As of now, the NBA lockout hinges on whether or not the players accept the current offer for a new CBA agreement from the owners.This past week, five ESPN.com writers—Henry Abbott, Kevin Arnovitz, Marc Stein, David Thorpe and Brian Windhorst—tackled five lockout related topics in their 5-on-5 series on what the players should do.
Here is my take on the five issues.
This has been a tough, hard-nosed fought-out battle for the players. But it has only gotten them so far because they began fighting hard just last month. They could have easily competed with this same intensity way back in late June. Now their backs are heavily against the wall, and time is running thin.
I know it hurts to have to give 7 percent of your income, but it looks as if they just aren't in a position to win this fight at this point. The owners appear to be in prime position to conclude this ordeal on their own terms. They have made it clear that their offer will not get any better and that they are done negotiating. Missing checks of the players' magnitude cannot be fun, so I think the players should, and will, accept the offer on the table—at some point.
I have been trying to wrap my head around how desertification would help the players union at all. Can't think of one good reason.
Decertifying is essentially abolishing the union. The same union that doesn't even work together fully as a unit. How is moving even further apart going to help their case?
Taking this issue to court would drag out for months and months. It'll pretty much do away with any chance of NBA basketball being played this season. And perhaps even put next season in some jeopardy.
Plus, Commissioner David Stern has stated that all contracts would be voided should the union decertify.
It's hard for me to understand how that fate is better than taking what the owners are offering now.
Fiction. But not in regards to Derek Fisher.
Fisher has done all that he could, it seems. Unfortunately, however, Billy Hunter has to be by his side.
I just don't trust Hunter. I've never gotten a good vibe when hearing him speak. He seemed to have a slightly bigger say than Fisher, which I think has hurt this process for the players.
For a guy who went through a very similar situation 13 years ago, he does not seem to possess the savvy of someone with that experience.
There are awful rumors about Hunter and how he is really handling all this. They say that he knows the players won't get the deal that they want from the owners, so he's stretching these negotiations out so it doesn't look like he's up. This way he gets to keep his job. I wouldn't be surprised if that is indeed the case.
When Isiah Thomas is angling for your job, you can't be too good at it.
The owners appear to be in the driver's seat and hold most of the cards. They have strong-armed the union into going down from 57 percent of the BRI split, to offering 53, to 52.5, to 51, and now to 50. And they still aren't satisfied.
Even though they would be earning an extra $330 million per year (about $30 million more than they claim to be losing) with the 7 percent the players are willing to sacrifice, they still are reluctant to give the union the system issues that they want.
The suits are clearly out for blood in this dispute. And unfortunately for the players, the owners have all the ammunition and armor to attain that blood.
Reports based on sources have been all over the place, leaning in multiple directions. Some say that the union will decertify, others say that the players want to accept the current offer. This feels like the LeBron James free agency fiasco all over again. I have absolutely no idea what will transpire over the next few days.
To take an educated guess, however, I believe that the players will finally understand that this is the best deal that they will get and take it. I think too many players just want to get back on the court and realize what is at stake if this season is erased. They'll rise up and use their voices and power to overturn anyone on their side who wants to continue to hold up the season.
Therefore the next NBA game will be played on December 15th to kick off the 72-game season that David Stern and Adam Silver have been advertising.
But this could just be my heart and desire to see my beloved National Basketball Association back.
You can follow Nigel Broadnax on Twitter @BroadnaxWrites.