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.