I knew this was coming, but I still held out hope. I knew David Stern and the owners wouldn't even come close to reaching a deal with Billy Hunter and the players in time to save the start of the season. Now, the first two weeks are gone, with more to follow.
Why did I believe the two sides would somehow find a solution and keep all 82 games for each team's fans to enjoy? Blind optimism, I suppose.
I don't have a degree in economics, or ergometrics, or whatever you need to decipher the intricacies of the proposed collective bargaining agreements. But as far as I can tell, the owners basically need to be protected from themselves.
I agree that the system needs to be changed. Rashard Lewis made 19.6 million dollars last year. Michael Redd hauled in 18.3. There's no way Andrei Kirilenko should have made anywhere close to 17 million dollars. Salaries are out of control and it's getting more difficult for smaller market teams to be competitive. The players need to give some back.
But nobody held a gun to Larry Miller's head and said he had to pay Kirilenko that kind of money. The fear was that if Miller didn't, somebody else would. They are the ones to blame for the skyrocketing salaries resulting in the mess we're in now. The owners also knew that by deferring a large portion of these players' contracts, they would suffer a crippling hit down the road.
Well, here we are. Down the road. With no games in sight. They can't seem to find a fair way to divide up $4.3 billion. That's not exactly making the fans sympathetic for either side.
I don't know what the answer is. The players have come down from getting 57 percent of all the basketball related income to 53 percent. The owners want a 50-50 split. What's the solution? I don't know. How about splitting the difference, with the players getting 51.5 percent and the owners getting 48.5. Sound OK? Good. Do it. Let's get this over with before the entire season is wasted.
All we're doing now is watching millionaires versus billionaires. That's about as exhilarating as watching the Cleveland Cavaliers, and that's just cruel to any fan.