Report: NHL owners tell NBA brethren losing season “worth it”

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There are six NBA teams that are owned by people who also own NHL teams (or at least did during that sport’s big lockout in 2004).

Those owners are telling their NBA brethren that the lockout that cost the NHL a full season was worth it to get a good financial deal, according to ESPN’s Ric Bucher (via the twitter account of ESPN’s Dan Toman).

Washington Wizards owner Ted Leonsis (who also owns the Capitals) already said he wanted an NHL-style hard-cap system in the NBA. He was then promptly fined heavily by David Stern and has not said a peep publicly since, but it’s hard to imagine he’s changed his mind.

How strong a group those six really are and how much they can sway opinions is in doubt. Three of the other five NHL/NBA combo owners are trying or have sold their NBA teams: Ed Snider (76ers and Flyers), Maple Leafs Sports and Entertainment (Maple Leafs and Raptors) and the Atlanta Spirit (Hawks and recently sold Thrashers, now moving to Winnipeg). Those three do not carry a lot of weight in NBA owner circles.

Another is James Dolan, who runs the Rangers and Knicks — he is a big market owner with money to burn who is more likely to cut a deal then spend a year locked out. Then there is Stan Kroenke, who owns the Colorado Avalanch and Denver Nuggets, and whose son Josh runs the basketball team. Leonsis is the sixth.

This situation is different as well. Losing a whole season — or even a few games — would kill the momentum the NBA has built up this past 12 months, when popularity of the league got to the highest levels since Jordan retired. It’s a lot to sacrifice. And it would take at least a full season to get the NBA players to agree to an NHL-style hard cap.