The NBA owners are in a complete standstill with the players over the expired collective bargaining agreement, and with no new deal in sight, it seems like there is little chance we will be seeing the season start on time.
The biggest reason I say that is because the NBA has filed two lawsuits against the players union before the union could file their inevitable antitrust suit against the NBA. Basically, this means the foreseeable future of the NBA will be spent in a court room, rather than just on a court.
If I had to pick a side, and I really don't want to because both sides are to blame, I would lean closer to the owners for one reason: Player salaries are out of control.
You can say that it is the owners that are paying these guys ridiculous amounts of money, but with the insane pressure on general managers to put a winning product on the court, it's hard not to go out and spend money on guys that might not quite be franchise guys (Joe Johnson, Rudy Gay: I'm talking to you).
Plus, these general managers are playing within the rules of the previous CBA, meaning most of the money is guaranteed money, leading to guys like Eddy Curry getting $20 million over three years while playing just 10 games and Rashard Lewis becoming the second-highest player in the NBA this season (OK, I pretty much put that one completely on Otis Smith).
Basically there are four types of players who should be making more than $10 million a year in my mind: legitimate franchise players, top-tier secondary players, veterans getting their dues for past accomplishments, sure-thing up-and-comers. I would possibly add as a fifth option any legitimate big man in the league.
So to put it all in order and figure out exactly who is getting paid what they should be getting paid, and who is fleecing the league, I've taken the 50 highest-paid players in the league this coming season and ranked them in order of how deserving they are of their contract.
In other words, guys from 50-40 are underpaid (or getting paid a lot and worth every penny), the top 10 are definitely overpaid and everyone in the middle is somewhere in between.