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Notes From A Nuclear Winter


As the twitter hashtags have made clear, we’re at the onset of the NBA’s Nuclear Winter.

A few thoughts before the fallout kills us all:

Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports reports that the owners have a conference call today to discuss the next steps in their response to the players’ response to their response to the bargaining session that fell apart last week. The worry is that on the back of the two antitrust lawsuits filed by the players this week, the hard line owners will take this idiotic game of brinksmanship to the next level, instead of the more pertinent action: some plaintive discussion of the fact they overreached and a discussion about how best to bridge the moderate gap between their position and that of the former players union.

It’s a serious test of David Stern’s leadership and a chance for him to rise above the sturm und drang on both sides and focus on the part of his job that extends beyond bleeding every ounce of blood from his players simply because he can. That part, of course, is his responsibility to shepherd the league past the embarrassments of the last five months, guide the warring factions towards détente, and get everyone back to work.

Given that the differences between the two sides are nothing close to irreconcilable, this should be achievable. And while we’re still unsure exactly how many allies Stern has amongst his ownership group and how influential the outliers are, it’s for these dark times the NBA Commissioner is supposed to be built. Fans expect little from the Michael Heisleys of the world in terms of their long term perspective on the continuity and health of the game, and, to be fair, little more than that from the Grizzlies’ players, but we well are within our bounds to expect Stern to keep the lights on in the absence of any great crisis.

And there is no great crisis here. There’s a 50-50 split and largely inconsequential differences on system issues.

Of course, there’s also a race to the top of Mount Pettiness via Disrespectful Pass.

I believe Stern’s legacy tilts heavily on whether or not he can avert a lost season and, more importantly, I think he believes that too. Despite the fact that Billy Hunter has been overmatched in this negotiation and deserves blame for this last second legal ploy that’s spun this thing to a new level of chaos, Stern will — justifiably — have to own the end result of this lockout. He set the inhospitable tone for the negotiations. Or he allowed it to be set for him. Either way, as commissioner, it’s on him.

So, Stern either deescalates the conflicts between players and owners, rallies everyone around the logic of grabbing the majority of $4 billion in revenue or he makes an end run around those that would trade the 2011-12 season for 53% of BRI and cuts a deal despite their protestations.

Those are two options for the end of this nasty business.

We better not get to option three.

  • skeeds

    excellent piece.

    I was really puzzled by Stern's stance throughout these negotiations. It's another thing to support the owners and another thing to threaten the opposing side so literally. And the "ultimatum" was in my opinion an almost naive move. When you have no case whatsoever (and the owners really don't), you don't give the other side an ultimatum to scare them. Especially when they're aware that you have no case.

    I think Stern bet on the fact that somewhere along the way (probably after the "ultimatum" was given to them) there would be players who'd question the union's calls and the disagreement would weaken the negotiating leverage of the NBPA.
    Which didn't happen, even though we know that some of the players, including big names like Kobe, wanted to take the deal. They kept it together and made a collective decision, and that might have won them the game…

  • janos

    Another day check here but no end lockout…
    They make conference call available fan, if fan all promise go on mute so not interfere business? Please post numbers here for any call fan allowed on.
    Option 3 mean what?

  • I_Love_Green

    I just cannot believe they are all just letting this happen. Both sides have played these negotiations terribly, and I truly do not believe there will be a season.

  • http://www.lackuna.com/tag/convocco/ convocco

    Aw, this was an extremely good post. I have Spend some time and actual effort to make a great article is appearing in the article… but what can I say… I put things off a whole lot and never seem to get nearly anything done

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  • https://www.facebook.com/public/Hayder-Al-Ani Hayder al-ani

    This is my first time i visit here. I found so many entertaining stuff in notes from a nuclear winter, especially its discussion. From the tons of comments on your articles, I guess I am not the only one having all the leisure here! Keep up the good work.

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