NBA Lockout Talk: Why the Owners Will Ultimately Win out

Max MinskerCorrespondent IDecember 22, 2014

NEW YORK, NY - JUNE 30:  Commissioner of the NBA, David Stern announces that a lockout will go ahead as NBA labor negotiations break down at Omni Hotel on June 30, 2011 in New York City. The NBA has locked out the players after they were unable to reach a new collective bargaining agreement (CBA). The current CBA is due to expire tonight at midnight.    (Photo by Neilson Barnard/Getty Images)
Neilson Barnard/Getty Images

The lockout is something that most NBA fans don't really want to talk about. No one really knows exactly what's going on, and there is a lot of information being released all the time. 

The only thing the two sides seem to agree on is the fact that player salaries need to be cut. It is rumored that less than 10 NBA teams are currently making a profit, and it's clear something needs to change.

In their last proposal, the players offered a cut in player salaries over the next few years that is fairly significant, but not nearly big enough to satisfy the owners. They want to cut salaries almost in half over the next decade.

We can talk all day long about guaranteed contracts and a hard cap, but the only thing that really matters is the distribution, percentage-wise, of basketball-related income. The current level sits at 57 percent in favor of the players, but the league would like to see a significant cut to that percentage. 

It's fair to say the league's popularity level is on the rise. TV ratings for the NBA were higher this year than they had been since the late '90s, and people are finally starting to appreciate the NBA once again. For this reason, many people believe the owners will try to get a deal done quickly to keep this interest going.

However, this may not be the case.

The owners' main goal is to make their respective teams profitable once again, and that isn't going to happen if they give in right away.

It could definitely be argued that the players have the most to lose if a season is lost. There are two different schools of thought when it comes to why players don't want to lose this season.

First, we see guys like Kobe Bryant. Now, Kobe already has all the money he needs, and likely isn't worried too much about the financial aspect of these talks. However, Kobe may only have a few more high-quality seasons left.

He recently had yet another procedure done on his knee, and his body isn't going to hold up for much longer. If he wants another ring, and a chance to move up in the all-time record books, he needs to play next season. It's all downhill from here. 

The second scenario comes up when we see guys that have very short NBA careers. We all know those guys on our favorite teams that play for two or three years for the league minimum and then they're done.

These players could lose half of their career NBA earnings if there is a lockout this season. There is no doubt these guys will fight for a season because of the uncertainty surrounding their careers. 

The owners need to make their teams profitable. End of story. Nine years from now, we probably (hopefully) won't remember how the 2011 lockout ruined NBA basketball for good. But if the owners are all losing money at that time, they will certainly remember the upcoming CBA as the ultimate cause of that.

NBA owners are likely looking at this as one of the biggest events in recent league history. This could shape the league's profits for the rest of its existence. This is a fight the owners simply can't afford to lose, and for this reason, I believe the owners will get what they want. The stakes are too high for them to fail.

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