At 12:01 a.m., on July 1, 2011, the Collective Bargaining Agreement between the NBA owners and the NBPA (National Basketball Players Association) expired, leaving fans with a nasty lockout situation.
A common definition of a lockout is as follows:
"The temporary closing of a business or the refusal by an employer to allow employees to come to work until they accept the employer's terms."
In this case, the owners are pushing for teams to have a $45 million hard salary cap, which would, in turn, result in the loss of millions of dollars paid to NBA players.
For example, Kobe Bryant's contract, which is in excess of $20 million, would take up more than half of an entire team's cap space. That obviously makes for a huge obstacle to overcome in labor negotiations.
According to league officials, 22 of the 30 teams are losing money annually and something has to be done to fix that problem. Players don't want to give up money, but that's where most of the costs are going to have to be cut.
Then another factor got thrown into the mix: the Euroleagues.
There had been hushed whispers about the possibility of players leaving to play overseas. But it wasn't until the Deron Williams-to-Turkey saga erupted that the Euroleague made a residual impact on the the NBA's lockout situation.
According to ESPN, players like Kobe Bryant, Amar'e Stoudemire, Kevin Durant, Dwyane Wade, Brandon Roy, Deron Williams, Ron Artest and others have all voiced their opinions on playing overseas.
A recent interview with Brandon Roy done by Austin Clark of Sevier Athletics revealed that Roy is almost 99 percent sure of his departure to Europe this summer.
With so many star players following suit, it's nearly impossible to not ponder the long-term effects of the lockout, and the frightening possibility of an exodus-like occurrence.
There are still a lot of unknowns and questions yet to be answered, so let's explore them a little:
- When all is said and done, will there be more money available to players in Europe?
- If so, will players be enticed to leave, or will they be satisfied with less and stick around?
- What would the NBA look like without Kobe Bryant, Dwyane Wade, Kevin Durant and other stars?
- Would sub-par teams be able to compete for a championship after their star's departure? Is that a good thing?
I'll let you answer the majority of those questions yourself, but let's explore the very last question, "Would sub-par teams be able to compete for a championship after their star's departure? Is that a good thing?"
My thinking would be: Yes, those teams would have a better chance at competing for a title, and yes, it would be a good thing.
For example, the Houston Rockets, Utah Jazz, Memphis Grizzlies and Portland Trail Blazers all have a lot of good players and seem to consistently make the playoffs. However, none of them have a true star or have gone past their conference's semifinals in a long while.
But, if you took a Kobe Bryant or even a Dirk Nowitzki out of the equation, how much better would those "good" teams be compared to their "once-great"counterparts such as the Los Angeles Lakers, Oklahoma City Thunder or Miami Heat?
I would put my money on the Rockets, Jazz, Grizzlies or Blazers.
I'm "on the fence" about where the NBA's commissions and annual revenues would be. If different, or even more, teams began to compete in the playoffs, there would most likely be a rise in profit because of growing fan bases.
On the other hand, there would be quite large losses if the NBA was unable to sell star-players' jerseys, apparel and other miscellaneous memorabilia.
What are your thoughts on an "NBA Exodus"? I would love to hear your opinion, and see your insights!