Unlike NFL, NBA Still Has Long Road Ahead Before Upcoming Season Becomes a Reality


July 25, 2011

Unlike NFL, NBA Still Has Long Road Ahead Before Upcoming Season Becomes a Reality With the sound of champagne popping still ringing in our ears as a result of the NFL lockout being lifted, the possibility of prohibition still remains for the upcoming NBA season.

A week or so after releasing their full 2011-12 NBA schedule — which is the equivalent of the NFL going through with the draft despite being unable to sign draft picks — the NBA lockout still appears as gloomy as ever, with a possible next step of decertification, taking another page right out of the NFL's playbook.

Despite the issues as to why the NFL lockout lasted so long, with the league making absurd amounts of money, the NBA lockout poses a system that is very flawed. While large market teams are raking in cash, smaller markets such as Milwaukee and Sacramento are struggling to just break even. This issue poses a threat that the NFL lockout did not have to deal with.

While the NFL mainly pitted the owners versus the players, the NBA has not only the owners and players going to war at the bargaining table, but owners against owners as to how to split revenue to make sure larger clubs spread the wealth — with the issues between the owners needing a resolution before significant progress can be made with the players.

Another added dimension that could extend the length of the lockout is the alternative that NBA players have that NFL players did not: playing overseas.

While Chad Ochocinco took to the soccer field and racetrack in the downtime of the lockout, NBA players are already headed abroad to past the time. Thus far, nine NBA players have signed overseas contracts, with the biggest name, by far, being Deron Williams. However, that could change if the same club that signed Williams, Turkey's Besiktas, is able to find enough sponsor money to entice Kobe Bryant to play abroad for roughly $1 million per month.

While the list is short as of now, there are a number of high-profile NBA stars interested in playing in Europe or Asia if the lockout is to extend for a lenghty period of time. Magic center Dwight Howard said he wouldn't rule out playing in China, according to ESPN.com. Steve Nash also hasn't ruled out playing overseas either, according to the Arizona Republic.

In addition, a number of the best European NBA players are playing in the European Championship, when they would normally be entering NBA training camps. These players include Finals MVP Dirk Nowitzki, Pau Gasol and Tony Parker.

LeBron James, however, is content with keeping his talents in South Beach, according to ESPN.com.

Still, this added element of NBA stars able to go and play abroad has to be in the back of most NBA owners' minds. There's always a chance of injury when playing basketball, and it would be devastating if, say, Kobe's last few good years were tainted because of an NBA lockout and a subsequent injury in Turkey.

The same goes for Nash, whose aged legs can't have too much left in them, as the Suns waste away one of their last chances to build around the dynamic point guard.

Another issue facing the owners after a potential lengthy lockout is the status of next summer's extraordinary free-agent class — highlighted by Howard, Williams and Chris Paul.

Each team would have a lot more difficulty trying to keep their respective superstar if a lockout was to last an entire season, as the lockout would prevent the teams from improving the roster around its star.

While it's a time for celebration for football fans, there's still no reassurance that the NBA will follow suit and hammer out a deal before games are missed.

Instead, it appears we're going to lockout like it's 1999.

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