The Charlotte Bobcats have fired their radio play-by-play announcer, apparently for the duration of however long this lockout goes on.
We at Ball Don't Lie aren't usually in the habit of telling others how to run their own businesses -- actually, we're always in the habit of telling others how to run their own businesses -- but I think a cheapo move like this is something we all can tsk-tsk over. Right? After all, Scott Lauer is supposed to be the voice of his team for those that tend to work at night and have a radio going in the background. These are your hard-core fans, and Lauer is supposed to be the link between them, and whoever is in the nice office upstairs. And he's not going to be receiving paychecks from the Bobcats, until this is all figured out.
Now, I know what you're thinking. When there are no cars to build, there are no jobs to be had. When the crop freezes over, there are no jobs to be had. When the product isn't there to refine, there are no jobs to be had. Without any games to call, there are no jobs to be had. Why pay the guy throughout that spell?
Because that's what you do, in this gilded area. That's the good faith you engender amongst your employees in times both good and bad, especially when the owner presiding over these employees has been either up or down chips resembling someone like Lauer's salary in either particularly good or bad months at the casino in the last year and a half since Michael Jordan has bought the Bobcats.
He said he was informed of the team's decision in a phone call Monday. Lauer said he was told this was an "organizational restructuring" and that his "position was eliminated."
"While I've been let go, I have been given the impression I might be doing the games again once there are games," Lauer said. "I hope to have a long career broadcasting NBA games."
Rick Bonnell's piece goes on to mention that Lauer had been working on the road and even at home without the benefit of a color analyst, which is particularly shocking (haven't heard that happen since the ABA days apparently it's pretty common), that another Bobcats employee (director of corporate communications, a role that would seem to be pretty leaned-upon these days, Michael Thompson) was let go earlier this month. And that the TV crew is safe, as they're paid by FOX, and not the Bobcats.
It's another embarrassing blow for Charlotte fans. The former owner of the Charlotte Hornets, George Shinn, poisoned the well so badly in that area with his off-court skeeviness and meddling front office ways that he turned a sure sell-out even for a mediocre team in Charlotte into a group that could barely fill two-thirds of an old arena despite boasting a potential conference finalist in its last few years in Charlotte.
Faced with a city that didn't want him and a new building that he needed and nobody was going to build for him, Shinn fled to New Orleans, home of another money-loser that spent way more than it should have.
Charlotte ended up building that arena for the Bobcats, but instead of working smart and easing into their expansion-dom, the Bobcats built for now, trading for veterans, trading away picks, and basically making it so that their payroll would far exceed that of the typically potential-less future. This made it so, when those vets went away, others with biggish contracts had to follow. And when they rolled the dice on an eighth seed and won in 2010, it all fell apart soon after. And near-$66 million payrolls in small markets that don't make the playoffs (and who are also dreadful to watch) tend to lose quite a bit of money.
And this gets taken out on guys like Scott Lauer and Michael Thompson. The owners' response? Let's also take it out on Corey Maggette (whom the Bobcats just traded for, at an average of $10.5 million over the next two seasons) and DeSagana Diop! They don't get their money, either.
Wake me up the next time there's a good story to write about. This wasn't why I joined the Toy Department.