1. After Thursday, whose side are you on? To what degree?
Kevin Arnovitz, ESPN.com: 75-25 players
. I don't begrudge the owners' right to calibrate their business to achieve maximum profitability, but virtually every concession in the negotiations has been made by the players. Ownership in any industry comes with the risk you'll operate in the red. If the investment is failing you, perhaps you and your capital should be elsewhere.
Tim Donahue, 8 Points, 9 Seconds: 60-40 owners
. I've long been a proponent of a hard cap, and I broadly agree with the owners' desire to change the system. However, this marks a cooling of my support, as demanding a 50-50 split of basketball-related income and a super-tax system is going too far.
Beckley Mason, HoopSpeak: 75-25 players
. The players have offered up 8 percent of their salaries from the previous collective bargaining agreement, which lasted 12 years while the league was less popular and lucrative than it is today; to me, the owners are the aggressors. Why not take the $200 million win, and revisit the deal in five years with a stabilized economy and that fat TV deal in hand?
David Thorpe, Scouts Inc.: 98-2 players
. It's a lockout, and only one side is in control of the lock. Sure, leadership on the players' side is lacking, but owners are proving this is all a hobby to them because they are risking everything that's been built these past few years over an annual amount of money that is not meaningful to them. And that does not include the benefits of owning a team that don't show up in the bottom line for the tax returns of the team, but do for other businesses in which the owners are involved.
Brian Windhorst, ESPN.com: 50-50
. It's important to realize the owners are already negotiating in "gain" territory, as they are assured of concessions/more cash. That's why it's hard for the players to justify further movement. With each percentage point the union gives, the loss deepens. None of us ever wants to be in this position, to be in concessionary bargaining. But it's happened to millions of Americans over the past three or four years. Because of this, it's so tempting to blame the owners.
However, in concessionary bargaining, you have to understand your leverage. The players have very little. They are losing money by the day that they will never earn back. They have to realize when to take the best deal they can get. That time might have passed. So they share the blame.