Oct 26, 2011, 1:23 PM EST
There is plenty of blame to go around for why we are still sitting here with an NBA lockout going on and the regular season postponed.
David Stern, Billy Hunter, Kevin Garnett, Paul Allen, Derek Fisher, Robert Saver and Bennett Salvatore are all to blame. Oh, wait, not Salvatore. I just blame him for everything wrong with the NBA out of habit. My bad.
When the Lakers agreed to a new local television deal worth several billion dollars last winter, it only further united their small-market competition in pressing for a makeover of both the revenue-sharing system and the split with the players.
“That Lakers’ TV deal scared the hell out of everybody,” one league official said. “Everyone thought there is no way to compete with that. Then everyone started thinking that it wasn’t fair that they didn’t have to share it with the teams they’re playing against.”
And here we are now, with the owners holding the hard line.
The other owners realized that the Lakers are raking in the cash, that the Celtics are about to do the same with a new deal with Comcast.
Those small market owners wanted a chunk of that money — make no mistake, this whole lockout is about cash — but they cleverly phrased it as “competitive balance.” They say it’s not about the money, it’s about a chance to compete.
If they want to compete, they need to draft well and make smart decisions with their contracts. The Raptors had a larger payroll than the Heat last season, money alone is not the answer.
So the small market owners started driving the bus, demanding major givebacks from the players and a bigger share of revenue sharing from the larger market teams. Those larger market teams don’t want to cut into their profits, so they say, “fine with the revenue sharing, but all that money we send out has to be new revenue we get in from this labor deal.”
And suddenly you have big-market owners coming in as hardliners, too.
And suddenly you are approaching Nov. 1 — the day the season was supposed to start — and you have no labor deal. You have a lockout. You have a lot of greedy people looking foolish.
Yet, here we are.
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