NBA cancels some games

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Last night, NBA commissioner David Stern announced the cancellation of regular season games for the first two weeks of the season, though November 14. It is not much of a surprise to anyone following the negotiations between the league (owners) and union (players). However, the lack of surprise doesn’t make this announcement any less sad, frustrating and aggravating to all fans of basketball around the globe.

There are a bunch of issues being negotiated between the two sides, but the two most important issues are 1) how to change the current luxury-tax system to one that allows all teams to compete and 2) agreeing on a split of revenue between the two sides. Splitting the revenue is all about numbers and it appears the two sides are a few percentage points away from each other. The overall system issue is more complicated and frankly, much more important to how the league will operate and which teams will succeed.

Currently, every team has a limit on how much they can spend on their roster. Beyond that fixed limit, teams can spend more money on players but have to pay a 100% tax on every dollar spent beyond the limit. This means that teams with a lot of money and/or teams with very eager owners (i.e. Mark Cuban of the Dallas Mavericks) are at a very big advantage over the other teams. Essentially this system makes it so that most teams don’t really have a real shot to win a championship. This is unfair to those organizations and to their fans. The union (players) likes this system because it gives them more chances to earn more money.

The league wants a system that has a hard cap, meaning that it has a fixed limit that cannot be spent beyond, no matter what. This would allow every team to compete fairly and give every fan an equal chance to see his/her team win it all. For this reason, I am siding with the owners in this dispute. I hope that this lockout ends ASAP. However, it is more important that when it ends, we have a system where every team has an equal shot at winning the championship.