As the lockout continues, one of the unforeseen side-effects of today's abundance of social media and blogging is coming to the forefront - the labor situation is receiving far more attention and scrutiny than it did in 1998. As a result, both sides of the equation may be exposed more than they wish and see their bargaining chips undermined.
Case in point? The highly touted article by Tommy Craggs at Deadspin generated a direct response from the New Jersey Nets to challenge some of his assertions. That is actually a good thing, because it validates his work as a reporter, even though Deadspin is not usually seen as a reporting venue. It also means that the analysis and reporting from blogs is being validated in the market place for ideas and information, and the more sunlight is shed on this labor situation, the better off everyone will be.
Nate Silver, the political stat-head, joins the debate in examining the NBA's purported financial condition. He makes the sound argument that the current labor deal, which was originally seen as favorable for owners (since it followed the 1998 lockout & was renewed in 2005 with few changes) has suddenly turned unfavorable for them. The question is, why? Player salaries have been strictly tied to revenues, so are effectively immunized. Either there are expenses being under-reported, or the numbers are not accurate.
Dwyer connects the dots and comes to the same conclusion as we do here - it is not the question of whether expenses are real, it is the question of whether they are being appropriately tied to the revenues they generate.
The argument to be had over the lockout isn't whether or not teams are losing money -- it's about whether or not they're losing it because players are being paid too much.
Pruiti continues to break down film of the Under-19 World Championships. Today, he looks at a few late-game SLOB's (sideline out of bounds). If you watch his plays, you can see some similarities between these teams and the struggles the Thunder had last season in running last-second plays.
In 2016, the NBA's TV deal expires. Hopefully, the current labor negotiation is taking that fact into account, because if they destroy their product like they did in 1998, the NBA's negotiating power in 2016 will be diminished.
Here is a phenomenal interview with Dirk Nowitzki and it is remarkable in the sense that every single answer he gives is pitch-perfect in its tone and sentiment and reveals something about the man that you may not have known. He offers a combination of humility, respect, reverence for where he is and where he is from, and an ability to speak of his self-awareness that succeeds his relatively young age. You might think to yourself, "this is the opposite of the LeBron James complex" and you might be right, but consider Dirk's response:
"American basketball needs players like James and Wade, but the NBA also needs down-to-earth people like me. We players are all part of a show, and it only works in the long term if there is variety, when there is something there for everybody." - Dirk Nowitzki
Aldridge pens his pleas to both sides. While I typically shun this type of argument for sympathy, he does bring out a good point that I've been harping on - nobody in business as the right to guaranteed profitability. In fact, the risk of loss is what makes the drive to succeed actually work. If the end of the labor deal results in any sort of guarantee to profitability, you're going to see more and more owners take on the posture of Donald Sterling (the business man, not the amoral slug).
More links after the jump.
Dwyer takes a look at the issues that would arise if the NBA players tried to put together a barnstorming team in China this summer.
Not an NBA story per se, but Klosterman gets a chance to ask the father of sabermetrics some questions about how he can apply his statistical abilities to other fields of study, such as crime. It goes to the point that thinking in metrics is not just about finding the perfect number; it is about forcing yourself to think about something you know completely differently.
Alternative headline - DeMarcus Cousins - already in mid-season form.
Since the Lockout began, it is forbidden for players and teams to communicate. The league allows the parties to follow each other on Twitter though, but is a re-tweet crossing the line? While the league can make whatever rules it wants, I think this claim would have a hard time standing up in court because it should be protected under fair use publication.
This piece brings out a good point - the owners are playing the long game, and the players, the short game.
The Thunder's head is in the clouds.
We often hear about the basketball savant Pete Maravich, but how many of us have actually watched him play a full game? One writer makes the move here.
Gilbert Arenas - probation is far-reaching.