Glen - It is time to step up


Despite fielding a mid-market team that is losing games and money, I doubt you are one of the owners willing to torch the season.  You *finally* got Rubio to the US, and he is going to leave again in about two weeks without a deal.  Williams and Love may follow.  All are extremely valuable young players potentially risking career threatening injury in another league.  You signed Adelman, who is not a young man, to a substantial new contract.  Your best player, Kevin Love, is a free agent next summer.  So is one of your most talented players in Michael Beasley.  There was finally a tiny bit of buzz about the Wolves last summer, with Rubio, Adelman, and Williams joining some decent young talent.  This is about the worst possible time for a lockout for the Wolves, and I can't see it making any sense for you to lose the season.

You are the Chairman of the NBA Board of Governors and according to written accounts well respected by other owners and David Stern.  You are a key member of the bargaining committee.  You also have experience as a politician.

This lockout is just crying out for some sensible, fair, pragmatic leadership.  It seems to be completely absent, replaced instead by hardliners on both sides, emotion, concern over "winning" in negotiations, lawyers and agents pushing for court cases for their own agendas, etc.

You need to step up.

Huddle up with the owners and convince them to drop their pride, idealism, and anger for a few minutes.  Point out the obvious: having a season and getting some concessions is far better than losing an entire season and a big chunk of your advertisers and fan base.  Winning at all costs is the stuff of movies; real life involves making decisions that have trade-offs in order to keep moving forward.

Next, use that grandfatherly, humble tone to establish some working relationships with the players side.  You are not the lead negotiator, but the guys who are seem to have failed.  Too much poker and brinksmanship, too little give-and-take deal making.  Find out what key things they need for the rank & file to pass it.  If necessary, explain some of the key ownership needs in a non-condescending way, with a focus on finding alternative ways to achieve goals if necessary.  If the current union/trade association leadership is unwilling or unable to negotiate on behalf of their constituents, if they are instead beholden to agents/a few hard-line all stars/lawyers, then try to encourage some other leaders on the players side to step up.

Do what needs to be done.  Lead, get the NBA going again, and get Rubio throwing oops at Target Center.  With any luck, you may just get that renovation you are after as a reward.  The Wolves could have the best pro sports offering in town the next few years the way the Vikings and Twins are headed.

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