The NBA lockout reached what I perceive to be the brink of a lost season yesterday. The time-frame had been continually moved to accommodate more talks, an attempt by the owners to goad the players into taking a 50-50 split of basketball revenue, but yesterday the players association walked away from the negotiating table and began the process of "disclaiming" their union rights... whatever the hell that means. The end result, however, may very well be the cancellation of the whole NBA season.
We all know the NBA system is ineffective when players like Rashard Lewis are getting $118 million in guaranteed money, but I'd rather not see how that sausage is cleaned up. The owners shafted themselves in the old collective bargaining agreements by giving themselves the financial freedom to overpay for middling talent, and are now desperate to grab some cash and tie their own hands to secure guaranteed profits. The players, after securing a pretty good system with the old CBA's, are trying desperately to hold on to what they once had. But, knowing the situation doesn't make the process of fixing it any easier to consume.
Frankly, I'm lost and disinterested at this point. Regardless of who's right, or who's eventually going to win, I'm sick and tired of hearing about this as cancelled games slip by.
What I am growing more and more concerned about is the future of former CU hoops phenom Alec Burks.
Yesterday, just hours after the NBA labor negotiations broke down, Alec tweeted this photo:
This whole situation has got to be killing the kid. While he is reaping many of the minor benefits of being a NBA draftee, like getting his face on a card (I want one by the way), it all seems rather hollow. Instead of playing ball, learning how to win in the NBA, and making a name for himself, Alec is sitting on the sideline in a fucked-up basketball purgatory.
While he was drafted by the Utah Jazz, without a new CBA he doesn't have a contract, and is essentially lost in the shuffle. Rookies like Burks and OKC draftee Reggie Jackson have to turn to loans and insurance payments just to make a living, and really have no guarantees or voice in this process. Yes, they're still getting paid, but it's crazy awkward.
Certainly, talented players like Burks will find a way onto an NBA roster once this thing is settled, but if a year goes by, do the teams still retain their draft rights to the player? Do first round picks like Alec still get a guaranteed contract from the team that drafted them? There's more questions than answers at this point.
I just hope for his sake that this is cleared up soon, and he can get back to playing ball. If the season gets pushed back a year, and he gets lost in the shuffle of the overly talented 2012 draft class, his career progress may be permanently stunted.
I'm starting to side with Coach Abatemarco: leaving after last season may have been a mistake.