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David Stern does not want to see what happened to the Knicks happen to anyone else

Oct 8, 2010, 4:59 PM EDT

Image (1) NBA_stern-thumb-250x185-5675.jpg for post 129

This season, there is hope around the New York Knicks. Amar’e Stoudemire, Raymond Felton, Anthony Randolph all running Mike D’Antoni’s exciting system. That should be fun.

It hasn’t been that way for years around Madison Square Garden. Bad decisions to take on (or give out) huge contracts to players past their prime (or without a prime) left the franchise in a huge hold and fans frustrated.

Going into this round of Collective Bargaining Agreement negotiations, Stern told Alan Hahn of Newsday he doesn’t want a repeat of what happened to the Knicks somewhere else.

“One of our generalized goals in collective bargaining is to come up with a system in which teams are not doomed by their past mistakes for an inordinate amount of time, so fans can have hope,” Stern said.

That makes some sense.

But there is a line to walk here — there needs to be a consequence for bad decisions and handing out bad contracts. There cannot be a get out of jail free card. Part of the sport is played by the general managers — and guessing (or second guessing) along with them is part of the fun for us fans. It’s the draw of fantasy sports.

If, hypothetically, you are the Atlanta Hawks and you give a six-year max deal to your best player even though you know by the end of that deal he will be drastically overpaid and a shell of himself on the court, you should have to pay a price. Okay that’s not so hypothetical. But the point is if you give out a contract like that, you should not have an automatic out after a couple years.

There’s a line to walk. But all to often what the owners really want out of the CBA negotiations is a way out of their own bad decisions.

  1. zblott - Oct 8, 2010 at 5:41 PM

    I agree that the fans shouldn’t be punished, but Stern’s clearly just trying to push the agenda of the owners (which is to make terrible decisions and not be punished for doing so), so this stinks of favortism toward the owners. If you don’t want to punish fans with team’s ineptitude, here’s an idea. If a team wants to get out of a long-term deal, make them fire their GM and president, neither of whom can work in the league in any capacity (no announcing/analyst deals) for at least 5 years. If the team wants to get out of a second contract within 10 years of the first one that got their front office canned, the owner must sell the team within 6 months at a price decided by an independent mediator (ie: not one from the NBA). There are MORE than enough people trying to buy franchises all the time, so finding a buyer isn’t a problem. If we go with this system, I’m OK with non-guaranteed contracts.

    If you don’t understand what the CBA is, how it works, and exactly what the owners and players are fighting over, here’s a primer that breaks it down real easy like:

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