During the last days of the this-is-our-last-offer-and-if-you-don't-take-it-we're-never-going-to-make-another-one-well-at-least-not-until-four-days-from-now-but-then-THAT-will-be-our-last-offer-unless-we-reconsider-which-we-likely-will lockout talks, rumours swirled that certain players were not on the same wave length as the rest of their team when it came to making money-related decisions.


Most talked about in this instance was Los Angeles' point guard, Steve Blake, who LA player rep Shannon Brown, name checked and then threw under the bus by stating: “I spoke to (Blake) and he was one of the guys who wanted to take the deal"  which wouldn't have been so bad had Blake not then come out and denied ever saying such things:


"I have not made a decision on whether or not a proposal was right to take.." 


BOOM!  Who doesn't love a lack of chemistry over in Lakerland?!  


But the main issue highlighted by that very public exchange is one that may be being played out in all 30 ball clubs in the NBA:  Internal arguments.


At first glance, unity appears to be league-wide amongst the players as they band together to try and upset the 'Establishment' (Stern and the Owners).  But if you look a little closer, there are individuals who have voiced their concern over the decisions made on behalf of the players and likely more still who agree but just haven't found their voice.


There's a lot at stake for everyone involved in the CBA discussions and people's livelihoods could be greatly affected (no, not you Sprewell) based on the consensus decision so to expect every player to be singing from the same hymn sheet would be unrealistic.  For every 'Kobe Bryant' who earns enough money to graciously offer to loan his fellow professionals money, there is a Garrett Temple who is struggling to get by (leading an NBA life) and needs to be earning a regular wage.


So if the disparity between players wages is as great as we know it is, what's the likelihood that some of the lesser paid players (along with those who side with Stern) are unhappy with the stance the Players Union took?  If there are some disgruntled players in teams, isn't it possible that those same players who were in the minority in wanting to take the deal are now p*ssed off at the very people who they feel are responsible for the current Union position and subsequent lockout - their own team-mates?


If/when the season does start up, are we going to see divisions in squads between the Union supporters and those who wanted to make the last minute deal? And more importantly, does this lockout have the potential to not only stop this season but also affect future seasons with teams having underlying issues all caused by the decisions made during the Summer/Autumn of 2011?


If the NBA isn't careful and allows it's franchises to fall apart with team-mates and friends no longer on speaking terms thanks to the Lockout, it's letters will no longer mean 'National Basketball Association' but will instead stand for: Not Brothers Anymore.

Aaron Brooks made one Phoenix Suns offseason decision a bit easier (if there are any offseason decisions to make, that is) by agreeing to terms on a one-year contract with Chinese Basketball...

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In the fall of 2004, Minnesota Timberwolves guard Latrell Sprewell famously claimed, "I'm at risk. I have a lot of risk here. I've got a family to feed."

It was preseason, entering his second year with the Wolves after an exciting Conference Finals run that came up just short to the Lakers, and the 34-year old player he was ranting over an "insulting" $27-30 million, 3-year extension offer. 

Of course, he declined the offer and went on to have a poor season. "Why would I want to help them win a title? They're not doing anything for me." Later, when the offer dropped to $21 million over 3 years, he became a free agent. And when no NBA team offered anything better, he just up and retired. Poof. He was gone. Never to play another NBA game. Too proud to accept less money than he felt he deserved.

At the time, Sprewell was ridiculed for his decision by players and media alike. Crazy to completely retire over what he deemed an insulting contract offer.

Yet now the entire NBA - owners and players alike - have become what they once couldn't fathom. Crazy. Stupid. Absurd. Each side has come to the conclusion that if they can't make more than 2 BILLION DOLLARS a year, with guaranteed annual growth built in, then it's not even worth playing any more. 

Ian Thomsen of si.com wrote a truly insightful piece the other day, lambasting the owners and players alike for their role in this debacle. Please click that link and read the whole story. Makes you go "whoa".

A sample:

For the NBA owners and players to shut down their league during the worst economic times in more than 60 years has got to be the dumbest thing they could imagine doing. At a time when so many businesses are fighting for every last dollar, the NBA players and owners are giving back money to their season-ticket holders -- their die-hard fans -- and saying we don't want it. Put that money back in your pockets for now, and when we decide to start playing again, think about whether we are worthy of your investment.

Sprewell went to browner and darker pastures. He eventually sold his boat at auction to help pay debts, while his house was foreclosed upon (and this was BEFORE the housing bubble burst!). He made more than $96 million in his 13 year career, yet was bankrupt within 5 years of self-imposed, bravado-laced retirement.

Do you think at some point he wished he'd taken the original $27-30 million guaranteed-money extension that would have paid him through his 37th birthday?

So too will 450 NBA players look back on this 2011-2012 season with regret, wishing they'd been able to see through their bravado and take the deal that still made them the highest paid sports league in history, replete with guaranteed contracts, annual raises and a soft salary cap.

The owners will regret this move as well, having voluntarily given away their foothold on fans' discretionary spending in the middle of the worst recession in 60 years. Once that money is re-allocated amongst those households to greater needs, or even different but equally rewarding entertainment, will it ever come back to the NBA?

How many families, who once had earmarked their NBA season tickets (or NBA League pass subscription) as a "sunk cost", will find that they can no longer afford it when the NBA returns next year or the year after?

This is a bad, bad decision for the owners and players.

Just ask Latrell Sprewell how it worked out for him.

The NBA informed teams that all games through Dec. 15 have been canceled, according to an ESPN report, but really that’s more a function of the calendar than anything else since it will take...

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That's right, Suns fans. One day after the league's hard-line negotiating stance alienated their players to the point that lawsuits are now at hand and the season is in severe jeopardy, our favorite team is offering this terrific season ticket deal at suns.com! They're so excited to sell us tickets to games that are somewhere between doubtful and highly questionable to be played, that they sent the above sales pitch out via e-mail as well and are only asking for "limited money down"!

I would love to hear how this sales pitch works out. Seriously, I'd like to know if they can find even one sucker who is going to send the team their money given the labor debacle we're witnessing. What an incredible display of nerve.

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