Halfway around the world, playing hoops in a coastal Chinese city most Americans have never heard of, Stephon Marbury is watching the NBA’s Collective Bargaining Agreement negotiations unfold.
And he gets it, just check out this quote from a New York Magazine profile.
“There’s definitely going to be a lockout in the NBA after this season. The owners do not want to pay older players, and the players will cave, because they’re only focused on now. The owners, they’re looking at this long term, like a fifteen-year business investment.”
Seriously, that is it in a nutshell. The owners want a way to get out of their own bad decisions — they keep giving the Joe Johnsons of the world six-year max deals that they regret by year four an have to pay for two more. They want a mulligan on their own choices and that is one thing they are willing to go to the mattresses over.
It is just part of the owners belief the core of the system is flawed, and they are willing to suffer the repercussions of reduced gate and fan interest for years to fix it.
The players don’t want things to change dramatically, but their convictions (and money) will run out more quickly. Marbury says they “cave,” you can say they became willing to compromise, the phrasing is moot. Just know that’s most likely how it all goes down. The only question is will regular season games lost?
On another note, go read the entire fascinating profile of a more mature Marbury. A guy who may be out there but who has a real appreciation for what he had and has. However, he has no appreciation for Chinese food. Which can be a challenge when living in China. However, he plans to stay and do business in China for a long time to come.