Of all the owners, it would have been easiest for James Dolan to make it to the NBA labor negotiations last week. He owns the Knicks, he’s on the negotiating committee for the owners, he’s right there in Manhattan, he could just drop in a whole lot easier than Spurs owner Peter Holt.
Yet Dolan was nowhere to be seen this week.
The why — at least what the New York Post tells us as why — is the interesting part (via Ziller at SBN).
Knicks owner James Dolan blew off the two-day desperation labor session between the NBA and players’ union in Manhattan with one source saying he has been sickened by the failure of his fellow owners to make a deal.
Dolan is in the group of owners that doesn’t want or need to just crush the union, he wants a deal. He wants to see basketball. In part because his team is finally relevant again, partly because his team turns a profit.
And partly because he’s one of the rational guys in the room. Really. Others in the room have said that.
And when James Dolan is the rational one thinking like the fans you know how ridiculous this has all gotten.
From CBSSports.com’s Ken Berger:
In an intriguing if contradictory prediction, the person said that despite a steady stream of lockout rhetoric, he has come to believe that owners and players will reach an agreement and avoid a work stoppage at the 11th hour before the current CBA expires on July 1, 2011. However, if cooler heads do not prevail, the owners will be so entrenched and determined to make a work stoppage pay off that they will push to cancel the entire season to cripple the National Basketball Players Association and implement the drastic changes they are seeking.
Basically, if a lockout is the only way to get the players to cave, then the owners are really going to make them cave. If there’s a lockout, the participant in past negotiations predicted, it will not simply be for show. It will be Armageddon.
via With CBA talks looming, owners committed to spending less – NBA – CBSSports.com Basketball.
Well, that’s happy.
Losing the entire season out of principle would be madness. The damage to the sport in the event of a lockout is severe enough, but losing a whole season would set back the league for a decade. It’s one thing if they can’t come to an agreement, but the owners so far have taken a dangerous position set upon seemingly by braggadocio and not a genuine interest in reaching a resolution. They don’t want to come to an agreement, they just want to win and get their way. That’s been clear in how they’ve approached talks with the union, not even deigning to respond to the players’ latest proposal, which offers a decrease in BRI for the players in exchange for things like an improved revenue sharing system.
Just to be clear here, the players have sent over a proposal saying “we’ll take less money if you’ll make it where more of your teams are competitive and we keep jobs for our players” and the owners won’t even open talks on it. Which has to leave you wondering who exactly is in charge for the owners. David Stern doesn’t want a lockout, it’s bad for his league, and he has been pretty vocal about pushing the directive for revenue sharing in the interest of improving competition. Glen Taylor (Minnesota and Peter Holt (San Antonio) are allegedly the heads of the owners’ negotiating council, but this reeks of big-market politics being put into play. So who exactly is in charge over there?
The league may wind up losing an entire season simply based on the stubbornness of a few old men who refuse to realize that they’ve already won the fight because they’re concerned with style points. And all the interest in saving a few bucks may be for not if revenues plummet when fans turn their backs on a sport that s’ seemingly run by men with no respect for either the fans, nor the process of true compromise.