With the latest round of organized procrastination all wrapped up, the looming doom of a cancelled season grows bolder and bolder with each second lost. While you can't truthfully claim that this is the worst time for a lockout, we can point out that the recent shift in power throughout the NBA has certainly made professional basketball more relevant over the past several years. And you have to ask why David Stern would threaten to cancel such a promising season ahead of us?
To the blind eye, there is no way Stern could be in a position of power during this quandary. If I'm a top-tier player in the NBA, I'm telling Stern that I can make double the money I would normally make playing in a country where I turn from relevant to legendary overnight. And I get a mansion on the shore of Spain? Or you can agree on the players terms, how's that?
This is a matter of public humiliation, spotlighting the players. Certainly in the eyes of many, a deal is on the horizon. Whether that means next week or December, we are unsure. And that is the reason for a threatened cancellation of the season. Stern is trying to remain professional, and continuing negotiations in December would hinder that appearance to the public. But then you have to think, how could that be worse than cancelling the entire season?
"I'm focused on let's get the two committees in and see whether they can either have a season or not have a season, and that's what's at risk this weekend," Stern told reporters.
View that as a threat or as encouragement, but more than likely something concrete will be established this weekend.
The players refusal to accept a hard cap has been heavily documented in the media, but there is one key for the players to accept the cap and maintain a full season. That progression will include of the following items (Courtesy of ESPN.com's Marc Stein)
- The "Larry Bird exception," which allows teams to exceed the cap to retain their own free agents regardless of their other committed salaries, is limited to one player per team per season.
- The mid-level exception, which the league valued at $5.8 million last season and could be extended by as many as five years, is reduced in length and size.
- The current luxury tax, the $1-for-$1 penalty a team must pay to the league for the amount it exceeds the salary cap, is to be severely increased.
You have to ask what if though. Stern already canned the preseason, what's stopping him from an entire season? First off, detrimental would be the understatement of the century if this suggested tragedy were to occur. Baseball suffered severely from its lockout, and the only way it truly rebounded was submerging fans into a juiced home run battle between two dopers.
We have Kobe nearing his retirement, with Paul Pierce and Steve Nash following close behind. Not to say we haven't revamped our talent with Derrick Rose coming full circle and the
Eastern Conference All-Star Team...the Heat. There are certainly interesting stories, but the NBA needs to realize that life moves on, with or without you. It's a shame, but it's true.
And it'd be one thing if you were America's most popular sport or America's pastime. But we all remember, regardless of fan ship, the brawl at the Palace. We forget the Cinderella stories like Jamario Moon and Desmond Mason, but we remember every time Michael Beasley hit the bong and how many guns Delonte West was carrying on his motorcycle.
It's easy to give a professional sport a bad image, and the NBA has had to fight that perception for a while. This would be another huge black eye.