I didn’t think there was much that could make me more depressed about the prospects of the NBA season.
Then I read Adrian Wojnarowski well-researched post at Yahoo, ripping apart Blazers owner Paul Allen, his interest (or lack thereof) in the team and his motivations for being the heavy during Thursday’s labor negotiating session, when things blew up.
This is what jumped out at me — there are owners more interested in getting a good deal so they can sell the team than they are about what is good for the NBA and basketball. They are going Gordon Gekko. And apparently there are enough of them that they are driving the bus. Right off a cliff, but they are driving the bus.
The season’s in genuine jeopardy now because powerbrokers like Allen are uniting with nickel-and-dimers like (Suns owner Robert) Sarver in a common cause: How do I get out of NBA ownership with maximum profit, minimal pain? These are simply men gutting costs to eventually get the best price and sell those franchises….
For Allen, that’s great. For the NBA, it’s trouble. Because his agenda – and that of several owners – is making these teams more palatable for prospective buyers. And that’ll come at whatever the consequences to the league’s public standing, relationships with its players, its fans, its future. This has to be disconcerting to Stern, who doesn’t want to lose the season.
Stern’s legacy rides on this, a second long lockout hurts his standing. But at the end of the day he works for the owners.
And a lot of those owners are hardliners, driving a brutal bargain. One the players may have no real option but to accept. But the players are not there yet, and meanwhile owners like Allen are thinking dollar signs, not basketball, which is sad.