Words by Phlip
New conspiracy theories on deck, here…
The NBA claims that Deloitte & Touche and Dunn & Bradstreet are involved in the process of making sure the events of the NBA draft lottery are all handled on the up-and-up.
Wait, put a pin in that, I will come back to it…
With the teams most egregious in their attempts to buy titles in the Lakers and Mavericks duly and embarrassingly dispatched from the playoffs, we were left to find the respective Conference Finals series suffering from a MAJOR parity issue, when the expected happened in the Heat and Spurs going up 2-0 in their sets.
While it seemed the Heat were getting an outpouring of help from the referees, the Spurs were quite flatly that much better than the younger OKC Thunder. Where OKC could take close games from the Lakers, the Spurs are better-coached and deeper and (most importantly) know their roles in the grand scheme of things – not to mention understand the power of being screamed upon for straying from that role.
… and now we can talk about the draft lottery.
There is no secret that the NBA bought out George Shinn, former owner of the *Charlotte* Hornets, who moved them to New Orleans when Charlotte wouldn’t subsidize a new stadium for him, then found out the hard way that the grass is not greener in a land where College Football reigns supreme and became insolvent in his new market. With a conflict of interests in the hands of the NBA running a team, quite evident in the Lakers trade screwjob back over the winter that eventually cost them their own competitive credibility, the league needed to sell to the first ownership group willing to take on the mess they had been cultivating. Previously discussed on this site was the group involving former player Jamal Mashburn – whose group I championed – but seemingly out of nowhere came the New Orleans Saints owner who agreed to take on the team.
Something stinks of an odd fix, here…
If this old coot – whose Saints, by the way have only RECENTLY become wholly profitable after a great many “laughing stock” years – was interested in the Hornets, how come no one heard his name mentioned until the process had been all but decided?
What I think happened is that the league wanted to sell the team to someone who knows the sporting pulse of the city, and that is fair. BUT, it began to feel more and more to me like it was them that courted him to buy the team, throwing in a backroom deal, WHATEVER backroom deal they could grant without the public becoming too suspicious. The organization already has a legion of employees afraid to say too much to the media, even if it is their own off-the-record opinion and with no regards for how true it may be out of fear for their jobs. That element seals off the leaks that damn other teams’ clandestine efforts. Come time for the NBA Draft Lottery, which they no longer televise live anymore, they made good on their promise of “something for your troubles” when the results of the Lottery were revealed and the technically-still-league-owned Hornets had won the first overall pick. Heck, other executives and owners around the league were finally willing to vocalize their lack of trust in a manner that got Phil Jackson fined $50k last year.
… and all of this when a lack of parity was KILLING the entertainment value of the playoffs.
Again, I cannot cite any sources on this, because this is PURELY of my opinion and lack of trust for the situation, but it seems odd that BOTH of the Conference Finals were shaping up to being foregone conclusions until that awkward moment where it was looking like the league might have fixed the results of the Draft Lottery in the favor of the Hornets as a part of the terms of the sale. Look, EVERYONE thought that the league shooting down the Chris Paul/Lakers deal was crappy and even moreso when they turned and sent him to the Clippers instead. Some are even still salty about the lockout on the whole, and a great many have never started BACK trusting the league after the rogue referee gambling on games a couple of years ago. To those (us) types of folks, there’s no trusting that the all-of-a-sudden enhanced level of competition in these games on the heels of the league coming DANGEROUSLY close to looking bad for perhaps fixing the Draft Lottery, then the playoffs to cover that up.
I still got San Antonio over the Miami Heat in the NBA finals, 7 games.
… just sayin’.
Words by Phlip