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NBA Season On The Brink and Nobody Cares

If there isn’t an NBA season in 2011 it will be because the players and the owners didn’t want one. After David Stern pulled out the big guns by tossing the cancelation card on the table a timer was set on the season.

Too bad the ones with the most at stake could care less.

As far as responding to emergencies go the players and owners have reacted to the lockout like a 911 caller that yawns upon hearing the Mayan apocalypse is coming to fruition.

For a second let’s forget about all of the propaganda spewed claiming the fans are losing out. We, the fans, only lose our evening entertainment during the fall. Otherwise we benefit by cutting costs that otherwise would have been spent on a slate of 82 games and playoffs well into June.

The real losers are those that stand to lose money. Well, in the case of the owners I guess that means losing even more money.

As for the players, those that are looking into or are committed to overseas options it would appear they’ve already written the season off. Instead of fighting for the owners to listen to their demands the players simply walked away, happy to find employment elsewhere.

Now those fortunate enough can make a good amount of cash in a very short period of time. Others are simply doing what they might have done regardless of a lockout as getting more burn in Europe beats riding the pine in the NBA.

Still this does not excuse the fact that no league in the word offers more lucrative deals, provides a better stage for widespread exposure and even has an established system for guaranteed money. Only the NBA can provide all of the above yet since the lockout began you’d assume some league in Finland is a better bet based on player reaction.

As for the owners and their burden, let’s just say losing money is one thing but losing based on bad business decisions is quite another. Anyone who plays the game has to be prepared to lose. That’s how it goes in sports, business, relationships and anything else where being exposed to loss is a possibility. Just because the NBA isn’t as profitable as other sports leagues doesn’t mean that the players should be responsible for making sure it is.

NBA owners aren’t forced to commit large contracts to sub-par players. That is their choice. As a Laker fan I realize it is easy to make brash statements as I’m rooting for a team in a major market. But in case you haven’t noticed plenty of players have taken pay cuts to either come to or remain in Los Angeles.

Lamar Odom saw his salary nearly slashed in half. A then Ron Artest could have made much more elsewhere but chose to pursue a ring here.

To be fair Luke Walton, thought I love the guy, is highly overpriced relative to his contributions – injured or not.

While you can argue the Lakers are more attractive based on location I’ll refer you to the Knicks and Clippers. Even though spirits are up in the aforementioned franchises it doesn’t supersede the fact that neither of those teams in mega markets are able to attract quality players based on location alone.

Believe me, if the Milwaukee Bucks had a strong enough roster and were offering a chance to win a ring then plenty of top notch players would be lining up to try and get theirs. But don’t take my word for it. Go ask the fans in San Antonio about that.

Obviously it is going to take compromise on both sides to salvage the season. More importantly it is going to take a hunger and desire to work through all of the obstacles. We know the players love to play. We know the owners love to make money. The problem is both sides have other outlets for their desires. As a result we’ve gone three months with no progress at all and here we stand with potentially one weekend left to decide the fate of the season or possibly the future of the NBA all together.

The bottom line is that if anybody truly cares about saving the NBA it doesn’t appear to be the ones with the most at stake who are also the only ones that can do anything about the situation. When the NFL season was in jeopardy both sides worked vigorously to pull off a deal. The problem is the NFL was cash cow and the only issue was how to divide the pie.

With the NBA the problems are much different. The league is lucrative just not as much as it could be. Therefore it was imperative that both sides started pulling late night sessions the moment this lockout began. Some might say its better late than never but this is one situation where being late means never having a chance.

Tags: David Stern Lamar Odom Luke Walton NBA Lockout Ron Artest

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