View Full Version : Because he can no longer sell, now comes the hot summer and long winter of David Ster

06-24-2011, 06:19 AM

By Adrian Wojnarowski, Yahoo! Sports

NEWARK, N.J. – When David Stern tried to tell everyone goodbye at the NBA draft on Thursday night, even his childhood roots couldn’t spare the commissioner a public proclamation on the state of his stewardship. Here rumbled a barrage of boos for the son of New Jersey, the end of the NBA draft’s first-round bleeding into the beginning of a long, hot summer of the commissioner’s condescending labor lectures.

Just one year ago, Stern ducked out of the draft, shuffled to the side and let LeBron James(notes) light the match to the most unforgettable, unimaginable summer and season the sport’s ever seen. Never bigger, never bolder, never more perfect for this imperfect reality television world.

Now, a year later, everything comes tumbling down. This draft was the beginning of the end for a golden time in the NBA, where the suspense was over where a 6-foot guard out of Glens Falls, N.Y., would go and whether Minnesota’s general manager could sell off enough draft picks to pay the buyout package on his 32-132 coach. The draft had crossed the Hudson River to Jersey, leaving Madison Square Garden for Newark, and it felt like the sport itself would keep heading south too.

Stern has brought the sport into an unnecessarily dark and ominous place. He has let too many incompetent owners buy into the NBA, and helped them thrust too many incompetent management teams into marching themselves back to the top of the lottery year after year.

The lockout’s coming, and the NBA can thank Stern for it. He no longer leads the owners, but gets led. He’s lost his autonomy to operate, lost his ability to be sensible, understated and conciliatory. There ought to be givebacks in these talks with the players, but Stern has let the fringe element of NBA ownership dictate policy for the masses. He doesn’t want a second lockout on his Hall of Fame plaque, but it’s coming and the burden belongs on him.

He can’t sell compromise, and he can’t sell good-faith negotiations to his ownership. The owners wanted this lockout, which they’ve carefully orchestrated. They’re determined to break the NBA’s union, and that’s clearly become the commissioner’s mandate now. The owner’s could’ve agreed to real revenue sharing, and the collective bargaining agreement would’ve been signed months ago. Stern can’t sell it, and the sport will suffer something fierce for it.

Stern is no longer the sport’s leader, its moral compass, but the errand boy of the fringe owners. He’ll walk into a hotel board room on Friday morning with what will probably be a brief, contentious meeting that’ll empty out with players and owners all agreeing: There isn’t enough time between today and June 30 to close the gap.

Stern’s deputy commissioner, Adam Silver, had the most patronizing of lines in the NBA playoffs, suggesting how the fact that James and Dwyane Wade(notes) would be getting 10 percent raises next year, and how with revenues growing only 4 percent, this was evidence of how well the system worked for the players. Hey, James is the reason Silver gets to wear such nice suits on Stern’s private charters, the reason buildings are full, television ratings robust and the reason merchandise leaves the shelves.

“This has never been a partnership,” Derek Fisher(notes) told me the other day, and that’s never been so true in the NBA. The gulf between owners and players has grown nastier, more distant, and Stern’s set the tone for it. After all, he walked into the locker room with the players at All-Star weekend, and menacingly reminded them he knew where the bodies were buried, because he had buried so many himself.

This was Stern doing what he does best: Lording over the sport through intimidation and bullying. You’ll see his smug indignation all summer long. This lockout gives Stern the stage as the sport’s biggest star, something he loves, because his proposal to the players would guarantee that he’d be the highest-paid player in the NBA.

The NBA goes away now, and goes away for a long time. The final sound at the end of the draft’s first round will resonate over a long, hot summer – and maybe a winter – without basketball. This time a year ago, there was a Lakers championship with Kobe Bryant(notes), the summer of LeBron and a season of spectacular drama. Now, there was David Stern marching out of the boos of draft night, and into the boos of the board room.

He couldn’t sell the owners, couldn’t sell the players, and he can no longer sell the public. Here comes the summer of the NBA’s emperor, the lockout to end basketball lockouts. Tough Jersey guy buried all the bodies here, and now he comes to bury his sport. His legacy on the line, his fault.

06-24-2011, 06:23 AM
Former NBA referee Tim Donaghy shares his thoughts, musings and insights. Check out his book, “Personal Foul: A First-Person Account of the Scandal that Rocked the NBA.”

NBA Lockout – Is it Time To Panic?!

Hang on, fella’s, I think we are headed for an NBA lockout! The goal, of course, is to get the collective bargaining talks headed in a direction most advantageous to the league, and taking the heat off the head office to make some meaningful budgetary changes that are long overdue. The expiration of the current Collective Bargaining Agreement on June 30th is just the leverage Stern will use to push his agenda through, without regard to the casualties.

You likely know that the league has been pushing for a hard salary cap and non-guaranteed contracts for years, claiming that teams are losing millions of dollars, and the NBA as a whole losing $300 million. The league is trying to change the revenue sharing agreements, where currently the players are receiving 57% of the revenue. Currently, though, the NBA backed off seeking the elimination of non-guaranteed contracts.

Instead of Stern making a solid effort to cut erroneous expenses in order to balance his budget, he is pushing for changes on the backs of the players and the fans. People willing to shell out big bucks to watch games will likely be seeing shorter seasons, or the NBA has even threatened to contract, or eliminate, teams in smaller markets. Instead of Stern throwing out an olive branch, and lowering salaries modestly across the board, including his own, he is using threats against the players to strong-arm the changes. His tactics are barbaric.

Absent an extension to the CBA, or a meeting of the minds, the team’s operations are likely to shut down on July 1, 2011. The league will send players into panic mode as each day passes, and the start of the regular season approaches. Stern will direct the message to the players through the media, using tools like ESPN’s Henry Abbott, Stern’s messenger. You will most certainly hear the following words very soon: “This is my final offer.”


06-24-2011, 07:58 AM
whoops, can somebody change the title to NBA Lockout or something.

06-24-2011, 08:55 AM
This is stupid

06-24-2011, 11:43 AM
Sensationalistic Zenith.

06-24-2011, 11:48 AM

06-24-2011, 12:06 PM
After reading that article the only thing i learned was that its author is a ******

06-24-2011, 12:52 PM
wtf? I want 2 minutes of my life back

06-24-2011, 01:08 PM
Stern is a sneaky little toad. There isnt much more to say. But this article was propaganda.

I will tell you that he was right about one thing, the last thing stern is willing to do is touch his own salary in any way.

06-27-2011, 12:56 PM
What is the latest on this lockout?