PHOENIX — Say what you want about Robert Sarver, but the Suns’ owner has shown a propensity for creative thinking when it comes to filling out his management team. After hiring a former player...

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After two days of marathon negotiating sessions, each lasting about 7 hours, NBA owners and the players' union failed to reach agreement on a new CBA and commissioner David Stern announced tonight that the first two weeks of the regular season have been canceled, according to several reports.

They chose the "everybody loses" option. Brilliant. Sorry fans, that money you were going to pay these men in game tickets, TV viewership, buying team gear? You'll just have to go ahead and do something else with it while players "#standunited" and tweet "let us play", acting as if they're some oppressed group fighting for truth, justice and the American dream. All they're fighting for is to stay as obscenely rich as they are now, based on their ability to bounce a ball and throw it in a hole. Yeah, stand united. Your struggle is akin to that of Nelson Mandela or Ghandi, give or take. So noble.

The owners? They could have taken a nice victory from the players here, but they want more. When negotiations begin with "how much will one side give up to the other?", that isn't really a negotiation. Instead of taking a bigger chunk of BRI and closing some cap loopholes, the league would rather cancel games so that they can break the union completely. Sure, some teams are struggling and there is a problem with competitive balance, but owners have manufactured a crisis here, and counted on fans in a down economy to give wealthy athletes no sympathy. This has emboldened them to attempt to radically change the economic landscape of the league. Why? Because they can.

More details on the failed talks at USA Today.

Consider this an open thread for rants, tirades, weeping, whatever.

In a move that probably won't shock, thrill, upset, or give any Suns fans an excuse to comment, the Phoenix Suns hired former Dial Corp big wig, Brad Casper to take the vacant spot of recently departed Rick Welts. Said fan favorite and Suns owner Robert Sarver:

"Brad brings a level of experience we're fortunate to have, given an organization our size. He's run companies 10 times our size. His breadth of experience in brand management, customer satisfaction and marketing is a big-time addition. He also has a lot of experience in international marketing, the fastest growing part of the NBA. His depth in branding and marketing is something we never had before."

Casper has no experience in the NBA, while Rick Welts served for over 40 years with various franchises. Nevertheless, in 2005, Casper witnessed his "second NBA game in two decades and was hooked." 

Rejoice, Suns Fans, Rejoice!!!

Check out more on the hiring from Paul Coro.

How Do You Feel About the New Hire?

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Monday may very well be the most important day on the 2011-12 NBA calendar. After all, if it doesn’t go well, there may be no 2011-12 season, at least not one that starts on time. NBA...

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In a last-ditch attempt to avoid the cancellation of regular season games, NBA owners and the players' union will meet tonight and try to find the common ground that has so far been lacking, reports Howard Beck of the New York Times.

Following NBA labor negotiations news can give a person whiplash. There is reason for hope, then talks come crashing down. The math dictates that both sides holding strong makes little sense when compared to the money that will be lost to them if games are cancelled. But there are human emotions involved here; there is pride. The same qualities we love in players when they are on our team, that they will never surrender no matter the situation, don't simply go away when they're off the court.

As CBS Sports' Ken Berger notes:

 @KBergCBS: So to sum up, if games are canceled tomorrow, it won't be due to money or common sense. It will be due to ego and stubbornness.
@KBergCBS: That is the money part, which makes sense. The psychological aspect of negotiations, sometimes, does not.

We're almost there, but it means nothing until the deal is closed, and the only way that happens is if players are able to save face. The bottom line when a deal is reached is that the owners will win big. Are they ready to take their winnings, settle now and start the season? Or will they require the players to capitulate again in this final stretch of negotiations? We can only hope that it gets done one way or another. The "everybody loses" option is far too foolish.

Update 10/9/11 3:38PM PDT: Twitter is now blowing up with #fiftyonepointfive. 51.5% is the midway point between the owners' last offer of a 50/50 basketball-related income split and the players' offer of 53/47. Our own Toon Army Sun chipped in with:

@ToonArmySun: Steve Nash & Grant Hill don't have a lot of games left in their careers. Any games lost to this lockout will be a crime. #fiftyonepointfive

Update 10/9/11 9:05PM PDT: Talks ended after six hours, and neither side said anything more than that they'll be meeting again tomorrow, which is the deadline, right?
@HowardBeckNYT: Meeting over. Stern says no comment, except that they're meeting again tomorrow afternoon

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