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Thread: CBA Talk: Kill for Money, Die for Faith

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    Default CBA Talk: Kill for Money, Die for Faith

    Just an excellent read. A numbers guy writing a great piece on the psychology of it all, whoda thunk it. Well done, Count!

    -------

    by Tim Donahue on September 15, 2011 at 8:30 am


    http://www.eightpointsnineseconds.co...r/tim-donahue/

    From a purely physical standpoint, there’s almost no difference between the two pieces of paper above. They’re the same size, same weight, and are made from largely the same material and ink. Yet one is worth five times the other.

    Why?

    Because we believe it to be true. Collectively, we, the citizens of the United States and most of the world, have agreed that these pieces of paper have value. We agree that the markings on them will tell us how much value they have. By shared consent, we have imbued these specifically decorated clippings with power. “Cold, hard cash” is neither cold nor hard, yet thinking makes it so.
    We don’t need heroic events or valiant victories against daunting odds to see the power of a shared belief. We need only to walk into our local pub, slap down a green piece of paper similar to those pictured, and get back a nice frosty pint.

    And that’s why the money is easy. Everybody comes from pretty much the same place. It’s just math. More is better. Less is worse. It’s why David Stern said, “…we know how to negotiate over dollars when the time comes.”

    The system is an entirely different beast. The system — and what it means — is an article of faith. While people will do all sorts of depraved things for money, it’s nothing compared to what they’ll do for what they fervently believe in.

    Which is why the following comment from Ken Berger is off base.
    But with agreement on the dollars within reach, it seems incomprehensible that the season or a big chunk of it could be lost over how those dollars are distributed.
    What Berger misses completely here is that there was never any chance whatsoever of games being canceled over a difference in BRI split. None. The structure remains in place for a settlement in the next few weeks along the lines of what I wrote about on Tuesday. If the owners just want the money, then they’ll play out the charade for a while, then make the money grab. Meanwhile, there was never any chance at playing games until the two sides agreed (or one side acquiesced) on the subject of the system: the cap.

    How those dollars are distributed isn’t a minor point.

    It is, perhaps, everything.

    Or … at least everything to the people who will cast the up or down votes on each side. Each will view the agreement in terms of how it affects them, first and foremost. As we all would, regardless of how twisted that may or may not be.

    Tom Ziller of SB Nation recently shared his thoughts on the matter.
    That’s why this hard cap is a “blood issue.” Not because it has a lobster’s chance in Maine of creating competitive balance, not because it will hurt all players’ ability to earn. It’s a “blood issue” because owners want to pay less money to supplemental players and because supplemental players want to keep making money. It has nothing to do with the health of the game. It has nothing to do with fans. It has nothing to do with fairness. It’s just stupid.
    That’s all well and good. But here’s the problem: both sides believe they are “the game.”

    The players believe they are the product, and thus, “the game.” And the owners believe that they are the stewards of the teams, which they view as the product, and thus, “the game.” Each assumes what is in their best interest is in the game’s best interest. So the only way either can “hurt the game” is to give in to the other side, which — in their view — is a stubborn impediment to the future health of the game.

    Does it matter whether or not a hard cap will actually create competitive balance? No, it only matters that an owner believes it will help him. In fact, an owner doesn’t even have to believe that. He only has to believe that the current system hurts him.

    Does it matter whether or not the fears the players have about a hard cap (best outlined by Zach Lowe’s outstanding piece) are true? No, it only matters that they believe them.

    The agents have been portrayed in some corners as a potential bad actor in these talks, and certainly, they are looking out for their interests. However, if they believe that negotiation can only lead to lost paychecks, lost BRI split and the players eventually having to swallow a hard cap, then isn’t their responsibility to advocate a different course of action?

    Does it matter that we think that any or all of the beliefs held by members of the two sides are wrong, even silly? No, because they will act on those beliefs just the same.

    Supposedly, the actor Willem Dafoe was once asked about taking roles as villains and his response was, “Good guy. Bad guy. Don’t make no difference. Everybody thinks they’re righteous.”

    And that’s why this lockout is on the verge of lasting a very long time. No matter how hard we work at creating a narrative around the lockout that features heroes and villains and secrets and lies and intrigue and greed and missed opportunity, it will always be ********. We are too trapped in what we believe — in what we want — to give fair reading to what the parties believe. We’re righteous, so how can those who oppose us possibly be?
    The owners want to control their business, and the players want to keep what they think they’ve earned. Each will do what they can to get what they want — nay, what they feel they deserve. The owners have locked the players out. Whether or not they will cancel games or even a season to achieve their goal depends on how many of them are “devout in their faith” in the need for a hard cap. The players will resist, go overseas and possibly seek legal intervention in one form or another (probably decertification and anti-trust litigation) to achieve their goal.

    I don’t know what the outcome will be. I know what I want, and what I don’t want, but those are ultimately of no importance. This confrontation has been brewing since before the last lockout, and it has to play all the way out sometime.

    For those hoping for a full season, hope that this really does become just about money.

    People will kill for money, but they’re rarely willingly die for it. If it remains focused on the hard cap and the system, then it’s far more likely to become a crucible. If that crucible lasts a season — or results in decertification — then no one has any idea how the NBA will come out the other side. But that is of small concern to those emboldened by the courage of their convictions.

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    Default Re: CBA Talk: Kill for Money, Die for Faith

    Nice article, well thought out
    Sittin on top of the world!

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    Default Re: CBA Talk: Kill for Money, Die for Faith

    Fine piece of writing indeed. A refreshingly new, disturbing take on the ordeal for me though.
    Reggie Miller is a God. Period.

    Passion. Pride. Pacers.

    It's ALWAYS Miller Time.
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    Default Re: CBA Talk: Kill for Money, Die for Faith

    There are no grey areas, are there?

    Well, maybe one or two. The majority of the players probably want to get things resolved due to two factors: the passage of time and how it impacts the length of time they are able to play the game at the NBA level, thereby recognizing that the amount of money they might cost themselves by their union holding out might end up larger than what they save themselves by coming to a quick resolution, and depending on how long it goes on, the greater the financial hardship for themselves, their families, and their friends, as well as any employees they have who depend on the players for their livelihoods which puts tremendous and ever increasing pressure on the players to reach any deal they can.

    If both sides believe they are "the game", one side is definitely more wrong than most believe, and that would be the players. Why? Simply put, the players don't have deep enough pockets up front to create their own league, and investors would be loathe to attempt to assist them in today's economic environment due to the cost of infrastructure required to put a product in front of the fans that would resemble what the NBA provides being astronomical, and then the initial losses for such a league prior to it becoming established would be much larger than even the NBA has suffered.

    Without the current set of players, yes, the league would suffer for a few years until the talent level picks back up, but it eventually would, as long as the owners are willing to wait. If the losses were reduced enough, many owners would be more than happy to put replacements on the court just to let the consuming public know that they still want basketball to be played and that eventually the level of play would resume at its previously high level.

    Ultimately, the game of basketball is "the game". It is simply a matter of who pays who to play it, who makes or loses how much money from it, and when the games resume being played.

    The agents and the players have just about no leverage in this situation, and they have to know that. I believe it is only a matter of time before the agents and power brokers gather the players and lay it all out for them in terms they can understand and the players attempt to make significant concessions prior to the involvement of any arbitration that might end up happening, particularly if the government threatens to get involved as it has in other labor disputes in other professional sports.

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    Default Re: CBA Talk: Kill for Money, Die for Faith

    Revenue sharing and a hard cap tied to the BRI.
    {o,o}
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    Default Re: CBA Talk: Kill for Money, Die for Faith

    Quote Originally Posted by Speed View Post
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    The owners want to control their business
    This.

    Sure, money is always a factor, but the owners want to be the big shots...not just investors. There isn't much more to this lockout.

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    Default Re: CBA Talk: Kill for Money, Die for Faith

    "What Berger misses completely here is that there was never any chance whatsoever of games being canceled over a difference in BRI split."

    I believe the above to be a totally true statement. The players have already conceded enough to bring their share of BRI down to 50%, so one might assume they may even be willing to drop another 1-2% when all is finalized.

    The problem with revenues is not really how much the owners get versus how much the players get, it is totally about how is shared among the owners in the portion they eventually get. And, it is about further inclusions in the agreement that would enable the small market teams to receive some form of additional kickbacks from the moneymakers.

    I think virtually everyone understands this.

    What I don't necessarily agree with that Count states is within the following statement.

    That’s why this hard cap is a “blood issue.” Not because it has a lobster’s chance in Maine of creating competitive balance, not because it will hurt all players’ ability to earn. It’s a “blood issue” because owners want to pay less money to supplemental players and because supplemental players want to keep making money. It has nothing to do with the health of the game. It has nothing to do with fans. It has nothing to do with fairness. It’s just stupid.

    If the tweets from a few days ago are accurate, the owners care very much about competitive balance. Statements by several players also indicate that they would like also to see teams more balanced within the league.

    I don't believe the hard cap is intended to keep owners from overpaying supplemental players. I don't believe that at all. What I do believe is that the cap is intended to force owners to make hard decisions about how to control and fit various salaries within a capped salary structure.

    The real purpose of a hard cap is to discourage teams from going out and acquiring 2-3 huge salaries like Miami has done. Removing the MLE would prevent a team near the cap from adding mid-level talent to their rosters to round out their talent to go along with the salaries of their superstars.

    If anything, a hard cap would eventually lead to multiple superstars on a single team accepting lesser salary so that the team would be able to sign the best of the available lesser talented players to round out their rosters.

    So, I believe that some of the higher payed players would eventually accept lower salaries so that their teams could acquire the better players among the lesser talented players by being able to offer them more money.

    The hole in the hard cap is that it cannot stop collusion among talented players. And, the sad reality is that nothing really can. Players can always accept lower salaries to be able to play together no matter how low the hard cap might be. The hard cap relies on a certain level of personal greed in the players to be successful in its attempt to balance the competition. As long as they want to make as much as they can, a lower hard cap decreases the probability that 3 or more stars can go to a single team.
    Last edited by beast23; 09-15-2011 at 11:56 PM.

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    100 Miles from the B count55's Avatar
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    Default Re: CBA Talk: Kill for Money, Die for Faith

    Quote Originally Posted by beast23 View Post
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    "What Berger misses completely here is that there was never any chance whatsoever of games being canceled over a difference in BRI split."

    I believe the above to be a totally true statement. The players have already conceded enough to bring their share of BRI down to 50%, so one might assume they may even be willing to drop another 1-2% when all is finalized.

    The problem with revenues is not really how much the owners get versus how much the players get, it is totally about how is shared among the owners in the portion they eventually get. And, it is about further inclusions in the agreement that would enable the small market teams to receive some form of additional kickbacks from the moneymakers.

    I think virtually everyone understands this.

    What I don't necessarily agree with that Count states is within the following statement.

    That’s why this hard cap is a “blood issue.” Not because it has a lobster’s chance in Maine of creating competitive balance, not because it will hurt all players’ ability to earn. It’s a “blood issue” because owners want to pay less money to supplemental players and because supplemental players want to keep making money. It has nothing to do with the health of the game. It has nothing to do with fans. It has nothing to do with fairness. It’s just stupid.

    If the tweets from a few days ago are accurate, the owners care very much about competitive balance. Statements by several players also indicate that they would like also to see teams more balanced within the league.

    I don't believe the hard cap is intended to keep owners from overpaying supplemental players. I don't believe that at all. What I do believe is that the cap is intended to force owners to make hard decisions about how to control and fit various salaries within a capped salary structure.

    The real purpose of a hard cap is to discourage teams from going out and acquiring 2-3 huge salaries like Miami has done. Removing the MLE would prevent a team near the cap from adding mid-level talent to their rosters to round out their talent to go along with the salaries of their superstars.

    If anything, a hard cap would eventually lead to multiple superstars on a single team accepting lesser salary so that the team would be able to sign the best of the available lesser talented players to round out their rosters.

    So, I believe that some of the higher payed players would eventually accept lower salaries so that their teams could acquire the better players among the lesser talented players by being able to offer them more money.

    The hole in the hard cap is that it cannot stop collusion among talented players. And, the sad reality is that nothing really can. Players can always accept lower salaries to be able to play together no matter how low the hard cap might be. The hard cap relies on a certain level of personal greed in the players to be successful in its attempt to balance the competition. As long as they want to make as much as they can, a lower hard cap decreases the probability that 3 or more stars can go to a single team.
    To clarify, the words in red above belong to Tom Ziller of SB Nation, not me. Their inclusion was to segue me to point out that neither side, and no member on either side, feels that they are doing wrong or being greedy. They feel "righteous."

    I actually support a hard cap (though I think the "flex" cap implementation is making more sense to me these days), but that piece wasn't about debating the relative merits of the system. It was only to point out that while people know how many dollars a point of BRI split means, they can't be sure of what changes in the system will mean.

    They only have what they think will happen. Perversely, people will act much more strongly on what they believe than what they know. Particularly, if it's a fear.

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    Default Re: CBA Talk: Kill for Money, Die for Faith

    Quote Originally Posted by count55 View Post
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    Perversely, people will act much more strongly on what they believe than what they know. Particularly, if it's a fear.
    Truer words were never spoken. Kind of reminds me of a speech Michael Douglas gave near the end of "The American President".

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