The NBA has locked out the players for the first time since 1999 today after players and owners couldn’t come to an agreement on a new collective-bargaining agreement.
The last work stoppage resulted in a 50-game season and weakened interest in the league. Commissioner David Stern claims that there are 22 teams that lose money in the NBA right now, and the owners are just looking for a way to get to a point where their teams are profitable. The players are obviously looking out for the best interests of both veterans and rookies coming into the league.
NBC reports that one of the keys to the disagreement are rules that will essentially govern the amount of inflation of average player salaries.
At the final bargaining session, the players did not present a new proposal but again tried to sell the owners on savings from their last proposal, which would drop their percentage of “basketball related income” from 57 percent down to 54.3 percent. NBA Commissioner David Stern scoffed at the idea after the meeting, saying that the five-year deal would have raised the average NBA salary by $2 million per year ending at near $7 million a year. The owners proposal has been to essentially keep salaries flat for the next decade — the players would make a little less but would see nothing from increased revenues from the game.
Unlike the NFL labor dispute, the sides in this fight have been quite civil to each other. There’s hope yet that this gets resolved in a timely manner, in time for the season. The Vegas Summer League has been canceled (not that that’s a huge loss) but if games start to be imperiled, the league might be in for more trouble.