Nincompoops, Egos and Poker


Programming Note Due to unforeseen circumstances, I’ve missed three of the games that could’ve been. I decided that I’ll post a weekly summary Thursday if the lockout’s not over by then, and then continue on a game-to-game basis. Apparently hope has gotten the best of me again.

According to wiktionary (a source that might’ve been edited by Chris Broussard and his sources, mind you.) the word nincompoop (beautiful, isn’t it?) may have roots in the latin legal phrase non compos mentis or, if you’re not a fan of a language that allows you to sound smart regardless of what you’re saying  (quid quid latine dictum, altum videtur) the simple english term for this is “Insane”  or “not of sound mind” something, that both sides have proven to be by now.

Seriously, NBPA, you’re going to lose a season over sign and trades in the luxury tax zone? Over something that  has happened five times in the last six years? HAKEEM WARICK HAD MORE STARTS THAN THAT LAST SEASON.

While I certainly understand why the NBPA disagrees with the MLE  limit for tax paying teams, I also can’t say I support them in their anger. With Bird Rights, Amnesty Clauses and the ability to dump salary onto another team, I don’t see how the luxury tax punishes a teams roster without this clause. Look, when your cap is really just saying “hey, you can’t sign too many huge contracts” it’s not really a cap, it’s a overspending restriction. This is not the NHL where a championship team has to sell of rights to their RFAs for nearly free, just to make some cap space. This is not the NHL where you can lose games for crossing the cap. Hell, I believe a hard cap at $70-ish million would actually work better than this kind of bullshit pseudo cap that only increases competitive balance by leaving the Joe Johnson’s of the world to the teams that missed out on a chance to sign the LeBron’s of the world. You gotta watch your finances a lot more, knowing that a dollar over that limit means fines, contract cancellations or even (gasp) losing games for nothing, if you don’t react to the warnings. The only way the owners can stop themselves from being hostages to the players is by creating a system in which conservative, albeit intelligent spenders, Moneyball GMs and owners, if you will, are rewarded.

Yes, I do understand the NBA is driven by stars, but this system wouldn’t stop anyone from having stars around. Hell, it would give you 30 mil for role-players after signing two max contracts. Big Threes would be challenging to make, but  Big Twos easily. Want more revenue? Increase small-market popularity. Want more small-market popularity? Get the small-market teams to win. Look, the Knicks will always get their share of money. The Bucks? Nuh-uh.

But I digress. The players want their right to win and make a ton of money, which is completely understandable. The owners want their teams to get a chance to win. If this were true, they should just all punch Mark Cuban, Jerry Buss and such for every dollar into the luxury tax. Unfortunately, that would probably need approval of half of them, and they don’t seem to be the kind of guys who will unite without a very obvious common enemy. An enemy trying to kill their flamboyant egos.

These negotiations have long stopped being about business. These negotiations are about showing who’s the man. The collective Jerry Krauses on one side are trying to tell the players, that organizations win championships, rather than players, and that they want a bit of control in keeping the players in the organization. The collective back-when-we-liked-him-Michael Jordan’s respond with “aw, you can’t be talking to me like that.” The sides are no longer negotiating, they’re just pissing all over the place, marking their territory with an awful stench of lies, ultimatums and bluffs.

Speaking of bluffs: There have been a few this week. First, the ultimatum, then the NBPA rejecting the deal and… Telling they have 200 signatures on the decertification documents. While possible, it’s very improbable that this is true. This is probably Billy Hunter’s message to David Stern and the owners, saying “stop this, before it goes out of our hands. Want to talk to more guys like Jeff Kessler (who apparently doesn’t know slaves weren’t payed)? Be our guests.”

This is when the insanity all comes out. Who’ll stick by his crazy side in a battle that’ll cost him and a lot of others? Who’ll cave in and blink in the staring contest? Hopefully, we find out tomorrow, otherwise, these guys will need a lot of eyedrops soon, while we’ll be needing another medium to live vicariously through.

So much fun, lost to a giant pissing-staring contest poker match. Damn.

Oh, and we’re on that cool Google+ thing. Add us to a cool circle!