Numerous reports have mentioned Kevin Garnett as a dividing force in the NBA labor talks, hindering progress between the owners and players as the league attempts to end its lockout.
But talk of Garnett's role in the disintegration of negotiations is overblown, according to the Boston Herald.
And, by the way, while Garnett's anger didn't help move things closer that day, word from league sources is that his effect on the talks is being overblown.
Two ESPN reports, written by Bill Simmons and Henry Abbott, initially discussed Garnett as being an ornery presence when he showed up to labor negotiations. Abbott reported that the two sides were on the verge of establishing a 50-50 split of Basketball Related Income when Garnett, Paul Pierce and Kobe Bryant personally interfered on the union's behalf and said the players would not accept a 50-50 split.
Matt Bonner told Abbott he was skeptical the trio of superstars had played such an important role.
"That was a huge point of contention," Bonner said of the BRI split. "Talking to all these veterans and All-Stars, they were upset we went down to 53. We had to sell them on that. I'm pretty certain Kessler didn't have the authority to offer 50, and nobody in the room would have agreed to that."
But Garnett's presence at the meeting was not done being questioned. Yahoo's Adrian Wojnarowski quoted an anonymous league official who blamed Garnett for the lack of negotiation progress.
This fight has grown nastier, more personal, in the past weeks. Privately, management insists that everything changed when the Boston Celtics' Kevin Garnett walked into the negotiating room on Oct. 4. The owners knew it wouldn't go well when Garnett started glowering across the table, sources said, like the league lawyers, owners and officials were opponents at the center jump. He was defiant, determined and downright ornery. He was K.G. Everyone knew Hunter had to cede to the wishes of the stars, and the stars demanded that the players stop making concessions to the owners.
As one league official said, "We were making progress, until Garnett [expletive] everything up."
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