It only gets harder for owners, players
The NBA’s Board of Governors met Tuesday in Dallas and heard a report on
collective bargaining from Spurs owner Peter Holt, chairman of its
labor relations committee.
The league wouldn’t reveal if the board officially authorized locking
out the players once the clock strikes midnight Thursday, the end of the
collective bargaining agreement that’s been in place since 2005, but it
doesn’t matter. As commissioner David Stern has warned already, such a
vote is a mere formality and can be conducted by any means at any time.
The first lockout authorization via text message may be mere hours away.
Holt’s committee will meet with the negotiating committee of the National Basketball Player’s Association on Thursday, but no last-minute breakthrough is expected.
Here’s the truly bad news: Once the lockout begins, the standoff is going to get nastier.
According to NBA executives familiar with the league’s strategies, once the lockout is in place, the owners will push for a hard salary cap of $45 million, the elimination of guaranteed contracts and ask that the players swallow a 33 percent salary cut.
The concessions made in recent weeks, including the “flex cap” of $62 million and a guarantee of $2 billion in annual player payroll, will be off the table.
If this seems certain to guarantee the loss of the entire 2011-12 season, it is because there are owners who think it is necessary for the long-term viability of the league.