Paul Allen did not come across very well after all was said and done on Thursday after the NBA negotiations
fell apart broke apart blew apart like a soda can with a pound of C4 inside it. One writer outlined Allen’s history of random and reckless spending and decision making, another suggested that Allen may be on the way out and looking to improve his sale price, while also not caring about offending the players. It was Allen who was allegedly brought in to pull the NBA back from the brink of compromise on behalf of the hard-line owners.
On Friday, the NBA decided to respond to those allegations, in a conversation between Adam Silver and the Oregonian.
“I do not understand why his presence has taken on a life of its own as if he was sent in to deliver a message to the players,” Silver said.
“Paul is in the same position as every other owner. He wants a system where every team is in a position to compete for a championship and every team, if managed properly, has a chance to make a profit.
“In no way was his presence intended to send a message.”
Blazers president Larry Miller also told the paper that the Blazers are “absolutely not for sale.”
Well, that clears up. A nice, friendly round of damage control and clarification with the Blazers beat writers and… wait, what? What’s that?
Here, let me just let Ben Golliver of BlazersEdge.com and CBSSports.com handle this.
Yes, you read that correctly. The NBA just allegedly disputed that one of their owners issued a “take it or leave it” ultimatum to the players by issuing a “take it our leave it” ultimatum to a newspaper. They allegedly decided to make it clear that Allen didn’t issue a statement that pre-conditioned the negotiations by pre-conditioning their disputed account. They allegedly defended Allen from charges of a “my way or the highway” attitude by threatening the paper with the most basic “my way or the highway” tactic known to media.
The NBA is trying to fight what it feels are misrepresentations of its opinions and the behavior in these sessions. They’re faced with an uphill battle against a media that in their mind is unfairly taking the side of the players. They’re trying to do the best they can with limited resources while maintaining a general wall against transparency in order to keep negotiations confidential. That’s part of what was so stunning about Hunter’s revelations on Thursday. It pulled back the curtain, which neither side wants because in tense situations, people say things that aren’t going to look right in public without context. And so the NBA is trying to clear this up as quickly and quietly as possible. And that’s a reasonable position.
It’s just that they kind of suck at it. Not really badly, and not as badly as I would suck at it, and not as badly as the players have sucked at getting their message across, but still. This comes across as bullying. It’s just trying to keep things in perspective and control the story as much as possible to avoid damage. But giving media outlets ultimatums? That’s a bad look. The media’s got no league to cover, so it’s jumping on everything (he said mid-jump). Talking to the Oregonian to clear up concerns about a possible sale and to lessen the damage of Allen looking like a bad guy? Good idea!
Doing it by demanding that only the business writer and none of the beat writers be involved? Bad idea.
This concludes your lockout “what the hell” story of the day. Join us tomorrow for what we’re sure will be the players’ turn!