Indiana Pacers Fans Get Bad Labor News from Danny Granger: Fan Take
By now, we should be a week or so into the new NBA season, and Indianapolis should be awash in Blue and Gold as the Indiana Pacers return to action off their most successful campaign in half a decade. The Pacers' late-season push into the playoffs last April left fans anxious for more and with high hopes for the current group of Indiana players. Now that the NBA lockout has wiped out a whole month of games, though, the atmosphere is changing rapidly, and the goodwill built up in the spring is blowing away with the fall leaves. After the latest round of negotiations, Pacers forward Danny Granger(notes) delivered the bad news that no resolution to the labor strife is imminent.
Late last week, NBA commissioner David Stern and the league presented the players with their latest and greatest proposal, which included a straight 50-50 revenue split between the teams and the players. However, the hotly contested salary cap numbers apparently remained unchanged, and the players seem reluctant to sign any deal that won't give the players a chance to expand their salary base. Indeed, Granger, who is the Pacers' player representative, expects the union to reject this offer outright when they convene again on Monday. That's really bad news, because Stern insists that the league will make no further concessions, meaning that the next step in the process would be some sort of court action.
Granger's pessimism is a bitter pill because this latest proposal would get the season fired up on December 15 and still allow each team to play 72 games. Missing just 10 contests even with a six-week outage would have been a minor miracle, and the timing would have been just about perfect for the Pacers. With the Indianapolis Colts sliding toward oblivion, this town is ripe for the taking, and the Pacers could have made huge strides with a full pre-Christmas schedule. Maybe Stern made the offer knowing it would be rejected by the players, but the fact remains that something palatable to fans is on the table.
It stings to have bad news such as this delivered by a player, particularly by someone who is often cited as a cornerstone of the franchise, as is Granger. Reading the tea leaves for us does little to increase Granger's likability, and may actually cost him and the Pacers some support in the long run. Perhaps he should leave the announcements to the union itself.
Adam Hughes was raised, and still lives, in rural Indiana. He has been a Pacers fan since the early 1980s and has witnessed the rise and fall of a great NBA franchise. He follows the current club closely and is anxious for the lockout to end so the Pacers can begin their next ascent.