There are six current NBA owners who also own NHL teams and lived through the lockout that destroyed the 2004-05 hockey season.In an uncomfortable twist for b-ball fans, according to ESPN’s Ric Bucher, that group has been telling their fellow basketball owners that losing an entire season was it worth to get the labour deal they wanted.
That doesn’t bode well for the current NBA impasse.
One is that some of those six owners might be considered among the worst in sports. The kind that care more about their bottom line then fielding anything resembling a competitive team. (See: Maple Leafs, Knicks.)
Second, it’s not clear that any of them are being taken seriously or have much influence over their other owners. (Does anyone care what the owners of the Hawks and Sixers thinks?)
Finally, the NBA situation is not as dire as the NHL’s was back at the beginning of last last decade. In fact, it might not be that bad at all.
Nate Silver has an interesting breakdown of the league’s revenues and expenses that suggests that not only is the league’s claim of poverty incorrect, they probably made a profit last year.
For the last 10 years, players salaries have been linked to revenue, so it’s nearly impossible to argue that that it is the athletes’ fault that the system is broken.
Yes, it’s true that quite a few of the lesser teams are probably losing money, while an handful of the league’s top clubs rake in enormous profits. Profits that could probably easily erase the league’s deficits if they were redistributed in some way.
But if things are so bad, why are smart billionaires (like new Pistons owner Alec Gores) so eager to join the club?
Moreover, it’s those big money-making teams (the Lakers, Celtics, Heat, Bulls) that hold quite a bit of sway in league affairs and won’t be anxious to see a non-existent 2011-12 season wipe out all their gains.
In the end, the battle may not be between the players and owners, but between the haves and have-nots in the owners camp. If the profitable teams aren’t willing to help out their weaker brothers – the ones who have nothing to lose in throwing away an entire season – then this fight could be raging for quite some time.
NOW WATCH: Briefing videos
Business Insider Emails & Alerts
Site highlights each day to your inbox.