SBD/December 14, 2011/Leagues and Governing Bodies

Some Veteran Players Not Happy With After Effect Of NBA Lockout

Pierce, teammates questioning the league's decision to start on Christmas Day
The Celtics held their annual media day yesterday, and several members of the team "appear a bit disturbed at the residual effects of the NBA lockout, including the prospects of December training camp, vetoed trades, and last-minute amnesty decisions," according to Gary Washburn of the BOSTON GLOBE. Celtics F Paul Pierce said, "This is something that could have been avoided. Especially you see all the different trades going through, falling through; there probably should have been a period where you had a free agent signing period, then training camp. The Christmas Day (date) was something that was really pushed amongst the players as a key date and that’s why we’ve been rushed the way we’ve been rushed." Celtics F Kevin Garnett said, "We’re in a rushed league right now. I think everybody’s paying attention to the Chris Paul situation. I don’t know why everybody’s shocked. Commissioner Stern’s been pretty adamant about how he wants to do things and how he does things, and now everybody has a voice about it" (BOSTON GLOBE, 12/14). Heat G Dwyane Wade said, "You do wonder why stuff happened. You look at it and say, 'Why did the lockout happen? I don't see it helping right now. Maybe in a few years we'll all look back and see why this lockout happened. But right now it's not showing its face at all." ESPN analyst Jeff Van Gundy said, "It's an arbitrary date to have to start on Christmas. There's no magical starting time. Just push it back. Let them have a normal free-agent period of a week, 10-days, then have two to three weeks of training camp with a few exhibition games." The AP's Brian Mahoney asked, "Was this really the best way?" Magic coach Stan Van Gundy: "Yes and no. ... The NBA, I can't speak for them, but I think they would want in some ways things to be a little bit more positive than they have been. But at the same time, the Chris Paul and Dwight Howard situations have created a tremendous amount of interest, to the point where I don't even hear any mention of the lockout anymore -- just those situations" (AP, 12/13).

CAN'T TAKE THE HEAT? In Phoenix, Paul Coro writes Suns Managing Partner Robert Sarver "squirmed as he was portrayed as a hard-liner willing to sacrifice a season in collective-bargaining-agreement negotiations." Sarver said that his "actions were quite to the contrary during 50 committee meetings over the past two years." He said, "I was consistently at the forefront of trying to get a deal done, knowing it was important for our fans to see NBA basketball again this season." Sarver "disputes how reports, some coming from anonymous players-union sources, painted him but sees how a divide could have been formed during negotiating." He said that his "approach and desires in owners meetings did not always match what he said in negotiations because he was then representing the entire ownership group and not just his viewpoint." NBA Commissioner David Stern said of Sarver, "I would want him with me on anything important, as far as anything with business, directives, integrity or creativeness" (ARIZONA REPUBLIC, 12/14).

IS THE TIME RIGHT FOR STERN TO LEAVE? SportsNet N.Y.’s Jonas Schwartz said the fact the NBA "had that lockout 12 years ago and they didn't get any issues fixed -- just got worse -- has people wondering about it -- is it time for David Stern to retire?” WFAN-AM’s Joe Benigno said, “For all the time they lost, what was gained in this lockout? I don't get it. It seems to be pretty much the same as it was before and it's happened with the Lakers now vetoing the Paul trade, vetoing the Paul trade to the Clippers? … I think it's time for Stern to be out.” N.Y. Daily News columnist Bob Raissman said, "If you look at his whole body of work, it far surpasses what's going on now. This guy brought a lot to the league. Now, he's easy to kick out the door at this particular time when things have gone awry. Even I said it looks like a circus, like it's rigged, but I really think you got to look at the whole picture.” N.Y. Daily News columnist Tim Smith: “You also have to consider that sometimes when someone is in a job for so long, you need someone else to come in with a fresh set of eyes" ("Daily News Live," SportsNet N.Y., 12/13).
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