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NBA Labor Negotiations Will Set Course For Pacers' Future

As much as I want the Indiana Pacers to resolve their front office and coaching situations so they can focus on the really important stuff, the players that will make up the team, the NBA's labor issues hanging over the offseason take the edge off of my sense of urgency.

Until the collective bargaining aggreement between the players and owners is settled, speculating on how things will play out for the Pacers is fun but essentially a waste of time. Whatever deal is eventually put in place will have a bigger impact on the Pacers future than the immediate front office and coaching hires.

The league wants a new system to help level both the playing field and the financial ledger of all 30 teams. But the Pacers are desperate for a new system that addresses the inequities they face with no margin for error. As Tim Donahue laid out today, the cap space the Pacers have carved out for this offseason isn't the cure-all for the team under the current rules.

But it does set them up nicely for a new CBA with a harder salary cap. The more radical the change the better, really, but that won't be easy to push through. The good news is that the owners are sticking close to their original proposal rejected by players. It still contains big changes that would likely create a lockout and put next season in jeopardy.

Chris Sheridan and Chris Broussard reported on the players turning their nose up at the latest proposal which included salary rollbacks, a harder cap and a drastic change in the percent of basketball related income given to the players. I can see the rollbacks and percent of BRI moving around in negotiations, but hopefully the harder cap stays on the table. Again, not a cure-all but would help the Pacers current situation since other teams would need to shed payroll to reach the cap.

The article included a senetence that really stuck out and cuts to the crux of the matter for me.

But the owners have taken a hard-line stance in arguing that a new economic operating system is needed to give all 30 NBA teams an equal chance to be profitable and to contend for a championship.

The owners should repeat that statement at every chance and cut and paste it into every letter or article they write on the negotiations. To "give all 30 NBA teams an equal chance to be profitable and to contend for a championship" is all I want out of the labor negotiations, a chance.

It won't make teams equal, just give them and equal chance. Poorly run teams will struggle and well run teams will succeed but they'll start with roughly the same chance. Doesn't seem like too much to ask.

If you were playing Monopoly with someone and they started with twice as much money and hotels on Boardwalk and Park Place it wouldn't be much fun. Once in awhile the dice might roll your way and everything would fall into place to beat the odds and win, but relying on perfection while your opponent can just buy up assets to bury you in most games would not only be frustrating, it wouldn't be fair.