Players put ball in owners' court
Billy Witz has contributed to The New York Times and covered a multitude of sporting events. A Tulane University grad, Witz has won Associated Press Sports Editor awards for investigative reporting, feature writing and game stories. He covered the Lakers' every move last season for FOX Sports West.
What we learned Monday, when the NBA Players Association executive committee rejected the owners’ latest (and purportedly last best) offer, is that they’re sitting on a powder keg and just pulled a matchbook out of their pocket.
Rather than accept a deal that called for rollbacks in salaries, tighter restrictions on free agency and shortening the length of contracts, the union took a different course. It disbanded, an act that allows the players to sue the NBA over anti-trust laws, challenging the legality of the lockout.
The upshot: If that takes the season with it, so be it.
Since the lockout began, one side of the narrative has been that the owners were hard and determined to seize back control of their league. While the NBA enjoyed one of its most compelling seasons, many owners chafed at the players having too large a stake.
As some franchises were in the red – the league took over New Orleans when former owner George Shinn went into bankruptcy – 57 percent of revenues went to the players.