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Some owners thinking sale price, not hoops, as lockout drags on

Oct 21, 2011, 5:51 PM EDT

1217_nba-paul-allen-trail-blazers Getty Images

I didn’t think there was much that could make me more depressed about the prospects of the NBA season.

Then I read Adrian Wojnarowski well-researched post at Yahoo, ripping apart Blazers owner Paul Allen, his interest (or lack thereof) in the team and his motivations for being the heavy during Thursday’s labor negotiating session, when things blew up.

This is what jumped out at me — there are owners more interested in getting a good deal so they can sell the team than they are about what is good for the NBA and basketball. They are going Gordon Gekko. And apparently there are enough of them that they are driving the bus. Right off a cliff, but they are driving the bus.

The season’s in genuine jeopardy now because powerbrokers like Allen are uniting with nickel-and-dimers like (Suns owner Robert) Sarver in a common cause: How do I get out of NBA ownership with maximum profit, minimal pain? These are simply men gutting costs to eventually get the best price and sell those franchises….

For Allen, that’s great. For the NBA, it’s trouble. Because his agenda – and that of several owners – is making these teams more palatable for prospective buyers. And that’ll come at whatever the consequences to the league’s public standing, relationships with its players, its fans, its future. This has to be disconcerting to Stern, who doesn’t want to lose the season.

Stern’s legacy rides on this, a second long lockout hurts his standing. But at the end of the day he works for the owners.

And a lot of those owners are hardliners, driving a brutal bargain. One the players may have no real option but to accept. But the players are not there yet, and meanwhile owners like Allen are thinking dollar signs, not basketball, which is sad.

  1. pl4tinum514 - Oct 21, 2011 at 9:00 PM

    To hell with it. Owners should take sixty percent. If the players don’t like it, let them leave the nba and let the teams draft a bunch of college players to each team. Like starting over. New stars will emerge after one month. To hell with these loser players who all want to team stack and take the easy way out. They are so full of themselves that they don’t even realize the fans couldn’t care less about them. Its a team sport. And its a business. The owners are at the most risk and should make the most money.

    • leearmon - Oct 22, 2011 at 11:01 AM

      Posts like this make me laugh. Do you really think the NBA would be as profitable with a bunch of “college players” as you put it, as if the NBA isn’t currently filled with players who went to college? I digress, the NBA is built off of stars. Simple. There is no denying that. If you doubt my opinion ask yourself this question. “Why did the Clippers get so much national attention this past season?” Do you think it was because of the brilliance of owner Donald Sterling? Doubt it. What about the coaching of Vinny Del Negro? Nope. Even the improved play of young players such as DeAndre Jordan and Eric Gordon? Hell no. The Clippers saw increased ticket sales, nationally televised games, higher jersey sales, endorsement deals etc because of one thing/player Blake Griffin. Period. The fact that the other L.A. team had a star, not only helped the Clippers (who really don’t deserve it) but it also helps the league. The Clippers become a draw so when they are on the road, for the first time in YEARS they start to sell out. See the NBA without stars is college basketball without alums and history. It won’t/can’t succeed. The owners are at the most risk, but thats the case anytime you start or run a business. Risk reward. If you start your own company you know there isn’t a guarantee that you will see a profit. Yet you think the NBA owners should have one? How ridiculous is that? Owners need to realize the NBA isn’t the NFL. NFL fans will go to the games to see there favorite teams, whether Ben Roethlisberger or Dan Dixon is the Quarterback, whether Brett Favre or Aaron Rodgers takes the snap. NBA fans however, wont spend their money to see Nate Robinson and Larry Hughes but they will spend to see Amar’e and Melo, or Blake Griffin, Lebron, Kobe, Derrick Rose or any other star you think the league should do without.

  2. philtration - Oct 21, 2011 at 9:03 PM

    Paual Allen is a turd.
    He is one of the major reasons the league’s spending has gotten out of control and now he wants to be the hawk?

    End the lock out right now… contract 10 teams and make sure that Portland is one of them.
    If you city can’t support an NBA team then you don’t get one.

  3. mojosmagic - Oct 21, 2011 at 11:04 PM

    Do you ever wonder why these owners want to sell? Did it ever occur to the writer owners have s right for a return on their investment .The line in the sand mentality forged by the owners is needed or the league will die.

    • deadeyedesign23 - Oct 22, 2011 at 7:02 PM

      No they don’t have a right to a return on their investment. I don’t know about you, but I’d sure as hell be a stock broker if there was such a thing as a right to an ROI.

  4. skolvikesskol - Oct 22, 2011 at 4:17 AM


  5. craigw24 - Oct 22, 2011 at 7:25 AM

    This concept that being an owner entitles you to 1) making a profit and 2) dictating conditions for your employees was what brought about unions in the first place. Some bloggers need to bone up on their history in this country.

    Also, if our entire society is in this only for ourselves, and has no responsibility to our neighbors or our employees, then our society is not long for this world. We all need each other – that is the definition of the reason for a society. There are relatively few leaders and relatively few rich people, but they do owe a debt to the society that allows them to lead or to get rich. We may argue what that debt should be, but there is one.

    • bruinscotty - Oct 22, 2011 at 12:00 PM

      Are you suggesting that those who spend hundreds of millions on a basketball team are not entitled to make a profit on their investment? Since when did making a nice return on your huge investment become a bad thing? And the unions of the 1800s came about because of poor working conditions, long unbearable hours, unfair wages, etc. I am sure that the poor chaps who worked 16 hour days for peanuts would have little sympathy for the coddled multi millionaire players and there 10,000 square foot mansions and there collection of high end autos.

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