This surprises me. After all of my huffing and puffing about the owners not making real concessions on the revenue-split, word on the yahoo-street is that the problem was with the cap system?
It's hard to argue with the League's point that the rich teams succeed and the poor teams fail. Of the top 15 teams with the highest payroll, 13 of them were in the playoffs, with the Jazz and Cavs being the exceptions, and both teams that were in the playoffs last year. Now, the Hornets, Grizzlies, Nuggets, Suns, and Rockets have managed to be relatively successful despite being in the bottom 15 (especially those Grizzlies), so being successful with a low payroll is certainly not impossible. But still, trends would point to the Owners being right in this case.
I'm not sure where Derek Fisher gets off saying, "As athletes we don’t believe that competitive balance is completely decided by an economic system or how much payroll exists on one team or another." Really Fish? The guy with a ton of rings on a team that's constantly on the top of the payroll list, regularly stomping on the low-payroll teams? Riiiight.
Oh, and there's no use pointing to OKC as an example of a successful team under the cap. Sooner or later, OKC isn't going to be able to afford their current squad. That's too much talent on rookie contracts to last for a small-market team.
That being said, the Union's stance that a hard cap threatens all but the top performers on a team is completely valid. A stiffer luxury tax should be imposed, but not one to the extent of $6 for every $1 over the tax. That's just insane, and making a cap system that looks and smells like a hard cap, and then calling it a soft cap, is just... dishonest.
So my vote is this: Union, obviously there should be some leveling of the playing field, allowing poor teams to compete; and Owners, can we please try to find a way to level the playing field without completely flattening it with a sledgehammer? There's middle ground here, and no one's looking for it.