Blog Entry

Friday 5 with KB: Blake Griffin an All-Star?

Posted on: January 21, 2011 12:25 pm
Edited on: January 21, 2011 1:56 pm

Posted by Matt Moore's Ken Berger answers five questions on the week's NBA developments. This week, Ken touches on ugh ... Melo, still, Rip Hamilton's situation, and the state of the CBA negotiations in this week's Friday 5 with KB

1. Well, the Russian put the kibosh on the Melo trade. You put out the reasons why it might be best for Melo to chance things with the new CBA in order to get what he really wants, the money and playing in New York. So the question then is, should Melo just say he's not going to sign the extension, period, and push for a rental trade to Houston or Dallas, or stay put?

Ken Berger (
The best way for Melo to get the Knicks and the money is still through an extend-and-trade, if Denver will come around and accept it. But you have to look at it from the Knicks' perspective, too. The more they give up for him, the less chance they will have of competing with Boston and Miami. Melo knows this, too. It's a balancing act for him between getting the place and kind of team he wants while also giving himself the best chance of getting paid. I think Melo should continue doing what he's doing, and by that I mean leave his options open. Don't sign the extension, and don't commit to whether he'll sign it or not. That's how he maintains the most leverage. Then he can take each variable as it comes. If he gets stuck with a rental deal to a deal he doesn't want to play for long-term, he still has a card to play by opting out and taking his chances with the new CBA. As I pointed out with my Melo Math column , that may not be as risky as some people think -- but there's no question there is some element of risk.

2. So Rip Hamilton really got screwed in this. Is that situation going to get resolved or was this Rip's last chance of getting out of a bad situation in Detroit?

See the Friday Post-Ups column for a full explanation, but basically your premise is correct. And not only is Rip out of luck, but so are the Pistons. It never made sense to me why Hamilton would be included in the deal because the only people it benefited were him and Joe Dumars. Now Dumars may be stuck with an unhappy Hamilton until ownership -- whoever that is -- agrees to buy him out. If that happens, I could see Hamilton signing with the Celtics and joining UConn pal Ray Allen. He'd give the Celtics a nice jolt of bench scoring.

3. The Heat are 0-4 since LeBron tweeted about karma and the Cavs. So this question is... do you believe in karma, at least in terms of what's going on with LeBron?

No. I believe in sprained ankles and sore knees, though. That's pretty much all this is.

4. Okay, Ken, give us a teaser of your All-Star picks. Does Blake Griffin make the cut?

Griffin presents the biggest dilemma for the coaches in years. It's rare -- only four rookies since 1980 have made the All-Star team, and only one of those, Tim Duncan, was added by the coaches. (The others were Shaquille O'Neal, Grant Hill, and Yao Ming.) LeBron James and Derrick Rose didn't make the cut as rookies, and Griffin probably won't, either, considering he'd have to be elevated above Duncan, Dirk Nowitzki, or both. Two things: 1) Griffin certainly deserves it, but I'm not sure the coaches will snub all-timers like Duncan and Dirk, and 2) If he doesn't make it, hide the women, children and sophomores during the rookie-sophomore game.

5. The owners will apparently meet with the players at All-Star Weekend, despite reports they were considering not. I'm of the opinion the players need to stop pouting and stomping their feet when the owners do something they don't like, and start putting together substantive strategies to get the negotiations out onto open field, so to speak. Do you agree or do you think the owners really are making that impossible with their cold blooded approach?

Well, as far as negotiating protocol, it is really incumbent on the owners to make a proposal at this point. The owners made one, the players countered, and the owners have been twiddling their thumbs ever since. That seems to be their strategy, because they want the system that they proposed about a year ago -- max contracts of three or four years, a $45 million hard cap, no exceptions, 3 and 4 percent raises, etc., etc. Conversations have continued in smaller negotiating groups, but the talks aren't going to move forward until the owners make another proposal. The longer they wait, the closer they get to their goal of locking out the players and imposing their will. What can the players do? The superstars can show up at the All-Star negotiating session again and make a big show of it, but it's the lawyers and actuaries who are going to solve this problem, not Kobe Bryant and Carmelo Anthony. Stomping feet and throwing tantrums isn't going to do any good. My questions is: At what point does the owners' indifference and unwillingness to advance the negotiations constitute unfair labor practices? I honestly don't know the answer, but I would imagine that the players' path to advancing the talks will come through a legal channel rather than public rhetoric.

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