As the NBA lockout continues and the threat of losing the entire season becomes a serious reality, there may be an even bigger issue looming on the horizon – a complete re-landscaping of professional basketball as we know it. It appears that the owners have dug in, as have the players – and with a fan base seemingly losing interest in what’s going on by the minute it makes you wonder about what the future holds.
Many NBA players have already signed on with international teams, and many more are regularly playing in organized all-star exhibition games. As for the owners, they don’t appear to be worried about any of this, nor do they appear to be desperate in getting a deal done. If both sides continue to drift off in different directions, the future of professional basketball may end up being very different than what we have known in years past.
For the players, one has to wonder if there are concerted efforts going on behind the scenes to scrap the old NBA model and in turn replace it with their own league consisting of fewer teams loaded with more all stars, sponsored by businesses wanting to cash in from the ground floor of a new league startup. Do the players really need to go back to the old way of doing business with the NBA, or are they at a point whereby with some savvy business leadership they can “take their talents” toward a new American professional basketball league?
Looking at the current NBA owners, do they really need the former NBA players to carry in for the future? With new and talented young men waiting in colleges and high schools across the country and throughout the world, it wouldn’t be but a few years of draft classes where the “new” NBA product would closely resemble what we are used to seeing, right? The NBA could keep the current franchises, but replace the employees with new and hungry players looking to make their mark for the future.
Granted, it’s unlikely the NBA players will assemble a new league, but the longer the lockout goes on we must wonder what back-room discussions might be taking place? Clearly neither side is very happy where the negotiations have gone to date, and there doesn’t seem to be much optimism from either side when it comes to talking about the other operating in good faith. The X-factor to the current dispute may be that the fans don’t really seem to care, as most are fully invested right now in the NFL, NHL, or World Series. As the NBA becomes more and more irrelevant by the day, and fans lose interest in watching billionaires and millionaires squabble over the riches in tough economic times, it does suggest that changes could be coming in the very near future.
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