At midnight Eastern the preverbal padlocks were slapped on the doors of NBA facilities and the players were locked out.
Players can’t workout at NBA facilities. There is no July free agency. There is no summer league. There are rookies not getting instruction, long shot free agents not able to prove their worth to teams. There are assistant coaches and trainers and other team personnel being laid off, people with families that now are out of work.
All so that the owners and players can argue over how to divide up your money.
There are a lot of issues involved, but at the end of the day as a fan of the game it’s hard not to see it that way. It’s our money that buys tickets and concessions and jerseys. It’s our time watching games and the advertising breaks that fuel the television revenue. It’s the fans who can’t help but feel powerless in the process.
You may think the players are right that the owners are trying to make up for their overspending and bad decisions on the players backs. You may think the owners are right and that the players are overpaid and should not complain about giving up salary in a recession. As usual, the truth is somewhere in the middle.
But that’s a middle that neither side was really ready to comprise to get to. So here we go. The lockout is on.