Yes, Steve Blake.
As in the LA Lakers guard? The guy who has played on five teams in eight years? The guy who averaged four points and two assists last season? The guy who looks like House M.D. in the photo?
Yeah, that guy. With all the mega-stars in the league, it’s going to be guys like Steve Blake who decide this thing. And he’s REALLY trying to decide this thing.
Lakers guard Steve Blake has been canvassing peers throughout the league over the past 48 hours, pushing them to contact team player representatives to push the Players Association to let its 450-plus membership vote on the owner’s ultimatum offer, sources said.
Blake hasn’t been pushing players to vote “yes” or “no” on the deal but has gained a groundswell of support with players throughout the league. Nevertheless, Blake is a proponent of accepting the league’s current offer, sources said.
Of course Blake wants to play. It’s the same reason Glen Davis wants to play. It’s the same reasoning I laid out yesterday. Steve Blake made $4 million last season. You and I could make $4 million for one year and be set for life. But we don’t live and work in an industry where $4 million puts you in a class just above Kobe Bryant’s pool boy. Blake can’t sit there and say “whoa… $350 for Beats by Dre headphones? Screw that, I’m getting $40 Sonys.” He buys the Beats in three colors.
But his indiscriminate spending is only possible if he continues to play basketball. Guys of Blake’s ilk aren’t going to be living this lifestyle for very long if the lockout drags on. And there are a ton more Blakes out there than there are Kobes. If you put the owners’ offer to a vote, these guys desperate to play will outnumber the stars willing to hold out.
The only question now is whether the anger trumps desperation. As the NBA threatens to pull this offer in favor of one much more drastically in favor of the owners, the ultimatum may have had the opposite of its intended effect.
“There’s an absolute, abject disgust with the N.B.A.,” said the agent Mark Bartelstein, who has 45 clients in the N.B.A. and Europe. “If you ever wanted to create a scenario to unify a group of people against one common theme, you couldn’t do a better job than the N.B.A. has done. They have found a way to get the players to a point where they really understand how bad this deal would be.”
I hope David Stern can take these quotes, go throw them in the hard-liners’ faces, and say “see? See what you morons are doing? You’re ruining everything.”
The next 36 hours will be the most crucial of all. Let’s hope Chris Sheridan is right.