David Aldridge of NBA.com has been as hard on owners throughout the NBA lockout as anyone; in fact, you'd be hard-pressed to find a duo more willing to report criticial on the league's stance than Aldridge and Steve Aschburner, no matter where their byline appears. It is in that context that Aldridge's column on where the lockout negotiations stand is a bit of a heart-stopper.
The players aren't going to get 52, or 51, or 50.5, or 50.000001, and if they hold out for those numbers, they're not going to have a season. You'd have to be crazy not to see that now, so it's this for the players: take the deal this week or next, or lose the season. If they are willing to die on principle, they wouldn't be the first. But they will die, in the metaphorical sense.
Aldridge reports that even last week, when so much of the civilized world believed a deal was in hand, the owners were really only offering 47 percent of league revenue to players if they accepted the negotiated system changes. If the players wanted 50 percent of revenue, they'd need stronger cap restrictions. If they wanted 51 percent or 52.5 percent (the union's best offer), they'd need a genie in a bottle.
This is bad.