The NBA owners’ ‘undecideds’ will likely decide the season

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We know where James Dolan, Mark Cuban, Jerry Buss, and Micky Arison stand. And we certainly know where Dan Gilbert, Robert Sarver, Peter Holt, and Michael Jordan stand. But what about the rest of the NBA ownership? Media reports have been sorely lacking a “whip count” of where the owners land since negotiations have progressed as far as they have in the last few weeks. The Salt Lake Tribune provided a rough one last night, via Twitter:

Then there’s owners: High-ranking league source says #NBA billionaires are divided. Five will sign off on 50-50 split, 11 oppose it, 14 …Sat Nov 05 03:41:29 via web

… are on fence, leaning toward first gaining more system concessions and better BRI take before agreeing to anything.Sat Nov 05 03:42:17 via web


Most important votes are decided by the moderates, the undecideds who choose their side and carry the day. This is no different. We’ve heard more than enough about Dan Gilbert’s gut and Sarver’s wife’s handbag. We know Micky Arison wants to wash his hands of the whole thing. But it’s the owners in the middle that have the power to switch a vote. If the moderates get a few more concessions, a reasonable deal (at least comparatively, there is no “reasonable deal” from the players’ side, they’ve already been forced to surrender too much) might be had. But it’s up to the moderates to take charge and move those 14 to the left if a deal is going to get done to save a season. Stern has been working for a deal that will make every owner happy with the results. It’s becoming clear that’s not going to happen. This deal is probably going to come down to a tense vote on both sides.

That’s the biggest reason why losing a whole season is so likely right now. It’s no longer “the worst case scenario has to occur” for the season to be lost, nor is time on their side. The window for saving the season is narrow, dark, and way on the other side from where things stand now.

It would be sad if we hadn’t seen it coming for so long. No, wait, it’s still sad.