Wednesday, October 26, 2011

NBA Owners' Mutual Dependence Outweighs Divisions

"Paul Allen strode into the N.B.A.'s labor talks last week as a $13.2 billion curiosity and an embodiment of an apparent contradiction that typifies the league's owners.

Allen, who owns the Portland Trail Blazers, advocates slashing player salaries to help small-market franchises like his compete with those in New York, Los Angeles and Boston. He supports the owners' recent ultimatum to players: a 50-50 split of league revenue, and no more.

But he is also the 23rd-wealthiest person in America, according to Forbes, and the N.B.A.'s second-richest owner. Allen could single-handedly bankroll the league three times over, yet he stands with the most strident hard-liners pushing for the greatest possible concessions from the players, a fact acknowledged by officials on both sides. "

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