- New budget accord saves $23B — after $65B spending spree
- Congress seeks ban on in-flight calls
- Michelle Malkin’s Twitchy site sold to owners of Townhall, HotAir: report
- GM’s Barra to be first woman to run top American carmaker
- China: Poisonous smog is a military asset, if you think about it
- Texas woman admits to sending ricin to Obama
- Ron Paul on son Rand: ‘I think he probably will’ run for president
- Cold War heats up again in the Arctic: Russian airfield reactivated after 20 years
- 6-year-old boy suspended for sexual harassment over kiss
- Voters deciding Mass. congressional contest
SNYDER: Fisher needs to make big plays now
The summer-league showdowns are cute, but they’re getting old fast. Nothing against Kevin Durant and Carmelo Anthony - who squared off this week in an all-star gathering that also featured LeBron James - and the other NBA ballers providing Internet highlights in the lockout’s wake, but it’s time for some plays from Derek Fisher and the negotiating team.
Fisher, president of the players’ union, tossed us a ray of hope Wednesday after a six-hour labor meeting in New York, just the second bargaining session since the lockout began July 1. Prospects for a full season being what they are, any glimmer of optimism will do and here it is: Fisher didn’t emerge trashing the owners, and NBA commissioner David Stern didn’t come out castigating the players.
That’s progress. Minuscule perhaps, but progress nonetheless.
“Everyone loses if we don’t reach an agreement,” Fisher told reporters. “That’s something that I think has always been understood.”
NFL owners and players engaged in a game of labor chicken that ultimately cost us just the Hall of Fame game. But the possibility that they would crash-and-burn a portion of the regular season scared the wit out of us.
Many observers fear there’s a greater chance that the NBA will implode. Few actually believed the NFL would reach that point, figuring the league and players eventually would find a satisfactory formula to split $9 billion.
But there are two reasons to believe the NBA won’t be as successful in averting a season meltdown. One, the NBA claims it lost $300 million last season. And, two, the NBA likes what it sees in the NHL, led by Stern’s former deputy, Gary Bettman.
Bettman’s league canceled the 2004-05 season when it couldn’t reach an agreement with the players, who were crushed when a new deal was signed. Teams got the cost certainty they sought, while players got terms that were worse than previous offers. NBA teams are fully aware (and jealous) of the victory by NHL teams, co-tenants in many cases.
Besides, the NBA has some built-in advantages over the NHL in the ability to rebound from a canceled season. Basketball is a more popular sport, with better exposure and broadcast partners. It also benefits from the popularity of NCAA hoops, particularly March Madness, which provides a high-profile showcase for the next wave of superstars.
And taking a year off would only heighten - not dampen - the interest in sports’ No. 1 story line the past 12 months: LeBron, D-Wade and the Miami “Heatles.”
Fans would still flock to watch Miami on the road and on TV. The Boston Celtics would be too old to stop the Heat, but Derrick Rose and Chicago would put up another challenge. Out west, Durant and his Oklahoma City Thunder would return as league darlings, while an aging Kobe Bryant tries to squeeze out one more championship run.
Meanwhile, there would be two rookie classes to feast on, including Kyrie Irving, Derrick Williams and Jimmer Fredette from last June. Sorting out rosters for the NBA All-Star Rookie Challenge would be a mess, but at least basketball would be back.
I hope it doesn’t come to that, blowing off an entire season, but it’s a legitimate concern. The owners might be crazy enough to do it, emboldened by the NHL’s example. And players might not realize that any offer they accept afterward is likely to be worse, not better.
The two sides reportedly are far apart and the clock is ticking. Training camps are scheduled to open Oct. 3, with exhibition games beginning the following week. If the negotiating gap closed any during Wednesday’s meeting, no one said so.
“I will say we are not apart in terms of an agreed urgency on getting a deal done,” NBA deputy commissioner Adam Silver told reporters. “And we’re not apart on the need to avoid missing games and we’re not apart on the agreed impact that will have - not just on our teams and our players, but the communities in which they operate in as well.”
That sounds great and I hope they mean it.
But I’m afraid the owners will use their own scale - not ours - in weighing the “impact” of missed games. Our only hope is Fisher and his mates scoring points in labor talks, not Durant and Anthony scoring points in pick-up games.
© Copyright 2013 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.
About the Author
Deron Snyder is an award-winning journalist and Washington Times sports columnist with more than 25 years of experience. He has worked at USA Today and his column was syndicated in Gannett’ 80-plus newspapers from 2000-2009, appearing in The Arizona Republic, The Indianapolis Star, The Detroit News and many others. Follow Deron on Twitter @Its_Ball_Good or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- SNYDER: With John Wall’s return, Wizards’ blueprint beginning to unfold
- SNYDER: RG3, Junior Seau evidence of NFL’s negligent culture
- SNYDER: Alabama’s excellence built to last under Saban
- SNYDER: Russell Wilson beats RG3 at his own game
- SNYDER: Terp tested: Turgeon has team ready to take on ACC
Latest Blog Entries
By Donald Lambro
Growth spikes are little more than trend-free anomalies
- New budget accord saves $23B -- after $65B spending spree
- Obama takes 'selfie' at Mandela's funeral service
- VEGAS RULES: Harry Reid pushed feds to change ruling for casino's big-money foreigners
- Chinese man fed up with his girlfriend's shopping jumps to his death
- Obama's antics at Nelson Mandela tribute: Jovial conversation, handshake with Raul Castro
- EDITORIAL: The shake that shook the world
- Israeli P.M. Benjamin Netanyahu backs out of Nelson Mandela funeral
- Somber duty: U.S. presidents in hot demand at Mandela's memorial
- GOV'T MOTORS: Obama fudges math on auto bailout, $15 billion loss for taxpayers
- Obama shakes hands with Cuba's Raul Castro at Nelson Mandela's funeral
Independent voices from the The Washington Times Communities
Helping the YOUniverse conspire on your behalf.
A column dedicated to discussing politics, national security, civil liberties, and education.
Criticism may not be agreeable, but it is necessary. It fulfills the same function as pain in the human body. It calls attention to an unhealthy state of things.
The “Silver Tsunami” created by aging Baby Boomers is hitting America. Let’s explore how we adjust to it, enjoy it and defy negative expectations about age.
White House pets gone wild!
Let it snow