It's Official: The NBA Lockout Has Started

June 30, 2011

The NBA has announced in an official press release that it will lockout its players at 12:01 am Eastern Time on July 1. The lockout will remain in effect until a new collective bargaining agreement is reached between the league and the National Basketball Players Association.

The lockout essentially will cease all team activities, as no summer camps, exhibitions, practices, workouts, coaching sessions, or team meetings may be conducted. In addition, teams will not negotiate, sign or trade player contracts. The players will be barred from team facilities and will not be paid.

The NBA issued the following statement -- obviously from a pro-management perspective -- regarding the lockout:
“The expiring collective bargaining agreement created a broken system that produced huge financial losses for our teams,” said NBA Deputy Commissioner Adam Silver. “We need a sustainable business model that allows all 30 teams to be able to compete for a championship, fairly compensates our players, and provides teams, if well-managed, with an opportunity to be profitable.”
“We have made several proposals to the union, including a deal targeting $2 billion annually as the players' share -- an average of approximately $5 million per player that could increase along with league revenue growth,” said Silver. “Elements of our proposal would also better align players’ pay with performance.”
“We will continue to make every effort to reach a new agreement that is fair and in the best interests of our teams, our players, our fans, and our game.”

Pundits have speculated that this labor dispute could cancel out the entire season, given the wide chasm between the two sides.

Among the many issues in dispute are the switch from the current "luxury tax" system to a "hard" salary cap; the abolishment of guaranteed contracts; and television revenue sharing, or lack thereof.

At some point, the owners need to look in the mirror.  If the luxury tax is not enough of a disincentive for bad deals, then maybe self-restraint is the answer rather than a hard cap.

In other words, don't sign mediocre Rashard Lewis to his ridiculous high salary, multi-year deal.  Don't get locked into overpaying benchwarming Luke Walton when he showed limited upside at the time the deal was made.

Inevitably, the onus must be on management for scouting, assessing, and properly evaluating the talent and market value of players.

More importantly, do not burn your fans.  If you like the passion of Oklahoma City, then move a franchise with an apathetic fanbase -- New Orleans -- rather than one with passionate, die-hards, such as Seattle.

At least we have the NFL to look forward to . . . oh, nevermind.

By Mike Elliott
Staff Editor for

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