Play Fantasy Use your Fantasy skills to win Cash Prizes. Join or start a league today. Play Now
 
Tag:LeBron James
Posted on: July 30, 2010 8:45 pm
 

CBA talks mean two houses divided

Posted by Matt Moore

Ken Berger's column today touches on the future of the league through the ever-narrowing window of the upcoming CBA talks. The column itself specifically touches on the viability and reception of an NFL-style franchise tag in the NBA. But a salient point might get lost in the column, one that belies another level of complexity in the talks that will occur over the next 12+ months.

From KB's piece :

 

“The league would love to have [a franchise tag] in place to maintain competitive balance,” said Gabe Feldman, director of the Sports Law Program at Tulane University. “The small-market owners would love it, but the big-market owners wouldn’t. It’s not just a struggle between the owners and the players. It’s a struggle between the owners and the other owners.”

 

The point belies something lost in the offer-counter-offer-counter-counter
-offer talk between the union and owners, and the ongoing PR fireworks that have laced these talks since last All-Star Weekend. There are really four sides to these negotiations. The players' union, the league, the big-market owners, and the small-market owners.

The league will first and foremost side with the owners. They have a responsibility to ownership to protect their interests. But the league is also torn on the interests of the big-market teams versus the small-market teams, who have competing interests within the owners contingent.

For example, a franchise tag as Berger outlines would have helped Cleveland keep LeBron for another year, buying time to make another run at a title, provided the Cavs targeted an “exclusive” tag for James. Even a non-exclusive tag would have prevented the Big 3 from forming by demanding two first round picks in exchange for James, making the sign-and-trade for Chris Bosh that much harder, especially if Toronto also oped for a franchise tag on Bosh.

And that's great for Toronto and Cleveland, but the teams that have led the labor negotiations have been the very teams that would hate a franchise tag, those teams that were in contention for LeBron this summer. New York. Chicago. New Jersey/Brooklyn. LA Clippers. And the Miami Heat. It's those owners, along with those in Boston and LA who have the most to lose from restructuring, that could prevent change at this level.

But the franchise tag is a concept. There's a very real battle that will be fought during these negotiations, one that could drive a wedge of confusion into the owners' obtuse fortress.

Revenue sharing is a players union issue. At least that's how the union sees it, and it has been pushing for changes to the revenue sharing system aggressively. David Stern said at the All-Star game that revenue sharing was a priority for the league, but also made it clear that it would be a separately negotiated process internally with the owners, not something the league would allow the players to negotiate during the CBA talks.

This is likely to be a major issue of contention, to the point where the union may have to employ labor law in order to force the issue onto the table. But the owners may not just be having to fend off this push from the union. Forces within the owners group may have a rising contingent of newer owners who are unhappy with the current model, which essentially gives the big market teams significant advantages at every turn, trapping small-market teams at the bottom in a rich-get-richer, poor-get-poorer model. There are obvious exceptions in San Antonio, Oklahoma City, and Orlando, but both the Spurs and Magic have spent a considerable amount of money in order to overcome that gap, and the Magic have yet to claim a title while the Thunder are merely projected towards success.

As a few examples, in the NFL, which is clearly the most successful sports league in America, television revenue is split among all the teams while in the NBA, the home team negotiates its own television deal. The NFL home team splits the gate 60/40 with the away team, while the NBA home team keeps all its revenue.

An adjustment like this may seem indicative of a move towards welfare ownership that could lead to bad ownership allowing to float, but it's hard to argue that's a worse arrangement than the massive gap between the small market teams and the big markets. Newer ownership, though, has made noise about wanting to move away from the status quo.

Meanwhile, as the owners are trying to shore up their own front, they are likely to tailor their proposals to the union to benefit the non-superstar players while restricting the top percentage of players. Appealing to these players with concessions could help them with their overall goal of capping exorbitant spending (on non-Darko players, of course). This sets up a scenario of there being five separate entities in the CBA talks. The superstar players, the role players, the big-market owners and the small-market owners, with the league trying to keep tabs on everyone in the hopes of getting a resolution (that obviously favors their constituents, the owners).

Things are going to get a heck of a lot messier before they get better.

Posted on: July 30, 2010 6:20 pm
Edited on: July 30, 2010 6:39 pm
 

Heat sell out season tickets, fire sales staff

Posted by Royce Young

Typically, if you do your job really, really well, you get a promotion. Or you get a raise. Or at the very least, you get to keep your job.

But that didn't happen in Miami as the Heat fired its season ticket sales staff after the team sold out of season tickets. Ouch.

In a statement, the team confirmed the terminations Friday afternoon, saying that with an "exhausted'' inventory of season-tickets "we no longer require a season ticket sales team to sell tickets.''

Stephen Weber, vice president of sales, delivered the news to about 30 ticket sales people Friday morning, according to the story from the Miami Herald. Currently, the team's waiting list has more than 6,000 names on it. It's pretty evident that at this point, the Heat can sell tickets without even trying.

"They let us go because there was really nothing left to do anymore,'' a fired staffer told the Herald.

The statement also said: "While the decision to release part of our sales force was a difficult one, we greatly appreciate their contributions to the company. We have also hired a placement service to assist those individuals find new employment. Should any season tickets become available, they will be handled through our season ticket deposit program. We thank those employees for their time with the company and wish them success in their future endeavors.''

Obviously this seems like a major low blow. But as the staffer said, what were they really going to do? I wonder what places like Green Bay do with waiting lists that long. Still, firing a group of 30 after a job well done, has a funny taste to it. Or actually, is just downright mean.

Evidently, the Heat aren't worried about retaining the new season ticket holders. I guess LeBron, Wade and Bosh are supposed to take care of that.

Posted on: July 30, 2010 12:23 pm
Edited on: July 30, 2010 12:24 pm
 

Joey Graham signs two-year deal with Cleveland

Posted by Royce Young

And the successor to the throne in Cleveland is... Joey Graham?

Marc J. Spears of Yahoo! reports the Cavs have inked Graham to a two-year contract, with terms undisclosed at this moment.

What does this mean? Well, the Cavs are struggling a bit. Currently, they have one actual small forward on the roster and that's Jamario Moon. So Graham certainly has a spot and a need, but right now, Cleveland's at an interesting intersection: Rebuild or stay somewhat competitive?

The Cavs don't have any inclination to make a run past the first round of the playoffs next year, and that's if they even make it that far. So is it worth signing a decent veteran like Graham instead of hanging on to the space and starting to build a bevy of assets?

Graham is not at all a step in advancing past the LeBron era in Cleveland. He's merely a placeholder. And if that's what the Cavs want, so be it. Honestly, it would be tough for the folks of Cleveland to stomach a rebuilding year next season. It would be constant reminder as to how much LeBron meant to that franchise. So the Cavs are going in the direction of trying to remain competitive for now, because it puts on a good face to the fans. It's the family that's broke still throwing its kid a sad birthday party.

The trade sending Delonte West and Sebastian Telfair to Minnesota last week signaled a bit that maybe the Cavs were looking to start a process of rebuilding. They sent a player away in West that is a productive player and has been a large part of the success of the franchise over the last few years. Plus, besides Ramon Sessions who obviously is who the deal was for, they snagged Ryan Hollins who isn't a shabby inside player and a second-round pick.

Cleveland is at a crossroads no franchise wants to stare down after losing a star. Scrap everything and start over or try and put on the happy face for the fans? And apparently, it'll be the happy face for now.
Posted on: July 30, 2010 8:45 am
 

Shootaround: 7.30.10

Posted by Royce Young
  • HoopsWorld reports the Celtics have signed veteran guard Von Wafer. It's a one year deal, fully guaranteed and worth the veteran minimum.
  • Basketbawful determines Chris Dudley is the worst free throw shooter ever: 'Dudley's career free throw percentage of 45.8 isn't the lowest among the players in this list. So why does Dudders rank first among my worsts? It's not simply because he 817 of 1,508 freebies over his (gulp!) 15-year career. What sets Dudley apart are some of his dubious fouls shooting accomplishments. For instance, according to his NBA.com bio: "On April 14, 1990, he missed 17 of 18 free throws in a 124-113 loss to the Indiana Pacers. In that game he broke Wilt Chamberlain s NBA record by missing 13 straight free throws, one of them an airball. Dudley wound up with a league-worst .319 free-throw percentage."
  • Scott Howard-Cooper for NBA.com on Ricky Rubio : "Rubio is an even better prospect now than at the time of the hypefest leading to the 2009 draft, so he's either a trade chip with increasing value or going to someday arrive in Minnesota as a superior player. Kahn will be vindicated on that one."
  • Howard Beck of the New York Times writing on Shaq's future : "Yet O’Neal — the Most Dominant Ever, according to the syntactically awkward title he gave himself — is unemployed. Is this the end? Possibly. This limbo is largely self-created. O’Neal, according to team executives, is seeking an $8 million salary. He wants a two-year deal. He is 38. He has trouble staying healthy. He can be helpful in spurts, but he is no longer the menacing figure who once ruled the paint."
  • Toronto GM Bryan Colangelo claimed Chris Bosh pretty much quit on the team last season. Bosh in an interview with SportsNet Canada refutes that : "No, at any time, did I ever give up," Bosh told Sportsnet. "You know, I take that very seriously. I work hard every time I step on the court -- practice, games, shoot-around, whatever you want to say -- I take this job seriously and I take my effort on the court seriously ... I play this game as hard as I can every time I step on the court. On the back of my jersey, it says Bosh," the 26-year-old forward continued. "The Boshs are hard workers. We have a lot of pride in what we do in our jobs and in life. There was no time, at any time, that I ever stepped on the court -- in my NBA career, in my life -- and stop playing hard or give up."
  • Can Rashard Lewis and Brandon Bass co-exist? Orlando Pinstriped Post investigates : "The biggest takeaway is that Van Gundy's apparently willing to pair the two in the frontcourt with a center, which he didn't do for any meaningful stretch last year, as I've illustrated with the chart above. Will he follow through on it it? In what situations? And, most importantly, will it work? We have another three months, at least, before we'll even begin to have an idea. If nothing else, teaming Lewis and Bass is worth a look, especially early in the season, when there isn't much at stake. If the lineup works, keep it. If not? Junk it, and try something else."
Posted on: July 29, 2010 8:24 pm
Edited on: July 29, 2010 11:13 pm
 

ESPN releases statement regarding LeBron party

Posted by Matt Moore

ESPN has released a statement to explain the series of events surrounding the phantom LeBron story which appeared briefly on ESPN's servers before being yanked. The story has come down that the problem lies not with James, nor with ESPN.com's editorial staff, but with the writer, Arash Markazi.

Rob King, Vice President and Editor-In-Chief, ESPN Digital Media released a statement today:

ESPN.com will not be posting the story in any form. We looked into the situation thoroughly and found that Arash did not properly identify himself as a reporter or clearly state his intentions to write a story. As a result, we are not comfortable with the content, even in an edited version, because of the manner in which the story was reported. We’ve been discussing the situation with Arash and he completely understands. To be clear, the decisions to pull the prematurely published story and then not to run it were made completely by ESPN editorial staff without influence from any outside party.

We knew the story was going to get complicated. James was clearly unaware that his actions were going to be reported on. The question was whether he was unaware Markazi was a reporter or if he was aware Markazi was a reporter but believed he was off-record. Now we have the official position regarding that.

So was what Markazi did unethical?

If this were a drug ring, Markazi could not identify himself as a reporter. He couldn't ask if people involved in illegal behavior were on-record without jeopardizing both his safety and the story. There are a number of illegal stories broken where a reporter has had to refrain from revealing both his position and intention.

LeBron James did not do anything illegal. He has done nothing against the law, nothing that would warrant this kind of deception. There's no crime in being an egotist, no fault that goes against human decency is partying like a rock star. He simply comes off looking bad. And that's not enough to warrant such tactics. Perhaps it was a misunderstanding. But the onus is on Markazi to notify James or one of his representatives that he is a reporter, and that he is writing a story on the night's events.  LeBron James has every right to be whatever kind of person he wants to be at a private event held for him, among friends.

For his part, Markazi also released a statement, though I would not particularly call it contrite:

I have been in conversations with ESPN.com’s editors and, upon their complete review, understand their decision not to run the story. It is important to note that I stand by the accuracy of the story in its entirety, but should have been clearer in representing my intent to write about the events I observed.

ESPN takes a lot of flack for not being responsible with their coverage, and will of course take flack for protecting James' PR theoretical rear. But Markazi leaves little option by admitting he did not specify that what he saw that night would end up in front of the eyes of millions. Their hands were tied when Markazi did not approach the story with the right set of practices. We live in an age where the media seems to know no bounds. At some point, those lines have to be drawn by those with the most reach.

None of this makes any part of this story any less funny.
Posted on: July 29, 2010 12:05 am
Edited on: July 29, 2010 12:11 am
 

Fan wearing Heat LeBron jersey escorted from game

Posted by Royce Young



You knew this was bound to happen. And you knew this would be the likely reaction.

A fan wore a Miami Heat No. 6 LeBron James jersey to a Cleveland Indians game tonight against the New York Yankees. That's what some would consider a little low blow-ish. Well, a lot low blow-ish. Or just downright mean. And wouldn't you know it, the fan was escorted out by security.

Fans in the left-field bleachers chanted obscenities and pointed at the man Wednesday night during the sixth inning of the game. Hundreds of fans joined in before security led the man out of Progressive Field. It doesn't appear that he was asked to leave because of the jersey, but more because it was becoming a distraction and a possible safety concern.

As the fan exited, some Indians fans followed behind him toward the gate continuing to yell and chant not so nice things at him. Though as pictured, the fact he was "popping" the jersey might have justified the crowd's ire a bit. The guy clearly went to patronize the crowd, so it's hard not to agree that he got what he asked for.

I'm sure this won't be the last situation like this. LeBron's exit from Cleveland wasn't a pretty one so some looking to rile folks up have a prime opportunity to kick a city while it's down. Cleveland's a wounded dog and if you mess with it, it's going to bite you. Or yell awful things about your mother and throw beer at you. Same difference.

At this point, on a list of dangerous things to do, this would have to be right up there with swimming with sharks, running with the Bulls in Pamplona or skydiving with a paper sack for a parachute. Actually, this might be at the top of the list.
Posted on: July 28, 2010 4:19 pm
Edited on: July 28, 2010 4:29 pm
 

LeBron James and the Tao of the Mega-Party

Posted by Matt Moore

Hey, what haven't we written about for thirty seconds? I know! LeBron!

Today's tale is especially gooey though. It involves chap stick, champagne poured out, women in a bathtub, and the continuing self-demolition of LeBron James' public persona.

Arash Markazi is a columnist for ESPNLosAngeles.com . Last weekend, while King James and his merry men were partying in Vegas, Markazi was invited along for the festivities. This isn't anything new. Media members are occasionally privy to such events as part of a profile, but the events are almost always considered off-record. Markazi was apparently not under that impression, at least when he filed.

Markazi's story went up this morning at this link (link now = very dead). Within the hour, it was taken down again. Whoops. Something went up that shouldn't have. Unfortunately for the poor folks at ESPN.com's editorial department, in this day and age, someone managed to extract a copy of it.  And it now lives on the Internet forever , among the weeds.

So what was it in that article that brought so much attention?

Well...

There's nothing in the article that is particularly shocking. Millionaire 25-year-old parties like a rock star, par-parties like a rock star. The problem is that it represents yet another blow to the hollowed out wreckage that is LeBron's public image. Furthermore, even though hardcore NBA fans, media, and personnel are fully aware that this is the kind of life James leads, it's still not the image he wants to project to the mothers of the ten year olds buying his shoes/lunchboxes/cereal/colognes. So what does the article say exactly? Let's go to the tape!

Want references to scantily clad women? You got it!

"The waiter bringing him his cup of green tea with a spoonful of honey and a dash of lemon juice makes the cut, as does the scantily clad brunette with a tattoo of a heart on her right shoulder. She wants to take a picture with him. "I can't right now," says James. "Maybe later, upstairs, I'll remember you're the one with the tattoo."
And then later:
Bottle after bottle of "Ace of Spades" champagne is delivered to the table by a waiter flying down from above the dance floor like some overgrown Peter Pan on a wire. One time he's dressed like a King, another time as Indiana Jones and another in a replica of James' No. 6 Miami Heat jersey. James, who can hardly see the flying figure through his tinted glasses, almost gets kicked in the head on the waiter's last trip down. He looks at the girls around him and says, "I wish they'd have one of these girls with no panties do that instead of the guy."
Well, hey, LeBron's not married. Not really any of our business. But it certainly doesn't paint the image that James wants to in light of the backlash he's faced since "The Decision."

The article features an inside look at how James behaves in close company. Not only James, in fact, but head of LRMR marketing Maverick Carter, who has emerged as the the dominant force behind James' decisions since hitting free agency. So a man of that kind of power, responsible for the business decisions of one of the most powerful people in sports today is probably reserved and in control, right?
Carter, LeBron's childhood friend and manager, begins dancing around James like Puff Daddy in a Notorious B.I.G video. A giant red crown-shaped cake is brought over to James while go-go dancers dressed in skimpy red and black outfits raise four lettered placards that spell out, "KING." Carter grabs a bottle of Grey Goose and pours a quarter of it on the floor and raises it up before passing it off.
Well, okay, that's a different approach.

Want to know exactly how ridiculous the entire spectacle is? Glen Davis thinks LeBron was acting a fool. That's right. The guy nicknamed "Big Baby" who was compared to Shrek thinks James is over-the-top:
Toward the end of the night, Boston Celtics forward Glen Davis walks past James' party and looks at the scene up and down several times like a painting in a museum, soaking in the images of the go-go dancers, the "King" sign and the costumed man delivering bottles of champagne.

Davis shakes his head and walks on.

James dances on the couch and sings along with the music blaring from speakers all around him.
Burn!

I'm not even going to touch the flying waiters in Indiana Jones outfits. (I thought they named the hooker Indiana. Or am I getting that quote wrong?)

Allright, but the story was only up for a few minutes and then taken down. Surely no one's had time to already start making fun of...

Oh .

Oh, and that .

Oh, geez , the "nexus of insane wealth and mega-celebrity." Well played, SBNation.com. 

Well,then.

For James' part, Darren Rovell is reporting that his team has said they did not have any part in the piece getting pulled. And ESPN has come back with an official quote , first reported by Rovell, and told to FanHouse and our own Ken Berger:
"The story should have never been published. The draft was inadvertently put on the server before going through the usual editorial process. We are in the midst of looking into the matter.”
Oh, so that's what happened. A story outlining the most powerful figure in the NBA whose public image has been tarnished outlining his rather opulent weekend in moderate detail just got slipped onto the server.

That guy that lost the iPhone 4 is going to have nothing on whatever poor guy screwed this up.

We shouldn't overreact to this, there should be nothing in this article that stuns us. James does nothing illegal, inbibes no illegal drugs, says nothing of real controversy. He's just your average, run-of-the-mill, mega-star with millions of dollars being treated like a god in the most opulent place on Earth. He's a lot like you and me, actually, if we routinely faked playing basketball in casinos and hung out in places with naked women in bathtubs with rose pedals as decoration (my wife prefers paper lamps). Really, part of LeBron is inside all of us. I'll let you figure out which organ that is, in particular.

(Image via: Ball Don't Lie )
Category: NBA
Posted on: July 27, 2010 7:56 pm
Edited on: July 27, 2010 7:57 pm
 

Video: Offseason review - Central Division

Posted by Royce Young

The Central was the center of free agency this offseason. LeBron's decision, the Bulls multiple moves and plus, some other interesting transactions. It's all been graded and broken down , plus here's some talking about it as well.


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