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League exec spins that “Garnett (expletive) everything up”

Oct 17, 2011, 8:06 PM EDT

Boston Celtics Garnett takes to the court for Game 1 against the New York Knicks in Boston Reuters

Welcome to the latest phase of the battle for your hearts and minds.

We learned over the weekend that it was veteran NBA starsKevin Garnett, Kobe Bryant and Paul Pierce — who were at the forefront on the players side of shooting down and discussions of the players and owners doing a 50/50 split of basketball related income.

Today, league sources took that one step further in speaking with Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo — they threw KG under the bus.

Privately, management insists that everything changed when the Boston Celtics’ Kevin Garnett(notes) walked into the negotiating room on Oct. 4. The owners knew it wouldn’t go well when Garnett started glowering across the table, sources said, like the league lawyers, owners and officials were opponents at the center jump. He was defiant, determined and downright ornery. He was K.G. Everyone knew Hunter had to cede to the wishes of the stars, and the stars demanded that the players stop making concessions to the owners.

As one league official said, “We were making progress, until Garnett [expletive] everything up.”

Realize that every time somebody anonymously leaks something to the press, they do it for a reason — there is a motive. (This is true in politics, sports, entertainment, whatever.) The motive here is pretty clear here: The league and owners thought they were getting close to a deal they liked when KG and the veterans killed it. As a counter measure, you leak things that make the players seem the heavy, you make them look bad, and next time (Tuesday, perhaps?) they don’t shoot down the idea you like out of hand.

Here’s one other thing to remember — no one person can (expletive) up a negotiation on their own. If there wasn’t a broader base of support for that position in the union — and there is a broad base — he would have been pushed to the side. But he speaks for a lot of players; he just does it more loudly.

It’s great that a federal mediator will be in the room with the owners and players tomorrow, but that is meaningless if both sides don’t want to make a deal.

  1. jucam1 - Oct 17, 2011 at 8:48 PM

    Good work Granett… Now that you’ve F’ed everything up for the players, the owners can wait you out and destroy u in a month or two…. Not rooting for the Billionares, but unfortunately they need to win to get us a better more competitive league… Thanks KG, your stupidity and any lack of business sense (barely a High School grad) will lead to the outcome we need

    • giselleisasucubus - Oct 31, 2011 at 3:23 PM

      yeah, because he is merely a hs grad he cant have business sense. You are an idiot. Who changed salaries forever in the NBA? Hmmmm. Garnett has been a needle in the NBA’s financial side since he entered the league. His contract changed salaries for good. You think he has no business sense? You think a 35 year old guy who clearly isnt dumb hasnt picked up some business tactics from his agents and staff? Get a clue Jucam.

  2. ck800 - Oct 17, 2011 at 9:15 PM

    While I could believe this, the article says “spins” for a reason. Who are we to know what happened, and I sure don’t trust NBA exec’s.

  3. florida727 - Oct 17, 2011 at 10:27 PM

    If you think Garnett screwed things up, you’re the idiot, not KG. No one, single player can adversely affect the negotiation process. The owners are looking for an excuse, ANY excuse, to stick it to the players, to teach them a lesson as to who’s the boss. Don’t get me wrong, I think the players need to realize they are nothing more than “employees”. They have NO leverage. But don’t tell me any one player screwed up the negotiations, because that’s bullsh*t, plain and simple.

    BTW, in his 16 NBA seasons, Garnett has banked more than TWO HUNDRED AND SEVENTY (270) MILLION, according to Guess that stupid, little high school education paid off okay, didn’t it? Have YOU got $270 million in YOUR bank account?

    • greatminnesotasportsmind - Oct 18, 2011 at 12:08 AM

      Easy for KG to say that when he has made 270 million. After all KG’s contract he signed with the Wolves caused the league to have their last lock out. It’s easy for him to say that when he has made 270 million in his career, but something tells me that when players like Kosta Koufos, Nikola Pekovic, and Ricky Rubio start missing game checks, he won’t be sharing any of that 270 million he is sitting on.

      Let’s face it, the players need to accept a 50/50 BRI split with a hard cap. Until they do, the owners will sit and will lose less money than if they were playing under the old system. There are owners (i.e. Washington) who sat through an NHL lock out and made the game (for now) better than it was.

  4. gmenmunny - Oct 17, 2011 at 11:19 PM

    Hey florida727, do *YOU* think kg has 270 mill in the bank? Yes, he signed good deals, but he also pays taxes, and buys stuff. $100 mill possibly.

    • florida727 - Oct 18, 2011 at 6:48 AM

      Oh, gee, my bad. He only might have $100 million. Guess that changes things. Maybe he really does need another paycheck. Good catch.

      • passerby23 - Oct 18, 2011 at 7:54 PM

        That’s also not counting endorsements and any other media-related income. Even if KG had blown $260 million, can you really feel sympathy for someone like that? Do we need to bring up Sprewell’s famous “I got kids to feed” comment for a “measly” $22 mil per season?

  5. goforthanddie - Oct 17, 2011 at 11:42 PM

    “But he speaks for a lot of players”

    I think he speaks for those who don’t need to play this year, or ever again. The top 1% who don’t need to be heard, as they are far from representative of the player base.

  6. denverdude7 - Oct 18, 2011 at 5:29 AM

    I am liking KG & KB more and more. They are obviously looking out more for themselves than the majority of the players or the viability of the NBA itself. Keep up the good work. It leaves more time for baseball and football highlights on ESPN.

    Just give up. Break off all negotiations until 2013 at the earliest. Better yet, just fold the entire league and start over in say about five years. Good riddance.

  7. havlicekstoletheball - Oct 18, 2011 at 7:47 AM

    During the last stoppage, Patrick Ewing told us that the reason for the strife was the younger players who had to struggle to “get by” on the $450,000 league minimum at the time. Apparently, even then, $9,000 a week didn’t go as far as it used to.

    How ’bout this for Garnett and friends? We go with the 53/47 split, with the players getting the larger percentage. But with a proviso. Since seventeen of the thirty franchises lost money in 2010-11, operating losses are also shared 53/47, with the players paying the larger percentage. They can do so collectively, or the players on the teams losing the money can be responsible for that loss themselves. That sounds fair to me. It may even make some of them actually run up and down the court at full speed, and learn to make free throws.

    • gor76 - Oct 18, 2011 at 12:43 PM

      Patrick also told us, “Sure we make a lot of money, but we spend a lot of money too.”

  8. lucky5934 - Oct 18, 2011 at 8:00 AM

    If I was the owners I would wait this out. The owners have money and have the ammunition to wait this out. The players should accept the 50-50 split and call it a day. The players should be thankful for a league that pays them that well and on time. Leagues overseas do not do that on a consistent basis. Players have to face reality. They can make more money playing than by holding out. Its great that KG has that much money. But many players foolishly spend their money and have little to show for it. Agree to the 50-50 and move on with your shortened season.

  9. dcipher80 - Oct 18, 2011 at 9:42 AM

    The only thing that really matters to me is the quality of the game and the game is suffering and a lot of the reasons are systematic. Let the Lebron James’ and Carmelo Anthony’s of the world form 3 to 4 super teams that’ll run the league for the next decade and you’ll lose mid-small market fan bases, it’s that simple.

    • trueballs - Oct 18, 2011 at 12:50 PM

      so what happened in the 60s when the Celtics ruled, the 80s when the Lakers and Celtics won 8 of the 10 championships…or when the Bulls won 6 of 8 years in the 90s. I think the NBA did pretty well financially in those years.

      From what I hear the 70s and 2000s weren’t very profitable…and no single team dominated…I’m not saying I’m against competitive balance. The numbers say the fans aren’t necessarily dying for it.

      • passerby23 - Oct 18, 2011 at 8:00 PM

        While I agree with your logic, the Lakers and Spurs have been the dominant teams of the 2000s. The Lakers have won 5 championships in the last decade, the Spurs 4 if you include 1999. That’s pretty dominant.

        But I do agree with the premise that a dominant team is not bad for basketball.

  10. jimsjam33 - Oct 18, 2011 at 10:52 AM

    Idiot ! Why in the world does the union allow a player or players into the negotiating room where skilled lawyers , decision makers , and owners of NBA teams are haggling out terms for an agreement ? This is like allowing the janitor at Apple into the Board Room to make contributions and decisions about technology research and development . The players have representives . Stick to your skills K.G. ,
    The inmates apparently are running the asylum .

    • skids003 - Oct 18, 2011 at 1:05 PM

      Jim, I believe you are right. These guys have no negotiating or business skills.

  11. chitownmatt - Oct 18, 2011 at 1:30 PM

    Why are the “superstars” negotiating ANYTHING???
    Isn’t that why they have professional agents in the first place?
    The player’s union and the league should have previously agreed to a binding arbitration if an agreement was not on the table by Sept 1.
    That should be the FIRST thing they agree upon… to make sure this BS never happens again.
    Second, the NBA cannot survive without some sort of hard-cap. I’m sorry, but the super-teams cannot be allowed to continue to hoard the talent.

  12. dolfan66r - Oct 18, 2011 at 5:54 PM

    What college did Garnett and Kobe attend? Did they get an MBA when wasn’t looking. The players are grossly over pricing their worth to the American public. I liked the playoffs this year mostly because it was fun to pull against the Heat. The absence of the NBA from the American scene will not be missed. Nobody watched the made for TV games on Christmas anyway. In fact the NFL has a full slate of game this year on Christmas Eve and New Years Day.

  13. CaJonMcChicken - Oct 19, 2011 at 1:51 AM

    I can picture Garnett just glaring at everyone! Hilarious!

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