|Grab a cold one, we might be here a while!|
There's really two paths this lockout can take. It will either resemble the current NFL Lockout or the last NHL Lockout.
If it's similar to the ongoing NFL lockout, we may see a delay to the beginning of the season, but should play the majority of this season's games. At least in the current NFL labor dispute, both owners and players are making minor concessions in order to try and reach some sort of agreement before the beginning of the season. Both sides are meeting pretty frequently now and there have been signs of progress. It is widely assumed now that an agreement will be reached before the start of this NFL season.
If I had to choose, I think NBA Lockout 2011 will look more like the NHL Lockout of 2004-2005. Remember, hockey lost an entire season during that work stoppage, as both sides reached an impasse early in talks. Finally, the lockout ended as players made huge concessions in order to get back to work. The NHLPA agreed to a hard salary cap and and a league-wide rollback in player salaries just to get back on the ice and get paid.
If the NBA owners are going to stick to their guns about a salary cap and rollbacks, I doubt we have a season. If they think players will agree to rollbacks on previously signed contracts, they're crazy. The NBA claims that more than 20 teams lost money last year and they're blaming it on the out-of-control salaries. Didn't the owners agree to the terms of these huge contracts? For years NBA fans have sighed a collective "What?!" with each $10+ million dollar contract given to average NBA players.
Realize, it's not the players fault they got paid like they did. The owners had to sign the checks. For them to now hope that players under contracts will take a pay cut is ludicrous.
The only way for the owners to win this fight is to wait it out. The NHL owners locked the players out for over a year before they got what they wanted. Players had no choice to come back, as they went a year without a paycheck and those who didn't plan in advance were in dire straits financially. It'll be interesting to see if this is how the NBA owners force the players' hands. Will they hold out so long that the players "break" and give in to the owners demands? Or will they follow the lead of the NFL and try to work to find common ground so that business resumes as usual?
Either way, sit back, relax, and enjoy, as this is going to be a long, long fight.