NBA Commissioner David Stern has fined Washington Wizards owner Ted Leonsis $100,000 for comments he made about the league's collective bargaining situation with the player's association. Speaking to a group of northern Virginia business leaders, Leonsis, who also owns the Washington Capitals of the National Hockey League, said he expects the NBA to soon have a hard salary cap such as the one used in the NHL.One hundred thousand dollars is a lot of money, even to Ted Leonsis, so clearly Stern takes this pretty seriously. [Let's hope Ted doesn't pay for it by raising the prices of hot dogs at the Phone Booth.] The NBA is in some heated negotiations with the NBA Players Association and a lockout is not out of the question. I have to say, though, that a lockout to "prevent owners from taking stupid pills" isn't exactly designed to win the hearts of basketball fans. Some pretty hefty contracts have been handed out this offseason -- not just to Lebron James or Dwyane Wade, but also to players like Darko Milicic, Andray Blatche and Amir Johnson. If money is so tight why is so much of it being thrown around? If Ted thinks the cost structure of the NBA is out of whack because some owners are giving out foolish contracts under the influence of "stupid pills," I would humbly suggest that they stop taking stupid pills. Nobody forced anyone to write these checks and if a lot of these contracts turn out to be bad ones -- as some certainly will -- then the owners are to blame for that and no one else. I see no reason basketball's loyal fans should be deprived of a great game -- even for one day -- because some guys with enough money to buy a basketball franchise, but not enough sense to know what to do with it -- are handing out overly-generous deals to the hired help.
Here's a tip: Get smarter.