As a frequent comments reader, one of my pet peeves is hindsight. Specifically, the "Everyone knew that was going to happen!" when nobody forecasted it ahead of time. In this vein I would like to allow the community the chance to get their thoughts on the record as to how the CBA negotiations will end. You can get as specific as you want on terms if you'd like, but what I'm really looking for is when it will end. To get things started I'll state my guess.
I think that the players and the owners are far closer to a deal than we have been lead to believe. It's kind of axiomatic that the players got the worse end of the last CBA and the owners have been using some loopholes therein to maximum advantage. Because of this, it wasn't surprising to see the players take a hard line in their initial ask. If the owners gave the players 90% of what they wanted I think the players would still be dragging this out, given the bad blood that has transpired during the current CBA. Bryce Harper claimed that the players would've been willing to go one more year under the current CBA while the two sides continued to negotiate. I don't believe that for a second.
Per my previous disputes with some on this site, the owners have offered concessions such as eliminating the QO. The players have offered no concessions as of this writing. This leads me to believe that the owners are ready to move things to make the deal ultimately more favorable to the players.
The lockout is surely a tactic by the owners to speed up negotiations as many players can't enjoy not knowing where (or if) they will be playing next year. That being said, I don't think either side wants regular season games missed for monetary and perception reasons. Frankly, until after the Super Bowl ends most people could not care less about this dispute.
This may seem rosy, but I think they have a deal done before March 1st. Ultimately what that looks like is an open question, but I think a neutral observer will determine that although the owners initiated the lockout, the players get the better of the deal.
Please share your thoughts