NBA Lockout: Stop playing around

Joe Pugliese, Columnist

The NBA lockout has taken a turn for the worse as the players union left the last offer made by the owners on the table.  The union has walked away and begun the decertification process in which the union will disband in order for the players to bring a class action lawsuit against the league in court.  The lawsuit will be filed under anti-trust legislation, similar to what happened with the NFL, but the NFL and its union were not this far apart.  Right now games are cancelled through Dec. 15 and as the two sides are no longer negotiating the likelihood of a season is slim to none.  Personally, I never thought there was going to be a season this year there is simply too much separating the two sides.
Many people have come to blame the owners for locking out the players, let me inform you this is NOT the owners fault!  If one wants to see a season and the NBA prosper, then you are on the owners’ side.  Yes it is billionaires vs. millionaires but in this instance the millionaires are bankrupting the billionaires.  The revenue pie is split too much in favor of the players with them receiving 57 percent of the total revenue of the NBA.  Meanwhile half the teams in the league are losing money, seven have been sold since 2006 and two of those have or will be relocating.  According to Forbes, 5 NBA teams would lose less money than continue with no season (Nets, Bobcats, Nuggets, Magic and Pacers).  Even teams like the Heat are only borderline profitable and they have three of the top players in the NBA.  In the ‘09-10 season, 17 teams lost money.  The only teams that seem to be profitable are the big market franchises like the Lakers, Bulls, Celtics and Knicks only due to the fact that they are each of the five largest cities in the country.
The players have a right to fight for what they think is fair but it’s not fair they have to give back to their employers or risk the league failing and not be employed.  Most have no college degrees and no other leagues to play in.  Most European leagues are no better off and make significantly less.  The players have no leverage. They are in a corner without a leg to stand on against a league that has teams better off not playing a season.  The union should have accepted a deal at 51 percent that had a stricter cap and got rid of the mid-level exception, but they didn’t.  From here it only gets worse, the NHL will tell you that back in 04-05, and they were in the exact same boat, but they have not learned they just made the same mistakes over.  Meanwhile the MLB just got a new deal done in less than a week and improved things for both sides.