Reporting Tim Kephart
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MIAMI (CBSMiami.com) – Any Miami Heat fans hoping to watch basketball this season had better be ready to cheer on their favorite college team as talks collapsed Thursday night between NBA owners and players.
The split came once again over the division of basketball-related income, or BRI. Both sides had been moving towards middle ground to deal with the BRI, but hardliners on both sides have drawn a line in the sand and neither is willing to go beyond it.
Owners had been moving towards a 51-52 percent share of BRI for the players, before a Board of Governors meeting Thursday. Once the owners returned, led by Cleveland Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert, the owners said they would go no higher than a 50/50 split.
It should be noted that Gilbert, and a few other small market owners, have been driving much of the dispute after the Miami Heat came together last season.
The owners felt like the players used the system against them and now the owners want blood to prevent players from putting themselves together on one team.
The ironic part of the owners’ motives is that they are willing to shrink the overall amount of money that could be made in a season just to force the players to succumb to their will.
But if you had any doubt the NBA would be playing in this calendar year, a development in Los Angeles will tell you all you need to know.
According to the Orange County Register, the Staples Center in L.A. has agreed to allow acts to book the facility on nights that were scheduled to be Lakers or Clippers games.
After Thursday’s talks collapsed, federal mediator George Cohen said that no further talks are needed because both sides aren’t willing to work towards a common goal.
Cohen helped negotiate the deal to end the NFL lockout earlier this year. But unlike NBA owners, the NFL owners were not about to jeopardize the season to try to win extra benefits from the player’s association.
In the case of the NFL, the owners and players met for the better part of two weeks straight to complete a deal that both sides lauded in the end.
The NFL players and owners now are both content with each other and have a good level of trust going both ways.
However, in the NBA there is nothing but acrimony and distrust between the owners and players. The players had too much of a sweetheart deal in the prior CBA and are slowly starting to come down to more realistic terms.
But the owners are trying to run up the score and make the players pay for all of the bad contracts the owners have given out over the past several years. The owners are asking for more money from the players so the owners can protect them from themselves.
Unfortunately for Heat fans hoping to catch LeBron, D-Wade, and Bosh take the court and pursue another NBA championship, the hardliners in the owners, like Gilbert, are derailing the season.
In one way, it could be Gilbert’s ultimate revenge upon LeBron. With Dwyane Wade aging, the window for the Heat to win a championship may only be a few seasons.
If Gilbert and the hardliners can kill the season under the auspices of a new deal, Gilbert can finally give the shaft to LeBron like he felt LeBron did to him.
Sadly, that’s the type of dynamic going on between the two sides. In the end, both sides are going to continue to alienate the very people who provide the money both sides are arguing over.
The fans will continue to be the ultimate loser in the entire NBA debate. The question will be how long it takes the fans to come back if the issue is ever resolved.