Chris Sheridan, writing for his new site SheridanHoops, suggests that despite soaring rhetoric and a complete lack of compromise through 66 days of the NBA lockout, the stoppage is closer to settlement than you think. Sheridan crunches the numbers to ascertain that the sides are only $170 million apart on player salaries for 2011-12, and $3 billion apart on what Sheridan terms "aggregate dollars" over the life of a six-year collective bargaining agreement.
Union officials had been insisting that the league was pushing to decrease player salaries by more than $8 billion over 10 years, but Sheridan points out that this neglects the givebacks that players have already offered and the likelihood that the deal will be six instead of 10 years.
I have been saying all along that there is too much to be lost by having a work stoppage that extends into the fall and forces the cancellation of games. And with the NBA coming off a fantastic season in which attendance, ratings and merchandise sales all skyrocketed, there is took much risk of punishing the product to go too far down the bumpy road the owners have chosen to take.
At the end of the day, they have too much to gain by making a deal that gives them a significantly larger share of the pie that what they were getting under the old deal.
Sheridan also notes that Oct. 1 is the likely drop-dead date in terms of starting the season on time for an agreement on the big issue, the players' share of revenue.