So, our Jimmy Boy has announced that if there are any games lost to the lockout, he'll refund season ticket owners... with 1% interest, which is better than they could get with a savings account.
Very generous of Mr. Dolan, I suppose. It made me think about the lockout and what's really going on behind the scenes here.
I guess you could assume that teams would have to offer refunds to their season ticket holders. They also may have to deal with defections - some fans may just stay away in disgust. But for a team to announce it now, and offer interest? Why would Dolan do this now?
I have to say, it just kind of made me think that Dolan's not particularly in favor of this lockout. And that would make sense, because his team, along with a few others, does quite well.
The real big difference between the NBA and the NFL and MLB is that the NBA has much less revenue sharing between the teams. What I think is really happening is that the small market teams, some of which may be losing money, are pressing for more revenue sharing from the big market teams, but the big market teams don't want to give it up and there's a stalemate.
I think they've agreed to try to squeeze the players as a compromise. I don't think Dolan and the big-market teams are that into it, but they're going to try it, because they really don't want to do more revenue sharing with the smaller market teams.
The question is: How far are they going to let it go? Dolan tends to act out of stubbornness and spite when it comes to money. The fact that the Knicks have made the refund/interest announcement now indicates to me that Dolan may know that the owners are going to push this lockout into the lost games territory and is trying to minimize the damage with fans. There may be several owners that would really like to see a full-season NHL style lockout because they think they can break the players that way. Or break the big market owners, perhaps.
I would really like to be a fly on the wall when the owners meet. I suspect that there is a lot of dissension and that certain owners are at other owners' throats. Who knows, there may have been some jockeying and handshake bargaining that affected the Carmelo trade. All of this stuff may have had something to do with why Donnie decided to leave.
I really think that what we have here is actually a game of chicken between the small market owners and the big market owners. Who's going to flinch first?
I have a feeling it will be Dolan. Kind of like the way the Melo trade was handled. We flinched and threw in Gallo, and then Felton, and then Mozgov. Dolan won't want to lose those games, so he's going to flinch and give the small market teams more revenue sharing. But the other big market teams may not follow suit. Maybe that's what is happening here. Maybe Dolan thinks the big owners should give up more to the small owners and end the lockout, but the other big owners want to call the bluff and now Jimmy is like... 'Oh shit, I'm going to have to cancel games. Damage control time.'
Basically the players are caught in the middle. I think the players union would have to say yes to super-draconian cuts to make up the difference, and I don't think they're likely to do it. All along, it just seems weird to me how Stern has acted. It doesn't seem like he even really believes that player salaries are the problem here, and he doesn't seem to genuinely be interested in a rational deal with the players at all.
Someday, someone's going to write an insider perspective book on this and it might well be a good read. Not as good as watching the Knicks play a basketball game though.