The NBA Lockout has found another victim.
After two days of intensive talks and even a show of progress from both sides, the gulf is too wide. And now the preseason is gone. The NBA's entire preseason schedule has been canceled and many expect the first two weeks of the regular season to be gone by Monday. The players and the owners have not agreed on when to meet next leaving the Monday deadline to save the entire regular season (on schedule, at least) in serious jeopardy.
It is hard to tell what went wrong in negotiations the last few days. The players and owners recognized that there was a large gulf that needed to be addressed before a deal was made.
There are a lot of complex issues that would be very difficult to get into in a short space (unless you have been following this whole mess). I really suggest reading Ken Berger of CBS Sports or one of the many, many, many other writers who have been camping out in New York following these meetings intently.
The basic problem is the split of revenue. The owners have held fast at giving the players 46 percent of the league's revenues, the players have come down from 57 percent in the current collective bargaining agreement down to a reported 53 percent today. The players have also resisted the owners' attempts to input a hard salary cap and radically change the system in which players are signed and retained -- including another important chip for the players to keep, the guaranteed contract.
Everyone sort of foresees a 50-50 split coming, and that was apparently offered at Tuesday's bargaining session, but other issues such as the structure of the cap held up the deal. There are small signs of progress as both sides recognize the urgency to get something done, but very little agreement.
And with very little agreement, there is no sense in meeting with the other side until each side knows exactly what it is willing to concede or redefine its interests. This is quickly becoming a test of wills, and those tend to last a long time.
So fans and arena workers and cities and everyone not making at least $1 million per year to play basketball or own a basketball team will pay the price for the time being.
This is not either side's fault, this is business. And both the owners and players feel they are doing the best to represent their interests and take care of their constituents. It is difficult to remember that as fans who just want a simple product on the floor. Of course, many NBA fans will take their money elsewhere and that is the big risk with this work stoppage.
In any case, now Oct. 18 (at New Orleans), Oct. 20 (at San Antonio), Oct. 23 (vs. Maccabi Haifa) and Oct. 27 (vs. Detroit) are free. And pretty soon, so will the first two weeks of November.
This is bad news Magic fans. A summer of angst for a number of reasons will continue to stress us out (and certainly stress Otis Smith and Stan Van Gundy) as no resolution seems to be in sight.
All we can do, like most NBA fans are doing right now, is wait and hope a deal will get done soon.
Photo via DayLife.com.