Portland Trail Blazers owner Paul Allen was "the Grim Reaper" of this week's federally mediated NBA labor discussions, according to a report from Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports.
According to Wojnarowski, Allen -- who was strongly in favor of quickly ending the 1998-99 NBA lockout -- has swung to the opposite side of the labor spectrum and stands as a powerful hardline voice determined to do whatever it takes to avoid giving up anything extra to the players' side. Wojnarowski quotes an unnamed NBA official who supports this theory:
“He’s been the most vociferous lately that [the owners] have given up too much to the players, that they should be holding out for a hard cap, for 40 percent to the players [on the revenue split]. No one has gone after the labor committee harder about this than him.”
The report further speculates that Allen's change of heart stems from his loss of interest in the NBA; his actions at the labor talks could then be seen as the owner laying the groundwork for the sale of the Trail Blazers. The talks fell apart Thursday after hours of reportedly positive discussion, and even some vague signs of progress.