After nothing but negative feelings surrounding the CBA negotiations, after agreeing to a 24-hour extension yesterday, there is finally some optimism coming from the league and players says Michael Silver.
Sources on both sides of the conflict agreed on one basic premise: If enough progress is made that another short-term CBA extension – perhaps a week, perhaps two – is announced by Friday night, the players and owners will almost certainly be headed for a settlement that will result in a multi-year deal before the end of this month.
If not, as one person familiar with the negotiations put it, “It will be Armageddon.” The union will decertify and file a class-action, anti-trust lawsuit against the owners, who’ll issue a legal challenge to the validity of the act while implementing a lockout (or de facto lockout). A long, bitter standoff would likely ensue, and the 2011 season could be threatened.
Given the lose-lose nature of the latter scenario, the smart money is on a settlement. And while the situation remains delicate, for the first time key figures in each camp believe a deal is highly achievable.
For most of the season I figured the game was too popular, producing too much money for the sides to go through a prolonged labor battle. Then neither side wanted to budge as we got closer and closer to the deadline and it looked like we would be without part of training camp, at least.
Thankfully a District Court stepped in and stopped the teams from being able to dip into the $4 billion in TV money during a lockout. That seemed to finally spur some real debate and here we are with a chance to avoid one of the most mind boggling work stoppages in sports history.
C’mon, get a deal done!