By Nadine Antoine
The NBA offered the best Black Friday deal possible. One hundred and forty-nine days later and the lockout is finally over. All those affected, fans included can now breathe a sigh of relief as some form of negotiations have been made.
On July 1, the NBA lockout had officially begun. The cause of the lockout involved a dispute between the owners and players over revenue sharing, which refers to the sharing of profits between various partnerships within the association and the structure of the organization’s salary cap, which places a limit on the amount of money that can be spent on player salaries. Owners wanted to create a hard cap for team payroll, which cannot be exceeded for any reason while soft caps have exceptions under certain conditions. Players were willing to cut their salary if owners agreed to compromise on the salary cap but the owners were unwilling. On September 23, training camps were cancelled. During lockouts, teams cannot trade or sign other players nor can the players’ access facilities, trainers or staff members.
On October 10, the preseason along with the first six weeks of the 2011 season were cancelled. The league lost $200 million after this decision. Meetings and possible negotiations continued and while some agreements on smaller issues were made, the lockout was not over. On November 14, the National Basketball Players Association dissolved the labor union into a trade association. This allowed players to become individual ‘employees’ to be represented by lawyers and file an antitrust lawsuit against the league.
Derek Fisher, point guard for the Los Angeles Lakers and the president of the NBPA stated in a letter to the other players that “Our game has never been more popular and we’re poised to see tremendous revenue growth over the next five to six years,” he says. “We must share fairly in the continued growth of our business. Any deal that decouples us from a fair share of the revenue growth in the years ahead is a deal we cannot accept.”
At this point, most had little to no hope a season would happen. On November 26, the players and owners finally reached a tentative deal, including sixty-six games. NBA commissioner David Stern released a statement: “We reached a tentative understanding that is subject to a variety of approvals. The reason for the settlement was we’ve got fans, we’ve got players who would like to play and we’ve got others who are dependent on us,” said Stern. “And it’s always been our goal to reach a deal that was fair to both sides and get us playing as soon as possible, but that took a little time.”
As far as when games will start, Stern explained that, “We’re optimistic that all will come to pass and the NBA season will begin on December 25, Christmas Day, with a triple-header. There’s still a lot of work to be done but we’re optimistic that it will hold and we’ll have ourselves an NBA season.”
Tentatively, the televised holiday triple-header will start with the Boston Celtics against New York Knicks, move to the Miami Heat against Dallas Mavericks and end with the Los Angeles Lakers against the Chicago Bulls.