The whole possibility of an NBA lockout gets more and more interesting.
The Times’ Selena Roberts has a neat column linking the possibility of an NBA lockout to the NHL’s current, Hans-Solo-in-EMPIRE-STRIKES-BACK-like-state:
- There is a theory behind this U-turn in Stern’s demeanor, one that began as a suspicion but is quickly gaining traction: pressure is being applied on Stern by a handful of N.B.A. owners who are also N.H.L. owners.
This sounds odd, of course, because for weeks Stern has talked about averting an N.H.L.-like labor catastrophe by tying up a new deal with a pretty bow, and soon.
At first, all an agreement seemed to require was some fresh paint and a touch-up here and there to an old collective-bargaining contract favored by most owners. For example, the league wants to reduce the years on maximum contracts from seven to five and set an age limit of 20 for incoming players. It’ll probably get a reasonable concession from the union on six years, with an entry age of 19.
But, apparently, some N.B.A. owners with N.H.L. ties are itching to squeeze the union out of self-protection. As a rule, N.H.L. owners are binge shoppers with no fiscal common sense, one clue as to why hockey franchises are plunged into six shades of red.
Instead of therapy, N.H.L. owners are seeking help by demanding cost certainty in their collective-bargaining negotiations to enforce self-control.
How fantastic is it that the NHL owners might actually be ruining other sports? Apparently, destroying hockey was way too easy, so the owners are moving on to more challenging sports. If I’m the NFL, I’m starting to get a little nervous.