Andrew Brandt, who has been covering the NFL labor negotiations for ESPN, outlines the differences of the two sides in the NBA negotiations.
In both disputes, the players are “playing goalie,” trying to protect what they already had in their latest agreements and fighting off clawbacks from the owners. Both ownerships question the “bad deals” they made with the players several years ago, which is where these disputes are similar.
However, there are differences. The NFL has not said its teams are losing money, but that its teams are not as profitable as they once were. The NBA is saying its teams are losing money — the league claims it is 22 of the 30 teams; the players claim that number to be less than 10 — and has subsidized one of its franchises, the Hornets. And although the NFL salary cap is not a true “hard cap,” as proration of signing bonuses creates extra cap room, the NBA salary cap is replete with “exceptions” that make it a very soft cap — a yarmulke, if you will — that the league is desperately trying to “harden.”
There also are some differences in leadership. In football, Roger Goodell and DeMaurice Smith are negotiating their first CBA. David Stern and Billy Hunter have history and have been through this before. That doesn’t necessarily make it easier, but there is a different dynamic.
The general feeling seems to be that the NBA situation is more dire than the NFL, but the NFL also has the benefit of being further along in the process.