The question is: are you mad about it? And should you be?
NBA lockout negotiations resume Monday. Nothing of interest will take place and the league will continue to violently discharge all the fans it earned last season until only the stench of lost revenue remains. The threat of losing games isn’t upon the negotiations yet, and it’s unclear if that threat is even enough to compel either side to make a deal. We know, at least, that it’s not enough for Wyc Grousbeck.
Grousbeck, as Brian via Woj mentioned a few weeks ago, is willing to ride out a lost season in the interest of getting a better deal in the future. He’s joined by Ted Leonsis (Wiz), known lunatic Dan Gilbert (Cavs), and the universally reviled Robert Sarver (Suns) in this regard. While this decision is to some extent about money, it also makes a decent amount of basketball sense for his franchise. Peruse these bullets:
WHY A LOST SEASON IS GOOD FOR THE CELTICS:
- The Celtics have a ton of cap flexibility, and any strengthening of the NBA cap would make it easier to compete for big free agents. That’s important because big free agents do not ever sign in Boston. Briefly reflect on the last decade: who was the biggest free agent signed (not re-signed) by the Celtics over the last ten offseasons? 35-year-old Rasheed Wallace. Easily. Second biggest? 39-year-old Shaq. Third biggest? Hard to say, actually. Delonte? Tom Gugliotta? It’s pretty grim at this point. Even the useless players of the early decade pretty much all came trades: Vin Baker, Ricky Davis, old Gary Payton, dead Rick Fox. Simply put, any leverage the C’s can get in free agent discussions is of extremely high value.
- The 2011-2012 season is not really part of the Celtics’ plan, just as the 2011-2012 Cavaliers and Wizards seasons are not really part of anybody’s plan. The Old New Big Three sort of went on their farewell tour already, and the team’s unlikely to get any better with each of those guys getting one year older. If KG or Ray do want to play after next season, they’d have had an entire year to stitch themselves back together, and the Celtics would be in position to sign one of them (likely Ray) to play a supporting role behind a bigger star.
- Avery Bradley is unlikely to get any worse in that time.
WHY A LOST SEASON IS TERRIBLE FOR THE ENEMIES OF THE CELTICS:
- The Heat have four more years of the Three Tenors, and optimistically two of Wade at the height of his powers. The second year was the one everyone expected the three of them to put it together before any of them started to decline, and that year might suddenly evaporate on them. Possibly even worse, any restrictions on team salaries are going to make it tough for the Heat to improve their sub-terrible supporting cast.
- The Knicks would be similarly hamstrung by the giant contracts they’ve accumulated.
- Dwight Howard would never play basketball in Orlando again, except on the secret court inside the Matterhorn.
- Kobe Bryant, a capable 32 years old right now, would be a rattly 34 if basketball resumed in the fall of 2012. His contract also makes it extremely hard for the Lakers to retain another great player in a hard/flex cap situation.
- The Bulls only have one more year of hosing Derrick Rose to the tune of $6 million. He’s a restricted FA in 2012, and the Bulls are already into Boozer, Noah, and Deng for $40 million, so a reduced cap would make it nigh impossible to keep that team together.
You, of course, could give two poops about any of this. You want to see 1,230 basketball games played in the regular season. But do you blame Wyc for possibly protecting his team’s interests against the players and the rest of the league?