Tag: Lockout

Dallas Mavericks v Miami Heat - Game Two

Owners of teams with great rosters are eager for season to begin


ESPN.com’s Brian Windhorst has some news that really shouldn’t be a surprise to anybody:

If it were up to Heat owner Micky Arison, his team would be preparing for its final three preseason games right now and he’d be spending the majority of his time running his cruise lines and not at labor meetings in New York.

Even as the talks suffered their latest breakdown Thursday, two league sources said that Arison has been the most active owner in trying to push through a deal even as his peers balk at the players’ demands.

In his frustration Thursday night NBA Players Association head Billy Hunter said he felt there was a divide between big market and small market owners. He said that some big-market owners were ready end the lockout.

According to Windhorst, there have been some reports that Lakers owner Jerry Buss and Knicks owner Jim Dolan have been “aggressively pushing” for reform, but almost everyone seems to agree that Arison is not pleased about having a super-team sitting around and not playing basketball with three stars missing a year of their prime and a year of their contracts with the Heat.

Arison’s frustration with the lack of a deal is understandable, but it’s unlikely that the rest of the league’s owners are going to back off of their demands out of sympathy for the Heat.

Lockout talks have stopped, things looking extremely grim

David Stern, Adam Silver

Just when things were starting to look up — federal mediators! Marathon bargaining sessions! Small concessions from both sides! — it’s starting to look very, very grim for NBA fans once again. According to Yahoo! Sports’ Adrian Wojnarowski, talks between the owners and the players have stopped, and the lockout has suffered what Wojnarowski calls a “huge setback”:

Talks on a 50-50 BRI split broke down, and labor talks have ended, source tells Y! No new meetings scheduled. Huge setback in this lockout.

We’ll keep you posted on any new updates as they come in, but things are not looking good at all right now.

Chicago Tribune: 82-game season “could be salvaged”

*Jul 24 - 00:05*

Things are looking grim. The first two weeks of the season have been cancelled, and cancellation of games through Christmas Day may be coming soon. However, one league source gave the Chicago Tribune’s K.C. Johnson a sliver of hope for NBA fans:

Another league source said that, despite Stern’s cancellation, there still is a possibility an 82-game schedule can be salvaged in a lengthened season that would stretch into July. That is, if progress continues to the point a deal is made this week.

It’s actually a bit remarkable that so few people have been talking about this — if the season starts later, have it end a bit later and keep all the games. The chances of an 82-game season are slim, and hopes for more than 60 games this year may be slim, but it appears there is a small glimmer of hope for fans hoping to see a full 2011-12 season. That is, if a deal gets done this week.

Players have avoided getting their hands dirty, but will the PR high road pay off?

Derek Fisher, Spencer Hawes, Maurice Evans
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A dozen radio shows play soundbites of his voice on loop. There’s talk of competitive equity, of the struggling economy, and of players with inflated contracts. One calm voice meanders through accusation after accusation, and countless listeners on a dozen frequencies swim in the carefully manufactured bile. Somewhere, David Stern cracks a slight, sly smile.

The NBA has been on an all-out offensive over the last 48 hours, with Stern acting as a mouthpiece for the league’s owners. He’s been on major media channels of all kinds offering something that only vaguely resembles the truth, all while Billy Hunter, Derek Fisher, and virtually all of the members of the NBPA have remained civil. The attack rhetoric has been largely one-sided, and the players — by design — have opted to maintain an air of professionalism. Dwyane Wade noted as such to Tim Reynolds of the Associated Press:

Wade said the NBA has done an “amazing” job in getting its message out to basketball fans during the lockout. Players, he said, have not wanted to take the same approach as the NBA on the battle of perception.

“We haven’t done a great job of complaining,” Wade said. “That’s what the NBA has done, they’ve done a great job of complaining. We haven’t done a great job of that so no one sees our side. They more so see the owners’ side.”

…”Not at one point have we asked for more money,” Wade said. “I’ve heard people say ‘The players are being greedy.’ How are we being greedy? … People need to get in a room and understand what really needs to be done so everyone – not just the owners, not just the players – can continue to grow with the game. That’s where we’ve got to come to an agreement.”

The players’ general lockout strategy may not be perfect, but there is some nobility in this particular element of it. Compromise is a tough sell when one group is publicly antagonizing the other, and though both parties agreed to a more peaceful media approach just weeks ago, Stern has already reverted form. The man creates rules and violates them, just as he knows the facts and chooses to publicly skew them. That kind of disingenuous behavior isn’t a good look for Stern, but it may not matter; the owners’ message is the only message, and a general public with quick tongues and a poor understanding of the lockout (as evidenced by the many still calling this a “strike,” or citing player greed) will soon replicate Stern’s soundbites. The players are trusting the fans and remaining professional, but that path could end up burning them. The high road has its costs, and we’ll soon find out if the players are willing to continue paying them.

It’s unknown exactly how the lockout’s PR front has or will affect things at the negotiating table, but it seems fairly unlikely that those outside of an informed minority will ever know of Stern’s insidious spin. He’ll continue to spew falsehoods at little risk, and it’s up to the Union to decide if they’re willing to sink to Stern’s level and play his game. Derek Fisher and Billy Hunter appeared fairly frustrated with the nature of Stern’s comments and gestures after the Union meeting on Friday, but whether their reactions were a brief slip or the beginning of something more remains to be seen. The NBPA’s leadership has some soul-searching to do.

Quote of the day: Billy Hunter is frustrated, metaphorically armed


“If someone wants to point a gun at my head, I’ll point it right back at him.” 

-NBAPA chief Billy Hunter at the NBPA press conference, regarding David Stern’s comments about the possible cancellation of games until Christmas if a new CBA deal doesn’t get worked out soon. Reading between the lines just a little bit here, I’d say that negotiations are going less than swimmingly right now — it might be time to re-aquatint yourself with your local hockey team pretty soon.