One of the best kept secrets in all the lockout talk is that the players are willing to compromise on how much money they get. For all the talk by your common commenter that the players are “all too greedy” despite it having been the owners who locked out the players and not the players on strike, there have been indications that the players are willing to move on the 57% BRI cut they currently get, even if they’re not willing to go as low as the 50% the owners are seeking. On Friday, Derek Fisher, as we posted, talked about how Monday’s meeting will be about other issues creating the lockout. But there was another quote that I thought was more interesting than those mentioned in that post.
“If, as players, we feel we can operate under a fair system, then we can maybe work towards a fair number,” Fisher said. “I think our counterparts feel a little bit differently, they want to get a number set and they’re not as concerned with the way the system looks if they get the right number. We don’t think that’s the best way to approach it. We want to make sure we keep a fair system in place for all players now and coming in later and I think the numbers will kind of take care of themselves.”
Everyone is really big right now on talking about how the meeting Monday means nothing and there’s no point to it and we should all not even have the meeting and just drink hemlock or something. Honestly, everyone’s become so goth about the lockout I’m waiting for someone to put a Cure cover band concert together. There are a lot of bad signs, but note what Fisher says here. There’s movement to be had on BRI. They’re willing to talk about a 55% or 56% split. Which means that in reality, depending on how negotiations go, they might move all the way down to 53% or 54%. That’s a huge pickup for the owners. All they have to do is get off the hard cap line.
Considering that the cap is directly impacted by the decision-making of the teams, there’s no reason for some type of firmer, but not necessarily cold-hard cap can’t be agreed to. Take the “non-guaranteed contracts” gun off the players heads and they’re likely to become more amiable. Opt for a CBA agreement somewhere between the five-year agreement the players want and the ten-year agreement the owners want and you’ve got that settled. There’s movement to be made here.
But that’s the key. Both sides, players and owners, have to look at this as a business negotiation and not an ideological culture war. This is just about basketball and how it’s run. The owners want more money to cover the losses created from how they’ve run their business. The players are willing to give it to them. You can’t get everything you want in a negotiation. That’s why it’s a negotiation and not a coup. If the owners will simply keep their options open and see what they can get, they can get a great deal.
But, sadly, the Cure-listeners are right. The owners don’t want a great deal. They want total victory and to win the cultural war being waged, showing those lowly players who’s boss. Until the voices of their better angels are observed, there is little hope for a resolution for nearly a year.