The countdown is now upon us, as the NBA owners plan to lock out the players tonight at midnight EDT.
Collective bargaining negotiations have been going on for over two years, but after a three hour meeting this afternoon, owners are now informing players that they have approved a work stoppage.
During the lockout, league business including summer league play and free agent signings will be put on hold. The current labor agreement will expire in about 8 hours.
The big meeting today involved NBA commish David Stern, deputy commish Adam Silver, NPBA executive director Billy Hunter and NBPA president Derek Fisher. After hours of negotiations, they emerged unable to reach any new agreement.
Why the inability to reach a new CBA? The owners are pushing for shortened contracts and a harder salary cap, which obviously isn't sitting well with the players. Brian Smith at the Salt Lake Tribune describes it like this -
The NBA and NFL lockouts are also separated by hard economic numbers. The NFL is the undisputed king of the sports world and rakes in money. The NBA’s 2010-11 season was one of the league’s best since Michael Jordan left the game for good, and television ratings peaked during a highly entertaining Finals matchup between Dallas and Miami. But at the same time that the league was reveling in its post-Decision glow, it was also bleeding money - the NBA claims that 22 of 30 teams operated in the red last season.
As a result, owners are pushing for a radically restructured 10-year CBA that is highlighted by a harder salary cap, a more even split of basketball-related income (BRI) and shortened guaranteed contracts.
Of course, this new lockout will kick off while another high-profile sport battles with its players. The NFL negotiations have been going on for months now, but many are seeing some light at the end of that tunnel.
As for the NBA, some feel that it could end up like the 2004 NHL lockout. That squabble resulted in an entire lost season. Some on Twitter are already making this connection -
Don't worry, NBA fans: It only takes 3-5 years, a Crosby, an Ovechkin, a resurrection in Chicago & outdoor games to get over canceled season
Dear NBA and NFL fans: Welcome to hockey. The initiation will be a little rough, but once you fall in love with the game you'll never leave.
And when you're feeling blue, the best way to deal with that is with a little bit of good humor -
NBA announces it will lockout. It's the first work stoppage the NBA has seen since LeBron James took the floor in the 4th quarter.
@NBA has locked out the players. Hope u tivo'd last season!Hearing the
The NBA and NFL are now both locked out. I think I speak for America when I say, 'Whatever. Pass the beer and potato salad.'
"NBA & NFL" is already trending on Twitter. It looks like some fans are making the connection between the two and what they see as the uniting factor: Greed.
The NBA & NFL lockouts prove that you can never have enough money. You always want more. Greed rules the world.
It also looks like we know what Clippers star Blake Griffin has decided to do during the lockout, as he tweeted this short video just moments ago -