Two weeks ago I had a feeling that a lockout would likely last about a month. Today, I'm not so sure. The public backlash to the breakdown in negotiations was swift and severe. Neither side, the owners or player's union, looked good coming out of that episode. The situation drew warnings that the NBA could find its way to the news section that currently holds stories on the NHL, Horoscope, Crossword, Lottery Numbers, and the Answerball. I asked Answerball if the NBA would avoid an ugly work stoppage and the answer was "yes", all should now rejoice in the good news. WooHoooo!!!!
What I didn't account for in my original prognosis was that for many players a month away from the game started nearly a month ago. That's something often lost on fans of teams that get into the second round, or further, in the playoffs. How quickly this past season erased from my memory the month long drought of activity that was May 2004. A month long session of draft pick wonderings and rumors like "Would Brent Barry return or leave for one more year on a contract offer and a shot at a ring?" and "Would the Sonics trade Antonio Daniels to the Rockets if Barry resigned?"
Ehh, that's a weeks worth of material for a diehard fan, not a months worth.
A few weeks ago I thought that Nate McMillan could wait out the Sonics and enter the free market and garner a better offer from another team, if not the Sonics. It looked to me at the time that there could be a lock-out of the players and that could slow things down for teams that might be looking for a coach. Not now, sources (the Answerball) have informed me that teams see the timetable shorter and are looking to get management openings filled before the end of the season. Tick, tock, look at the clock. The Sonics have a month to get something done with McMillan and time might be on their side.
The Pistons may have filled their soon to be vacant coaching position as soon as the guy that forced his way into that job forces his way out.
The Cavaliers are taking a Cavalier attitude and have fill every opening in Cleveland on the strength of back channel negotiation (Brown, Brown, Antonio Daniels).
Portland, they are messed up and I don't see McMillan coaching Ruben Patterson anytime soon. By the way, Ruben's demand to be traded reminds me of Greg Ostertag demanding a trade when he played in Utah. Neither of those schmucks figured out that the teams they are/were on had been shopping them around for years and NOBODY wanted them for the money they were being paid.
Timberwolves? They look to be on to the Answerball and will likely have somebody in place before the Kohl's spring clearance sale is over.
Would Nate take a job for the same pay in a city that prides itself on removing the flesh of every person that was never a Knick player from the glory days? Would he coach a team that doesn't look like they are winning much in the near future? Same money? No, not even for the honor of gracing the self important Knicks. I don't know if they are willing to offer enough money to entice an apparently clear thinking Nate McMillan to take a job with no real future.
The Lakers are going to spend an unbelievable amount of time kissing up to Phil Jackson.
How about them Sonics? Whatever they are offering will look increasingly good as the days go by. I'll guess that McMillan gets a year more from the Sonics than he could get for other teams and that will close the deal. Maybe he will make it back in time to measure Wayne Simien or Angelo Gigli (the player, not the movie) for a new Sonics uniform.
On a final note, I'll miss Rick Sund. He helped the team, he talked a lot and never said a word. Goodbye Rick, have fun in Orlando, take Jerome James with you. Both of you are about to be over paid.