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Ball Don't Lie

David Stern and Billy Hunter have you all fooled, you fools

Kelly Dwyer
Ball Don't Lie

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One writer thinks that this ongoing and rather pathetic NBA lockout might be more formulaic than has been let on. And not in the sense that allows us to bleat on about how the team owners have had no interest in starting the NBA season on time, or that the players are predictably as out of touch as the owners that are holding them at pitching wedge's-length.

Could it be possible that, in an attempt to save their phony-baloney jobs, both David Stern and Billy Hunter are trying to get a sustained "huh-rumph" out of their respective guys (be they Paul Allen, or Kevin Garnett) as they extend this mess and placate the miserable sides their charged with siding with?

Dave D'Alessandro might be the finest writer to have held his nose and tip his toes into NBA waters. He's a former Knicks and Nets beat man, while working as a national NBA columnist for The Sporting News, and now he plies his trade as a general columnist for his home-state'ish Newark Star-Ledger. Also, he's more or less the best ever. Apologies for fawning redundancy.

Here's Dave D:

Here's what we're all missing: There will be an NBA again — sooner or later.

We don't know precisely how the numbers must add up before they arrive at the agreement, and don't care. We only know this: Stern and Hunter know exactly what it will take to get there. What they've done these last few months is patronize two disparate groups that have only three things in common: They are competitive, they are arrogant and they are not used to losing.

That means both the commissioner and the union boss are left to devise a strategy that makes both testosterone-fueled sides feel victorious. That happens after each guy tells his side, "This is as good a deal as we'll get." They can't let anyone in on this yet, because we have to get past the bluster stage first.

The best clue was from Hunter, when he called the league's latest ultimatum "preordained, preplanned and predestined."

Of course it was. The whole shebang is scripted. And he helped author the script.

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As is usually the case with anything we quote, here, there is way, way more from this column that we can ably quote with a purpose.

Here's what we can attempt to grok from this particular mess -- there is no conspiracy, but at the heart of this mess we do have to understand that there are two "leaders" (in a fatuous, embarrassing sense) that are out to do what they're supposed to do.

The labor force, be they 30 or 450-strong, be damned. Game, obviously, be damned. Tangential workers, lost in the shuffle, be damned. These two men, Stern and Hunter, have to put on a show. They have to keep that contract clean until we do this again in 2018.

Of course, this is where I get all populist on you and mention the car park worker that won't be seeing a dime until the 18th of January, but I'm not wrong in that regard. To Stern and Hunter, we're all peasants as far as they can see. And they've likely sat in more comfortable chairs in their "negotiations" over the last two weeks than we've managed to dive into in a lifetime. I'm not trying to act a prat, but we do need to remember what is at the heart of this.

Jobs, stupid. For millions, and not just as 2/3 wing depth on a team trying to move up from a sixth seed to the third seed. These two sides have motives that have never been about either bringing fair entertainment for us plebeians, and they've never been interested in anyone outside of their Lemon Pledge'd "negotiation" hovels. It's not exactly a ruse, but that doesn't mean it hasn't been an absolute joke.

Watch some baseball Monday night, punters.

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