NBA Lockout threatens season

Oct. 3, 2011 was supposed to be the day that the 30 teams of the National Basketball Association (NBA) convened their training camps in preparation of the upcoming season.

Instead, Oct. 3 saw the owners and players in another meeting in New York City. The purpose of the meeting was to decide on what kind of salary cap the NBA would have, an important step toward the opening of the new NBA season.

The two sides, the team owners and the players, could not come to an agreement on whether there would be a hard cap where the amount of money a team could spend on players would be set or a soft cap, as is the system now and is preferred by the players.

The two sides will try again on Tuesday but the long and short of this situation is that the two sides, the owners and the players cannot figure out a way to share the profits from the NBA.

That is what this lockout is about in its simplest form. The billionaires (owners) and millionaires (players) don’t know how to divvy out the earnings from one of the ‘big four’ leagues of North American sports. Because the owners and players can’t figure out a way to share the millions of dollars that they make annually, the paying customers in 29 markets are forced to suffer the possibility of no basketball.

The lockout has been ongoing since July 1 with no end in sight. Already the preseason games that were supposed to start Oct. 9 have been cancelled up to Oct. 15 with the possibility that the entire preseason will be cancelled.

While this does not affect the standings once the regular season kicks off, the fact of the matter is that the preseason games are important for the teams of the NBA to prepare so that they can put the best squads on the floor.

With reports of NBA players looking to play overseas rising by the day, the reality of a winter without NBA basketball is a scary one.

If there is no season, then an important source of money will be lost to the communities who support an NBA team. No NBA means harder times economically for smaller NBA markets, where the local team is the only professional team in town.

A half season, as happened the last time the NBA had a work stoppage in 1998-99, would be doable only if the two sides are able to come to an agreement on the salary cap and other issues. At least in a half season, the cities make their money from their arenas, the teams make money and the fans are rewarded with exciting games.

Oct. 3, 2011 was supposed to be a good day for the NBA. It was supposed to be the day that the teams reported to training camp. It is unfortunate that the day did not go as planned because of the lockout. Instead of the three Texas teams coming in with the promise of a new season, there is only the unknown of what lies ahead for the NBA.

If the NBA doesn’t figure out how to share the millions of dollars that hardworking Americans pay to watch them play a game, then no one will win.

Instead of getting to see the Dallas Mavericks defend their crown, the San Antonio Spurs trying to squeeze one more playoff berth out of Tim Duncan and the Houston Rockets learning how to play under new coach Kevin McHale, Texas basketball fans might have to experience something never before known by any fans of the NBA: A season without NBA basketball.

Without an NBA season, the big team in San Antonio during the winter months will become the Rampage of the American Hockey League.