Players and owners in the NBA met on Black Friday to continue their attempts at negotiations to put an end to the lockout that has plagued the league for the past few months. After 15 hours of discussion that lasted through Friday night into Saturday morning, they reached a tentative agreement that will end the 149-day lockout. They plan to start the season on Christmas day, with promises to feature three highly anticipated matchups (Knicks vs. Celtics, Heat vs. Mavericks, and Lakers vs. Bulls). Although the season will likely be shorter than the usual 82-game regular season, many fans are relieved to hear that there will be a season and a spring of NBA playoffs.
The full details regarding the negotiation terms have not been released, but it is likely that players will take a large pay cut since NBA teams have been losing, on average, about $300 million annually. Owners sought to get rid of these losses by cutting down on player salaries. Many other issues were also discussed at the table, including the splitting of basketball-related income (BRI) between players and owners. The old BRI deal yielded a 57-43 percent split in favor of the players, but the ratio is now anticipated to be nearly 50-50, meaning that the players will have conceded a decent amount of income. Many fans don’t care too much about the details of the agreement; they only care that an agreement is reached so that there will be a season. With so much controversy created by this lockout process, there is no doubt that people have had a lot to express. I certainly do.
Here is my personal ode to the NBA lockout:
Ever since the commencement of the lockout this past summer,
Prospects for an NBA season, for the most part, grew glummer.
Players and owners agree that new rules must be laid
Considering the negative profits the NBA has made.
The many issues of contention
Create a disagreement too complex to casually mention.
Arguments about salary, mid-level exceptions, revenue sharing,
Luxury tax issues, escrow, and many other topics with considerable bearing.
Both sides agree that spending on players will have to be cut
If the NBA seeks to last, without going bankrupt.
Negotiations have been attempted with many a meeting
And finally the hopes for a season are not so fleeting.
We can only wish that the owners’ wants and needs
Will be met by the amount that players are willing to concede.
Many desire the two parties to disengage from their own interests
And consider what’s good for the fans, what’s good for the rest.
Personally, the utility I receive from watching the NBA is nearly priceless,
And if there is no season, my enthusiasm for the sport will lack an egress.
All I want for Christmas is the NBA to snap out of its dry spell,
So that I can watch my favorite teams while knowing that the NBA is alive and well.