Barack Obama vs. an NBA lockout

No, I have not seen the President say anything about preventing a lockout.

But as it looks increasingly like there will be a deal to preserve the George W. Bush era tax cuts for the very richest Americans, it occurs to me that maybe, just maybe, that might do a little something to reduce the likelihood of a lockout.

We have been expecting a lockout with the understanding that the players and owners are fighting over a pile of cash. The tax cuts for the richest Americans don't change life much for you and me, but they change life mightily for most NBA players, and even moreso for the billionaires who own NBA teams.

In other words, the government just handed both sides of the table envelopes filled with -- well, how much money? I'd welcome estimates. But it's a lot. For some owners, that might alleviate their need to take a fat chunk out of players' incomes. For other owners, and players, it might merely sap their will to go along with the hardliners.

It's a complex picture (I welcome e-mails to the name of this blog at gmail.com from tax and finance experts) made all the more complex by the reality that many teams actually lose money.

But any way you slice it, there has been some sunny financial news for both players and owners, the latter of whom have been complaining about assaults on their wallets.

It's questionable that tax cuts for the very rich will do much to help the economy grow, but if some of that money can trickle down in the form of keeping the world's best basketball players on the court, well, I guess we'll take what we can get, right?