NBA Cancels the First Two Weeks of the 2011-12 Season

In a depressing announcement today, NBA Commissioner David Stern stated that the owners and the players are so far apart on negotiations that he is canceling the first two weeks of the NBA season.

For awhile now, there was a growing sense from some observers of the negotiations that there was no way that this would get done without losing games, since the owners feel that the players won’t truly begin to fold until actual games (and thus player payments) were lost. I hope that that is not the case, and this is just a matter of the two sides legitimately being far apart on their positions and not a negotiating tactic. Either way, though, it really does not matter too much as at the end of the day it means the same thing – fewer Knick games for us to watch. And that’s a damn shame.

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17 thoughts to “NBA Cancels the First Two Weeks of the 2011-12 Season”

  1. Does anyone feel like the players overplayed their hand here? I do. I generally agreed that the owners were misstating their losses and that they were taking a very aggressive stance on how responsible they were for bad financial decisions. However, it seemed the consensus was generally that the system was broken because it allowed things like Jerome James and Eddy Curry. Shorter contracts, smaller mid levels, less guaranteed money and a higher penalty for teams spending over the cap to create a more level playing field all seem like things that would benefit the league.

    Not knowing the details I think the players overplayed their hand on this and are going to come out the bigger losers here.

    Also I don’t believe the idea that “no one” cares and that this apathy will ultimately kill the league. I think that it’s a little different. In a country that is hurting this squabble is perceived as nothing more than straight greed. I think there will be more than apathy. I think there will be anger towards the players from the average fan.

    This is a sad sad day for the NBA and basketball fans.

    Where is the route to a deal now? Stern was very clear that the offer from here gets worse.

  2. Good job by the players and the owners – coming off one of the most successful NBA seasons in years in terms of fan interest and TV ratings and now they’re cancelling games.

    I agree with C Greene, I think the players overplayed their hand. They should have jumped on the 50-50 deal (and that may not even be on the table anymore) and gotten it done. I don’t have a lot of sympathy for the owners’ side, but unlike the NFL, not every team is making money so there needed to be structural changes to things like revenue sharing.

    It just sucks, and I think the odds of us only missing 2 weeks of the season right now are slim to none.

  3. misterma:
    Will there be Knickerblogger pickup games in the Tri-State Area to make up for the lost games?

    I do know that I’ll be doing writeups for these games anyway. Don’t really care if they aren’t, you know, played. Spoiler alert: The Knicks go 7-0.

    But I’d totally drive down for some kind of KBlogger gathering / pickup game. Maybe even organize some 5-5 game against those punks over at Nets Are Scorching (j/k luv you guyz!).

  4. @5 – Jim pumped to redeem himself after his D-League facial. Although if we have a KB pickup, I would probably be resigned to the same fate.

    Hmmmm that new school in my neighborhood has a nice new gym…


    Seems like there are quite a few TrueHoopers in NYC — might be interesting to see if we can’t field a few teams out of it.

    If this goes down, I’m in.

  6. Jim Cavan (@JPCavan):

    Seems like there are quite a few TrueHoopers in NYC — might be interesting to see if we can’t field a few teams out of it.

    If this goes down, I’m in.

    If I’m in the area at the time, I’d be in. I would even avoid cigarettes for the entire day of the game.


    I think if the owners agreed on 53%, the players would be completely fine with the modifications you mention, depending on their specifics.

    The thing is, running a team should not be simple. Bad GMs should have to pay for their bad decisions, rather than having a do-over button for every mess up. There would many more deserving players who would get screwed by a more restraining CBA than there would undeserving/overpaid ones.

    Think about the teams that succeed in the NBA. How many terrible signings have they had? The spurs with Richard Jefferson maybe, but even there they didn’t give up anything other than cap space for him. Good GMs don’t take stupid risks.

    There’s some sense to the argument that these terrible contracts are too punishing, but in most cases, if you play your cards right, you can turn an old team full of overpaid players into a young .500 team with a very promising future in 3-4 years. You just have to commit to the rebuilding process, something the knicks stubbornly refused to do. That to me sounds fair.

  7. The more I think about it — and as cold as it no doubt sounds — the players should’ve taken 50-50 and worked from there. That would’ve been good PR. In fact, I think you can argue that the resulting sympathy and enthusiasm on the part of fans would’ve resulted in a larger overall BRI, theoretically erasing many — if not all — of the losses incurred by taking the crappy deal.

    Also, and I know this is totally random / borderline irrelevant, but I find it interesting that Stern — a guy who’s donated almost exclusively to Democratic candidates over the years — once again finds himself representing the theoretical “other side” in the debate of labor vs. ownership. Obviously, pro sports should not be viewed through the prism of your ordinary labor scenario. But still, it makes you wonder whether Stern really believes in his side of the argument, or whether it’s simply a matter of necessity vis-a-vis his position. What tipped me off was a quote from Hunter which in turn quotes Stern as saying something to the effect of “this is the deal the owners must have.”

    Anyway, just a couple of random musings on this bile-dark day.

  8. I think the players were on board with taking the 50/50, Jim. It was that they were apparently widely far apart on everything else. The players were basically saying, “Okay, we’ll give you 50/50, which is an unprecedented 7% concession in BRI, something no other players union has come close to – not even the NHL and they were bent over a table and rogered good by the owners, but we only want minor changes to the other parts of the system.”

    And the owners, naturally, wanted drastic changes (including some sort of super-duper luxury tax to punish teams like the Mavericks and Lakers from continually going over the cap – something that the Knicks would plan on doing, as well).

  9. I did hear rumblings to that effect. If that’s the case, and the owners really are ratcheting up their jackal-ness to that level, then obviously it’s a different story. Then you’d have to think the National Labor Relations Board would have to see the league as being decidedly at fault.

    Problem with that scenario, obviously, is it could take months to work its way through the system. At that point, it becomes a pretty heavy gamble on the part of the owners, who could then stand to lose a hell of a lot more than the players.

    Cripes my head hurts.

  10. I don’t agree the players should have taken the 50:50 offer from the owners. It wasn’t like taking this would have resulted in a deal. It was more like the owners were saying “make a big concession on pay and then we will talk about other concessions”. The players agents think the union isn’t tough enough, not that they are too difficult. I think the union is trying to be reasonable but there is no give onthe partof the owners at all. The union has to be willing to say no at some point or the owners will just keep on taking and taking

  11. What’s crazy to me is the reports that apparently some owners were outraged that the league even offered 50/50! There were some owners who wanted no more than 51.5/48.5 in favor of the owner’s. Insanity.

  12. @latke i generally agree. my premise was that the penalty for mistakes is too onerous. too many nba players do not play hard enough each night and i think the league has a deserved rep for that. the difference in quality and intensity of play in the reg season vs playoffs is wider than in any other sport. and my opinion is that of someone who loves the nba far more than nfl and mlb. the owners are indeed getting short changed on their long term investments in too many cases imo.

    that said, the combination of changes to the bri and system that the owners are demanding are ridiculous. no other sport gives players less than 52% bri. if i were the union i would be more likely to give on system because bri has upside.

  13. I would tend to agree, cgreene, but the way they’re talking, it sounds like the owner’s position via the system is so dramatically messed up that there would be little upside to the players in the future. Again, it sounds like the players ultimately were willing to take the 50/50 split when they learned that, “Oh yeah, we’re also going to be dramatically changing everything about the system.”

  14. It was interesting hearing Barkley and Reggie Miller on NBATV tonight saying the players better become realistic and basically take the 50/50 split and most of the owners demands or miss the entire season. Surprised that they seemed to be mostly on the owners side for the most part. Or really I guess admitting that the owners will win and that the players have to basically accept whatever the owners offer.

  15. presumably Barkley and Miller don’t get paid if there are no games this year, hard to take their opinions seriously.

    my opinion is fuck the owners, but I’m pretty violently anti-capitalism these days. I’ve been saying for months that the players should start their own eight team league, I saw Simmons got into that a bit in a recent column, and just now I saw that Amare said the players have begun talking about it a bit. nothing would make me happier then to see bozos like Dolan and Sarver left with entirely worthless franchises. actually nothing would make me happier than to see the constantly insufferably smug David Stern begging for change on the corner, but that’s I guess too much to ask.

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