After more than two years of negotiating against the NBA players’ union, the owners will get together on a conference call Thursday, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo, and map out a strategy now that the union has dissolved.
Wojnarowski also explains the union’s new position.
Antitrust attorney David Boies, who is leading the players’ suit, wants the owners to negotiate a new labor deal through him.
We are here because the owners got the players to agree to a 12 percent salary rollback — enough money to cover the owners’ stated losses — plus some system concessions, but that was not enough. Rather than offering the players an olive branch and a way to save face so we could have basketball, the owners went for the jugular. There was no give, no way out for the players to claim even a partial win at the end.
So instead the players reached for the biggest club they could find and blew up the negotiations. The players pushed the button, but the owners are far from blameless (really, they are more so).
Thing is, the players’ new strategy is not going to work short term. There is no way the owners will be more likely to give in now. The players have challenged them to a legal battle and the owners do not want to look like that strategy worked and it scared them back into negotiations. The owners are going to stay strong for a while.
Eventually there will be negotiations. Whether those talks happen fast enough to save the season — or even who is in the room — is impossible to say, but there will be negotiations. I hope the owners talk about that, too. They need to talk about how to save the season, not just how to win.