NBA Lockout : 2011 Edition

Staples Center Magic Johnson
Photo: Tim Wang

During the 1998 NBA lockout, players made many public relations missteps as they worked to try and secure a deal with the owners. This time, they hope that they won’t make those same mistakes, although some of the players this time around have already made the kind of comments that hurt their negotiating leverage. That’s lead the NBA players to try and keep the players’ communications in check, especially in an age of Twitter:

“It was a huge emphasis,” Derek Fisher, the president of the National Basketball Players Association, said in a telephone interview. “The reality is, we’re in a great position, where guys have worked to put themselves in this place where they can potentially earn millions of dollars.”

It seems that this NBA labor brawl is not only seen by the owners as their chance to level some of the salaries and contracts that they got themselves into, but also seen by some as a chance to completely remake the NBA, and fix the problems that have plagued the league for years:

The NBA now has the opportunity to do the same thing with the draft and examine baseball’s in-or-out model and hockey’s draft-and-follow model.

Finally, Forbes has an idea that the players should just abandon the idea of working with the NBA and start their own league:

[…]imagine if NBA players decided to start their own league. That would change the dynamics of the negotiations. And it wouldn’t be that difficult. The players could start a new league, for example, by creating a large cooperative to which all players share in the revenues. None of the teams need an owner; each team just needs a general manager, who can be paid out of revenues. The players – or the cooperative to which the players belong – will be the owner(s).

It’s an interesting idea, but the players would have to align with some new business forces to make that happen. An interesting note about this NBA lockout is that there are some minor league teams in the United States, and apparently not one of them has attempted to make new money by signing NBA players. It could be that the price of an NBA player is just too high.

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