It’s too early in the process to get to the “just lock them in a room together until they figure it out” stage of negotiations on a new NBA Collective Bargaining Agreement. But as both sides continue to posture, I am all for moving up that deadline just to stop the tit-for-tat.
The latest salvo came from Maurice Evans, the veteran guard and VP of the NBA Players Association. He told the Associated Press the players are not buying what David Stern is selling about the massive financial losses of owners ($750 million or more) and the need to roll back salaries.
“We definitely don’t agree with those numbers,” Evans said. “We feel like the game is really at a great place.”
But Evans also spoke the truth — a lockout would be a disaster.
“If we have a lockout, it’s just going to set us back,” Evans said while distributing 1,000 Thanksgiving turkeys to Atlanta-area families in a program sponsored by the NBPA and the Boys & Girls Clubs of America. “With the state the economy is in, fans are not going to want to keep getting slapped in the face with players and NBA teams, as fortunate as we are financially to even be playing a game for a living, to keep throwing it in people’s face that we’re not making enough money, whether it be the league or whether it be the players.”
Missing a few days in July, or missing Summer League and postponing free agency is one thing. Missing actual games in the fall is another entirely. That would be a huge setback for the league that would take five years or more to overcome.
Right now, Evans is saying the right thing about a lockout. So is David Stern. But like their rhetoric on the new CBA, it’s meaningless without action. But right now it’s just rhetoric, posturing. When push comes to shove, will they fear a lockout as much as they should?