If you haven’t been paying much attention to things that have been said during the labor negotiations between the NBA and the NBPA, you have been missing some juicy stuff. The greatest thing about NBA lockout storylines is that none of them are outright.
Most of the telltale signs as to which direction the lockout is truly headed are underhanded. With the exception of the NBA announcing the cancellation of the first two weeks of the season, every piece of important information comes after the primary statement.
Take JaVale McGee for instance. A few days ago the Washington Wizards’ Center was accused by the media of saying that some players in the meetings were ready to fold. Of course McGee denied. Who wants to be the guy being loose-lipped about inner workings, especially when it comes to saying something that the owners could think is crucial to negotiations?
Remember how much Erik Spoelstra was criticized after saying that his men were in the lockerroom with tears in their eyes? CryGate is what it was called, I believe. No one wants to be Spoelstra.
Javale McGeee was Spoelstra indeed.
So, soon after Derek Fisher resurfaced simply to tell the media one thing, “Don’t believe Javale McGee.” Not to mention the fact that he threw a jab in there while he was at it.
“Look, let me say this,” Fisher said. “The person who spent the least amount of time in the room can’t make that statement. He’s in no position to make that statement on behalf of the group.”
Soon after Fisher responded, Billy Hunter was not far behind to make a statement of his own.
“It was a shame [McGee] left so soon,” Hunter said. “As it turned out, the pacifists in the room happened to be me and Derek. These guys behind us happen to be extremely strident. They thought we were starting to weaken.”
The fact of the matter is that there are probably men behind the scenes beginning to rethink this whole “Stand as one fall as one” mob mentality. As prepared as representatives would like to make the public believe every single player is, we are all human.
Sure there are times that someone tells you that something should be done, but you have other things in mind that call your name towards the contrary. There have been way too many overly-expensive vehicles and overpriced homes purchased by ballers for me to actually believe every single NBA baller can withstand a lingering lockout.
However, the damage was already done. The owners have already heard how there are a few, maybe several men within that camp that are ready to throw in the towel for the sake of a season and a paycheck. What their specific reasons are for wanting to give in does not matter.
But any weight that the owners may have been feeling has been significantly reduced by McGee’s reassuring candid conversation with the media.
McGee denied it all with a message of 140 characters or less on Twitter. But once spoken, words cannot be taken back.
What will be the result of McGee’s loose lips? He’s still a kid and Derek Fisher undoubtedly reached out to him after those comments were made. I am not even doubting that Fisher probably told him that he would adamantly deny McGee’s claims. In a war like the lockout, all I’s must be dotted and all T’s crossed in order for a side to feel as though they came out of the bevy of battles victorious.
Still, the NBA is full of men who are slightly edged on by their egos. That is what we love about the game. Men get angry. They get emotional in a win and even more emotionally-charged in a loss. The passion is what drives most of them and that is what draws the audience.
The level of pride is also what creates bad blood. Right now McGee is the only man that stood out in the open and said what was happening behind the doors of the NBPA. It may not hold much water until someone who means more to the league says it. But, none of the men that have been meeting in that room will forget it.
No one will forget that in the midst of battle cries McGee stepped forth to say that the Players’ Association was crumbling from the bottom up. Of course these were not his exact words, but you get my drift. Every one heard him and saw him loud and clear.
Nothing much has been made of his words….yet. But when the game is restored, whenever that is, will there be angst towards him. Was a bond broken? Were lines drawn and crossed?
That is something that has yet to be seen. But, do you see how much you can pull out of such a small statement? Reading in between the lines is something that we all must resort to. Listening to each side repeat themselves is getting boring.