BRI v. Cap


So it sounds like the issues pushing this lockout are irrevocably linked. For the owners to agree to a deal where the players take more than 47% of BRI, owners require a firm salary cap to protect them from idiotic personnel moves. Meanwhile for the players to accept less than 53% of BRI, they require a soft salary cap that will allow competing teams to overspend on middling talent to get over the top.

I have a very simple solution to this conundrum. Give the players the highest possible portion of the BRI split that the owners can live with. Institute a hard cap with a hard minimum team salary. Now let the stars sacrifice money in side deals with those middling talented free agents.

This fixes everything. Players as a whole get the largest possible slice of the pie. Every team has exactly the same amount to spend and total player salaries are agreed to reach a certain BRI percentage. Finally the union’s great concern for the “rank-and-file” contingent is left up to the union members rather than the league. If Kobe and Pau are worried that the Lakers won’t be able to pay Odom what his agent requires or that the knockdown jumpshot artist that they need will cost too much to fit under the team cap, they can help make up the difference.

In an open market, the stars would get all the money. The salary range system that they want is limiting their earnings in favor of protecting the NBA middle class. And it’s the stars who are fighting tooth and nail for their less valuable comrades. No need. Give the stars the money. Give them the GM’s ear (they already have it), and let their competitiveness and / or generosity determine the pay that the rest of the team gets. It puts the power back in the hands of the union in a way no set salary structures ever would.

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