Foyle glad lockout over
HE STOOD ON OPPOSITE sides of the fence, yet Adonal Foyle is always happy to see just one view of a lockout – the back of it.
Thirteen years after surviving his first work stoppage as a player, the one-time NBA centre turned director of player development is just looking forward to getting back to basketball after the latest labour standoff threatened to wipe out an entire season.
“I was extremely calmer this time because I was not part of negotiations and I was basically just watching and waiting,” said Foyle, who was a sophomore centre for the Warriors during the first lockout but is now a team employee of the Orlando Magic.
“I think I’m fortunate that my job requires me to be neutral when it comes to the NBA, the team and the players because it is my role to navigate the boundaries between those three organisations, so I remain extremely neutral.
“But I knew that as long as the two teams were meeting there was always a chance they would work out a deal.
“It’s still awesome, though, although we’re still waiting for the ratification from the players, and even though they are allowed to come back to the facility today [yesterday] it’s just great to have basketball back.
“It’s so huge, especially for the people who work in the local communities with the teams because they’re the most affected, so it’s good to be able to tell them that they’ll have a job again.”
The whole 2011-2012 season came under threat after the previous collective bargaining agreement (CBA) expired last summer and the players and owners failed to come to an agreement over the split of basketball-related income plus the structure of a new salary cap.
It led to a 149-day work stoppage that forced the league to abandon all of its November games plus most of the December schedule as well, before the two sides finally came to an agreement last weekend.
The players’ conditioning following a lengthy layoff might be the least of Foyle and the Magic’s concerns, though, considering Orlando’s recent play-off woes which culminated last season with a stunning first-round series loss to Atlanta.
And the uncertain fate of franchise centre Dwight Howard hasn’t helped matters any as the reigning three-time Defensive Player Of The Year has refused to sign a contract extension to remain with the Magic and can become a free agent at the end of the year.
“We’re hoping that Dwight will remain with us but beyond that we’re trying to create a team that people want to be a part of,” Foyle said.
The Vincentian-born Foyle hopes to one day become an NBA general manager.
“I like the idea of building my own structure and bringing in people that I think would be effective coaches. I think being the architect of a team is just so intriguing,” he reasoned.
Drafted eighth overall in 1997 out of Colgate, he enjoyed a 13-year career with the Golden State Warriors, Orland Magic and Memphis Grizzlies before retiring in 2009.
The founder of student organisations Democracy Matters and the Kerosene Lamp Foundation, Foyle is currently in Barbados attending the Caribbean Broadcast Media Partnership on HIV/AIDS media leaders’ summit.