When owners win
The easy answer is whenever the league wins.
That the two sides spent all last week negotiating the split of basketball-related income and then, on the day Commissioner David Stern announced cancellations, huge gaps on all system issues were revealed suggests it will be a while.
The owners aren't losing this one. The comments of Stern and deputy commissioner Adam Silver about all 30 teams needing a chance to win a title means increased revenue sharing and stiffer luxury tax penalties will be in place, even if, technically, a hard salary cap isn't.
I'm guessing late December or early January. That's better than an entire season. I do think the amount of negotiating that has transpired is a good sign.
Los Angeles Times
Entertainment conglomerates love sequels, so let's call this one: 1998-99, version 2.0.
Granted, David Stern really likes his marquee games on Christmas Day, but those will pass without a game being played.
Then, like the last NBA work stoppage 13 years ago, around Jan. 1 the huffing and puffing by the labor combatants will intensify. So Stern and players union boss Billy Hunter will convene once again, someone will blink first, and the framework of a new labor deal will be reached.
And voila, like the last time, around early February the games will begin — in a compressed regular-season format of about 50 games.
Home court for Christmas
It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas.
When it comes to NBA lockout history, that actually would be a step forward, considering the only previous NBA lockout, in 1998-99, did not end until January 1999, with games starting in February.
Since then, much has changed when it comes to the NBA's Christmas showcases, with the league essentially taking over the day's schedule.
While there had been hope of something sooner, to make a dramatic turn at this stage would come off as a concession by the union or the commissioner. And each side has come too far to back down now.
The NBA until Christmas is little more than background noise.
When losses get serious
No matter how they posture in the media, neither the owners nor the players want to miss an entire NBA season.
The owners have the stronger arm in the negotiations — because they control the money — but they collectively earn hundreds of millions of dollars every NBA season and don't want to erase all the momentum the league built last year. And the players will begin missing paychecks in mid-November, a consequence that'll certainly add more urgency to the negotiations.
Once the season's mortality truly comes into question — in December or early January — the two sides will strike a deal and we'll see a shortened, 50-game season, just like the NBA's last extended lockout in 1998-99.Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun