NEW YORK — The NBA Lockout enters its 128th day and it seems like things are finally looking up. According to various reports including sources inside the Washington Post, the NBA Labor talks have broken but a deal is on the table.
The NBA Union and the Owners met Saturday and allowed the meetings to trickle into Sunday and for the first time ever, we actually have evidence of progress.
Real progress, not the fake cotton candy progress that has dissolved at the first drippings of our excited drool.
David Stern has said that a deal is on the table but must be accepted by Wednesday. Are you really surprised he took another opportunity to throw around his weight? But it’s hard to get too mad at Stern at the moment since we’re all drunk on the latest developments.
“We advised we would be amendable to do a deal on (terms reached Saturday) until Wednesday at the close of business,” Stern said.
The end to the lockout couldn’t come at a better time. The season is already amended and abbreviated beyond repair. The 2011-12 season will be asterisked but if we can get more than 80 percent of the games, that will partially mend the wounds we have all endured. The question will now become whether or not the players accept this deal.
Reports are that the owners are officially offering the players a 51-49 split in Basketball Related Income. The drama enters when you analyze that offer. Up until this point we have had a hard nosed stance with the players not wanting to go below 55 percent. Then it was 54 which turned into 53 and eventually lowered to 52. But we were all told that was the line in the sand.
Now we are told that Billy Hunter has lost the union and the players are desperate to make a deal now and avoid further damage to the season.
I’d be very hard pressed to say that the players reject this deal. Their percentage has only been lowered up to this point and if they reject this the deals will only get worse for both sides. It’s not going to get much sweeter than the owners agreeing on 51-49 especially since the owners have been pressing for a 50-50 split as hard as the union has been pushing for no less then 52 percent.
It’s as civil as this lockout will get, it has finally balanced on the scales. But if this offer is rejected, the balance will keep tipping and it will be a long time before it’s even again. This is a sweet deal in terms of getting a deal done. The players get what they want in terms of a higher percentage then the owners (by 2 whole percent no less) and the owners get all the concessions they have gained.
The deal isn’t done and it isn’t signed. The lockout is still on but we finally have a light to follow. There is hope that this will end and basketball will return to us in time for Christmas. The damage to the egos and to the fiber of the NBA is done and will take a long time to repair, but a giant first step is resuming the game itself and starting the healing process with a tip-off.