November 28, 2011


How the Owners Won the NBA Lockout (Matthew Yglesias, Nov. 26, 2011, Slate)

The full details of the NBA labor agreement still aren't in, but it's difficult to read the basic terms as anything less than a huge victory for management. The most fundamental issue at stake is that under the old labor agreement, owners committed to paying out 57 percent of Basketball-Related Income in the form of player salaries. Under the new deal, the owners will only pay 50 percent out. There are lots of other balls in the air, but there's no other topic that divides the interests of players and owners in such a stark and fundamental way.  [...]

[F]or now at least owners don't need to worry that squeezing player compensation will degrade the quality of their workforce. If you're really good at basketball, the way to make money is to play in the NBA. Many Americans earn a living playing basketball in Europe, but even in the new stingier regime it's still much more lucrative to play in the NBA and there's no meaningful competition for high-end basketball talent.

...but they lack skill.  Hard to believe the game would suffer if teams fielded guys who'd honed the latter through four years of college and some minor league seasoning.  Then again, the game isn't the product, a few stars are and they're created by the NBA marketing people.  They can just create others.

Posted by at November 28, 2011 6:20 AM

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