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Unless they lose season, each side will end up OK

PRO LABOR TALKS / WHERE WE ARE NOW : NBA : MARK HEISLER
/ ON THE NBA

The doomsday scenario isn't that one side or the other will make a bad deal, but that they won't be able to make a deal. In the end, the owners will be better off, and the players still rich.

May 30, 2011|MARK HEISLER

While coyly refusing to rule out contraction, Stern assessed the other 29 teams $7 million each to buy the New Orleans Hornets, knowing he can sell them for more after he gets a labor deal.

Until Stern says he's contracting the Hornets, I believe in the system, with tweaks -- the more so with the Lakers' new deal with Time Warner signaling exploding valuations for local TV rights.

Likelihood games will be lost: Bearing in mind I'm the biggest, or only, optimist in basketball labor today

If the NFL misses games, the NBA has a 100% chance of missing games.

If the NFL makes a deal and starts on time, the odds on the NBA missing games are 60%.

More important, if the NFL starts on time, I see the chances of the NBA burning a season dropping to 20%.

Why the NBA will prevail: It won't.

Why the players will prevail: They won't.

They will make a deal, leaving the owners better off, and the players still rich, if not as rich as the owners, but younger and more famous.

Who will get the better deal: Unless something nuclear happens, the owners will get a better deal and the players will remain rich.

The doomsday scenario in the NBA isn't that one side or the other will make a bad deal, but that they won't be able to make a deal. Unless they burn a season, everyone will be good

Well, with the possible exception of the Maloofs, stuck in Sacramento, waiting to see whether the city builds them an arena, provides revenue support, etc.

In a worst-case scenario, the Maloofs would have to sell and cash out, like Hornets owner George Shinn, who set the record for most markets pillaged or sponged off and walked away with his pockets stuffed, smiling like the little guy in the top hat in Monopoly.

Whether it's known for basketball, or its inability to divide up $4 billion, there will always be an NBA.

Final thought: Because the rest of us would gladly trade places with any owner or any player, who are we supposed to be rooting for again?

mark.heisler@latimes.com

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