Johnston von Springer

Just days after the National Football Leauge negotiated a new labor deal to end their lockout, the National Basketball Association started one of their own. On July 30 the owners locked out the players to begin the work stoppage that many believed could take months and hurt the chances of a 2011-2012 season. It is expected that a new collective bargaining agreement could take months as the players and owners are a major distance apart on key issues, including salary cap, and profit margin between themselves. To say the temperature of this situation is warm is an understatement as players are solid on what they want, and the owners of what they are going to give up. Oklahoma City Thunder guard Kevin Durant has expressed that the players will “stand up, and will not give in.” The NBA season, which begins in October is in jeopardy of being postponed or possibly even cancelled.

The possibility of a cancelled season is becoming more realistic each day as players and owners are not meeting on a regular basis, but yet on alternating week schedules. Many people within are not optimistic that a deal will be reached as commissioner David Stern is looking like he is preparing for a long offseason and NBA Players President Derek Fisher is not offering any word of mutual agreement.

“I think that Stern will not be able to come up with a deal with the players,” junior Pirouz Kamalipour said, “because he has to convince the players to get a salary cut.”

Taking a salary cut is something the players have refused to do, which angers the owners because they want more of the revenue to go to them, which the players refuse to agree on or allow.

“Because of this, the season will not start until February at the earliest,” senior West basketball player Connor McWilliams said.

In the NBA they play an 82 game schedule that ends in May when the 16 team playoffs begin. If the season was to begin in February the regular season would end somewhere around September, then the playoffs which would last into late October or early November, hurting the chances of the 2012-2013 season.

Similar to the  NFL, the main deal on the table between the players and the owners is a new collective bargaining agreement. This agreement holds all of the topics ranging from salaries to players using social networking before, during and after games. The negotiating table is full of topics that have to be agreed upon for there to be an agreement to end the work stoppage, and with no scheduled meetings lasting more than a few hours this may take a long time to deliberate on many topics, that both sides have opinions on.

The NBA, which is one of the top three professional sports associations in the country, has a growing fan base that is young and interested in watching new stars and clutch veterans battle one another on the hardwood. The NBA has possibly the best competition out of all the professional leagues and has had its revenue increase over the past few years.

“This is not good for the league,” McWilliams said. “They are coming off of their best season in decades.”

Last season’s total average in attendance were 519,562 people which has risen the past few seasons. This is a statistic that does not look good to more than half of the teams, as they are not only losing money during the work stoppage daily, but if the season is shortened they could lose what should be higher revenue due to higher attendance.

As seen in the NFL it took months for the league and its players to agree to a deal, the NBA does not have months to spare without losing a season of basketball, something no one wants to happen, including the owners and players, but they want what they want and have acknowledged that they will wait it out if that is what it takes.

 “Based on an analyst’s perspective,” Kamalipour said, “they do not think there will be a 2011-2012 season.”

Some players believe there will be a season, and are acting as if this is a regular offseason working out and keeping in shape, while others are using this possibly extended offseason as a break, and a time for personal relaxation.

Whether or not there is a season, is still to be seen, but whatever happens the owners and players will have to compromise, as the NFL did, and should take tips from the NFL’s work stoppage to work out theirs.

“This is bad for the economy, a lot of businesses earn money when fans come to their cities and that is unfortunate,” senior Keri Womble said.

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