NBA Players Association Advises Members of Looming Lockout
No question mark at the end of that sentence. No qualifiers such as "Possible 2011-12 Lockout" or even "Likely 2011-12 Lockout." The headline was written with absolute and total certainty that this topic was more reality than mere possibility because, well, it's still looking that way now just as it was back in July.
"As nothing has fundamentally changed in the owners' bargaining position since their initial proposal, we continue to advise that you prepare for a lockout to commence on July 1," the in-house report obtained by FanHouse reads. "More meetings are forthcoming, but we think it is unlikely that any real progress will be made in the coming months. In short, a lockout is just as likely now as it was six months ago."
While the player's association, as has been reported elsewhere and confirmed by FanHouse, is hoping to eliminate the league's age restriction from 19 years old (and one year removed from high school) that is has been in place since 2005, that is merely one of a myriad of items on its agenda being ignored by the owners. As such, the union is left guiding its players through what it perceives as posturing and politicizing by the league in an attempt to secure the pot of gold at the end of its rainbow: a hard salary cap.
While NBA commissioner David Stern has openly shared his view on why a hard cap is necessary and opined at length about how to go about fixing the system he sees as broken, the union advises its players in the newsletter to, in essence, ignore him as much as he's ignoring them.
Regarding Stern's talk of contraction that first arose in October: "We believe that Commissioner Stern's recent comment regarding possible contraction is simply a negotiation tactic intended to bolster his exaggerated claims about the league's financial condition."
Regarding his statements about wanting to eliminate $750 to $800 million in player salaries: "Like Commissioner Stern's contraction claim, the request for an $800 million reduction in player salaries is posturing for negotiation. By requesting one-third reduction in player compensation, Commissioner Stern hopes to anchor the negotiations and make us negotiate against an extreme position. Again, we recognize and dismiss Commissioner Stern's hard bargaining strategies. Given the unprecedented financial gains of this year, we simply are not inclined to discuss salary reductions."
Regarding Stern's claim that the league is projected to lose $350 million this season: "The NBA's loss projections are incorrect. One of our most fundamental disagreements with the Commissioner and owners involves the financial health of the league. It is indisputable that the NBA will achieve record setting revenues for the 2010-11 season. The league has sold a record 50,000 new season ticket packages and TNT generated the network's highest rating in 27 years for the 2010-11 season opener. Additionally, NBA officials have predicted that merchandise sales will achieve record levels for the coming season. ... The league has underestimated its revenue projections over the past two seasons and we are confident this season will be no different."
No questions here as to why that headline didn't have a question mark. The lockout looms larger than ever.
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