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AP: 0a043b83-e74c-493a-862e-c9b77d6b757e
This Jan. 31, 2011 file photo shows Orlando Magic's Dwight Howard, center, dunking over Memphis Grizzlies teammates Darrell Arthur, left, and Rudy Gay, right, during the first half of an NBA basketball game in Memphis, Tenn. Howard's departure from Orlando is nearly complete. The All-Star center could be a member of the Los Angeles Lakers as soon as Friday, Aug. 10, 2012, pending NBA approval of a four-team, eight-player trade also involving Denver and Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Mark Weber, File)
So why did we go through that whole exercise again?

The NBA owners told us they needed to lock the players out to increase competitive balance. Today proves that was the biggest lie since Monica Lewinsky.

The NBA owners pounded on a podium declaring themselves faithful to us and the game. As soon as they walked back into their Oval Offices, there was an intern, a cigar and this time a whole lot of money.

Since the lockout to increase competitive balance, the Los Angeles Lakers have traded for Chris Paul, Steve Nash and Dwight Howard. The league blocked the Paul trade but not on the grounds it was illegal within the confines of the CBA but because the league wanted to hold up the value of a franchise it was selling.

If this CBA gave us more competitive balance, how are Steve Nash, Dwight Howard, Pau Gasol, Kobe Bryant and Antawn Jamison all under one salary cap? If we truly have competitive balance, which U.S. Olympian will the Milwaukee Bucks trade for now? Have you heard any LeBron to the Grizzlies rumors? If the players needed to be locked out to even the playing field, how do the Lakers and Bobcats exist in the same league?

The owners had no desire to create competitive balance. Their main goal of the lockout was to spread out the Lakers and Knicks' money to all other owners. The secondary goal was to make it harder for the big money owners to spend so the small-market owners have an excuse for their own lack of desire to win a championship. The vast majority of owners wanted to penalize Miami, New York and the Lakers. None were interested in improving their own team, they just wanted to make it harder for the Knicks and Lakers to spend.

Obviously, accusing a bunch of owners of lying is a strong attack. It is not one I take lightly. The reason why I know I'm right is the lack of a franchise tag. The NFL owners gift-wrapped an idea to the NBA owners and they didn't take it because they wanted more money. Dwight Howard is not a Laker today if there was a franchise tag put in place.

The catch is the franchise tag would have been very expensive. The players would have fought against it until the owners would have been willing to share more of the pot with the players. In order to earn a franchise tag through the CBA, owners would not get as much money from the Knicks and Lakers because they would have had to given up more to the players.

Instead of giving in to the players to make the league better for the fans, the owners just wanted more of the Lakers' money. Keep in mind the other owners weren't interested in winning like the Lakers. They weren't interested in spending like the Lakers. They were only interested in earning like the Lakers.

By allowing teams to franchise a player three times in his career, a player could be locked up for three more years following his rookie contract or a total of eight years. The total could be much longer if you were able to get the player to sign a contract extention after year four of his rookie deal as most players do. The franchise tag would have stripped all leverage from Howard. Orlando's season would have been much better last year without the "Melo-drama" (a term used to describe what Carmelo Anthony put the Nuggets through under the last CBA), and he couldn't hold the Magic hostage.

I'm not hating on the Lakers. I'm jealous of them. They do whatever it takes to win championships. In turn, they earn money because of those decisions. The other owners in the league do whatever it takes to win money from the Lakers and earn no championships.

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