December 02, 2011
NBA players and owners don't have a lot of day-to-day contact, unless one of them sits behind the bench, so it isn't as if we're staring down the barrel of a full-on soap opera as the players return to work on Dec. 9. But there's bound to be some resentment from the players, right? After all, these owners signed the players to what they thought were legally binding contracts under collectively bargained rules that both sides were happy to sign to, and then watched as the owners decided that, no, they just weren't going to pay them for the first month of the season.
To say nothing of the year-long threats to miss a season, and the overall stench of paternalism that can't help but waft when older men tell younger men (that ostensibly are working in concert with the older men) what to do. In an interview, Yahoo! Sports' Marc J. Spears discussed what players are feeling, and when the frustration could lift:
That lift will take a while. And as expected from a guy with very little lift (sorry, Steve), Phoenix Suns all-world point man Steve Nash(notes) told SB Nation on Thursday that, sure, there is bound to be some rancor between Suns players and ownership:
"We're on two different sides of a collective bargaining agreement so we aren't teammates in that situation. I think there was a lot of animosity and I think at times it got personal. I think that everyone is man enough to recognize what it is and even to admit to maybe their mistakes in the process and put it behind us and go back to where we were as far as working together and being business partners or teammates."
That's a somewhat guarded response from Nash, but he also made a point to clarify reporter Seth Pollack's question and mention the Suns owner by name before launching into an extended answer. Suns owner Robert Sarver is notoriously thin-skinned (the Suns were unhappy with Pollack's question and answer session with Nash), parsimonious, quite vocal, and at the top of most NBA fans' list (even out of Arizona) as their least-favorite owner for the way he's misused Nash's prime.
Toss in the fact that Sarver (the same man who bid against himself to sign Josh Childress(notes) to a $36 million deal during the last offseason) was at the top of the list amongst hopeful season-killing hardline owners, and it appears as if Nash is speaking for more than just Suns or NBA players. There will be lingering animosity towards both players and owners for those that weaved in and out in paying attention to the NBA's lockout, but amongst hardcore fans the last five months of nonsense from the owners will be very, very hard to get over.
And it's not as if they wrote us a check on Dec. 1 to make it all better, unlike Nash and the rest of the NBA's players.