Tag:Sasha Vujacic
Posted on: October 18, 2011 9:31 am
Edited on: October 18, 2011 9:58 am
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On big day for NBA, why is the max so sacred?

NEW YORK – A few thoughts on a very important day for the NBA:

• What does it mean that commissioner David Stern is giving mediator George Cohen one day to solve all the league’s problems before breaking away for two days of Board of Governors meetings? On one hand, it’s unrealistic that Cohen and his colleague, Scot Beckenbaugh, could do in one day what Stern and Billy Hunter haven’t been able to do in two years. On the other, it creates a sense of urgency – without which nothing ever gets done in negotiations. “That’s David’s style,” one league executive said. “He likes deadlines.”

• There are rumblings in the agent community and among team executives that the hawkish position of the players’ association – its line in the sand at 53 percent and inflexibility over competitive aspects of the system – is a recipe for doom. “Sad to say, but I think (the owners) just want to sit the season out,” one prominent personnel man said. The involvement of superstars Kobe Bryant, Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce in the negotiations two weeks ago shook some team executives who believed the two sides were on their way to a deal. “It baffles me that a union of 400 guys is fighting for one or two guys, whereas hundreds of guys are the ones taking the loss,” another team executive told CBSSports.com.

• Several executives fear that Hunter and union president Derek Fisher have been swayed by star players and their agents into taking a hard-line position that could be devastating to hundreds of rank-and-file players if the season were lost. “The thing that they’re fighting for right now is not the middle-of-the-road guy, and that's who you would think the union would be fighting for,” one of the executives said. “They’re fighting for the max guys right now or the max-to-be guys.”

• Longtime agent Steve Kauffman, a player agent during the 1998-99 lockout who now represents coaches and management executives, agrees that not enough time has been spent examining how much money and system flexibility could be freed up by reducing max contracts. “The deal is there to be made,” Kauffman said. “It's ridiculous. The main thing is, tell me what the max salaries are going to be. Because if you want to really help your union, who does the union represent? Whose interests are they protecting? If it's supposed to be everybody, then you've got to strike a balance.”

• Among the negotiating points that the league has said it’s conceded is the initial goal of curtailing the size and length of max contracts. Kauffman believes that’s gotten in the way of getting a deal. “You can make the argument that the stars deserve to be paid 75 or 80 percent of the payroll,” Kauffman said. “But if the max got a 15 percent cut, there would be more room to do those contracts that (the agents) are complaining they can't do. … The superstars are always going to get theirs through endorsements and other avenues.”

• Does this point about max salaries bear out in the math? A 15 percent reduction in future max salaries would represent only 1 percent of BRI annually – about $54 million based on the 21 players who currently make $15 million or more. But over a six-year deal, that’s roughly $325 million – the difference between a players’ share of 52 percent, which sources indicate the union would accept, and 51 percent, a figure that owners likely also would agree to. If the league’s biggest stars took a pay cut, or at least agreed that future max contracts would be reduced by 15 percent, the difference could easily be made up by giving those players a bigger share of licensing money, which currently is divided equally among the players regardless of whether you’re Kobe with millions in jersey sales or Sasha Vujacic, whose only jersey sale likely was transacted by his finance, Maria Sharapova.

UPDATE:

• Some small-market executives are fearful that the amnesty provision being negotiated will turn out to be only another advantage for big-market teams. The provision would allow teams to release an underperforming player and spread the money left on his contract over twice the years remaining, plus one, for cap purposes. One small-market GM envisions this provision being used by big-market teams to collect players cast off by small-market teams. "It's a great idea until Baron Davis goes to Miami," the GM said.

• Do not underestimate the owners' obsession with creating a competitive system that mimics the NFL, through whatever vehicle gets them there. 
"In the NFL, every team has a chance," one team executive said. "That's what makes it great, and we don't have that. We're like Euro League. Until we have revenue sharing and a hard cap, we not going to be a fair league." 

• One final note on the two weeks of games that have been canceled so far. Given reports that league scheduling guru Matt Winick is working on a host of contingency plans, including an 82-game schedule that would begin Dec. 1, it isn’t a foregone conclusion that those games are lost forever. Of importance Tuesday in the mediation session with Cohen is that those games could enter the equation as a valuable bargaining chip. If the two sides reach another impasse on the BRI split, they could be enticed to move closer by getting back the $200 million each side “lost” when those games were canceled.

Posted on: December 14, 2010 6:34 pm
Edited on: December 15, 2010 2:59 pm
 

Nets acquire multiple picks for Melo deal

The Nets have put into motion a plan to acquire several assets that the Nuggets have asked for in a potential blockbuster trade for Carmelo Anthony, two people familiar with the situation told CBSSports.com.

The first step, agreed to in principle Tuesday, is a three-team trade in which the Nets get a first-round pick from the Rockets and another one from the Lakers. New Jersey sends Terrence Williams to the Rockets and Joe Smith to the Lakers, who send Sasha Vujacic to the Nets, the people familiar with the framework of the deal said.

The deal, first reported by Yahoo! Sports, can't be finalized until Wednesday because Smith signed as a free agent this past summer and isn't trade-eligible until then.

The Nets now have their own first-round picks in the next two drafts -- one of which could be traded to Denver -- plus Golden State's 2012 first-rounder, Houston's lottery-protected 2012 first-round pick and a 2011 first-rounder from the Lakers. The plan is to include all of the above in a blockbuster proposal to Denver for Anthony, one of the people familiar with the deal said.

UPDATE: The trade was completed Wednesday, with the Lakers also receiving two second-round picks from the Nets (Golden State's in 2011 and Chicago's in 2012) along with the draft rights to Sergei Lishchuk from Houston. To clear a roster spot for Williams, the Rockets traded Jermaine Taylor and cash to Sacramento for a future second-round pick.

The Nets' new assets, combined with 2010 No. 3 pick Derrick Favors and power forward Troy Murphy, would put New Jersey in the driver's seat in the Melo sweepstakes. And the Nets, according to a high-ranking person familiar with their plan, are working other angles to accomplish the following: get another young player Denver covets and/or add an established player whose presence on the Nets would make the prospect of signing an extension with New Jersey more attractive to the three-time All-Star.

But satisfying Denver has always been only half the battle. Agreeing to an extend-and-trade to New Jersey has not been Anthony's top priority, but the Nets have been the most aggressive team in pursuit of the prolific scorer, whose talent and marketability would represent the biggest coup yet by Russian billionaire owner Mikhail Prokhorov. The Nets are moving to Brooklyn -- Anthony's birthplace -- in time for the 2012-13 season.

According to a person with direct knowledge of Anthony's strategy, he recently became entrenched in his desire to agree to an extend-and-trade only if the deal sent him to the Knicks. The person who provided this information could not have been more unequivocal -- and could not have been closer to Anthony's inner circle. 

On Tuesday, a rival executive familiar with the Nets' months-long efforts to land Melo corroborated Anthony's Knicks-only stance, telling CBSSports.com of New Jersey, "They got word that Melo will not sign there. They can't get it done."

Contrary to another report, Anthony himself at no point informed the Nuggets or Nets of his stance. So the Nets, who according to sources have received repeated assurances from Anthony's camp that he would extend his contract in a trade to New Jersey, continued with their aggressive strategy to sweeten the assets they could offer the Nuggets. Even as word of Anthony's Knicks-only strategy leaked out Sunday after he made his only scheduled appearance of the season at Madison Square Garden, the Nets were working on the framework of the Houston-L.A. deal that came together Tuesday. A person familiar with the situation said acquiring additional first-round picks was something the Nuggets specifically asked for in an Anthony trade. 

Like the crosstown rival Knicks, the Nets struck out in their efforts to lure free agents LeBron James and Dwyane Wade this past summer. But if this haul of first-rounders puts the Nets over the top in their pursuit of Anthony, it would be another dagger for the Knicks. It is believed that Houston's 2012 lottery-protected pick going to New Jersey is the pick the Rockets acquired from New York in the Tracy McGrady deal last February -- the trade that cleared the final bit of cap space the Knicks needed to have any chance of getting LeBron.

The deal also works for the Lakers, who were willing to give up a first-round pick -- likely, of course, to be near the bottom -- in exchange for dumping Vujacic's $5.5 million for Smith's $1.4 million -- of which the Lakers only have to pay a prorated portion of $854,389 because it is a one-year deal for a player with more than two years experience.

What happens next could be portrayed in a commercial with Melo sitting in a director's chair and asking the question LeBron asked: "What should I do?" However this works out for New Jersey, the team's brain trust of GM Billy King and assistant GM Bobby Marks deserve kudos for ignoring the chatter and ever-changing whims of a potential NBA free agent and sticking with their plan. From the outside looking in, it always appeared to rival execs and other observers that the Nets' toughest sales job would be with Anthony. From the beginning, the Nets' brass always believed that would be the easy part -- and that the biggest challenge in landing Melo would be putting together a deal that satisfied all of Denver's desires.

On Tuesday, the Newark-Brooklyn Nets took a giant step closer to finding out.





 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com