NBA Lockout Watch, Day 126: How Much Damage Has Already Been Done?
With the '11-12 NBA season canceled through at least the end of the month, the question is now "how much damage will be done to the game by missing part of or all of a season," according to Sam Amick of SI.com. The league and the NBPA "must now decide whether fighting now is still worth the price they'll pay later." Tulane Dir of Sports Law Gabe Feldman said, "For now, the cost-benefit analysis is fairly easy. For now, it's worth the damage to goodwill that will come from missing a month or two from the games you might get" (SI.com, 11/3). In Miami, Israel Gutierrez writes it is "almost as if it took the actual games to be missed before we recognized just how idiotic the tail end of this labor irrationality really is." Gutierrez: "Instead of players benefiting from the timely resolution to this conflict, they will be begging for forgiveness once it's over, and likely losing money as a result. But hey, it's all worth it, right?" (MIAMI HERALD, 11/3). NBA player agent David Falk said yesterday, "I think we are at a very dangerous, very reckless point. ... We are at the point if the deal is not made imminently there is not going to be a season." He added, "The question is, is there a deal that makes more sense than shutting down the season?" (Liz Mullen, SportsBusiness Journal).
REMEMBER THE FANS: ESPN/ABC broadcaster and former coach Jeff Van Gundy said, "The fans deserve what they’re accustomed to seeing -- the best basketball in the world even if it costs the players and owners money." Van Gundy said, "I’m hopeful the league learned from 1999 and doesn’t rush it and realize one more week of patience, one more week of camp would be beneficial to the fans. I’m hoping the league doesn’t rush teams into action. We have history to show some people reported in horrible shape." He added, "Basketball was very poor for much of the regular season" (N.Y. POST, 11/3). In Memphis, Wendi Thomas writes under the header, "Passions Locked Out For Grizzlies Fans" (Memphis COMMERCIAL APPEAL, 11/3).
DARK DAYS AHEAD: In DC, Michael Lee notes no member of the Wizards' roster "will get any sort of recognition inside or outside" Verizon Center during the lockout. The concourse inside the arena "is filled with pictures of Capitals, Mystics and Bullets." Images of "all of the Wizards' logos -- the new red, white and blue sorcerer; the Washington Monument on the basketball; and the dc -- now occupy the spots near the locker room where oversized pictures" of current players once hung (WASHINGTONPOST.com, 11/2). In San Antonio, Jeff McDonald notes last night, the AT&T Center "stood dark and dead, its empty parking lot and bolted doors providing the most literal symbol yet" of the lockout. McDonald: "Wednesday night -- Opening Night that Wasn't -- found fans across town adjusting to a new normal, all the while rooting for the timely return of the old one" (MYSANANTONIO.com, 11/3).
WHAT MIGHT HAVE BEEN: The 11:00pm ET edition of ESPN's "SportsCenter" last night again referenced NBA games that were scheduled to take place, including those that would have marked the net's NBA regular-season debut broadcasts. Following the first commercial break, ESPN's Stuart Scott reported on the lockout and what the schedule would have held for the night. Scott: “Ginormous night in the NBA. An opening week gets sticky hot as the defending Eastern Conference champion Heat jump with A’mare, Carmelo and the Knicks. That was the 8:00pm ESPN game. Game two of the network doubleheader, former ESPN analyst Mark Jackson makes his coaching debut against the Lakers. Also tonight, No. 1 pick Kyrie Irving laces up his high-tops against the Celtics in Beantown.” At this point, Scott exhales and said, “Thanks for not interrupting. I just, you know, wanted to see what it was like to say what was really supposed to have happened tonight had the NBA lockout not reached Day 125. But that doesn’t mean we don’t have highlights, even if they’re just to remind you that November 2nd typically is big-boy baller day in the NBA.” Scott noted there have been several big scoring games on that date in the past and said, “I’m sighing again just, you know, there’s a lockout. I need a hug" (“SportsCenter,” ESPN, 11/2).
PUT IT IN THE BOOKS: MGM Resorts Int'l VP/Race & Sports Jay Rood estimated that the NBA "accounts for 15%-18% of the handle (money wagered)" at his company's casinos. Rood said, "It's a significant portion of our business. If we go without for the season ... we're going to have to try and overcome (by) possibly exploring other options, like expanding some NCAA offerings." Las Vegas Hilton Exec Dir of Race & Sports SuperBook Jay Kornegay said the NBA "represents 15% of our handle. We expect about half of that to transfer over to college (basketball) and the college football bowl games" (USA TODAY, 11/3).