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David Stern (left) gave Derrick Rose (right) the MVP trophy on a time schedule. He and union head Billy Hunter should treat CBA negotiations with the same urgency.
Steven Levitt and Stephen Dubner are to mega—rich guys, mostly for their work on the Freakonomics series, two books about people and incentives. In a nutshell, people respond to what they really want—or really need.
That's how sides treated this NFL lockout: they worked once they had to.
For months—years, you could argue—nothing was accomplished. Sides more than once stormed out of meeting rooms over self—imposed gag orders, drafted offers, and counter offers more designed to puff out chests than to prevent a lockout.
Early on, anyway.
Leading up to the first deadline on March 3, owners and players buckled down and met $400 million closer to halfway than before. Talks had been so promising they put the CBA on a week's worth of life support to try and strike a deal.
Even if it was a ploy, that they cared enough about appearances showed sides treated it much more seriously. Now, with speculation about informal deadlines needed to keep schedules intact, players and owners rolled up their sleeves again.
The NBA should map out everything that needs to be accomplished in the CBA, divide it into bite—sized parts, and set deadlines. Figure out max contracts by 'x' date. Finish tweaking the salary cap before 'y' date.
Working like that defines and prioritizes items, bottlenecks everyone's focus on the same topic at the same time (saving the waste from jumping around), and lets them track progress. Assuming, of course, there is progress.