Posted on: October 7, 2011 5:33 pm
Edited on: October 7, 2011 5:52 pm
By Matt Moore
In this week's edition of the Friday 5, we ask Berger if he's TRYING to ruin the season by jinxing it, if he's impressed with the exhibition play, and how this whole thing ends, if it ends. You can follow Ken Berger on Twitter @KBergCBS.
1. Zero percent, Ken? ZERO PERCENT? You ever heard of a jinx, man? Why not just toss a litter of black kittens into the meeting room and put a ladder over Fisher's car door?
KB: I'm not willing to hazard a percentage chance that common sense trumps ego and they settle before Monday. Too many variables. But to lose $4 billion, an entire season's worth of revenue, because you can't close an $80 million gap? I dare them.
2. We've got no meetings scheduled at this point. Are they going to get into a room and talk about this thing at the buzzer or not?
KB: You would think that would be the approach. On the eve of Stern's deadline to cancel the rest of the season in '99, he and Hunter pulled an all-nighter and emerged at sunrise with a deal. I don't expect that kind of urgency -- two weeks is a lot less to risk than an entire season -- but I would expect one last serious push to get this done before the collateral damage begins.
3. Has anything about the charity games, their highlights, anything impressed you?
4. Is Dwyane Wade the next Kobe Bryant, in terms of his role in labor talks?
KB: Not so much in these talks. But when we're sitting here covering the 2017 lockout, could Wade find himself playing the role of Kobe and Garnett from the other day?
Absolutely. The veteran stars like Kobe and KG kept a low profile for much of the negotiation, leaving the younger generation to handle it so as not to allow their own agendas to get in the way. But it wasn't surprising that, at the moment of truth Tuesday, there they were in the huddle -- right where they belonged.
5. What is each side going to regret the most about the last four months come Monday?
Owners: The fact that their hard-line position ended up casting them as the bad guys of the lockout -- and it's pretty hard to be the bad guys when you're opposing professional athletes.
Players: Maybe, in retrospect, it was a negotiating error to move down to 54 percent as early as they did. I give them credit for trying to get a deal done and avoid the lockout entirely, but that billion-dollar move in June wasn't answered by the owners until three days ago. Makes you wonder what the final number would've been had the players not budged until Tuesday, as well.
Posted on: October 7, 2011 12:38 pm
By Matt Moore
The Washington Post brings us a tale from Kobe Bryant, who visited a college classroom and answered questions earlier this week. During the discussion, Kwame Brown came up and Bryant told the kind of story that is at once sad and mockable. It is not the quintessential Kwame Brown story (either Jordan's treatment of him or the infamous story about him buying new suits every day because he didn't know how to get dry cleaning done take the cake). But it's certainly up there. Video of Bryant relaying the story is available at the Post, but here are Jordan's words, courtesy of Michael Lee:
“I got to say, it was tough doing it that year. I was playing with guys, God bless them — God bless them — but Kwame Brown. Smush Parker. We had one game right before…by the way, what I say here, I say directly to them, see what I’m saying, I don’t talk behind people’s back. Things that I say to you, I’m comfortable saying this to them and I’ve said this to them...But like, the game before we traded for Pau, were playing Detroit and I had like 40 points towards the end of the game. This is back when Detroit had Rasheed [Wallace], Chauncey [Billups] and those guys, so we had no business being in the game. So down the stretch of the game, they put in a box and one. So I’m surrounded by these players, Detroit players, and Kwame is under the basket, all by himself. Literally, like all by himself. So I pass him the ball, he bobbled it and it goes out of bounds.via Kobe Bryant has a Kwame Brown story - Wizards Insider - The Washington Post.
This isn't really surprising if you understand the context. On the surface, yes, any professional athlete saying they don't want the ball is worth commentary. It's just not what you expect. If you're at this level, you should be able to handle that pass and score unguarded.
But that ignores context. Brown exists as a punchline, as an example of how the draft can fail you, of how prospects don't pan out. (It should be noted that Brown's 2010-2011 season with the Bobcats was actually pretty good. He wasn't great, but he was good enough to start for the Bobcats, which is an improvement.) But Brown more accurately represents why the NBA so desperately needs to augment the D-League. Brown was forced into a hyper-stressful situation immediately upon being drafted, under the eye of the greates player in the history of the sport, who, let's be honest, is kind of a jerk even when he's not being hyper-competitive. Then he was traded to the Lakers and expected to be the go-to center for the second best shooting guard of all time, who also tends to err on the side of "all-out obsession with winning." Brown's confidence was shattered. He was drafted for his talent while his skills were never developed, they were just expected to blossom. And the result was a player who didn't want the moment. He was aware of his shortcomings, to a fault.
Arrogance is the most mocked attribute a player can have, even more so than a lack of talent. But it's that arrogance that allows players to make the attempt on the play they need to make. It's not whether that player can hit that shot, it's that he has the confidence to take it. Him hitting it is the responsibility of coaches and GMs to find the guy who can. But instead of wasting the millions on Kwame Brown and being bitter towards him, wouldn't it be better to work with him until he's able to contribute?
But instead we're just left with the punchline, feeling sorry for Kobe Bryant who had to suffer through that period with a player who didn't want the ball, marking the first time we've ever talked about Kobe Bryant NOT wanting a shot.
Posted on: October 4, 2011 2:02 pm
Posted by Royce Young
When something's "experimental," unless it's going well, there's probably reason to be concerned. But Kobe Bryant, who underwent platelet-rich plasma therapy on his arthitic right knee, seems to be progressing extremely well from it. Via the L.A. Times:
Anecdotal evidence suggests that Bryant has more energy this offseason than during last season's playoffs, when the arthritic joint in his right knee and a sprained left ankle often hobbled him. Bryant scored 43 points and hit the game winner at a Drew League appearance. He performed a 360-degree dunk at his camp. Lakers guard Derek Fisher said he considered Bryant "healthy" after playing with him in a pair of exhibition games in the Philippines in July.But that's just surface stuff. We won't really know how good Kobe's knee feels until it's tested night-to-night in an NBA season. Know this though: The guy that's performing this therapy, Dr. Peter Wehling, also treated Pope John Paul II, Tracy McGrady and Fred Couples. Wheling actually told ESPN.com, "I am the only one to have found a way to cure arthritis." That's a pretty good resume.
How does this treatment work? According to ESPN.com, Kobe's blood was treated to "isolate growth factors that attack inflammation, and then cultured with chemicals to increase their potency before being injected into his arthritic right knee."
Kobe is 33 and his knee was one of a few issues he struggled with all of last season. Kobe, being the bulldog that he is, fought through swelling and constant treatment to play in all 82 games. But with this treatment that apparently seems to be working, Kobe should be able to play not just in all 82, but in all 82 with some level of comfort.
The 360 dunks make a pretty good statement that he'll be ready. And the fact the guy treated the Pope and evidently cured arthritis are pretty good ones too.
Posted on: October 4, 2011 1:04 pm
Posted by Royce Young
You know what the NBA labor negotiations have been missing? Some unbridled intensity. Dwyane Wade and David Stern had a nice little showdown already but there's one player that's ready to raise his voice.
And he's in New York today. Via Ken Berger of CBSSports.com, Kevin Garnett, along with Kobe Bryant, Paul Pierce and Amar'e Stoudemire are among a group of NBA players that will participate in today's bargaining.
It's a crucial day for the NBA and that's why some of the big names have shown up. At last Friday's meeting, Kevin Durant, Wade and a couple other superstars participated, even suggesting that they walk out when the negotiations went south.
So with Garnett and Bryant, two of the more outspoken, vocal players there are, I'm sure there will be fireworks. Oh boy.
Posted on: October 4, 2011 11:26 am
By Matt Moore
There will be no rematch of Dwyane Wade vs. David Stern Tuesday, after the two clashed in meetings last week over tone and respect. From the South Florida Sun-Sentinel:
Wade's spokesperson, however, said that the All-Star guard would remain in South Florida with his family. Wade took umbrage to Stern's approach during a negotiating session last Friday, with Stern confirming the disagreement a day later.via Miami Heat guard Dwyane Wade not expected to again square off with NBA Commissioner David Stern at NBA lockout talks - South Florida Sun-Sentinel.com.
This kind of makes Wade's appearance seem like a hit and run. He didn't appear at many of the meetings before the outburst, and was in New York primarily to promote Court Grip. It's entirely possible Wade has serious reasons for missing the meetings in New York, but without a follow-up or an involvement in actual discussions, and with his only contribution a random outburst against the commissioner, it lessens the impact of his leadership shown last week.
Then again, maybe he was just filling in for Kobe Bryant, who was abroad last week and who is in New York for Tuesday's meeting according to multiple reports.
Posted on: September 30, 2011 9:42 am
Edited on: September 30, 2011 10:09 am
By Matt Moore
Early Friday morning, the AP reported that Italian Club Virtus Bologna had said it had a "verbal agreement" with Kobe Bryant that would send the NBA All-Star abroad during the lockout. Just as quickly, reports are flooding in that Virtus Bologna needs to slow its roll.
From Yahoo! Sports:
Despite Bologna GM saying deal's "95 percent done" for Kobe Bryant, source close to talks warns Y! Sports that no agreement is imminent.via Twitter / @WojYahooNBA: Despite Bologna GM saying ....
And from Sportando:
Virtus Bologna informed that the deal with Kobe, without the possibility to play 10 games in 1 month, is on the verge of collapsevia Twitter / @SportandoBasket: Virtus Bologna informed th ....
This isn't the first time a team has jumped the gun on saying it had a deal with Bryant. This exact scenario played out through August with Turkish team Besiktas. Eventually talks stopped completely with Besiktas, almost immediately after Besiktas spread word they had an agreement with Bryant. Kobe apparently is not big on contract talks making their way to the media prior to the actual completion of a deal.
The AP reported Bryant's proposed salary at $3 million, which is the closest figure to what he would likely demand for a temporary stint abroad, assuming the lockout does not cost the entire season. It's unlikely, however, that Bryant would choose to announce the deal through a team representative without himself present, and equally unlikely that he would do it this weekend, with the NBA and the players expected to be on hand with most of their constituents for the CBA talks. Friday represents a significant moment in the talks, with both sides offering compromises and David Stern pushing hard to get a deal done by Monday.
This seems early on to be another case of a European team putting the Kobe publicity cart before the contract horse.
Posted on: September 29, 2011 2:23 pm
Edited on: September 30, 2011 5:28 am
Posted by Royce Young
Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O'Neal got along -- for a while. They won three titles together, produced one of the NBA's most memorable moments and maybe were the most feared duo in NBA history.
Then it all fell apart. Depending on who you listen to, it was Kobe's fault. Or it was Shaq's fault. Whatever the case, Shaq was sent to Miami and the Lakers were Kobe's all to himself.
Shaq then kind of went on the offensive, razzing Kobe at every opportunity which fired up one of the weirdest feuds I can remember, capped with Shaq's infamous "Hey Kobe, tell me how my a-- taste" rap.
Well, Kobe's in Italy doing promotional stuff for Nike and he was asked about Shaq and his relationship there. Via Sportando, he definitely did not choose to take the high road.
"I like players who work for 6/7 hours per day. I cannot tolerate players who practice just for 30 minutes ... If you don't workout, I need to tell you something."
It's not exactly news that Shaq didn't have the most tremendous work ethic ever. Heck, I think even Shaq would mostly agree with that. Between rapping, movies, policing and whatever else he was involved in, Shaq had a lot of other stuff going on besides basketball. Kobe on the other hand, was all basketball, all the time.
I'm sure Shaq will have a response to this, because that's what Shaq does. Nothing's going to slip by him.
Lost in Kobe's Shaq comments is that he committed to playing in the 2012 Olympics, but who cares? He said something about Shaq!
Via I Am A GM
Posted on: September 28, 2011 2:45 pm
Edited on: September 28, 2011 2:47 pm
Posted by Royce Young
Originally it was a $6.7 million offer to Kobe (or $5 million). Then it was Kobe asking for $15 million.
Now, Virtus Bologna has revised its offer again to Kobe. Via Sportando, the team is offering a deal to pay him $2.5 million before taxes, per month. Which is more than $1 million every month. The contract would be done on a month-by-month basis.
"I want to thank all the presidents because they understood how big the opportunity is if Kobe signs with us," said general manager Claudio Sabatini.
Kobe is in Italy on Wednesday and Thursday for his Nike promotional tour and told reporters that playing in Italy would be a dream.
"Playing in Italy? The(re) are big chances and would be a dream for me," he told Gazzetta. "There is an opportunity and we are talking about in these days. It is a very reliable option and it is a very good news for me."
Why a dream? Kobe was born in Italy while his father was playing professionally there and speaks fluent Italian. He'd certainly have a comfort level playing there and would be able to communicate well with players, coaches and fans. Which is definitely a bonus and probably the biggest reason he's looking there and no where else.
Kobe isn't likely to commit to playing overseas until it's a sure thing that the NBA will be missing games.