NBA players and owners save season

Photo courtesy of Neilson Barnard - Getty Images

By Jordan Banafsheha, Web Editor

Just when the idea of seeing an NBA game seemed like a fantasy itself, Shalhevet students started forming their fantasy basketball teams last week after a fall semester when homework reigned as the NBA season cancelled 16 games due to the NBA lockout.

The NBA lockout started July 1st and the season will resume Dec. 25. So what was it?  At bottom, it was about dividing up the millions of dollars in ticket sales and advertising revenue that the league brings in each year.

Under a previous agreement, players received 57 percent of basketball-related income, leaving 43 percent for the owners of the teams. That was agreed too by all parties back in 2005.

But a year after signing this deal, eight NBA team owners wrote up a petition requesting to take back the contract or change it. They tried explaining that the deal they signed was not beneficial for all basketball teams, instead favoring large market teams like the Lakers while smaller market teams like the Minnesota Timberwolves started losing money.

“The hard truth is that our current economic system works only for larger-market teams and a few teams that have extraordinary success …,” the owners wrote in their petition. “The rest of us are looking at significant and unacceptable annual financial losses.”

NBA commissioner David Stern understood the owners’ issues but had no control over changing the contract because it was valid through 2011. The league claimed that it was losing $300 million a year, and that 22 out of 30 teams lost money last season.

On July 1st of this year, the real negotiations started. As months passed by and there seemed to be no end to the arguments, European and Chinese teams started enticing NBA players to play for them for large sums of money, even saying they could leave once the NBA started. This seemed like a very good deal for the players. Eventually the Chinese league decided that once players joined the league they could not leave midway to go back to the NBA, which pushed away some players from the Chinese league and moved them towards the Europeans teams.

About 90 players decide to go overseas to play basketball, some for a couple of seasons and some just until the lockout ended. Among those who went were Deron Williams, J.R. Smith, Danilo Gallari, Mehmet Okur, Kenyon Martin, Tyreke Evans, Tony Parker, and the Israeli-born player Omri Casspi. Most of these players had opt-out clauses and have now rejoined NBA.

Meanwhile, as a last-ditch effort to gain the upper hand in negotiations, on Nov. 14 the players voted to disband their union, which would have allowed them to sue the league for violating anti-monopoly laws and tossed the whole dispute into the courts.  How long that would have taken is anyone’s guess.

Finally, on Nov. 26 after 149 days of the lockout, the NBA owners and players told news media that they had come to an agreement. The players will receive 51.2 percent of basketball-related income in 2011–12, and 49 percent in subsequent years. So the players did end up losing.

They still must vote on this new deal, but both sides say it will pass.

Players have already been allowed to start training and getting ready for the season, which will start on Dec. 25 with a triple-header.

“I thought that when the union was planning on disbanding that there was definitely not going to be a season,” said junior JoJo Fallas.  “I was worried about next season too.”
Now he’s working on his Fantasy picks.

”I couldn’t be happier about the NBA season coming back,” JoJo said. “I don’t see how things can go wrong at this point. I can’t wait for Christmas day.”

Asked if he has any picks in mind he responded, “I like to keep them secret.” Sorry –  I couldn’t get any tips for you guys