Ken Berger Rumors

You’ve been to every NBA arena and were at Brooklyn’s preseason debut. Is the arena as cool/beautiful/swag as everyone says it is? KB: It’s a cool place, in a cool place. Once you get past the oddly shaped and rust-covered exterior, the inside is truly spectacular. The highlights are the herring-bone floor and the way the lights shine on the court and leave the crowd in relative darkness — a la Staples Center. Everything is shiny and new and smartly done. The deciding factor as far as how good an arena this is will be the crowd. The bar has been set pretty high six miles away at Madison Square Garden, which buzzes like no other place in the league when the Knicks are good and engaging a marquee opponent. Selfishly speaking, early indications are that the wifi signal made available to the media works and is super-fast. Based on how shaky/nonexistent wifi is in the majority of NBA arenas, this is the best thing about it, in my opinion.
On the other side of the negotiations, Berger said, “The players couldn’t possibly have been expected to bend.” “They were put in a corner from which they could not negotiate themselves out of,” he added. Berger also said this cornering has prevented the players from fighting back from a public-relations standpoint. “Until the owners decide that they are willing to compromise as opposed to inflict their viewpoint and their way on the players, we are going to stay exactly where we are,” Berger said. Despite the lockout and how contentious the CBA negotiations currently are, Berger was still not convinced the 2011-12 season would be lost. “It’s a game of chicken,” Berger said. “It’s easy to say on July 1 that you’re willing to risk the entire season. If they’re still willing to say that on September 1, then I’ll believe them.”
While Berger said that the two biggest issues in these negotiations are profit-splits and the hard-cap, he also criticized the NBA owners for misrepresenting their profitability to justify their position. “I don’t want to say that the owners are lying, or committing accounting fraud, or anything like that,” Berger said. “But as anybody knows, anybody who’s ever done a tax return or opened a lemonade stand, you know that you can make the numbers say whatever you want them to say. “They are clearly massaging the figures so that certain expenses … are counted on their books as money going out the door year after year, when it’s not really money going out the door.”
CBS Sports’ Ken Berger called in to Dennis & Callahan Friday morning to discuss the NBA lockout. To hear the interview, go to the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page. Berger said the key difference between the CBA negotiations in 1998 and 2011 is “a groundswell now of support among the owners to fundamentally change the sport.” “That was not the case in the ’98-99 lockout,” Berger said. “The owners wanted cost-certainty, now they want to be guaranteed profit. They essentially want the players crushed and brought to their knees.”