The NBA has been locked out for more than three months, so when reports mentioned that Kevin Garnett ruined the entire labor negotiations, I was (understandably, I think) skeptical. It was difficult for me to believe that a lone human being who attended no more than one (or maybe two) lockout meetings could single-handedly obliterate a deal splitting $23 billion of revenue. After all, destroying something by showing up late in the process (or season, in this case) is a role usually reserved for Jeff Green.
Color me not surprised, then, at the Boston Herald’s report today that Garnett’s role in the lack of progress on the lockout front is “overblown.”
And, by the way, while Garnett’s anger didn’t help move things closer that day, word from league sources is that his effect on the talks is being overblown.
More likely, the blame tossed on Garnett was another spin in the rhetoric designed to divert attention from the real culprits here — the NBA owners and the leaders of the players association, who have not been able to reach a deal and have already canceled the first two weeks of the regular season.
Garnett’s a powerful human being, and it’s not difficult to envision Garnett giving David Stern a piece of his mind (or several pieces, including a lot of profanity and perhaps some chest-bumping or ball-tapping, if Garnett deemed it necessary or was particularly psychotic at the time). But if one man can really threaten all progress prior negotiations had made, well, maybe there wasn’t much initial progress at all.
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