According to ESPN's Chad Ford, The NBA and it's Players' Union broke off negotiations for a new collective bargaining agreement today, which reduces the chance of a deal being resolved by June 1, and increases the chances that the league will lock out the players once the finals are over.
Looks like the NBA and the union have been lying to us all this time about labor talks.
Ever since the NHL locked it's players out, we have been "assured" by league executives and players that no such thing would happen in the NBA and that a deal would get done. Even when the suspensions resulted from the Brawl at the Palace caused conflict between the union and league, we were "assured" by both sides that the labor negotiations were going forward. At the All-Star Game, both sides "assured" us a deal would get done. During the age-limit discussions, we were "assured" that the union and league were on the same page. During the playoffs, while David Stern downgraded his stance to "hopeful", he "assured" us a deal would be done.
Now negotiations have broken off.
So much for assurances.
Now, why this happened depends on who you ask. The league says, through Chad Ford, that agents have hijacked the process. ESPN's Marc Stein said on last night's NBA Fastbreak that some owners have become emboldened by the NHL lockout and want to take a harder line. Billy Hunter thinks that race is involved.
I keep hearing that cooler heads will prevail, the sides will come to an agreement, and we will see basketball next season, and I'd like to think that's what will happen. I'd like to believe that the NBA owners and players are seeing the NHL destroy itself and want to avoid those circumstances. I'd like to believe the ownership and players are smarter than that.
However, when that much money is at stake, people suddenly turn stupid.