This time last year - actually, even as recently as a couple of months ago - I was dreading July 1, 2011. The day the lockout would most likely begin. The owners, the players and David Stern have been on a collision course with a work stoppage for a couple of years now and my biggest fear was a lost season. Now, I'm literally counting the seconds until we can get this lockout started. I'm thinking of having a party.
The irony really kills me. This whole collective bargaining situation boils down to two things. A little bit of greed, on everyone's part, and a heaping helping of incompetence. The owners want to make more money, they want a bigger piece of the pie, and they desperately want to create easier ways to dig themselves out of the holes they foolishly dug for themselves. This work stoppage and the resulting CBA will be all about making it harder for owners to screw up, and easier for them to erase their mistakes. It's about saving these millionaires and billionaires from themselves.
I'm looking at the lockout as possibly the last hope for the Sixers to be saved from their own lame duck management team. The frequency and absurdity of the Andre Iguodala trade rumors seemingly increase by the second. His value on the open market - at least the reported open market - plummets each time a Jonny Flynn rumor lands with a thud. It's a race against time, with Ed Stefanski and Rod Thorn driving the Sixers bus into oblivion, our only hope is for the lockout to come before they can seriously screw anything up.
Once the lockout becomes official, once this CBA expires and the negotiations take on some urgency, the crisis will be averted. In fact, the lockout will act as a salve for this franchise. Odds are, Stefanski, Thorn or both will be headed for early retirement. Suddenly, the Sixers will have new ownership, new management, and even if you subscribe to the theory that Iguodala burned his bridge with his exit interview no-show, guess what? That bridge won't matter. Not one bit. There will be a brand new bridge in its place, one leading from the team's best player to their new management.
Here's the funny thing. When the new ownership groups moves in, they may very well decide that trading Andre Iguodala is the right move. They may decide they want to truly rebuild, that Iguodala could return a valuable asset or two, young assets who could be a part of this team's core for years to come. If they come in and make that assessment, fine. Then they'll have all the time in the world to make a trade that actually helps the team. The hope is that they'll take the time to come up with a rational, long-term plan for how they're going to improve this team.
The big problem with what's going on right now is that Thorn and Stefanski seem to be operating under an idiotic, self-imposed deadline to move Iguodala. Perhaps they think they need to move him now because of the impending lockout, perhaps they realize their days at the helm are numbered and they want to make one last move on the way out the door. Maybe they really were upset about the fateful exit interview that wasn't and they're bound and determined to give Iguodala his walking papers before they get theirs, no matter what the cost (and really, they probably won't be the ones who have to deal with the fallout). Whatever the reason, it's asinine to make a move like this under what is really a meaningless deadline. Unless there are some legit discussions going on in the background, none of the offers the Sixers are getting represent equal value, not even close. There's blood in the water and everyone knows it. Jonny Flynn for Andre Iguodala? Come on. Jonny Flynn isn't good enough to be playing in the D-League.
10 days. Less, actually. It's more like 238 hours at this point. Just get us through that without royally screwing up the draft and then things have a chance of working out well. Not much of a chance, but at least there's a sliver of hope left.