The NBA players union keeps waiting for the owners to crack. We know there are divisions between the hawks — owners that want to radically alter the league’s financial structure — and the doves that want to get on with the season. We know larger markets have concerns about revenue sharing proposals. There are divisions.
But in the end, the owners remain unified — they want a larger share of basketball related income and they want a hard salary cap. Both, not one or the other.
The reason the owners aren’t breaking is large market owners, like the Buss family that owns the Los Angeles Lakers, are not forcing the issue. The Lakers have been able to outspend other teams and still turn a profit under the old system, it worked for them to the tune of five championships in 11 years.
Yet they are falling in line with the majority of owners seeking changes, according to Kevin Ding at the Orange County Register.
But dramatically increased revenue sharing will inhibit the Lakers’ spending. A hard cap will flat-out prevent the Lakers from spending. It’s lose-lose when Buss is 77 years old and determined to come from behind the Boston Celtics in total championships, 17-16.
Yet the Lakers have accepted it. Why? For the greater good….
So with their days of shopping alone on Rodeo Drive ending, the Lakers intend to go out gracefully – and loyally to Stern, for whom Buss has always had an appreciation.
This is not something new, the Lakers have been saying this for a long time.
It’s something the players need to realize — the owners are set on coming out of these negotiations with a radically altered system. The players can fight against it, fight to keep as many scraps of the old financial system as they can. But if owners like the Buss family are good with radical changes to the system, nothing is going to divide ownership. Lakers player and union president Derek Fisher has to realize this.
In the end, the owners are going to win this war. The only real questions are when, how much the players will ultimately give up, and how much damage will be done to the league in the process?