I thought I’d get in on the lockout fun here. And by fun, I mean the agonizing pain of hitting up ESPN.com to see only hockey scores grinning ghoulishly back at me.
By this point, you guys know the stakes. If David Stern really means it that Wednesday is the last possible day he’ll be willing to offer a deal the players could conceivably ratify, there won’t be a season. He probably doesn’t, but there’s only so many non-ultimatum ultimatums he can slap down before he has to do it. Especially with guys like Robert Sarver standing behind him with a flamethrower screaming "BURN THEM. BURN THEIR VILLAGES."
"Robert, this is 2011, most of these guys live in mansions in various well-populated cities."
"I WANT THEIR BLOOD ON MY CHEEKS."
Wait, that was Jim Harbaugh.
Even Michael Jordan is apparently now a hardliner. No truth to the rumor that he's planning to push off Stern to win this thing.
If the union decertifies, there isn't going to be a season. This is a process that takes a long time. What I’m hearing, re: decertification is hard to parse. Some guys are saying that many of the bigger NBA agents are looking at the NBA like Ron Swanson looks at a 22 oz steak, eager to make the point that the market value of a gently-used LeBron James is a lot more than 15 million dollars. Henry Abbott says that he hasn’t met a single lawyer or expert who experts decertification to work. And it didn’t in football.
That being said, Dallas’ favorite sportswriter Marc Stein figures correctly it’s the ONLY option that’ll give the players leverage. If it doesn’t, though, then they definitely don’t have leverage, and also no more threats.
If you’re Deron Williams, you've made millions, and you’re happy enough in Turkey, you’re wondering why the union hasn’t decertified already . If you’re Ty Lawson, you just got here and you’re not much enjoying Lithuania, maybe you’ve figured out the answer to that one.
As the incomparable Rob Mahoney has pointed out, there’s some good stuff in the new deal that, sub rosa, could make it a little up to the players that they’re getting hosed, or as hosed as millionaires who could be set for life with careful money management can get.
That being said, it’s not exactly clear that this thing is about issues. The value of two percentage points of BRI to Rodney Stuckey is not nothing, but probably missing a few paychecks to get the extra two is roughly an equivalent transaction. It’s about pride, and both sides are fiercely proud.
The problem for the players is that the players got to be players by playing basketball. Owners got to be owners by earning lots of money in other ways, enabling them to afford basketball. If there’s no basketball, the players aren’t doing anything, but the owners still have a lot of side game. And they don’t have to pay for basketball.
The other difference is that as 33 year olds turn to 34 year olds, without the opportunity to keep their skills sharp or add to their career totals, it makes a bit more difference than a 72 year old business magnate turning into a 73 year old business magnate, having to loosen up another hole in the diamond belt made of diamonds that he wears to supplement his albino-alligator-skin suspenders.
All the players have to keep them busy during a lockout is getting fat and marrying a Kardashian.
We’ll know soon, I reckon.