Complete Speculation: Players and Owners Will Agree on a New CBA Shortly

Published: October 18, 2011

I can’t help but think the Players Association headed into today’s mediator led meeting with their number one goal being getting a deal done in principle. That definitely looks weird when I put it on paper since one would think that this should have always been their intention, but the history of negotiations makes me think otherwise.

The reality of the situation has long been that the Players weren’t going to agree to a sizable pay cut. They had their chance on October 4th, but they wouldn’t go for a 50-50 split and said there was nothing more to discuss. So the league cancelled two weeks of the season. Now there is obviously more to discuss.

The Players and owners have been setting themselves up all along for this final battle. In the end, this is what it all comes down to. Tell me that you really thought the players were going to take a 50-50 split in July. Or September. Or even on October 4th. They weren’t.

So the league cut games. That should be enough to make players realize that 50% of a huge pie is a hell of a lot sweeter than 100% of no pie, which the owners have made very clear they are willing to serve up if they don’t get their way. Fair or not, that’s how this bakery is being run now. The players lost, and will continue to lose more and more as long as valuable pie preparation and baking time is lost.

Anyway, today is the first time an independent mediator (George Cohen, director of the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service) has been really leading the negotiations. In all likelihood, he’s going to cut through the crap and end up proposing something that is more in line with what the owners have offered. Not entirely, but mostly. I imagine it will be something the owners will agree to after a few grumbles. After all, the details can be hashed out later.

Three months ago the Players Association would have laughed at the offer. Maybe Wade would have yelled at Stern or something.

Now, though, games have been missed. They have been informed that their multimillion dollar contracts are essentially worthless without a new CBA in place. Guys are finding it harder and harder to get adequate insurance to play overseas. The contracts overseas are a small fraction of what they would be making in the NBA even if they agreed to a 50% pay cut (way more than the owners have offered).

I speculate that they have come to their senses and that there will be hell to pay for Billy Hunter if an agreement isn’t reached. Even if that compromise isn’t exactly what the players want or think is fair, I get the idea that they want to agree in principle to a deal, and therefore we will see some positive resolution in the next two days.

For what it’s worth, I’m an eternal optimist. Might want to keep that in mind before joining me in drinking miracle juice and blowing lines of magic pixie dust.


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