Rarely in sports do I side with the ownership of professional sports teams, but today’s latest revelation practically made the white collar worker in me jump out and scream “for shame!!” It was reported today that Dwyane Wade is going to meet with Lebron James and Joe Johnson to discuss exactly what each of their plans are for the upcoming free agent extravaganza coming this summer. Three of the top name/max contract/potential organizational cornerstones in the NBA going to discuss who knows what and decide who knows what.
The entire NBA could be tipped on its collective ear from a decision(s) made at this summit of the greats. However, for owners…why not call on David Stern and shout “collusion?”
Collusion is a secret agreement between two or more parties for a fraudulent, illegal, or deceitful purpose. If indeed as reported the three players do meet, is it not fair to say that any decision made at that meeting could be considered collusion? How is it fair to the owners of these NBA teams who have planned and schemed their rosters and payrolls for this summer to even have a shot at landing one of these NBA superstars?
According to wikipedia:
“Collusion is an agreement, usually illegal and therefore secretive, which occurs between two or more persons to limit open competition by deceiving, misleading, or defrauding others of their legal rights, or to obtain an objective forbidden by law typically by defrauding or gaining an unfair advantage. It is an agreement among firms to divide the market, set prices, or limit production. It can involve “wage fixing, kickbacks, or misrepresenting the independence of the relationship between the colluding parties. In legal terms, all acts affected by collusion are considered void.”
Let’s just say over a bottle of the finest merlot Wade, James and Johnson all agree to not accept offers from teams only to drive up the price for maybe one, two or all three of them. By doing so that can be considered wage fixing and therefore could be considered collusion.
Let’s say while the terrible threesome finish off some calamari appetizers they decide to all team up on one team but Lebron will only come to the Bulls if both Wade and Johnson come with him at the max price available. By doing so that could be considered collusion because it was an agreement that was already agreed on.
I am not going to act all ignorant and say that this has never happened in the past, but this summer the weight of the NBA could dramatically shift. The league itself could completely change by the top names going to new places or the top names teaming up with each other and dominating the competition. This is a bigger deal that how it’s being perceived around the league and I think the public statements of Dwyane Wade should absolutely be looked into by Commissioner David Stern.
If David Stern does not act on these statements made by Wade in today’s Chicago Tribune, he should never get involved in any bargaining discussions ever again. There needs to be a moderator of this meeting with Wade, James, and Johnson because if indeed something is agreed on and acted out this summer, the hands of the owners are tied because it is not illegal for players to do this to owners. However, owners cannot have this same luxury vice versa because of the NBA Players Union and the power they sway.
This meeting with Wade, James, and Johnson is simply nothing more than a planning session among the players which in turn could cost NBA teams millions of dollars more than if the meeting had not happened. If Wade is going to be so public about his idea for the three to get together, than the meeting should be as public as the statements with some sort of order or statement released with what was discussed in the meeting. If this were not to happen, then owners from Mark Cuban to Jerry Reinsdorf should stand up and cry foul much like a players representative would if the owners were to have a meeting of the minds.
Dwyane Wade talks a good game about loyalty in his comments today to the Tribune’s Fred Mitchell. How could anyone be loyal to Wade when he himself is setting up private meetings about his future possibly reliant on what others may think he should do? If Wade was indeed as loyal as he says he is, there would be no need for a meeting of the NBA minds because Miami is so loyal he doesn’t need to think about leaving.
It simply makes no sense and the NBA should step in immediately to stop the collusion of the 2010 NBA summer of free agency. Commissioner Stern???
Rock Mamola is the Associate Producer of The Mully And Hanley Morning Show and co-host of The Joe O And Rock Show on WSCR 670AM The Score
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