Back on October 3, NBA lockout talks broke down for the first of three times this month. The reason: the owners were unwilling to negotiate salary cap system issues unless the players accepted a 50-50 revenue split, which represents a 17 percent pay cut in the aggregate. Players tried to schedule additional bargaining sessions with the league, reported Ken Berger on October 7, but the league used 50-50 as an ultimatum.
The players didn't cave. The two sides met anyway. Talks broke down over system issues, namely the luxury tax.
Last Thursday -- just two weeks after the first 50-50 ultimatum flapdoodle -- the league pulled the same exact stunt with the exact same 50-50 split.
And what do you know: a few days later, the players haven't caved but the sides are meeting again. It's almost like it's not really an ultimatum. It's an empty threat. Why would the players cave now?
This is the most maddening part of the whole lockout experience: we all know how it ends. The split will be between 50 and 53 percent. The league will get some of its system changes, but not all. The owners' proposed luxury tax system will be tamped down a bit. This is how reasonable people negotiate. But the league has been acting as if it's had the golden gun all along, and that 50-50 would look like a desert oasis to the players as soon as one paycheck was missed. If they actually drag this sham of a lockout that far, let the Basketball Gods smite them with swords mighty and swift. Because this is ridiculous.