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Basketball Players Barred as NBA Demands Lockout Over Union Disputes

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NBA players are officially locked out: Despite $4.3 billion revenue there's a squabble over $300 million. Wanting to slash 57% share in revenues, the NBA also wants a stronger salary cap, to cut guaranteed contracts, and lock players into a 10-year collective bargaining agreement in what's ended in a lockout. 
The basketball players' union claims it will all equal a 12% annual pay cut. It's an argument expected to make the ongoing NFL dispute pale in comparison.
It's the June Trifecta of sports messes as baseball's Dodgers face bankruptcy, Mexico's national football cuts one-third of its team with 8 players caught in a prostitutes scandal, and now NBA basketball players are in an official lockout.
The NFL has missed out on its ranking. The professional football league and NFL players have already been engaged in a months-long battle that's sure to continue for months longer-- so it seems the football league will have to settle for fourth place.
It began Thursday at 9:01 PST, the morning of June 30--when NBA players found themselves locked out of work and play, with NBA Commissioner David Stern claiming, "We didn't see any options."
Note: Sterns did not say there "weren't" any options. The Commissioner said "we didn't see" them. Because there's pretty much always other options -- and the one the NBA has chosen doesn't feel like it's going to be so fruitful. The method seems pretty much on par with locking out that naughty teen. And will probably prove just about as effective. Everyone knows Kobe Bryant's temper tantrums can rival the most hormonal or testosterone-filled boys. This could be awhile.
The official NBA player lockout follows a 3-hour meeting between team owners' reps and union leaders. They just couldn't find common ground there in New York. It's turned into a big, ol' squabble -- and no one wants to give in.
NBA Commissioner Stern says: "I don't think we're closer. We have a huge philosophical divide." If there's a battle over philosophy, that'd be called "the philosophy of money". Certainly no one's ever accused an NBA player of being "philosophical".
The Lakers' Derek Fisher says: "Owners might think this is the best way to get what they want. We don't agree." Again, this could be awhile.
The NBA's gripes over its 'wants and needs' come despite the fact the organization reported $4.3 billion in revenue -- with record television ratings last season.
The NBA says 22 of its 30 pro basketball teams 30 teams are unprofitable -- that the sport's league lost about $300 million last season. Apparently NBA owners think a cut in players' 57% share of basketball revenue is going to fix financial "problems".
The scenario's akin to California lawmakers' squabble with Amazon that just ended in June. California politicians wanted to argue mercilessly over $200 million in taxes, it felt it was due, from Amazon -- with claims those taxes would help close the deficit. Reality: When a budget deficit is 22 billion, $300 million ain't gonna be changing a thing. Consider it arguing over chump change. And, those involved chumps. Amazon left, California left -- with zero (or actually $124 million dollars it would've had in taxes had Amazon not left). Chumps.
In the embroiled battle, the NBA possibly may have waited a couple seasons -- before trying to yank players' share that was only just established in the last labor deal. The NBA might stand a slightly better chance of its pro basketball players giving a bit, if the NBA wasn't trying to hit players with a double-whammy (times two): In addition to a slash of players' financial share in revenue, the organization also wants to impose a stronger salary cap, cut guaranteed contracts -- and even ensure the teams' players are effectively locked into a 10-year collective bargaining agreement, double the 5-year term reached under the last deal.
Someone should perhaps remind the NBA that, despite 'technical' control by the organization, the players kind of tend to make up this whole 'basketball' thing. No one's coming to games to see unathletic, balding team owners sitting up their in boxes. Fans are there to see the action -- which makes the players more than indispensable. Particularly the right ones. Lockouts probably aren't the way to really foster a great working relationship.
Right now, pro players are willing to give -- 2.7-percent. The basketball players say they're willing to cut their share of revenues from 57-percent to 54.3-percent. The teams are also willing to give up $500 million in revenue for the (current) five seasons. But the NBA's Commissioner Stern is dismissing that offer, deeming it "modest."
Today's player lockout marks the NBA's third labor stoppage in its history -- amazingly, only the first in over a decade. The 1998-1999 pro basketball season saw a shortened 50-game regular season.
But, just like parents and teens, the major problem with the June basketball lockout lies in the complete shutdown in communication: Any physical lockout officially stops all contact between NBA teams and players. In a major power play, it also shuts down every activity related to basketball. Basically, that teen (Kobe) is no longer allowed in the house. And that makes things a bit messy.
The slated start of free agency, which was supposed to begin Friday, July 1, and team organized activities -- including summer league -- are a 'no-go' until this lockout gets settled.
So what it comes down to is money, money, money.
Unlike other pro sports -- like the NFL, whose football teams equally divide the billions coming in from network television revenue -- NBA basketball teams are instead free to 'wheel and deal'. The NBA is allowed to negotiate ad deals and pocket that change in things like regional television contracts, exemplified by the Los Angeles Lakers' 20-year advertising deal the team recently cut with cable giant Time Warner Cable. That Lakers-Time Warner combo could garner up to $3 billion in itself. And while the NBA is griping over a few hundred million, 3 bil is no chump change.
The lack of available local TV deals and huge price gaps in ticket prices for cities has led to a large distinction between those pro players who 'have' -- and those that do not. And that's a problem, at least for players' potential revenue. It all creates a 'disparity' of sorts. In the advertising realm, it just ain't gonna happen for some of the teams and their associated NBA players who are on the less-wanted list.
The NBA proposes "an economic system where all 30 teams could compete for a championship," according to NBA Deputy Commissioner Adam Silver. The union is less than happy with the NBA's most recent offer that guarantees players $2 billion per year over a 10-year agreement: That, the union says, amounts to a 12% pay cut for pro basketball's players. The union wants to add in some oft-used, traditional union-type ideas that have been employed in other industries. The ideas that tend to foster more of a work less/share attitude: The players' union claims the result of a larger revenue sharing plan could "strengthen the league".
Or kill the game's energy through lack of motivation.
Pro basketball players knew today was coming: "They're going to lock us out," executive director of the NBAPA Billy Hunter told the media. That 'premonition' followed last-ditch negotiating session today. "Maybe we can now really begin to negotiate. The clock is now running with regard to whether or not there will be a loss of games, and so I'm hoping that over the next month or so that there will be sort of a softening on their [NBA] side and maybe we [union basketball players] have to soften our position as well."
The NBPA has thrown around the idea of beginning negotiations again -- from scratch. Because that really works, like none of the time.
The lack of a labor deal's hurled NBA teams, and fans, toward a place of uncertainty. With the lockout and freeze on activities in-between, players like Shannon Brown don't even know where they're headed -- and neither do fans. "It's unfortunate for the [pro basketball] players, for the owners and for the fans," the former Lakers guard told reporters.
And that it is.
No one knows who to root for, since some aren't even quite sure which team they're on -- yet. Shannon Brown just opted out of a contract for $2.37 million next season, opting instead to become a free agent because no one's sure when a 'bargain' will be reached. It all leaves potential for losing more and more fans -- as less and less people begin to care what's going on in the battle over dough.
Go to your rooms -- and then sort it out, boys. Before you each get a nickname you don't like, cuz nicknames, good ones, tend to stick.
"Crybaby Kobe" has got quite a ring to it. Or maybe "Delicate Derek".

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