Source: Stephen A. Smith / ESPN
After 149 days of pettiness, bickering and bloated egos gone wild, the NBA players and owners gave the world the ultimate Christmas present: basketball.
On Christmas Day, no less.
We will have basketball because Derek Fisher, the players’ union president, came to his senses. Because Billy Hunter, the union’s executive director, came to his senses. Because commissioner David Stern and the owners remembered to exercise common sense — instead of their enormous leverage — for a change. And by deciding that harsher luxury taxes, shorter guaranteed contracts and diminished use of the mid-level exceptions were ultimately more important than humbling players, it’s now time for everyone to utilize our basketball senses.
When the dust settles, despite the enormous concessions forfeited, Fisher and Hunter should receive some credit for getting a deal done. At odds weeks ago — regardless of what rhetoric they spew — over Fisher’s desire to take the 50/50 split of basketball related income while Hunter insisted on drawing a hard line, they came together when it counted most in the interest of the NBA brand.
Fisher and Hunter recognized what the rest of us instinctively knew: Most of the rank-and-file players could ill afford to miss an entire season of paychecks. They realized the posturings of superstar players were primarily echoes emanating from agents whose clout will be severely minimized by the new tentative collective bargaining agreement.
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