I do. If you're still reading and visiting The Dreamshake you're A-Ok in one important, perhaps vital, respect - you are my internet friend.
The NBA administration, owners, players, agents? Not so much. We aren't internet friends right now. I'm not happy with any of them.
We've now lost two more weeks of regular season games if rumors prove true (and they will).
Federal Mediation put in a better effort than I thought it would, but to no avail. In fairness, Federal labor mediation was meant to calm things down when miners and their families are loaded onto boxcars in the desert at gunpoint, or autoworkers are literally shot by their bosses, or 150 girls burn to death. (Yes, this and much more happened in the USA.) It's popular to bash unions today, but compare Chinese coal mining deaths to US coal mining deaths on a yearly basis and you'll see that many of the victories US labor won for
everyone American citizens are worthwhile.
This sort of mediation really was never meant to address disputes between millionaires and billionaires. And make no mistake, the driving force on the players' side isn't the guy sitting at the end of the bench, happy to make league minimum or a bit more. The players are being driven by the stars and their agenda. And honestly, why not? What separates the NBA from the a great overseas league like Spain isn't the guy at the end of the bench, it's the stars.
I wrote another piece here a couple of weeks ago wondering why two sides, who presumably have a good "game theory" grasp of the contest at hand, would fart around when real money was on the line. I still don't know the answer, as the idiocy continues to snowball. There's a range of deals that can be made, a range that I might drag and flagellate myself into writing down someday but not today. Today is a good day to whine.
Couple more things after the jump.
I asked this in a post, but I'll ask it again. Why the hell is Derek Fisher the player leader? Fisher is living on borrowed time in the league. He's either managed his money wisely and is set for life, or he hasn't. One more contract year won't make a difference. He will be a participant in a new agreement for two years at most, if his ability to stand in the right spot in the triangle and take cheap shots at opponents is still with him. If I'm Derek Rose or Kevin Durant there's no freaking way I want a guy with one year left in the league staging a pissing contest with David Stern on my behalf. If I'm a player whose career can be measured in months, not years, like Kevin Garnett, I certainly don't want to lose a season. So why there is solidarity behind this pose is beyond me.
On David Stern. On the whole the record is very good. His mission is to make the league popular, to help it make money. He's done that. On his watch the NBA grew to being the only major US sport with a viable and growing international fan base. At least 100 million people watched Yao play. 100 million! Imagine if 1/3 of the US watched every Rockets game? (We'd be the bestest blog ever.) He's doing what the owners want, which is risking everything to repair what they see as a broken structure. When NBA owners look at the NFL their eyes must get a bit misty. No guaranteed money. A real salary cap. Disposable players. A lucrative TV deal. That's what they want, too. And Stern will try to get it for them.
On the negative side? The obvious manipulation of game results to get certain teams into big time TV matchups. Stern is on record as saying his dream playoff series would be Lakers versus Lakers. But I'd say that since being caught in the Donaghy Affair the results have started looking much more normal. The league still has its "hit man" referees, but mostly Stern now seems to use them to extend series, and thus gate for the owners, rather than determine final outcomes (though extending gate does affect outcomes).
Anyhow, all this has gone on too long.