Beyond the Bison: The end of reasoning

By Julian Dorey


It was 4 a.m. on Saturday. Black Friday was in the rearview, the Thanksgiving leftovers were already gone, Route 295 was empty (I can attest), and America was sleeping.

Then, in the high class confines of a New York hotel, exhausted NBA commissioner, David Stern, followed by delegates from both the NBA owners and players, plopped down into an auditorium seat for an impromptu press conference.

The media waited, this time with bated breath. Something had to be stirringright? There’s no way Stern would call them in at this time of day if it didn’t mean something.

The commissioner, seated next to his biggest aggravation over the last two years, Union Director Billy Hunter, let out the bombshell: the NBA lockout is over.

He made his word choice much more complex than that, but the bottom line was all that mattered. After all the low-level bargaining on miniscule clauses and the soon-to-be-signed deal is finished, the only question remaining is where we are now.

A few weeks ago, I wrote about what a mess the NBA lockout was. Frankly, it was a soap opera that a lot of fans decided not to care about. More importantly, it was a process that never would have happened if the owners hadn’t been blind. They should have seen the now watered-down product for what it was to become years ago. Seemingly everyone but the owners knew that the hard cap, the high-spending teams and the unfair advantages of the bigger market franchises would all pose a problem as the 21st century NBA came into its own.

Even a common sports fan could see that under the previous labor agreement, the players had the ability to practically run the league. With this new agreement, one would hope that many of the problems that have damaged this once revered enterprise over the last few years would disappear. But there is nothing in the new deal to fix them.

The owners don’t want the Knicks to get Chris Paul in 2012? Fine, let’s increase the luxury tax by three times. An extra $20 million from Knicks owner James Dolan to the cause for CP3 is really going to keep the billionaire up at night. Right?

The smaller markets can’t get high enough attendance, so let’s kick some marketing money from the top teams down to the bottom-feeders so they aren’t strapped for cash. After all, communistic reasoning solves everything.

The fact is, with no “franchise-tag,” with no destruction of guaranteed contracts and with a feeble attempt to create parody by increasing the luxury tax, the NBA isn’t too far past square one.

This “lockout” took 149 days. Teams have been forced to cancel the first two weeks of the season. Stadium workers have been out of jobs. David Stern and Billy Hunter were teetering on the border of turning to Jack Daniels to wash away their sorrows. For what?

Right now, not much.

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