The NBA's lockout-shortened regular season "wasn’t perfect, far from it, with all the injuries and too many games played over a condensed period," according to Mitch Lawrence of the N.Y. DAILY NEWS. Lawrence writes, "We really won’t know if the lockout was worth all the trouble, and whether the new collective bargaining agreement, with its more punitive tax system, will, among other things, keep superstars in small and medium-sized markets, as [NBA Commissioner David] Stern hopes, or if they’ll still hold franchises hostage and muscle their way to the big-market teams. But this sure beats the alternative." Heat G Dwyane Wade said, "I think we had a great season. It was better than we thought. When we signed the deal, we were partners again, trying to grow the game together. We were back on the same team." Thunder G and NBPA President Derek Fisher said, "With all that is going on in our country and the trouble in the world, it's remarkable that people have continued to come back and watch our sport." The owners and the league "will lose millions for this season ... taking a hit on local TV money, corporate sponsorships and money from international sources as it had to play a reduced schedule." NBA Deputy Commissioner & COO Adam Silver said, "We'll have some losses for this season, but the season itself exceeded our expectations" (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 6/18). ESPN’s Michael Wilbon during halftime of Game Three of the Thunder-Heat NBA Finals asked Stern if the “compressed season actually had a role in sort of the surge in interest in the NBA?” Stern: “Regardless of the impact on the players, the fans were feeling well served. But I think the combination of the compression, the Christmas Day five games and social media have combined to make this a much better season that we had reason to hope that it would be" (“Thunder-Heat,” ABC, 6/17).
MORE ON STERN V. ROME: Wilbon said of the contentious interview between Stern and syndicated radio host Jim Rome, “This week you found yourself in a little bit of hot water about this whole notion of conspiracy and the (NBA Draft) lottery. This is not the first time you’ve heard it.” Stern said it “makes for good copy, it makes for good questions and bring it on.” Stern: “I think the people that know the NBA and know me know that we don’t take our responsibilities lightly.” Wilbon said, “But there have been some times where this has concerned you more, I think, than it does now. Perception becomes reality. How much do you still worry about that?” Stern: “You do everything you can and then you roll with it” (“Thunder-Heat,” ABC, 6/17). Media reaction to the Stern-Rome interview also continued. In Buffalo, Greg Connors wrote Stern "came off as sounding cranky and condescending" in the exchange (BUFFALO NEWS, 6/16). In S.F., Bruce Jenkins wrote Stern "has turned into a complete jerk." While Rome "kept his cool, the insufferable jerk continued to fire away." Jenkins: "Give Stern credit for a distinguished career, but he has not aged well in the public arena" (S.F. CHRONICLE, 6/17). In San Diego, Nick Canepa writes Stern made a "stupid, totally inappropriate remark." Rome "handled it very well, not backing down while trying to explain he doesn't believe the lottery is rigged" (SAN DIEGO UNION-TRIBUNE, 6/18). In Orlando, Brian Schmitz wrote Stern "should fine himself -- or the owners should." Stern owes "at least a public apology for making the remark" (ORLANDOSENTINEL.com, 6/16).
AND ON RETIREMENT, NOT JUST YET! Stern said he has “no announcements to make” about retirement plans. Stern: “I love my job … and the owners will be the first ones to know, not the television audience, in all deference. They haven’t been fielding my salary for the last 30 years” (“Thunder-Heat,” ABC, 6/17).
FISHER KING: In Boston, Gary Washburn noted Fisher has "received very little support from fellow players" in the months since his dispute with NBPA Exec Dir Billy Hunter began. It is "uncertain how long Fisher can continue as president if the executive director and the executive committee want him out." Fisher said, "I think it’s normal, whether it’s basketball players or just people in general, not to comment much on things they don’t fully understand. And so you have to respect the fact that a lot of guys just are not in a place to fully understand all the details that have taken place. At the right time, I and we will deal with that and what we feel like is the best way for the players as a whole" (BOSTON GLOBE, 6/17).