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In fighting for final dollars, league has cost itself much more

Nov 14, 2011, 6:32 PM EDT

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Today I and a lot of NBA fans feel like Charlton Heston at the end of Planet of the Apes.

You Maniacs! You blew it up! Ah, damn you! God damn you all to hell!

The ultimate stupidity of what has happened with the NBA lockout is that in the fight over the system of movement and the last dollars in this new Collective Bargaining Agreement, the two sides will have cost themselves hundreds of millions, if not billions, of dollars.

They are fighting over how to divide up the pie, but that pie is about to get a lot smaller. Fans are pissed.

There is almost zero chance of games on Christmas Day, which is when football starts to wind down and the average sports fan starts to turn his or her attention to the NBA.

There will be no games that day, and the backlash will cut the league and its revenue for years. Fans will feel the recession and see no NBA games and rightfully be disgusted.

Fighting over percentages of revenue while at the same time reducing the amount of revenue is maybe the ultimate foolishness on the players’ and owners’ part.

While nobody is blameless, I side with Ray Ratto of that the owners have been the worst offenders.

They created this system, and everyone’s franchise values rose dramatically since Stern first masterminded the star-players-in-star-cities Strategy. This the owners deciding that profits can be increased and maybe even maximized with a new and more punitive system whose only real feature is that the owners can now be indemnified against their witless exuberance, poor judgment and flat-out mistakes.

And if you think the owners are taking all the financial risk, then you should see who paid for most of their stadiums. You, the taxpayer, did.

The owners’ biggest mistake was not giving the players a way out of the negotiations to save face (it didn’t have to be much). The owners had the big win, but to win by 30 was not enough, they kept on the full-court press and wanted to win by 40. So they gave ultimatums and drove this kind of bargain that was almost certain to make the players fight back with the biggest club they had.

The players are not blameless. They should have decertified long ago, not pushed the button and blown it all up Monday as time to save the season has run out. You can make an argument that they should have taken commissioner David Stern’s latest offer or at least put the entire thing to a vote of the entire union membership. If they accepted the offer, they still would be making incredible money to play a game.

But where we are now is that the sides are fighting over a shrinking pie. If they had solved this like adults, everyone would have gotten their fill. Now the game suffers and everyone goes hungry.

I feel like Heston right now.

  1. kandh2004 - Nov 14, 2011 at 6:43 PM

    Of course the owners are wrong again to you Kurt. Good to see a weekend off didn’t make you any smarter. Or maybe you were doing something with the players huh Kurt

    • edweird0 - Nov 14, 2011 at 6:48 PM

      You’re a damn idiot. He clearly said both sides Were to blame.

      • bearsandjazz - Nov 14, 2011 at 6:52 PM

        Your a Damn idiot because it took the whole story for him to put “They’re both to blamezz” at the very end while calling out the owners thru the rest of the story……your an idiot for your stupid post.

      • idontevenwannaknow - Nov 14, 2011 at 6:54 PM

        Hey now, name calling serves no purpose, but to defend the post above, if you’ve read many stories that are posted here, they definitely have a player-side slant to them, well, maybe a heavy lean…

      • trbowman - Nov 14, 2011 at 7:00 PM

        And clearly he said the owners were more to blame.

        Now, I don’t fault Kurt at all. He’s entitled to his opinion on the situation and he’s entitled to write about it, just like I’m entitled to the same.

        With that said, go owners!

  2. idontevenwannaknow - Nov 14, 2011 at 6:51 PM

    Kurt, I barely ever agree on your take to some of these stories that you write about, but you are really churning, yes churning, these stories out today, Thanks. By the way, what is your take on smaller market teams changing hands, as in ownership, in relation to the new “supposed” push for parity? We knew that Stern loved superstars playing in the major markets, but do you think that the changing faces of the owners has caused Stern a new problem, as in, new owners, after spending millions on a team, wanting to somewhat equal the playing field when it comes to acquiring the services of much better players than they would typically entice through free agency?

    • ctw3786 - Nov 15, 2011 at 10:19 AM

      Most good teams are not built through free agency, they’re built through the draft. And don’t tell me MIA and NY because they haven’t won anything, and I’m a diehard NY fan. Dirk (drafted), Kobe (drafted), Jordan (drafted) Wade (drafted), Duncan (Drafted), and the list goes on. I can do that forever. Change the draft, and there goes your parity. Make kids stay in college longer, like the NFL and teams will have players with immediate impacts. That’s why there is parity in the NFL. Like the article says, the owners want to be indemnified for their bad mistakes, and last time I heard its a business. Ask Portland with Sam Bowie and how that turned out for them. BAD DECISION!

    • ctw3786 - Nov 15, 2011 at 10:20 AM

      Most good teams are not built through free agency, they’re built through the draft. And don’t tell me MIA and NY because they haven’t won anything, and I’m a diehard NY fan. Dirk (drafted), Kobe (drafted), Jordan (drafted) Wade (drafted), Duncan (Drafted), and the list goes on. I can do that forever. Change the draft, and there goes your parity. Make kids stay in college longer, like the NFL and teams will have players with immediate impacts. That’s why there is parity in the NFL. Like the article says, the owners want to be indemnified for their bad mistakes, and last time I heard its a business. Ask Portland with Sam Bowie and how that turned out for them. BAD DECISION! Picking Jordan changes their history. And they did it again with Durant/Oden. Should they be indemnfied? That’s what the owners want. Hire better GM’s

  3. worldbfree4me - Nov 14, 2011 at 6:56 PM

    I was so looking forward to the Bron Dirk rematch on Xmas day. Oh well, maybe next year. I got Black.Ops and BF3 to hold me over…

  4. bearsandjazz - Nov 14, 2011 at 6:57 PM

    Exactly…..This guy is a players guy….I hope the owners hold out. I love the Jazz but to get things right I hope the owners hold out until the players cave. Its time to stop allowing the greedy to get even more greedy. Plus as the previous story reads, the Players didnt get to vote….I think the result would be much different if ALL NBA players got to vote on the offer.

    • mondogarage - Nov 14, 2011 at 8:10 PM

      “Its time to stop allowing the greedy to get even more greedy.”

      Then why are you so much in the owners’ camp?

      The owners got virtually FREE arenas on your tax dollars, and get more by selling naming rights to the arenas WE paid to build.

      When the owners accept a hard salary cap on their own revenues, and a hard cap on their franchise values, then, and only then, is it fair to address putting artificial limits on their employees’ earnings.

      And for those saying it’s fair to artificially cap players’ salaries, I ask them this…are you prepared to accept an artificial hard cap on YOUR salary for the next 6-10 years, and lose your right to offer your services to other potential employers?

      • itsasouthernthingms - Nov 15, 2011 at 8:11 AM

        Tell you what, you lock me in at $10-12 million for the next 6-10 years and I am all in baby!

      • hystoracle - Nov 15, 2011 at 10:06 AM

        Most of those arenas are multipurpose and are filled with more than just Basketball 40+ times a year. All host concerts, ice shows, and other acts.. Many also host NHL teams 41 times out of the year (MSG, Staples, etc.). Some have Arena football, some indoor lacrosse, indoor soccer. So I think the taxpayers will be ok.. If the Arena is well managed they should be able to fill any empty dates with different acts. You never know Oprah might need to throw another party.

  5. hay1111 - Nov 14, 2011 at 6:59 PM

    Im not missing anything-its football season.

    • maddawcyl - Nov 15, 2011 at 7:38 AM

      And College Basketball just started. I have always liked it better. Most of them are still playing for the love of the game.

  6. rick1v - Nov 14, 2011 at 7:08 PM

    You’re always going to hear from that contingent that blames “greedy players”. “everyone should be so lucky to play a game for millions, yada yada yada”.

    Kurt is spot on. Let’s not forget this is a lockout, not a strike. The owners did this, and their plan all along has been to crush the players, and severly restrict free agency, and create a system where even idiot owners like the maloofs and the gilberts of this world can’t lose money. Funny how people don’t get bent out of shape by what Tom Cruise or Justin Beeber make on the free market. They don’t take any financial risks either. You aren’t paying for tickets to see laundry, you’re paying to see the best at what they do, perform at the highest level.

    Look at how the Spurs have been run for years. You dont’ have to be from a big market to be very successful. Run your franchise intelligently, and you’ll make money.

  7. acieu - Nov 14, 2011 at 7:12 PM

    More drivel from the NBAPA biggest apologist and butt kisser Mr. Helin.

  8. bearsstillsuck - Nov 14, 2011 at 7:23 PM

    the worst part about not having a season will be reading all the jibberish these bloggers write. can’t wait for another year of hearing how the owners ruined everything and how the innocent players are suffering.

  9. danielcp0303 - Nov 14, 2011 at 8:06 PM

    I don’t know how anyone can read that quoted paragraph and disagree with it

    • brooklynbulls - Nov 14, 2011 at 8:46 PM

      @ Daniel…..A closed mind doesnt have the ability to process facts and develop an informed and objective opinion. Anytime you have two large groups with opposing views, an open mind is going to find both valid points and points they will disagree with…..maybe one side more than the other. A narrow and prejudiced mind has already decided its stance and is not about to allow common sense, facts and enlightenment cloud that view. As I’ve said before, BOTH sides have frustrated me in this process. The owners for their greed, bullying and flat out unreasonable stance and the players for their disconnect with reality and failure to realize that ambushes like this is what we are all subject to from management in the corporate world and this decertification, at this late stage will do little to right the wrong. There is a reason why becoming your own boss is so enticing. COMPROMISE!!

  10. buckifan4life - Nov 14, 2011 at 8:24 PM

    Why isn’t it:

    “In fighting for final dollars, UNION has cost itself much more” ???

    The players should’ve taken that deal.

    No NBA? I’m fine with it. The offers will get much worse now, I suspect.

    • derekjetersmansion - Nov 14, 2011 at 9:52 PM

      Because they didn’t have anything to begin with.

    • 6thsense79 - Nov 15, 2011 at 3:56 AM

      buckifan4life – Nov 14, 2011 at 8:24 PM
      Why isn’t it:

      “In fighting for final dollars, UNION has cost itself much more” ???

      Well Buck that’s not the head line because the Union has given the owners everthing they wanted in terms of BRI……Remember the Union had initial insisted on going from 57% to 52.5%….the owners demanded 50% and eventually the Union relented…..Now the owners wanted to keep pushing until they crushed the players. There is only so much you can push someone before they do something drastic. Now both sides will pay a rather big financial hit.

  11. kehnn13 - Nov 14, 2011 at 9:16 PM

    You do realize that NBA franchise values have more than doubled since the last CBA? The owners statements about losing money are disingenuous at best. How do people fall for this stuff?

    • mondogarage - Nov 14, 2011 at 9:44 PM

      “How do people fall for this stuff?”

      The same way people look at Herman Cain and Rick Perry as serious presidential candidates.

    • iknowzeroaboutsports - Nov 15, 2011 at 12:43 AM

      @kehnn13 Not even the NBAPA denies that the franchises are losing money, about $300 million a year. The audited books have been made available to the union. L2read.

      @mondogarage And to think that if Perry gets elected he wants to do away with the Department of Education (if he can remember it).

    • hystoracle - Nov 15, 2011 at 10:09 AM

      Would you want to purchase an NBA franchise right now? Presently I don’t think they are worth a pile of beans right now.

  12. mogogo1 - Nov 14, 2011 at 10:59 PM

    For as enlightened and intelligent as modern man believes himself to be, we are, by and large, greedy, selfish, stupid beings. The age-old children’s fable about killing the goose that killed the golden egg? People really are that dumb.

    I agree the owners should have given the players a way to save some face and that their holding out for total victory is likely to be a very expensive win. Yet, the dumbest, most selfish man in the room was probably Billy Hunter. The man is supposed to be representing ALL the players, yet the only ones he seems to care about are the ones who have so much dough they can afford to lose the season. The majority of the union supposedly would have taken the owners last offer. Given what unions are supposed to be about, shouldn’t that have been the end of things?

    Hunter and the union aren’t magicians; they have no way of getting the lost salaries back for the players. There’s a significant number of bench warmers whose career is probably over. They’ll lose their jobs whenever play does resume to younger guys straight out of school. Hunter did nothing for them. In fact, he sold them down the river to ingratiate himself to the LeBrons, Wades, Melos, Garnetts and Kobes who never needed his help to begin with.

    • mogogo1 - Nov 14, 2011 at 11:00 PM

      Or laid the golden egg! Though had the goose killed it, there would have been just cause in killing the goose.

    • 6thsense79 - Nov 15, 2011 at 4:06 AM

      Really? I don’t understand this. People always make statements like this when negotiations go bad and lay blame at the feet of the Union head. The Union head represents all players. He also is not going to accept a deal that he feels is not in the best interest of his entire constituates just because a number of players just hanging on in the league may lose their jobs. I’m sure the owners would like to negotiate with those type of players directly since they’d be so desperate they’d willingly take almost any deal proposed. Besides the NBA is a star driven league….Those mid level guys and end of the bench guys are getting paid rediculous amounts of money because of the stars of the NBA…..Kobe, Lebron, D-Wade, Carmelo would all command contracts approaching A-Rod money if not for a Cap on top end contracts. With the exception of the die hard x and o NBA fans most people come to NBA games to see stars performing at a high level not bench warmers or role players. Oh they’re needed but they aren’t the attraction.

  13. prof52 - Nov 15, 2011 at 1:11 AM

    Players are not the sharpest knives in the drawer!
    Where else do you earn millions playing a kids game?
    Most are self-centered, unsophisticated, immediate gratification studs who are ill-prepared for society as it is. Most have limited skills outside of basketball.
    With that backdrop, why then would they sacrifice a years salary for limited gains? Talk about listening to and being lead by fools!

    Players must have input but not dictate personnel or business moves such as has happen in Miami and New York. Every market needs to have an equal opportunity.

  14. henryd3rd - Nov 15, 2011 at 5:21 AM

    This entire fight between the owners and union reminds me of the end of the first “Planet of the Apes” starring Charleton Heston when he realizes that man has destroyed the Earth that he knew, “YOU MANIACS! YOU BLEW IT UP! OH, DAMN YOU! GODDAMN YOU ALL TO HELL!”

  15. omniusprime - Nov 15, 2011 at 9:00 AM

    I’ve never liked David Stern and his one sided handling of this NBA lockout has been pathetic. He should be fired. I also hate those stinking 1% owners who think they can have everything their way. You better believe they’ve cooked their books to show they lose money, better believe they’re making money hand over fist. I don’t have any sympathy for the grossly overpaid NBA players who want to much for doing way too little. These overly pampered pro athletes don’t deserve to have collective bargaining rights considering they have agents who get them more money than they deserve.

    Nope I’m sick and tired of both sides. David Stern’s allowing the hard liners to run amok and screw up the NBA is the last straw for me. I won’t be watching the NBA when they come back, probably next year. It won’t matter that Kobe is in his final years I’m finished with the NBA, I can find other amusements to keep me entertained. I hope a whole lot of fans decide to stop watching or attending NBA games to show the greedy owners and players that the fans are the most important group in any sport.

  16. ctw3786 - Nov 15, 2011 at 10:36 AM

    Most good teams are not built through free agency, they’re built through the draft. And don’t tell me MIA and NY because they haven’t won anything, and I’m a diehard NY fan. Dirk (drafted), Kobe (drafted), Jordan (drafted) Wade (drafted), Duncan (Drafted), and the list goes on. I can do that forever. Change the draft, and there goes your parity. Make kids stay in college longer, like the NFL and teams will have players with immediate impacts, like the NFL. That’s why there is parity in the NFL. Like the article says, the owners want to be indemnified for their bad mistakes, and last time I heard its a business. If you are a business that acquires a company, should the acquired company give you back money if it don’t work out…..ask HP acquiring PALM. Ask Portland with Sam Bowie and how that turned out for them. Drafting Jordan changes their history. Ask Portland with Greg Oden. Drafting Durant changes their history too I think. BAD DECISIONS will keep you from winning, NOT this bull that they’re talking. Ask the Wizards with Gilbert Arenas…..BAD DECISION! Ask the Magic with Rashard Lewis……..BAD DECISION! And once again, I can do that forever. I will admit that the system needs to be changed a little because the teams are losing money, and the players agreed obviously by lowering their BRI, but the owners want everything. They say parity….they don’t care. All they want is money. If they lose, but make a profit still, they’re happy. Portland gave Greg Oden more money after his contract ended. The guy played 82 games in 4 years. That’s just STUPIDITY!

  17. florida727 - Nov 15, 2011 at 11:44 AM

    I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again: the players have no leverage in this matter because they are nothing more than employees. And just like every other corporation in America, there are others waiting in line to take their jobs. Same quality of entertainment? No. But don’t think the owners care as long as seats are occupied. The players assume no risk in running the business side of the sport. They will cave because every time the 15th and 31st passes without a bank deposit being made, the pain point gets a little harder to accept… even for the rich boys, let alone the rank-and-file.

    Personally, I think instead of looking to assign fault or blame, the headline should read, “Both Sides Are Idiots; Can’t Figure Out How to Divide Billions”, and just leave it at that.

    BTW, “ctw3786”, good post. Thanks. Ironic, isn’t it? Most of these owners got rich running businesses that generated enough wealth for them to afford to buy an NBA team. Now their stupidity is showing with the salaries they pay out, and how they manage their sports team business, and their inability to equitably divide up billions… more than their previous successes afforded them.

    • Kurt Helin - Nov 15, 2011 at 5:41 PM

      Would the seats really be occupied to see a lower quality of basketball? You do in college but the emotional ties there are different, in the NBA a lesser quality of talent would mean people turn the game off. (Although with the lockout plenty of people will be turning it off anyway.)

  18. lltony - Nov 17, 2011 at 11:17 AM

    Daily I read blogs and their responses regarding the NBA lockout and one thing is constantly repeated.”Greedy, spoiled and over paid Millionaire boys who just care about themselves and the money”, we somehow forget that there are two different groups in negotiations, the spoil called spoiled kids and their power hungry fathers.
    But let us take a look from a honorable view here. I am not going to go in to the details of the negotiations cause it seem like everyone has an idea or opinion on what is going on without truly knowing the facts. So I WILL TRY NOT TO JOIN THAT BAND WAGON. Is this just about money for these players? Isn’t it somehow more about respect, protection and fairness for a commodity that helps generate billions of dollars? These gentlemen knew that standing their ground would result in been ridicule by the fans and some of the media, they knew that with such hard line owners there was a possibility that they would loss PAY CHEQUES, but they held fast to the belief that what was being offered was not a fair deal for the young and veteran players, and for those player that will come in to the leagues 10-20yrs from today.
    Let not lose sight of what’s going on here folks. Both side are to blame, egos are getting in the way, and until these egos are willing to be put aside and allow us the FANS to enjoy a sport that we adore and love, this bickering and at time bulling will continue. Let’s tell the player we hate what’s going on and we are hurting as fans, let also tell the owners bullying need to be stop and good faith negotiations need to be adhered to. And in the end if there is any truth to the owner and players love for the fans, give us back some of your BRI at the ticket booths and concessions stands.
    Now I am not here to fight and argue with anyone, but love constructive criticism. I am a student of the blogs and learning is important to me. If I am wrong point me in the right direction and we will debate this amicably.

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