For those of you who are avid readers of Trade Street Post, let me take this opportunity to thank you for reading and visiting our blog site. If it is your first visit, welcome to you as well. When we created Trade Street Post, we had big dreams. We had plans of going global, selling magazines, being publicly traded on Wall Street…ok…maybe not that big. We did however promise to bring you the latest and greatest news about our beloved Bobcats. We also promised to not publish junk articles or fluff. I know my last post just referenced you to a Charlotte Observer article, but I felt that everyone would want to know that Tyrus was watching game film and seeing that he needs to think before he acts, and that he and Hendo have become the best of friends. Other than that, we wanted to provide you news as soon as we could get it and to make you feel like you were part of the team. We wanted you to feel that the only way to get closer to the team would be if you were suited up, sitting on the bench.
With that said, how close are you feeling? The NBA has been under lockout for 14 million days now, and life on Trade Street has been all but nonexistent. If you were a player, this is what the NBA would feel like. It would feel quiet and distant…unless you were going to head overseas and play some Euro-ball, or play in one of the Pro-Am leagues around the country (anyone else sick of that daily news?). Since none of us here were invited to a Pro-Am game, or a contract to play overseas, we really haven’t had anything to report. A summer with no free agent signings, no trades, no summer camp…NO NOTHING! It really, REALLY stinks. I can remember last season, and how excited I was to get into the preseason games, just to see what the team looked like. This season? I’m clinging to this day, meeting day.
I’ve said countless prayers for the first meeting the NBA and the NBAPA has had in forever. I’m praying that they get something on the table and they do so quickly. I don’t pray for this just because I want to see the guys take the court (though Bobcats basketball is my only true pro sports passion), but because of all of the people this lockout hurts. So far there are folks who may not have jobs for the year if the lockout isn’t resolved. Not the players…they should be just fine. My concern lies with the guy who scans my ticket, the lady who sells me the Diet Coke, the gentleman who tells me where the closest bathroom is, and even the folks who stay after the games to pick up the trash that was left and they get everything ready to go again for the next game. These people are looking at unemployment if a resolve is not met soon. They didn’t have the million dollar checks to set aside if this happened. They don’t have a union with a war-chest of cash to cover them until something is resolved. They are at the mercy of the multi-millionaires that are trying to decide how to split the profits they are making. Our team isn’t turning a profit, and Michael Jordan is doing his all to create a quality product to put out on that court. This lockout has only stalled that. We drafted 2 great prospects in Bismack “The Biz” Biyombo and Kemba “KW1” Walker. Sadly, we haven’t even been able to have “team directed” workouts for the coaches to see how the players gel. This lockout just kills any momentum a team is trying to build.
Wait a second folks…
I feel an editorial coming on…
I know it isn’t the players’ fault that the owners have overspent their money to buy a franchise, sign big name players, and hopefully win games. I don’t blame them for wanting more money. The problem, however, becomes the fact that some teams are operating in the red, while other teams have bottomless bank accounts. If every team wants to be on a level playing field, things have to change. Players are correct in the thought that the team wouldn’t be as popular as it is without them, but the other side of that coin is that the team wouldn’t exist if the owner doesn’t make any money. Many NBA team owners have done just what most of the American people, banks, businesses, etc. have done. They have overspent their money. They are living beyond their means and now the players are calling them on it. The revenue-sharing split already favors the players. The owners want some of that back. It is a total give and take situation. If the owners want some of those revenues back, they need to expect that they will have to give the players something in return. Say we level the playing field for the owners. The revenues are split 50-50 between the owners and the players. I think that takes 3-4% of the revenues back from the players. I know that would be a chunk of change for the players to just give back, but what if it is replaced with something else. What if there are bonuses tied into their contracts for hitting milestones? If they can average a certain number of points, make the all-star team, playoff appearances, championship, etc. What if the team offers to pay for them to finish their scholastic career if they want, so they have a career beyond basketball? I think you get my point. There are ways for the players to get their just desserts in this by giving back to the owners. The players are making their own money from being the stars that they are. They get endorsement money from the companies that sponsor them. Maybe start up a 401K program for the players. Let’s say that the team will take that 3-4% and start a 401K. If times are bad, then the percentage contributed to the fund decreases. That seems to be the way the rest of the working world works. You contribute your own money, and companies match it. If times are bad, the company you work for can suspend the matching funds. The difference here is that the team is putting that money into the fund for the player and the player technically isn’t cutting into their take home pay at all. This is a HUGE help for some of the players that are not good with money. They are guaranteed to have money by the time they reach retirement age, and a team with a benefit like that may be a really great reason to stick with that team. This will also put into place a microscope on the team books. Revenue reporting would need to possibly be double checked by an outside source to verify that what profits or losses are claimed are TRUE profits and losses. Maybe something like all of that already exists, but I doubt it. Is it the billion-dollar fix? Probably not, but both sides have to be willing to give a little.
Players, you are not the ones at fault, but do the owners, the fans, the folks that work for your team (floor sweeper, ticket taker, concessions, team store, etc.) a favor, and give a little. Set a good example for everyone. We won’t think less of you if you bring home a little less money. We’ll actually think a bit more of you because we’ll believe that it truly isn’t all about the money. We’ll see that there is a true love for the game itself, and you guys know it is the “right-thing-to-do” to make the sport grow and become even more popular.
Owners, consider this your only warning. The players might be willing to bail you out this time, but don’t be looking for another bailout. Be smart with your money and don’t overspend it. This is a one time deal, and you need the players just as bad as they need you. Be fair and be smart in all future business moves.
This past season, we unloaded some burdensome contracts and are well on our way to building a perennial playoff/championship contender. A rebuild such as this takes time and loyal fans. I’m a loyal fan as the rest of you guys are. I also have my own opinions as the rest of you do. Trade Street Post has remained silent through the lockout, but we have to let you know that we are still around and we are ready for a season to begin. We figure it is better to remain silent than to pass judgment on players who have not yet set foot on an NBA court. Some folks have already hung what players we have on the roster and have drafted this year, out to dry. They say we don’t have a snowball’s chance in…the tropics…of winning any games this season. No one said that a rebuild would be easy. Michael Jordan knows that it won’t be easy, but when you rebuild, you don’t do it overnight. These things take time.
MJ has 5-1/2 to 6 years of Bob Johnson to tear down and remove before he can start “new construction”. He’s moved necessary contracts (and some of them hurt) to make room for that “new construction”. I look at Gerald Henderson, for example. He’s played basketball his entire life with a birth defect in his hip. That birth defect would trigger knee tendonitis. This off-season he had his hip surgically repaired. It was a necessary surgery that will, most likely, extend his NBA career. Now I don’t know if you saw any footage of Gerald “Hendo” Henderson on the court, but to the best of my knowledge and opinion, he played some really good defense. He also didn’t do a horrible job at the starting SG position. Now I admit that he needs to work on his range and his set shots, but getting a 100% healthy Hendo on our team, with his athleticism…If there is an NBA season this year, we might be in for a bit of a surprise. This is his make or break year though. If he isn’t successful, we will be in need of an upgrade at the SG position.
I’m not going to go into details on any of the other players because, at that point, I would be delving so deep into speculation that if I were right, I’d be able to get my own psychic hotline. I just wanted to let all of our readers know that we are all still alive and kicking (at least I think we all are…someone poke Bruce…is he still breathing?). I love the writers that we have here and they are like a band of brothers. We all usually seem to agree on what to post, and we all agreed to share relevant news. At this point, we are still in lockout mode. Hopefully I can write a much shorter post tomorrow to let everyone that the lockout is ending. That hinges on our prayers for the 2 parties involved in their meeting today. Best case is that after Labor Day, we are talking free agent signings, training camp and the preseason. Worst case is that Trade Street Post goes back into hibernation and we start learning new skills, like underwater basket-weaving.
I wanted to share with everyone also, that we haven’t been totally dead during the off-season. In my hometown in Hickory, NC, I had won a suite to watch the Hickory Crawdads play a game (SAL Baseball). Our suite had the Trade Street Post name on the door and it got flashed up on the scoreboard. My youngest son hit the first ball of the night off of a tee, and my oldest refused to throw out the first pitch.
I also was given the opportunity to write some articles for Crossover Chronicles. It is a general basketball blog site under the Bloguin name. I’ve had one article posted, “Is the Lockout Hindering Player Development”, and I have been a contributor for a “Must Have Jerseys Article” where I had to list my “gotta-have”, “you-can’t go wrong-with”, “that’s cool”, & “that’s funny” jerseys of the Charlotte Bobcats. I am ashamed to say that they had to help me out with the “that’s cool” jersey. I didn’t think outside of the box enough with my response, so they gave me a helping hand. Hopefully you’ll enjoy those articles, and when you get tired of them, maybe that mean old lockout will be over, and we’ll have more Bobcats news to report to everyone.