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Gag me with a lockout

Gazette staff November 9th, 2011

For NBA teams, the first rule of the lockout is don’t talk about the lockout. That’s because a gag order prevents franchises from discussing the ever-so-annoying work stoppage. That means no contact with players, even if they cut their foot before an exhibition game in Oklahoma City or play flag football in Stillwater.

You can see how frustrating it can be. And it’s easy for hoops fans to have misperceptions about collective bargaining agreement negotiations. Now comes a report from the Sporting News that the NBA has set up a Twitter account to issue clarifications of 140 characters or less (“Collective Bargaining news and facts directly from the NBA office,” according to the profile).

Feeling frisky, the NBA’s Twitter account recently replied to Thunder center Nazr Mohammed.

“Don’t tweet me during this lockout!” Mohammed responded via Twitter.

“Isn’t that a fine or something lol?!?! #NBALockout … That’s hilarious! I can’t workout at our team’s facilities or have contact w/ coaches but @NBA_Labor & @NBA can harass me on twitter lol SMH.”

The NBA’s Twitter-iffic response?

“The no-contact rule doesn’t prevent NBA from responding to misinfo about collective bargaining, no matter the source” Speaking of misinformation, ArizonaSports.com reported on a Nov. 2 season-opening game with the Phoenix hosting the Thunder, with the Suns winning 114-106 over OKC. Wait … isn’t the season on hold till December (at least)?

The article featured this disclaimer: “The following article is not real. It is our best guess as to what would have happened had the NBA season actually started on time, playing every game on the 2011-12 schedule. Clearly that’s not the case, and every stat, quote or observation below never actually happened.

But without REAL NBA basketball to talk about we needed something to stir our imaginations, so please take a read and enjoy the Suns 2011-12 season — sort of.”

We can dream. And we can debate about the ramifications. Early last month, Oklahoma Gazette reported that OKC officials estimated that each Thunder game had an impact of around $1.28 million, despite an academic study that claimed lockouts have no negative overall economic effect.

The argument rages on, according to KOCO-TV. University of Chicago economist Allen Sanderson claimed the work stoppage isn’t costing OKC anything. Taxpayers, who will spend their moolah elsewhere, already paid the ultimate price of $210 million to build the arena.

“What’s the quality of the schools?” Sanderson asked the station. “What’s the crime rate? What are the recreational amenities? What’s the access to a major airport?” Although Mayor Mick Cornett admitted that OKC’s revenue hasn’t been noticeably affected — and is rising, thanks to Devon tower construction — he told the station the Thunder’s value isn’t only monetary.

“What we really miss out on is the ability to expose Oklahoma City in a positive manner to people around the country and around the world,” Cornett reportedly said. “Oklahoma City has been branded by its tragedies in the past. Having an NBA team is a wonderful way to expose Oklahoma City in a very proactive and positive way, and we benefit from that.”

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