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Commentary: Cleveland Cavaliers may benefit from lockout

There’s no arguing that the NBA lockout is a genuine disservice to the fans, and especially to the ordinary people who are out of work because of it.

Good seldom comes from labor stoppages in any sport. The Cleveland Cavaliers and their fans may just be the rare beneficiaries.

With every cancelled game comes one less guaranteed loss. Any impact the new Collective Bargaining Agreement potentially makes extends well beyond this year’s Cavaliers team.

Dan Gilbert, like all the other wealthy owners who are trying to extort every last penny from the players, doesn’t have a dire need for money. Even though they are in a small market, the Wine and Gold did extremely well financially during the LeBron James era.

Even without “the gutless one,” Forbes still ranked the Cavs as the 15th most valuable franchise in the NBA. The new CBA should ensure their financial stability as well.

What remains to be seen are potentially the most exciting of possibilities: the likely changes to the salary cap system.

A hard cap would restrict big market teams from spending gobs of money and create more parity, a word not generally associated with the NBA.

Likewise, installing a harsher luxury tax would serve a similar purpose, even if team salaries above a certain threshold aren’t expressly prohibited.

It would’ve been generous of the NBA and the National Basketball Players Association if they quit their posturing months ago, and had the same sort of urgency in their negotiating tactics throughout the entire process as they did in the last two weeks.

Since we’ve reached the point where the NBA has already canceled games, it’s best for the Cavaliers if the owners continue their tough stance. Particularly when it comes to what they call “system issues,” making it easier for small-market teams to compete.

Even in the old system, the small-market San Antonio Spurs have been among the NBA’s elite for years. They drafted well, made shrewd acquisitions otherwise, and, most importantly, kept Tim Duncan in town.

Unfortunately, James wasn’t blessed with Duncan’s loyalty. If the owners get their way, the new CBA will make it easier for teams to keep their star players.

It would come two years too late for the Cavs. Still, if they ever acquire a star player again, their chances of keeping him long-term will be higher.

Their only hope is to build through the draft and then keep these players.

No marquee free agent is looking to come to the place that “leads the nation in drifters.” Even when they had James, the “stud” free agent Gilbert recruited was Larry Hughes. That was his first step in sabotaging the team.

The worst-case scenario would be the a cancellation of the entire 2011-12 NBA season. That’s almost the best-case scenario for the Cavs, who could be guaranteed another top-five pick.

Generally, no fan of basketball wants to see an entire slate of games wiped out.

In my world, though, I put the Cavaliers’ interests ahead of the rest of the NBA’s. The more missed games, the merrier

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