Bad owners are the culprits.
They sign the checks, so even if a general manager or a vice president did the bad deal, the blame still falls on the owner.
Listen, I'm not sitting here saying that bad owners are the only ones who are poor with their finances. There are plenty of players who are bad with their money. They are immature and irresponsible. They overindulge and overextend. And sometimes, things go terribly, horribly wrong.
Penthouse millionaires become skid-row bums.
But the difference is impact. In the case of the players, the one hurt most by a fiscally foolish athlete is the man himself. With bad owners, they hurt their entire franchise.
One awful contract can cost tens of millions and start a nasty downward spiral. First, you lose money and start struggling to retain good players or top free agents. Then, you start losing games, losing fans and losing even more revenue.
I understand it's tough to be in that predicament, but wasn't the collective bargaining agreement done during the last lockout supposed to fix the broken system?
The truth is, the system isn't broken.
Oh, sure, having a hard cap would be good for the Thunder. A small-market franchise like Oklahoma City would be better able to compete over the long haul with the likes of Los Angeles and Miami if there was a fixed high-water mark for payrolls.
But having a hard cap, which the league and the owners are pushing, wouldn't automatically fix everything. That's because there are owners who are going to bumble and stumble and lose millions regardless of the rules.
They cannot be saved from themselves.
Still, with this latest lockout, the NBA is again demanding that its players, its fans, even its responsible and good owners bail out these bad owners.
When will the league stop doing the same thing but expecting a different result? Couldn't the NBA be right back in this same situation in another 13 years?
Talk about a milestone that no one wants.