If there is an NBA season at all, expect there to be a delay in the November 1st start date. The full committees of NBA owners and player reps met Tuesday to continue discussions of basketball related income, the economic split and salary cap. But after five hours, most of which was spent with the two sides huddles amongst themselves like the proverbial 5th grade middle school dance, the start of the NBA season is in doubt.
National Basketball Players Association executive Director Billy Hunt and president Derek Fisher were prepared to compromise on their stance of revenue sharing, but the owners were not inclined to budge. Commissioner Stern and the owners continue to stand their ground behind a hard salary cap versus the current soft cap.
The soft cap that is currently in place clearly does not work and the players need to understand that. With this cap in place, ten teams, one-third of the league, led by the Los Angeles Lakers were over the cap. Things in common amongst these ten teams? All paid the luxury tax for being over the cap, but all ten also made the playoffs this past season. Putting in place a hard cap would allow more parity amongst small and large market teams in terms of spending and in economic models, would give small market teams like the Sacramento-s, the Memphis-es, the New Orleans-es of the NBA a better chance to compete. The Lakers' roster as a whole accounts for three times the amount of money the Kings and Nuggets spent last season. A hard cap would limit spending controlling the costs of teams and curbs the risk held by owners for investing money in money-laden, long-term contracts for players to compete now, but not in the long-run. Examples of this continue to be Rashard Lewis ($22.1 million in 2010-11, Gilbert Arenas ($19.3 million) and Elton Brand to a lesser extend ($17.1 million).
Players are worried that a hard cap will significantly decrease player salaries and has led Derek Fisher and Billy Hunter to claim that the players "may have to sit out half the season before we get a deal".