Besides hearing from NBA Commissioner David Stern, NBA Players Association Executive Director Billy Hunter and the President of the Players Association, Lakers guard Derek Fisher, we have not really heard a lot of commentary on how the Lockout by members of the Association. The teams are under a gag order imposed by the Commissioner, so they can not talk about the work stoppage; and most of what we have heard from the players is where they plan on playing if the Lockout continues into the regular campaign. However, earlier this week Mike Wells, who covers the Indiana Pacers for the “Indianapolis Star” conducted an interview with Pacers forward Danny Granger on the Lockout. The star of the Pacers bluntly shot from the hip as he responded to a variety of topics.
The veteran was asked whether he believed that given the success over the last few years by the Association, is this the worst possible time for the game to be going through a work-stoppage? Granger replied “Yes. The NBA is coming off a record season. We’ve got a lot of momentum going. Everybody hates what happened in Miami, but it brought a lot of attention to the league. Dallas finally gets a championship. We’ve got a great thing going and we’re about to shut the league down.”
The 6’8″ forward was rather scathing in his analysis of how Commissioner David Stern is handling the Lockout so far. He responded “I feel like he’s playing with fire a little bit. He’s taken such a hard stance on things. I read that he finally said he’d take a salary cut. Nobody knows how much he makes, though. That’s the craziest thing I’ve heard. We’ve got 30 owners putting their faith in him to get the deal done and nobody knows how much he’s getting paid. He’s probably the most powerful guy of all the professional sports.”
After making the Playoffs this past season, the Indiana star told Wells that he is concerned the work-stoppage could derail the progress the team made over the past year. He said “It’ll hurt us bad. We finally got some veteran players, back in the playoffs and now we don’t know what’s going to happen. We should be piggy-backing off last year and building off of it. You get a short season and you never know what’s going to happen, ’cause it’s not a normal season. We need more time together and we’re young and the more time we have together as a team will help us. Reducing the season, taking away the preseason, no training camp, it can only hurt us. This is the hardest offseason I’ve ever had to go through. I’m working out with no end in sight right now. Usually I’m ramping up to go full speed. With no set date on training camp starting, everybody is doing their own thing. I’m in L.A. with a lot of players, and everybody feels the same way I do. We’re just playing a lot of pickup games at UCLA.”
Danny Granger gets it; the longer the Lockout continues, the tougher it will be to bounce back from it. Perhaps Stern will get a wakeup call from reality when he sees the interview. We can only hope.