You know what will really drag this lockout out and risk a full NBA season? Two things, one being owners fighting amongst themselves and not agreeing to a deal because of it, something we may already have seen some of (although it was denied later).
The other is players fighting amongst themselves and against the union, a fight fueled by agents.
We may be seeing that coming, too, as reported by Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo.
“The players don’t want to make these kinds of concessions, yet the union keeps giving them,” one agent in a prominent firm told Yahoo! Sports. “The union hasn’t been listening to its players.”
If the agents don’t like a deal that is struck between the union — plenty of agents don’t like Billy Hunter, the union director — they could push for their players to reject the deal. That could send everything back to square one. And there are still plenty of agents out there that favor the idea of decertification, blowing up the union all together.
What the agents want is pretty clear — the more open the system the better for them. First, they want their players to be able to make more money. With that, they want more freedom to create trades and help their players get into better situations. Any kind of deal with a hard salary cap or system that creates more non-guaranteed contracts hurts them.
For agents, this isn’t just a fight for their current players, it’s a fight for their livelihood for the next decade or two.
It’s a whole lot of potential ugliness.
“There’s a lot of money and control at stake here,” one NBA front-office executive said. “I’ve never seen people who are in negotiations with each other give up those two things easily. There will be a nasty fight at some point among the owners, the players and the agents. At some point, two of those three entities will square off and go to war. It’s just a matter of which two entities it will be.”
If you really want to be depressed NBA fans, read about how all of this mirrors what happened in the NHL the time they lost a full season to a lockout.