NBA Lockout: Owners Deliver Deathblow to Optimists

Reservoir GodCorrespondent IISeptember 14, 2011

NEW YORK, NY - JUNE 30:  Commissioner of the NBA, David Stern announces that a lockout will go ahead as NBA labor negotiations break down at Omni Hotel on June 30, 2011 in New York City. The NBA has locked out the players after they were unable to reach a new collective bargaining agreement (CBA). The current CBA is due to expire tonight at midnight.    (Photo by Neilson Barnard/Getty Images)
Neilson Barnard/Getty Images

The optimists covering the NBA lockout took a big blow after Tuesday’s meeting between the National Basketball Players Association’s executive board and the NBA’s Labor Relations Committee.

There was a lot of optimism from the mainstream media about the NBA lockout leading up to Tuesday’s meeting between the NBPA and NBA.

Chris Sheridan said the two sides were closer than people think.

Alex Kennedy from Hoopsworld said it seemed like “real progress” had been made.

Reporting by Henry Abbott from ESPN showed the bargaining positions of the owners had softened since Mark Heisler reported on their positions during the All-Star break for the LA Times.

Before the meeting, Jorge Sedano from 790 the Ticket (the Miami Heat’s flagship station) said the lockout could be over real soon. After the meeting, he predicted it would end by Oct. 16, 2011.

David Aldridge went on NBA TV after Tuesday’s negotiations and said the optimism heading into the meeting came from outside sources that really had not been following the lockout.

Why would Aldridge say that? There are many reasons and a few of them are listed below.

Heisler reported on Feb. 12, 2011, that 80 percent of the owners were taking a hard line in labor negotiations.

Aldridge reported some owners wanted to take money from the players' salaries and their endorsements. They literally wanted the Liverpool FC shirt off LeBron James' back.

Michael Jordan told the Herald Sun in Australia the owners weren’t going to budge and David Stern tried to silence him with a $100,000 fine.

An NBA agent told Ethan Skolnick from the Palm Beach Post, “It should be clear to everyone by now that some owners would just rather kill the season.”

Which owners? Heisler and Abbott reported the following owners would likely vote to cancel the season:

  • Dan Gilbert, Cleveland Cavaliers
  • Stan Kroenke, Denver Nuggets
  • Donald Sterling, LA Clippers
  • Michael Heisley, Memphis Grizzlies
  • Herb Kohl, Milwaukee Bucks
  • Joe and Gavin Maloof, Sacramento Kings
  • Larry Tanenbaum, Toronto Raptors
  • Ted Leonsis, Washington Wizards

Skolnick also tweeted the agent said the lockout will likely end when the owners break and not the players because the owners are in two different camps.

Which owners are in which camps? This article lists each owner’s position on the lockout since the All-Star break.

After Tuesday’s meeting, it’s clear the owners have not softened since February. It’s time for NBA fans to kill their optimism about the lockout. If Sedano’s right and the season happens, great, but there are too many reasons to be pessimistic right now.

NBA fans should not hold on to hope there will even be a partial season. The last HEATcast referenced Stephen A. Smith and agent David Falk’s take (skip to 12:05 mark): It’s all or nothing for the season.

Why? Because it doesn’t make sense for the NBA to continue setting a bad precedent in negotiations by only locking the NBPA out for part of a season. It diminishes the bargaining power of a lockout if the players know the owners won’t actually cancel a season.

NBA fans should let go of the notion that half the season will be played. If it happens, then great, but fans and media members should kill that noise until it happens.

The list below cites some other ideas on the lockout that should also be killed by fans and media members.


NBA Lockout Myths:

A hard cap will not lead to competitive balance but more talented tall people will.

The NBA lockout is not about paying some players with bad contracts, it’s about paying all players with contracts.

The best move NBA stars can make to end the lockout is start their own league or bide their time until big stars like Dwight Howard and Derrick Rose become free agents. Anything else (including going overseas) is a Phantom Menace.

No matter how pessimistic fans feel after Tuesday’s meeting, they will still be fans when the next NBA season tips off.