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Working men: James, Wade and others act to avoid another 1998

The giant shadow that's hung over the Miami celebration over the last month (for those who are aware of boring labor minutiae), is the prospect of a work stoppage. After the time and effort the team and fans have put into the assembling of this squad, the thought of losing a season because of labor issues is horrifying. That's why the news this week that LeBron James and Dwyane Wade were among the big-name players that attended labor negotiations in New York this week is good to hear. The two, as well as Chris Paul (who is on the players' executive committee and was scheduled to attend), showed on their own accord, as well as Chauncey Billups, Joe Johnson and Carmelo Anthony. If you remember back to 1998, the players mostly got the shaft after about eight months of a lockout. The reason? There was no planning, so big-name players had no money to fall back on, and the only big-name player really committed to the cause was Patrick Ewing, who was the union point-man. Tony Kornheiser called the dispute "one between tall millionaires and short millionaires" and the short guys won because of their unity. So now we're facing that possibility again. The NBA has only had one labor dispute lead to the loss of regular-season games, so history is on the side of continual play. But if there is no unity among the superstars, they'll just get rolled again. And their attendance also provides comfort to those of you who shared the concern of regular reader Shawn361. Jeff Van Gundy raised the point with Dan Le Batard earlier in the week that a new Collective Barganing Agreement could lead to the new Heat being disbanded after one season due to salary cap concerns. In theory, yes. In practice, highly unlikely. And with two of the three big names involved sitting at the table, I'd bet money against that worst-case scenario happening.