Nov 22, 2011, 5:09 PM EST
Dallas Mavericks players maybe more frustrated with the lockout than anyone. This season was to be their coronation — Dirk Nowitzki and Jason Kidd and a team full of guys who worked hard, won an NBA title and…
No banner to the rafter. No rings. Just lost momentum.
A couple of them spoke with Marc Spears of Yahoo and vented that frustration — nobody more so than DeShawn Stevenson.
“For me, personally, I don’t think there will be a season,” Mavericks guard DeShawn Stevenson said recently at Drew Gooden’s Make-A-Wish charity game. “Right now there is just a lot of bad blood and [the owners] keep putting offers out that we’re rejecting. So we’re not going anywhere….
“I felt like we should have decertified in July,” Stevenson said. “I feel like Billy Hunter is doing a horrible job because basically now [the owners] know our hand. The media knows our hand. The owners know our hand.”
Stevenson, I get your anger and frustration. But I think it’s misplaced here.
It would be a mistake to assume that it was Billy Hunter’s plan to answer David Stern’s ultimatum with a “disclaimer of interest.” Here is the thing — Hunter works for the players (the same way David Stern works for the owners). At the end of the day, he has to do what they want. If he wants to send a counterproposal to David Stern and the 30 team representatives say, “no, we want the disclaimer of interest” then the disclaimer it is.
In the end, the player reps voted unanimously for the disclaimer. If Stevenson wants to be angry with someone, it should be Mavs team rep Jason Terry who voted for this plan of action. And Terry told Spears he’d do it again.
One reason why Terry was glad the players rejected the owners’ most recent offer: Under it, he thought the Mavs would have a tough time keeping some of their core contributors. While Nowitzki, Terry, Shawn Marion and Jason Kidd are under contract, the Mavs have a long list of free agents that include Stevenson, center Tyson Chandler, guard Jose Juan Barea and forwards Caron Butler, Brian Cardinal and Peja Stojakovic.
“Look at our roster,” Terry said. “Free agency is going to hit us hard. We don’t know what our team is going to look like.”
The fact is now nobody is talking. Maybe the union’s attorneys will call the league attorneys soon and set up a settlement conference, if not that a judge will force the two sides to talk again, a source close to the negotiations told PBT.
But when that happens the attorneys — including Stern and Hunter — have to strike a deal both sides will ratify. And right now they can’t get their people to a middle ground compromise.
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