As the NBA lockout, or should I say the 2011 NBA lockout enters its 22nd day, a fun scenario occurred to me. What if the two worst NBA owners banded together to end the lockout? It’s plausible, but highly unlikely.
One of the worst owners is the New York Knicks James Dolan, who stood by passively and let Isiah Thomas ruin one of the league’s best brands, then took a sexual harassment lawsuit to court. He just ran Donnie Walsh out of the front office after Walsh put the team in the playoffs for the first time in seven years. The other is Donald Sterling, the owner of the Los Angeles Clippers, and a man so capricious that it’s rare for a former employee to get the money due them without a lawsuit.
Yet, no two NBA owners stand to profit more from a resumption of play. The Knicks have two of the 10 best known NBA players and rejoined the playoff conversation last year. The brand is at its best level in a decade. The Knicks have much to lose if a protracted labor dispute diminishes the upcoming season.
The Clippers have the league’s most scintillating new player, Rookie of the Year power forward Blake Griffin. In addition to Griffin, they have an emerging core of players that could challenge for a playoff spot soon.
The current Labor Committee is slanted toward newer owners and small market NBA teams. They have vastly different axes to grind than veteran owners in larger markets. If Dolan and Sterling were smart, they’d get more involved and soften the owner’s stance to get a deal done. They each stand to make tens of millions from a 2011-12 season.
Of course it won’t happen, the caveat is if they were smart….