The owners have already won this fight, and it’s just a matter of how greedy they want to get. It’s Stern’s job, his moral duty, to sit the hard-line owners and empty the bench so late in a blowout. This lockout was always ending when the owners were done running up the score, and now it’s on David Stern to be the closer.
One can argue that no system that allows players to make gigantic sums of money to play a game makes them a loser, but it's getting more and more obvious that owners are going to get a lot of what they want.
Read the whole Woj piece. It's excellent, as usual. And it may be eye-opening for some. The bottom line is that David Stern is a used car salesman… all smiles and handshakes on the outside while on the inside trying to figure out which of your buttons can be pressed to screw you. He's not running a league anymore, he's feeding his ego.
Here's the beauty of this, though: The owners will screw this up. They always do. Every sport, under every system, always reverts back to the same thing… bad owners will give out bad deals. And bad deals will pile up. And whenever this CBA expires, owners will be begging to be saved from themselves again. The last labor deal was supposed to be a win for the owners. It was celebrated the same way this one will be. But now, more than a decade later, it's become a broken system that will kill the sport. And that's because the owners and their bad management broke it.
Ten years from now, we'll be in a similar place. Sure, owners will have more of the revenue to play with, but they'll spend it somehow, and most of it will be spent stupidly. Extremely smart financial people and lawyers will pour over the language of this new deal and find ways to exploit it. Extremely smart management will happily play along to get coveted free agents and extremely bad management will be exploited into bad deals and we'll be back at it again.
And even if a hard cap or similarly restrictive salary structure is put in place, the super-rich teams will still find ways to stick it to the small market guys. They'll create amenities that will be hard for free agents to turn down. They'll spend in other places, in other ways that aren't addressed in CBA, to make their cities and teams more attractive.
Let's put it this way: You're dating. There are two people you could go out with. Each is exactly the same in every way and can spend the exact same amount of money on you. Except one lives in a little apartment and drives a Honda, and the other lives in a big sprawling house with a pool, a huge yard, three expensive sports cars in the garage, and a vacation home by the water. Who would you go out with?
So go ahead and "level the playing field" owners. Go ahead and cap salaries somehow. It will cost players a few million dollars, but in the end, it won't matter. The extra millions in your pocket won't mean squat because the Knicks, Lakers, Bulls, and Celtics will always have a few million more, no matter the system. And the Timberwolves, Cavaliers, and Bobcats will still spend the money they do have poorly. And down the road, you'll probably be asking for a way to open up your pocket books because you'll decide that the only way to compete with them and their amentities is to offer more money.
And we'll do this dance all over again.