If you had been in a coma for the past two years and woke up today and looked at the NBA, there’s a good chance you wouldn’t recognize it. First there was “The Decision” which in hindsight, was great for basketball. Then there was the regular season, a budding Rose, then the call to BEAT LA was answered and then the Dallas Mavericks capped a memorable season by beating the most hated-on team in NBA history. It was a great year that has now ended in the worst possible way, with an NBA Lockout.
About the Lockout, it has already been discussed how the NBA differs from the NFL in regards to alternatives for the players. The overseas professional basketball market is ready and willing to offer large sums of money to NBA players and already one major NBA superstar has made plans to head to Turkey during the NBA Lockout. Deron Williams may not be the only one gearing up to head overseas during the lockout, according to Yahoo Sports, Tony Parker told French reporters that he would return to France to play basketball if the lockout dragged on. Yahoo Sports also reported Miami Heat superstar Dwyane Wade would also be open to competing in other basketball leagues in the event of a prolonged lockout.
For sportsbooks and the gaming industry, the most troubling aspect of this NBA Lockout should be the seemingly over-the-top demands the owners are making. The owners want it all. They want a hard cap, lower salaries, non-guaranteed contracts and a more lopsided profit split. Worse yet, there are hardline owners, particularly from the Celtics and Suns, who are willing to lose the entire season to get what they want.
David Stern has essentially drawn a line in the sand and now the many industries that depend on the NBA and NBA related activities for a source of revenue must sit and wait to see which side will crack first. It’s hard to see the players caving in soon, particularly with opportunities to play overseas being plentiful. Agents are likely to push for decertification of the union and push for the courts to take action like the situation unfolding in the NFL.
While no one knows for sure just how long the lockout will last, if history is any indication, the entire season is in real jeopardy. When the NHL pushed for a hard cap it resulted in the loss of the entire 2004-2005 season. But NHL owners will certainly say they got what they wanted, and the NBA owners seem destined to go down that same dark path.