Why Aren’t Fans In The Room?

Posted on November 8, 2011 | No Comments

Okay, it’s been quite a while since I last posted. Quite a while. And if the lockout doesn’t end soon, chances are it will be a while until the next post, so prepare yourself. Hopefully I’ll still have readers.

So, obviously I’ve been silent on this whole lockout thing. Even before the lockout, while I was still posting, I didn’t say much about it. And now we are either on the edge of a new deal, or a cancelled season, from what I’ve read. Personally I wouldn’t be shocked if either one happens.

There have been countless articles, stories and posts about this lockout. Some siding with players, some siding with owners, some offering solutions and others doing a combination. There have bee a lot of people trying to write from the fans perspective, too.

Jonathan Tjarks, of RealGM, tried to write an article, last month, speaking for the fans, but he didn’t get it quite right. His belief that fans want stacked teams ignored the fact that most fans want their OWN teams to win more, or at least compete. If the NBA truly wants stacked teams, I suggest they simply contract the league in half. Otherwise the fans of the 25, or so, other teams are not going to be very happy.

What Jonathan doesn’t seem to get is that the fan’s opinions are just as fractured as owners and players.. A lot of it will depend on what team you’re a fan of. Dallas fans wouldn’t like the idea of a more financially restrictive league because their owner has more money than most and is willing to spend it to win. Laker fans know that any move towards more competitive balance will just make things harder for their team, because they’ve dominated over the last 30 years. Miami fans LIKE the ability of players to simply choose which team they want to play because players love Miami.

Most fans, though, don’t live in Miami, Dallas or Los Angeles. Some live in Oklahoma City, Charlotte or Toronto, among other places not high on player’s wish lists. Unfortunately, what’s best for basketball doesn’t usually enter into any thought process when free agents are deciding where to sign. Let me just remind you that when LeBron James said he was taking his talents to South Beach, it was a pretty good indication of his thought process. You see, South Beach is one of the greatest places in North America to live if you have a lot of money. It is not, however, where the Heat actually play.

So players tend to have their own best interests at heart when making their decisions, as they should. And the same goes in the negotiation room with the owners. And owners, not surprisingly, have their own best interests at heart, no matter what David Stern might say. So who exactly is representing the fans?

The reason I ask is because it’s actually the fan’s money that the players and owners are trying to split up.

Obviously the answer is no one.

And that’s why it strikes me as silly when these two sides take their gripes public, hoping for some sympathy.

I was reading some of the comments on the RaptorsRepublic forum, recently, and came across some that a moderator  by the name of Matt52 posted.

ESPN recently quoted Tyson Chandler:

“With the collective bargaining agreement and some of the things that they’re trying to enforce, it would basically prohibit me from coming back,” Chandler told the “Ben and Skin Show” on 103.3 FM in Dallas. “It would take it out of my hands — and the organization’s — because it would almost be pretty much impossible for me to re-sign. I just think that can be the worst thing that can happen.”

No, the worst thing that can happen would be for you to be out of a job, but let’s get past that for a moment. Chandler is complaining that since Dallas has such a large payroll that they wouldn’t be able to re-sign him to their already very talented team. Other than Dallas fans, I don’t think anyone would be all that heartbroken about him not being able to re-sign. Chandler doesn’t seem to get that part.

And Nazr Mohammed added his own rather self serving complaints via Twitter:

A Luxury Tax and teams that pay it can’t bid on the services of free agents…Sounds like a hard cap to me. I get it now…it’s time 2 punish the teams with money, who prospered under last CBA, or has a following outside of their state.

Considering how few teams actually prospered under the last CBA, maybe it’s best not to bring that up, Nazr.

I’m cool with whatever is best for our union but I hope it’s understood that we’re being offered a deal where the top teams won’t be able to bid for ur services when u become a FA. Teams known for spending money hands will be tied and u will be forced to either re-sign w/ ur current team or take a lot less on the open market. But there will be no open market bcuz teams like the Lakers, Miami, NY, Boston, etc couldnt even be part of the FA process

So he’s complaining that the best teams can’t just stack their team with the best talent, that ALL teams have a fair shot at players and that teams be able to actually re-sign their own players. And he’s taking these complaints to the fans?? Has he been taking advantage of the fact the NBA can’t drug test locked out players?

On the other side of the table is Michael Jordan, who has apparently made a lot of enemies among his former colleagues by being one of the hardline owners who have been pushing hard to lower the player’s share of the revenue. What these players don’t seem to understand is that Jordan is simply doing what they’re doing. What is best for himself. And they’re vilifying him for it.

Now, I don’t pretend to know the financial details of anyone in the NBA, but I’m guessing that Jordan is taking the position he’s taking because he’s doing what he needs to to survive financially. Everyone knows how competitive Jordan is, and my guess is that it kills him that he can’t compete with the Mark Cubans and Richard DeVos’ of the NBA.

I also think it’s ironic that Nick Young, who swore never to wore Jordan’s again, didn’t do so because of the fact that they are made in sweatshops in Asia or because they’re overpriced and marketed to urban youths who can’t afford them. He did so because the guy they are named after is watching out for his own.

So today (Wednesday) the players will either accept or reject the deal and there will either be a season or there won’t be. If the players reject the deal, it will end up screwing the portion of the NBA that can’t afford it and the portion who will probably benefit least from the deal. The average NBA career is just 4 years. That means that most of the players who miss this season will never be able to make it up financially. Ever. No matter whether the players get 52% or 50%.

And Nick Young is mad at Michael Jordan.

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