Propaganda notwithstanding, there’s no doubt that NBA owners are more hawkish than ever before.
These days, the hawk-dove ratio is, unofficially 24-6.
More meaningfully, there are hawks who measure their labor contract demands against the damage missing games would to do the NBA ... and those who don’t care.
NBA owners think they lost the 1999 and 2005 deals and are determined to win this one big.
Indeed, Forbes, which publishes the only independent estimates — scorned as too sunny by the NBA — says 16 of 30 teams lost money last season.
In a typically deft move, Commissioner David Stern loaded his labor committee (noted by asterisks) with prominent hard cases.
Whether Stern consulted Mario Puzo, it’s a classic “Godfather” keep-your-friends-close-and-your-enemies-closer approach, as the hard cases’ involvement tends to invest them in the solution....
Assuming, of course, a solution is at hand.
Here’s where the NBA owners stand:
LES ALEXANDER, Rockets
Low involvement makes him a dove in this context. They’re a marketing success, healthily in the black.
JERRY BUSS, Lakers*
Had good financial reason to coo through the years.
JAMES DOLAN, Knicks*
What, him worry? His bionic cash cow made money while paying $150 million in salaries and luxury tax and embarrassing all concerned on the court.
JERRY REINSDORF, Bulls
Once sued NBA over cable TV. Now a league stalwart, raking in tens of millions.
DAVID STERN, Hornets
With the NBA running the team, they’ll send someone so Stern doesn’t have to give up the gavel to vote.
GLEN TAYLOR, Timberwolves*
Tiny-market billionaire, expected to go with the program as chairman of the board of governors.
PAUL ALLEN, Trail Blazers
Small market or no, how hawkish can a Microsoft multibillionaire be?
MICKY ARISON, Heat
Cruise-line billionaire lost millions building glamour franchise — but can’t support hard cap that would make him dump a superstar.
MARK CUBAN, Mavericks*
Once wouldn’t agree if Stern said 2+2=4. Putting him on committee appointment was a gutsy move that has impact ? whichever way this gadfly goes.
CLAY BENNETT, Thunder*
Tiny market, payroll about to zoom -- but Stern may hold his marker for backing the move from Seattle.
BOB VANDER WEIDE, Magic*
If owner Rich DeVos’ people think it through -- for once -- nothing matters but rules incentivizing Dwight Howard to stay.
KAREN DAVIDSON, Pistons
Whatever helps Bill Davidson’s widow get the team off her hands.
DAN GILBERT, Cavaliers*
Came by distaste for system honestly, seeing it take LeBron James -- but may make $25 million-plus this season with his payroll slashed.
WYC GROUSBECK, Celtics*
Huge debt service -- but the team is riding high and too old to be taking seasons off.
PETER HOLT, Spurs*
Chairs labor committee. Tiny-market team with big payroll — but his franchise has defined “model citizen,” on and off the court.
MICHAEL JORDAN, Bobcats
Up against it in once-fertile territory burned out by not one but two owners, absentee Bob Johnson and long-gone George Shinn.
HERB KOHL, Bucks
U.S. senator/billionaire retailer has assumed losses as civic duty.
JOE LACOB, PETER GUBER, Warriors
Huge debt service after paying $450 million to preempt Larry Ellison but did it because they’re excited
to be here.
GAVIN AND JOE MALOOF, Kings
Took big hit in casino biz too, but assuming they get meaningful relief, they’re not burn-village-to-save-it types.
GREG MILLER, Jazz
Small market, big payroll but just suffered enough PR damage for a decade.
RICHARD PEDDIE, Raptors
They do OK as part of a corporate family with fans buying tickets to get the best seats for Maple Leafs games.
MIKHAIL PROKHOROV, Nets
As a rule, flashy Russian billionaires don’t buy in to lament conditions.
HERB SIMON, Pacers*
Billionaire developer and league stalwart before the 2004 Ron Artest suspension. Even after losing tens of millions, he’s like the Maloofs, but calmer.
BOB SARVER, Suns*
Whoever’s responsible, he has a real plight with big losses in banking too.
ED SNIDER, 76ers
Corporate owner Comcast has long tried to dump the team.
WHOEVER, Hawks owners are
After a five-year fight for control, they may not even know about this.
SHARPENING TALONS AS WE SPEAK
STAN KROENKE, Nuggets*
Team is on verge of disintegrating while the Avalanche, the family hockey team, prospers.
TED LEONSIS, Wizards
Paid king’s ransom for a goofy team and arena to go with his Capitals, thinks the NHL did it right.
MICHAEL HEISLEY, Grizzlies
Stuck inside of Memphis with the immobile blues again after leaving Vancouver, a market almost twice as big.
DONALD T. STERLING, Clippers
Of course, if everyone made as much as he does, labor and management would be at the bar, buying each other drinks.