While the doom and gloom of a canceled season without productive meetings this weekend is overstated, the players better know it's settling time.
You would think the players, their economists and their agents would know that they ultimately need to take the NBA's last best offer. You'd think. You'd probably be wrong, but you'd think that.
If the players don't take the last best offer before the season starts then they'll settle for something far worse next summer and lose two billion dollars in money for their efforts. Their goal should be to maximize whatever that last best offer is.
Unfortunately, in this strange dynamic, their only leverage is their willingness to take on tremendous losses in order to inflict minor losses on a group of people who are financially situated to take on tremendous losses.
The fact that their negotiating position is that bad speaks to how out of wack the present deal is relative to where "fair" probably is. In a "fair" deal, both sides would probably have a near equal incentive to get something done, because they'd be more similarly hurt without getting something done.
If David Stern could speak directly the bottom 70% of the league, the guys who likely have careers from 1 to 5 years in length, many of which will lose anywhere from 30%-100% of the remainder of their career earnings with a missed season this year then you would think he could get through to them that they need to be ready to take a deal this weekend.
You would think the agents and economists would be smart enough to know that prolonging this thing isn't going to net the players a better deal, nor will it net them more money, nor will it net them more power at the next negotiation.
The NBA has finally gotten within the realm of reason with their offer. They've dropped the sheer stupidity of the flat rate offer. They've started to build it up into reasonable BRI land. They've dropped off the requirement of non guaranteed deals and a hard salary cap.
The players knew that the NBA wasn't giving its best offer in June, and that they needed to hold out to get it. It may or may not come this weekend. Maybe after these negotiations the NBA has a little more to give, but only if the players start making some concessions as well.
It's time for the players to get to 50% BRI land. It's time to give in on max contract length. It's time to get where we all knew this thing was likely to end before it started.
50% BRI split
more punitive luxury tax
Items I (and many, may others) predicted would be the core of this agreement well before we got to this stage. I understand why neither side could go there right away, because for whatever reason, it's human nature that to offer something rational up front makes the other party want to screw you over rather than accept.
However, it's time to get to rational. Both sides have danced their ridiculous dance of threats, bluffs, and hot air, but the blood is about to start flowing. We all knew where this thing needed to end before it started, it's time to get there and this weekend should see both sides make significant concessions towards that point.