Is The NBA Headed Towards A Lockout?

With so much focus on the current NFL lockout many people are forgetting the fact that a NBA lockout is looming. The currently NBA collective bargaining agreement is set to expire June 30th and there doesn’t seem to be any movement when it comes to negotiations.

With the league claiming that at least 17 teams are not turning a profit clearly money is going to be one of the key issues on the negotiation table. An issue that is sure to cause controversy is going to be whether or not the NBA transitions from a soft salary cap to a hard salary cap. A salary cap basically puts a limit on the amount of money a team can spend on a players’ contract. With a soft salary cap there are loopholes that allow a team to exceed the cap. Currently when a team exceeds the salary cap by a certain percentage they have to pay the league a luxury tax. The luxury tax works dollar for dollar, so if you go over the cap by $10 million you have to pay the league $10 million. A hard salary cap would mean that a team could not exceed to salary cap for any reason.

Of course the league is all for the implementation of a hard salary cap. The league is claiming that so many teams are losing money because of player salaries. The players and their union are against the hard salary cap and want to do away with the luxury tax calling it “uncompetitive”. With a hard cap in place teams who give players such as Lebron James and Carmelo Anthony max contracts will no longer be able to afford to pay quality players to surround them. If a hard salary cap was in place there would be now teams such as the Lakers and the Celtics would probably be nonexistent.

Not only does the league want to impose a hard salary cap they also want to have a 40% rollback in player salaries and eliminate guaranteed contracts. The players and the players union are not too happy about that. NBPA executive director Billy Hunter had this to say:

the league’s insistence of “a hard cap, a 40 percent rollback in player salaries, unlimited expense deductions and the elimination of guaranteed contracts” would “inevitably result in a lockout and the cancellation of part or all of the 2011-2012 season.”

The thought of not having the NFL or the NBA next year is almost downright depressing, but as it stands all signs are pointing toward a lockout.

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