NBA Lockout: 10 Consequences of an Extended Work Stoppage

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NBA Lockout: 10 Consequences of an Extended Work Stoppage
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The NFL’s labor parties averted a doomsday scenario by concluding Collective Bargaining Agreement negotiations just before the scheduled start of training camps. That lockout’s lone casualty, the Hall of Fame exhibition in Canton, should not matter to anyone outside of the area.

I tried to compile a list of items, events and people more stolid and useless than the annual Ohio joust. Kim Kardashian’s embarrassing single “Jam,” Final Destination 5 and those plastic singing fishes came to mind.

Point being, the league’s work stoppage did not cause any irreparable damage. Roger Goodell escaped unscathed. Few will remember that fans booed him at the 2011 draft two years from now.

My reaction when I hear others rejoice that “football is back:” where did it go?

Barring a miracle save, the NBA stands to lose a lot in its CBA dispute. Basketball will leave for at least a month or two. I can almost guarantee missed games without boasting marvelous inside connections or exclusive access to the boardroom.

Even Beavis and Butthead would say, “Uh, this sucks.” Prepare for a contentious clash as gruesome as a Susan Boyle sex tape and as unforgiving as Clint Eastwood in kill mode.

Lakers owner Jerry Buss forked up $112 million for a team that bowed in the second round.

For those living under city-block-size boulders, a band of distraught, mostly small-market owners wishes the system prohibited Mr. Buss from embarrassing them so. Despite the drivel peddled to you that the chiefs want a new deal that allows all 30 franchises to compete for a championship (thanks for that priceless quote, Adam Silver), understand that many of these supposed revolutionaries are just tired of looking like cheapskates.

The much bandied about hard cap, would lessen the gulf between the highest and lowest spenders. The NBA’s biggest problem, in this writer’s mind, is that both of those organizations operate in California. It doesn’t help that the Lakers and Sacramento Kings also boast the most and least lucrative local television deals.

Do not put any stock in the slated Monday meeting. The players and owners will negotiate with urgency and purpose when the lockout begins to injure the bottom line.

Only when those checkbooks become susceptible to a Tonya Harding-esque beating will either side rush back to the bargaining table.

This cockamamie rumpus forced already substantial personnel cuts and threatens to swallow much more than just the careers of team employees and scouts. Thank David Stern for his staggering sanctimoniousness in this opaque cataclysm.

“[The 1999 lockout] provided an instructive lesson,” he said at his All-Star weekend news conference.

It wasn’t instructive enough. The two sides sit in the same catastrophic position 13 years later, with no resolution in sight.

The obvious question here—whether any work-related dispute is ever worth such carnage—is a topic for another column. What matters now is that owners want the players to solve the league’s financial crisis by giving back salary privileges decades in the making, and the players think the owners can accomplish most of their objectives with robust revenue sharing.

Until one labor party moves closer to the other or makes a significant concession, expect darkness to shroud the NBA.

If labor Armageddon forces the cancellation of the entire 2011-2012 campaign, Stern might rue the casualties 10 years from now. Some pundits might argue the sport had just recovered from its last infuriating quarrel when this one began.

Every die-hard hoops fan should hope for that unlikely revelation. Can we survive an entire fall with college pigskin, heaping helpings of Peyton Manning and no professional ballers on the hardwood? Please excuse me while I suppress the vomit approaching my esophagus.

Here are 10 consequences of an extended layoff and a terminated season. Some qualify as positive developments, while others will stain the product for years.

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