I’m tired of writing this stuff. I really am. And you have got to be tired of reading it. How many different ways can I call these guys idiots?
But I’m starting to think I’m the idiot. Because I didn’t see this coming.
Look at who has been pulling the strings. Alternately, we’ve seen Dan Gilbert, Rob Sarver, Paul Allen and now Michael Jordan as the ring-leaders and faces of the small-market hard-line group. When it comes to making decisions, these guys are among the league’s worst.
Gilbert became the majority owner of the Cleveland Cavaliers near the beginning of the LeBron James era and created an atmosphere of capitulation to “King James.” He cut the balls off Mike Brown because “no one was supposed to be confrontational with LeBron.” Once LeBron took off, his ridiculous proclamations have become running jokes among fans and those who cover the sport.
Gilbert’s team success was all a product of his superstar, just like Rob Sarver’s team success in Phoenix. Sarver has been fortunate enough to employ Steve Nash. Sarver also employs the fourth oldest team in the NBA, mostly because of his penchant for selling off draft picks. Of all these guys, Sarver is the cheapest, doing all he can to stay under the luxury tax, regardless of the cost to his team. When given the chance to retain players to sign potential championship pieces, Sarver leans towards frugality, nixing deals that could push the Suns over the championship hump.
Paul Allen’s Portland Trailblazers can’t keep a GM because Allen keeps firing the ones that don’t cater to his every whim. Whomever they hire next will be the third General Manager in three years. They can’t stick around because they dare challenge Allen, or appear to challenge Allen, or look at him cross-eyed.
And then there’s Michael Jordan. Jordan not only picked Kwame Brown first overall in 2001 when he was the Washington Wizards GM, he signed him again as Charlotte’s owner. I’d run down all of MJ’s personnel whiffs, but I don’t have the space. So here’s the list. He is as bad at building a basketball team as he was good at basketball.
With these four clowns taking turns playing the bad guy, it’s no wonder we are where we are. Earlier this morning, talks ended about as poorly as possible. The league presented an offer it said will stay on the table until Wednesday, and then will be pulled in favor of worse offers. This after the players moved again, down from 52% to what they called 50% plus one… with one percent going to improve pensions and insurance for current and former players. They asked the owners to take 49%. The owners refused.
So another player compromise gets thrown out the window. The hard-line owners are willing to blow up a season over a small amount of money. Players have moved time and time again, but a group of owners who have a long history of making bad decisions are making one of the worst ones yet. They are refusing to move a little bit to get this deal done, save a season, and make some money. Like I said before, they are forcing a cornered animal into a fight. This is where blood gets drawn. Compromises need to be made, and the players have been making them all so far.
But as mind boggling as it is, I’m starting to feel like it shouldn’t be. There’s a reason these owners don’t win a damn thing, and it has nothing to do with money. They’re idiots when it comes to running their teams, and they’re taking that idiocy to new levels as they blow up this collective bargaining agreement. The people who have let their fans down time and time again with horrible personnel decisions are the same people letting us all down again.
So who’s really the idiot here, then? Is it these guys for just continuing to make the same horribly putrid decisions, just on a grander scale? Or is it us for thinking they wouldn’t?