In all the lockout talk you still haven't told us what you'd do to solve it. What does the ideal solution look like?
Oh...I don't know. I mean, I do know what I'd do for myself but I'm neither a player nor an owner. Not living in their shoes makes it hard to guess how I'd actually see these issues. My solution is meaningless. I know I favor as much revenue sharing between teams as possible because that's a huge competitive balance issue. Beyond that I suspect if I were a player I'd see things as the players do and if I were an owner I'd see things as they do as well. Splitting the middle between those two visions is hard, even in the abstract. Besides, I'm not a big fan of making people's decisions for them. My finding a solution doesn't insure NBA health in the long run. These guys need to find a solution for themselves.
If you gave me a magic wand I wouldn't use it to force an agreement. I'd be more inclined to force perspective.
I certainly agree with the rights of the players to bargain collectively and to preserve their ability to make a living. I'd prefer to know that they had a realistic perspective on the living they're actually making. I think I'd make it mandatory that while an agreement is being negotiated every player in the league has to get an alternate job, preferably minimum wage or close to it. They have to get rid of the fancy cars and drive a used Toyota or something. They have to get themselves to work for 40 hours a week and figure out how to pay for gas. They don't have to move out of their fancy homes...I'm not that cruel. But for the duration they can only pay for groceries and entertainment out of the wages they earn at their new job. Having to work night or swing shift would be a bonus. I suspect that this would remind them how attractive their basketball reality is...how much it's worth in ways beyond dollars and cents. They work extremely hard at their craft, no doubt. They have talent beyond compare. But remembering that other people who also work extremely hard and have a talent for, say, stocking groceries or filing library books don't even make the equivalent of NBA per diem from a day's labor might do some good. They can't give up everything, but giving up $1 million out of $6 million might not look so drastic this way.
I'd also use my wand to send the owners back into history at least 100 years, maybe 500. Heck...let's go for 2000 if you want. I'm not going to fall into the trap of saying they're fat cats who didn't have to work for their money. Many (most) of them made that money because they were smart, shrewd, and put in their hours. But most of them also made that money from ideas, numbers, things on paper. No matter what their trade they've been visionaries working an economic system that comes down to digits in a computer somewhere. They had the great fortune of being born in a time when that kind of thing is rewarded. I'd love to zap them back to a society when all the investment acumen in the world got you exactly no food...where knowing how to create a slick TV product or flip real estate or program a computer doesn't matter...where they have a less advantageous skill set than a guy who could work with his hands or farm efficiently or go out and kill a herd animal with a rock. That might put a little perspective on whether they truly deserve all this wealth and are entitled to it as recompense for their unique talents or whether they just happened to get put in the right place and time to benefit as much as they have. Entitled to feed your family and entitled to a second yacht are two different things. I'd tend to trust them more if I knew that they understood that, felt it deep down in their souls.
Right now I'm not sure either side gets it, so I have a hard time coming up with a solution that doesn't seem as unreal or meaningless as their current perspectives.
But hey, I'll throw open the question. You've heard all of the issues, systemic and money-related, by now. What's your solution? If the two sides come to an agreement this weekend, where would you like them to settle and why?
The comment section is open. Address an issue or give us your comprehensive plan. Me? I'm going to start working on that time transport machine. I really want to see how Mark Cuban deals with the Mesolithic Era.