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If we assume that Mat Ishbia is willing to spend money as needed on the Mercury - which is not at all a safe assumption - the sticking point is probably the precedent the league set by penalizing the Tsais for using a charter flight for the Liberty. To us, those are two completely different situations, but to the league office, which has consistently been babbling about how they are doing all this stuff even though they clearly are not, it's entirely possible that they would fine Ishbia even though he'd be literally doing what the league says they are. (Or maybe that would be the reason for the fine? Who knows with this league.)

I also have questions about the AP report - "questions remain" only on the league side, I think, since it seemed pretty clear to me at the time that at minimum, representatives of every other team would have been just fine with Phoenix being the only team getting 100% chartered flights. (Granted, I may not have seen players on all 11 teams talking about it, but I saw enough support for BG that I think it's safe to infer.) And if the league does have questions, maybe they shouldn't be repeating that line about how they've already taken care of this. Or maybe they should have called the Tsais' bluff (if it was a bluff) on the three-year charter setup for all teams, since if everyone were flying charters then a) the airport incident would never have happened and b) it wouldn't be a competitive advantage since everyone would have it.

I will admit that I have a very negative opinion of Engelbert, and that could be coloring my view of this, but the situation is begging for a PR layup - the league should have explicitly set up charters for Phoenix for the entire season, even if Ishbia has to pay for them, and then if anyone challenged that the league could have said publicly "we believe this is necessary for the safety of BG and that trumps any advantage Phoenix might get, we're a little surprised people would react this way" - and instead, they turned it over at halfcourt and are complaining about the officiating.

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