As NBA labor negotiations again go deep into the night -- somewhat minimized by the circus going in State College, Pa. -- with the hopes of ending the ongoing lockout, one aspect that hasn't been considered is the faction of league owners who aren't hard-liners. Among them, according to reports, is Bulls chairman Jerry Reinsdorf.
That shouldn't be surprising, given that under Reinsdorf's leadership, the Bulls have been one of the most profitable franchises in the league. Of course, much of that is due to the impact of Michael Jordan, but after His Airness' (ironically, one of the aforementioned hard-line owners, reportedly) second of three retirements in 1998, the Bulls continued to rank among the NBA's leaders in attendance, even when they had some truly horrific squads.
In the nation's third-largest market, coming off a successful season and having the reigning league MVP and one of the NBA's brightest young stars, it's only logical that Reinsdorf would want a deal made as soon as possible. With Reinsdorf signing off and through the astute personnel moves made by executive vice president John Paxson, general manager Gar Forman and the rest of Chicago's front office, as well as recommendations of head coach Tom Thibodeau, assembled a cohesive, fiscally-responsible roster that's clearly built to contend for a title and equipped with enough youth, assets and flexibility to make adjustments down the road.
Why wouldn't Reinsdorf want to capitalize on that momentum?
Without knowing his net worth, just by owning the White Sox, it's clear that Reinsdorf has at least one other lucrative revenue stream. Therefore, it's unlikely that he's hurting as much as some of these small-market owners claim the NBA's current system has affected them.
Conversely, this is a man who also deals with baseball's more free-market economy and while the Sox's last World Series title was recent, Reinsdorf was at the helm when he bought a fairly downtrodden Bulls team (which coincided with Jordan's arrival), saw the organization become a dynasty, watched it go through another frustrating era and then stayed patient long enough to see it again grow into a league power.
In short, he might not say it -- due to NBA commissioner David Stern's gag order for owners during the lockout -- but no, it's not shocking at all to learn that "The Chairman" wants an end to this never-ending circus, even if his franchise will miss its annual November circus trip.