David Stern announced Thursday evening that if there is no deal in place after Tuesdays mediated session that the league may cancel all games up to Christmas.
Are we seriously going to have to face the prospect of no NBA on Christmas Day?
What will we do? Christmas is already a strenuous holiday.
Let me tell you what Christmas is like in my home. You have midnight service at church. Then we parents have to stay up late on Christmas Eve waiting for Santa to drop of the toys with some assembly still required. Even the kids stay up late watching Miracle on 34th Street or the Christmas Story. Okay, I watch the movies too. I cant help myself.
Then we get up early, usually before 7:00 am, to watch the kids open their stockings and toys under the tree. This is generally a very high stress time when kids start throwing everything, gift wrap paper everywhere and the dogs barking. My dogs dont like Christmas paper. I think it reminds them of squirrels for some reason.
Then the extended family arrives around 10:30 or 11:00, except my big sisters family that is always 30 minutes later than everyone else. We still have no reason why that is so. Part of the family starts the cooking while the rest begin cleaning the den and setting the table in the dining room while the kids come off their sugar buzz watching another Christmas movie. Then there are the arguments on whos got what gift and who gave it to them and on and on and on.
Around 1:00 pm we sit down for a huge meal of turkey, sweet potatoes, green beans, biscuits, salad, corn bread stuffing and of course the Christmas cakes and pies. It is truly a feast. You get so stuffed you can barely move.
Finally everyone loosens their belts, cleans the place up and go home to crash around 3:00 in the afternoon.
Now you may have noticed that I havent spoken too much about actual conversations going on. Thats because not much actually does. If you arent cooking or cleaning or separating kids you are watching basketball on the couch. After lunch that is all the men in the family do.
With no NBA basketball we would actually have to start talking to each other. That would ruin the entire dynamic that the family survives with. If people started talking then we would remember why we dont get together as a family more often. It could take a strenuous but basically enjoyable day and turn it into something out of the Twilight Zone.
Now I am not blaming David Stern. I realize he was most likely just answering as honestly as he could a question that was asked of him. But did you have to create more stress on one of the most stressful days of the year already? Its not even Halloween yet after all. Couldnt you have just said that games in December are in question? I can avoid too much family interaction in December even without the NBA. Christmas is a totally different matter altogether.
To get the lockout ended everyone needs to admit points the other side is making. No one is staying clean in this quagmire of negotiations after all.
Owners, admit that this is as much a failure of the large markets and small markets to find an equitable way to redistribute wealth created by the league as it is about an economic model that is unsustainable. Dont try to make the players look greedy because they want to be compensated well. That is the American way after all and these men have unique talents that people like me want to see on TV and in person. They are the reason fans come to the games not you.
Players, admit that you had a great deal for a while but that doesnt mean you are entitled to it forever. The current system makes it nearly impossible for a large number of teams to make a profit and when a business cant make a profit is closes. You have to make concessions. It used to be that there were plenty of rich people wanting to own teams that were willing to write off the losses on the team against the profits from their real businesses. Now almost every rich man has plenty of carryover losses and what used to be a tax deduction is a real economic loss now. If the players dont give back a lot then there will be fewer NBA jobs as teams are consolidated.
If you dont believe it can happen, then just look at New Orleans which is owned by the league because the owner who was forced to sell couldnt find a buyer. Cities are suffering and not really anxious to spend a ton of money to bring a new team to town either like Memphis did 11 years ago to get the Grizzlies.
If both sides can admit these obvious points then a compromise should be available. Split the Basketball Related Income at 51% for the player and 49% for the owners. Neither side wins but it keeps the balance in favor of the players. Double the luxuries tax for the first $10 million over the level and then triple it for every dollar over $20 million above. Leave the Bird Rights alone. They dont have a large impact on the salary structure anyway.
The Owners need to cede local TV rights to the league and share the proceeds evenly. That would even the money stream among all the teams so no one is getting rich at another teams expense. After all, no one is paying just to watch the local team play. They are watching the local team try to beat the opponent. The opponents deserve part of that money.
Shorten guaranteed contract length by one year. It is a decent compromise. Teams arent hamstrung as much with Allan Houston and Eddy Curry type contracts and everyone is to renegotiate faster so the potential for players to get larger contracts faster is there.
The rest of the issues would likely fall into line after that. The teams would be back playing and the fans would be able to spend their time cheering for the team rather than talking to the family.
Dont be a Grinch on Christmas guys.