I am afraid. Truly frightened. The NBA lockout, which began tonight, may not end for several months. I'm afraid at least some of the upcoming season will be canceled. I also think it's a strong possibility the entire season may be wiped away. Somebody hold me.
From everything I've heard and read, the players and owners are further apart than they've ever been. The two sides are even further apart than they were in 1998, when they finally settled on a new collective bargaining agreement one day before they decided to cancel the entire season. This is not good.
The owners are determined to fix the system, even if it means losing an entire season. Basically, they need to be protected from themselves. They need to be forced not to have to pay Andrei Kirilenko 17 million dollars, or Gilbert Arenas 22 million. They simply can't police themselves, so they need a new system with a hard salary cap to do it for them. They say at least 22 teams are losing money, and without a hard (or harder) cap in place, those teams could very well go out of business.
The players are unwilling to give back anything they've gained over the years. They say they've always had guaranteed contracts, so why would they sacrifice them now? They say they've earned their 43 percent share of the revenue pool, and are unwilling to cut it back to 38 percent as the owners are asking. Beisdes, the players don't believe that many teams are losing money anyway.
If you're like me, you're wondering how we got to this place when we've known for so long about this dispute.
"In a way, I've been anticipating this lockout for the last 2-3 years, and it's here, and I'm sort of glad it happened," said players executive director Billy Hunter said. "Now that it's a lockout, let's get down to business."
Last week, NBA commissioner David Stern said that once the lockout starts, the owners offers will only be lowered.
Great. Better settle in, folks. This thing isn't going to be settled for quite some time. At best, I feel the earliest we're going to see NBA games is January 1st. Somebody hold me.