Countdown to (Financial) Doomsday: Stern Issues Ultimatum

Countdown to (Financial) Doomsday: Stern Issues Ultimatum
November 6, 2011, 6:14 am
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If there was any remaining optimism that owners and players were going to be able to get their act together, it's probably dead now.

Unless David Stern is telling "untruths," it may be time to begin bracing for the serious possibility that the NBA will not be playing basketball any time in the near future. Bad has a chance to meet Good sometime within the next four days; otherwise, it might joining in a long-time partnership with Worse.

What are we talking about? Call it basketball oblivion. Call its starting point this coming Wednesday.

Derek Fisher, Billy Hunter and company are set to reject the owners' latest proposal that would grant the players a 51% share of the league's basketball related income (BRI). Under the previous model, the players enjoyed a 57% share of the figure. Throughout the negotiations, they've claimed willing to come down to a 52-48 split. That extra one percent—from 51 to 52, a figure allegedly estimated to be somewhere in the ballpark of $40 million—could wind up costing them four-times its own amount.

If the players do not accept the owner's proposal by Wednesday—a proposal they've called "unfit" and "unfair" to vote on in conference—David Stern has guaranteed that the next deal offered will swing the balance of BRI power, with the players receiving just 47% of revenues. Stern has made mention that the shift in tactics is motivated by a league effort to recoup lockout-related losses. Accordingly, the longer this mess goes on, the worse—Stern claims—it will get for the players.

If 51% really is unacceptable and the offers really are only going to get worse because the owners will not accept loss, unless those losses are on the backs of the players, then you better get seriously invested in hockey or college basketball. If it wasn't already ugly, it's about to get ugly.

If you want basketball, and the players want as much money as possible, it's come time to sign a deal. Otherwise, neither you nor they will be getting any getting any of either.

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