Report: Trail Blazers Owner Paul Allen ‘Sets Fire’ to NBA Lockout Negotiations

The NBA players union believed it had made progress in negotiations with the owners on Wednesday, but the arrival of the most free-spending owner in the league on Thursday blew up any positive momentum, Yahoo! Sports reports.

Paul Allen, known for building the Portland Trail Blazers into the successful-yet-shameful "Jail Blazers" of the late-1990s and early 2000s by handing out huge contracts to players of questionable skill and character, trudged into Manhattan on Thursday.

He wasn't there to move the sides toward reconciliation, Adrian Wojnarowski reports.

"He was a presence to stand there, the richest American owner in sports warning the players that he was now an ally of the dark side," Wojnarowski reports. "The owners knew Allen carried a symbolism with him, an unspoken sense that even the biggest, wildest, most reckless of spenders wanted a system to save themselves from themselves.

"And now, they wanted it completely out of the players' [portion of revenues]. More than a billion dollars in givebacks by the players isn't enough to even keep talking for some of these owners, and that's a problem here."

The two sides are now an even 1-1 as far as one of their members using his bad attitude to ruin recent progress in the negotiations. The difference is, growling Kevin Garnett is just one of more than 400 NBA players, while Allen is the deep-pocketed owner whose free spending caused owners without his ample resources to lobby for the lockout in the first place.

"And now, the richest American owner in sports is fighting the fight, shoulder to shoulder, to change a system he himself had made such a mockery," Wojanowski concludes. "Everyone else [involved in the talks] wants the NBA back in their lives, and slowly, surely it seems that the man responsible for blowing everything up in Times Square wants nothing more than to be done with it all."

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