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Bad owners are to blame for NBA lockout

by Jenni Carlson Published: July 7, 2011

The NBA lockout is a week old.

This milestone looks like the first of many depressing moments for the league, its owners and its players. No meetings are planned. No discussions are imminent. No end is in sight.

When weeks turn to months and emotions bubble over during the lockout, I hope everyone will remember the true villains in this whole thing.

Bad owners.

Not good owners. Not players. Not the NBA.

Bad owners wanted to be bailed out the last time the league locked out its players, and a little over a decade later, they want to be saved again.

When is the NBA going to stop asking its players, its good owners and its fans to keep cleaning up the messes made by these rubes?

When is everyone going to say enough is enough?

The last time the NBA had a lockout was 1998. Back then, the league said its teams couldn't possibly survive under the system that was in place. They were losing money. They were fading fast.

So, they changed the rules.

Luxury taxes and escrow accounts were added. Ditto for limits on contract lengths and contract amounts.

Much of it was done at the expense of the players, by the way. They took it on the chin.

And now, only 13 years later, the league is again saying that its teams can't possibly survive, that the league is losing millions every year, that the business model is broken.

Is anyone else noticing a pattern?

The truth is, the real problem then is the same as the real problem now.

Bad owners are to blame.

Listen, I'm not saying all owners. There are good ones out there. There are owners who know how to manage their businesses properly, being smart with their finances and doing deals that make sense.

Then, there are owners who offer guys like Joe Johnson $124 million over six years or Rudy Gay $80 million over five years.

Do you realize the Hawks made Johnson the highest-paid free agent in last summer's high-profile class? He's a nice player, but he's not worth more than LeBron James, Dwyane Wade or Amar'e Stoudemire.

Gay's a nice player, too, but the Grizzlies' swingman going to earn only $1.2 million a year less than Kevin Durant. He is nowhere near the player that KD is, yet his salary would indicate otherwise.

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by Jenni Carlson
Jenni Carlson, a sports columnist at The Oklahoman since 1999, came by her love of sports honestly. She grew up in a sports-loving family in Kansas. Her dad coached baseball and did color commentary on the radio for the high school football...
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