Blog Entry

The lockout has become brain damaged

Posted on: November 2, 2011 10:38 am
By Matt Moore

There have been a lot of ridiculous stories during this lockout. JaVale McGee denying a quote given to reporters with a half dozen recording devices in his face is a personal favorite. There's Ken Berger's 50/50 cake. We've had "enormous consequences," 3 a.m. press conferences, and of course, "How u?." 

Tuesday night saw some pretty freaking ridiculous stories. 

It started with a column from's Jason Whitlock,  who has written literally hundreds dozens four posts on the NBA lockout, asserting that Derek Fisher wanted to go 50/50 and Billy Hunter wouldn't let him. The piece pretty much painted Fisher as a sellout over his head. Point!

Then later in the day Tuesday, Yahoo! Sports' Adrian Wojnarowski wrote a column painting Hunter as the destabilizing force. Woj's assertion is that the union has lost confidence in Hunter's leadership, and would like a vote on a 50/50 BRI-split deal brought to the union for a vote. Counter-point!

If you're looking to read into this, you've got sources inside the union telling two different columnists two different things. Can you feel the stand-united-ness? 

Now, the appropriate action would be to not respond to reports, to continue on with leading the players. Make some phone calls to players who are particularly vocal. Sending a letter isn't going to help because then that just gets out to the media and it looks like you're squabbling and desperate for damage control. 

So naturally, the union sent letters. Lots of letters. 

Billy Hunter tossed aside discussions of a rift with Fisher and tried to get the horse under control, so to speak, by taking aim at the league. When in doubt, slam the side that's costing your constituents money. But wait, they're not through! Derek Fisher released his own statement threatening legal action against concerning the allegations. The theme is clear. "Everything is fine! We are good! No problems, here! It's the NBA's fault and we won't back down!"

Problem is, that's not how it comes off. It comes off as a fractured leadership trying to undergo damage control. Multiple media outlets after the breakdown in talks last week said that this would be when things got "uglier." 

This is about as ugly as it can get. 

This is why the NBA is so forceful with keeping owners away from the media, why they are levying fines against their own owners for innocuous, common sense tweets that anyone can figure out. Micky Arison was fined half-a-million dollars for saying that he wasn't behind a move to prevent the season and restructure the deal some more. Anyone paying half-attention could have figured that out. But the league knows the more that is said, the more things get out of control, which means the more they have to respond to in the press, which means less time staying focused on getting what they want. 

There's been a lot of talk, some of it from me, about how flawed and nearly insane the league's stance has been. But if their position is out of whack, their execution has been flawless. The union's requests are reasonable, undersatandable: a deal where they don't lose their soul, their hat, and everything with it. Bu their execution of their defense has been sorely lacking. This situation is a clear example of that. 

In totally unrelated news, no talks are scheduled between the NBA and NBPA. 

Today is day 125 of the NBA lockout. 

Since: Sep 19, 2011
Posted on: November 3, 2011 9:57 am

The lockout has become brain damaged

Im still trying to figure out how it is the owners lost 300 million dollars last year and are lining up to amnesty players.  You still have to pay those contracts, they dont just disappear.  Your looking at roughly 500 million dollars paid out to players for the right not to play for you and to go play somewhere else.  If my math is correct, doesnt that equate to roughly an 800 million dollar loss? That doesnt even factor in the players your going to sign and pay to replace them! 

Since: Mar 24, 2008
Posted on: November 2, 2011 5:27 pm

The lockout has become brain damaged

I can't figure out why anyone, including Matt Moore, is taking sides in this dispute.  Assuming that it is true that the league as a whole lost $300MM last year, why is it the owners being unreasonable to bring costs in line.  I don't care if they lose money, and if they agree to it, great for players.  But why is it the "greedy owners" for wanting to take a business back into profitability?  I know, I know, they are "billionaires", and therefore can afford to.  That's not the point.  Why should they?  The players are right in that they are the product, and as such should get paid.  But if the product were widgets, and the sale of widgets was losing money, then most companies would shut down the widget factory.  Both sides can "afford" to cave.  No NBA player is going to starve or go without healthcare even if the union went to 37% of BRI as initially proposed by the owners.  And no owner is going to lose their home if they accept 53% and get on with it.  But neither side has a morally superior position.  They are both entitled to fight for what they want.  The rest of us should ignore it, watch football and college basketball.  Once they sort things out we can decide whether it's worth going back and watching NBA basketball.

Since: Mar 26, 2011
Posted on: November 2, 2011 2:16 pm

The lockout has become brain damaged

30 people most of which have little or no desire for publicity versus 400 people with a great desire for publicity (in the form of endorsements and face time among others). No wonder the owners are winning the strategy execution battle.

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