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Tag:Friday 5 With KB
Posted on: December 2, 2011 1:44 pm
 

Friday 5 with KB: Back in the habit

By Matt Moore



In this week's edition of 
the Friday 5, we ask KB about what the Hornets and Magic should do, what the Bulls are looking for, and when things will pick up for free agency. You can follow Ken Berger on Twitter @KBergCBS

1. Good gravy we started fast, didn't we? If you were going to tell the Hornets and Magic one thing that you learned from the Melo Debacle, what would it be?

Ken Berger, CBSSports.com:  Don't panic. Nuggets VP Masai Ujiri's best trait during the Melodrama was patience. He surveyed the landscape, recognized what cards he was dealt, and let everything play out until he extracted the best deal he could get under the circumstances. He also cultivated a positive relationship with Anthony so there was mutual trust. Otis Smith must do this with Dwight Howard, and Dell Demps with Chris Paul. But having said all this, the time pressure on the Magic and Hornets will be exponentially greater than it was on the Nuggets, who always knew they held the key to Anthony getting a max extension with the team of his choice. My reading of the new rules is that Orlando and New Orleans can't risk their stars playing this out and getting to free agency. If they do, there will be considerable angst and even more considerable risk that their stars will leave and they'll get nothing in return. One more thing, while we're on the subject: The Magic and Hornets have the benefit of a shortened season, which would make the short-term ramifications of a blow-it-up-and-start-over trade fairly fleeting. Plus, cap space in a better free-agent market next summer and a superb draft could speed the reloading process.

2. What are the Bulls looking for in a two-guard?

KB:  They're looking for more offensive production, but aren't willing to break the bank to get it. They'd like to upgrade, but they did win 62 games with Keith Bogans and Ronnie Brewer at the two. Not a catastrophe if they don't make a major upgrade, and they're definitely not going to overpay. Jason Richardson is the best fit basketball-wise, but not sure how he'd otherwise fit -- and the Bulls may want someone younger who can grow with Derrick Rose.

3. Nene's clearly the biggest name out there. But sussing out his motivations has been tricky. Is he looking for the money? The ring? Some combination of the two?

KB:  Well, if he pushes for a trade to Miami (no assets) or Dallas (some), he'd be signaling that he wants to win. But this might be the only chance he'll get in his career to get a max deal. Only in this free-agent class could a guy who averages 14 points and seven rebounds get a deal starting at more than $17 million.

4. Players are reportedly going to vote on the deal on December 8th, with training camps starting December 9th. Do we always have to cut these things so damn close? (Marty McFly'd)

KB:  Yeah, it's going to go down to the wire. It's going to be a marathon for the lawyers to get this deal in shape and resolve all the B-list issues in time to vote. Same thing happened after NFL lockout, when players essentially voted as they reported to camp. Once all the heavy lifting is done over the next few days, the voting process for both sides should be a formality -- with one exception. Do dissident agents have enough support from clients to get Billy Hunter ousted as executive director of the NBPA as a condition of ratification? My overwhelming opinion is no, but the way this process has gone, expect another flareup of drama before it's over.

5. How much of a scramble are front office executives in to try and figure out this deal which isn't even done yet?

KB:  That's why there's been so little real activity; agents and teams are trying to digest what players are worth under the new rules, what the new rules are, and what impact they will have on their books/strategy for the next few years. I think you'll begin to see teams begin to make firm offers over the weekend, and the activity will pick up starting Monday.
Posted on: October 14, 2011 2:57 pm
 

Friday 5 with KB: Takes the cake

By Matt Moore



In this week's edition of 
the Friday 5, we ask Berger if the mediator will help at all, if Stern's Christmas threat is significant, and what his favorite lockout story has been. You can follow Ken Berger on Twitter @KBergCBS

1. Federal mediator to save the day! Hurray! .... Yeah, I'm not buying it. What's the best and worst case scenario from the meeting with the FedMed Monday?

KB: Well, each side will be interviewed separately by the mediator on Monday, and then he'll supervise a bargaining session Tuesday. The only prediction I'm comfortable making is that Mr. Cohen will not be pleased that Stern placed such unrealistic expectations on coming out of Tuesday's session with a deal. After two years of stalemate, a DEAL after ONE session with a mediator? Ridiculous. Beyond that, best-case scenario is that Cohen can get each side to see the importance of compromise, considering what's at stake. Worst case is, both sides completely ignore the mediator and continue starting blankly across the table at each other.

2. Stern said on radio Wednesday that if an agreement isn't in place by Tuesday, we could lose the Christmas games with the entire season in jeopardy. It's October 14 and he's talking about games on December 25 through April. So... who, exactly told Stern the best plan was to rush out holding a grenade without the pin and say "DRAW!?"

KB: Christmas, Schmistmas. This is part bargaining tactic, and part reality -- the more time that goes by, the more money each side loses, and thus, the harder is becomes to make a deal. But to place that much importance on Tuesday is borderline irresponsible. The reason the league can't participate in bargaining under the mediator's supervision the rest of next week? Because of the all-important owners' meetings Wednesday and Thursday in New York -- where the all-important revenue-shring plan, TWO YEARS in the making, will be discussed. Um, without a collective bargaining agreement, you know how much revenue there will be to share? None.

3. The systemic issues are the problem, allegedly, so much so that they haven't talked about the BRI. If they get past the systemic issues are they going to hit a roadblock with both sides thinking they compromised too much systemically to go any further on BRI?

KB: Stern obviously is trying to corner the players on a 50-50 split, which I imagine the players would only accept if the $600 million or so expense in reductions are put back in the pot before dividing it up. And clearly, that's not going to happen. The players have already moved more than $1 billion, the difference between 57 percent and 53 percent. The questions are: 1) how much more can they move and sell the deal to the membership; 2) would the owners take a 52-48 split in favor of the players if they get the most important system changes and concede on the rest; and 3) at what point does each side lose so much money that there's no BRI split that either one would agree to?

4. OK, who the hell brought up 50/50 first? Can someone please settle this?

KB: There are clearly defined, very different versions of how this went down. Classic he said, he said. Personally, I choose to believe that I brought it up first, with my cake.

5. Favorite lockout stakeout memory of 2011? I know you have one.

KB: Oh, there are so many. Getting dating advice from a Turkish limo driver about 12 years after it would've been useful is right up there. So is the 50-50 cake, and sidewalk food delivery. But the sissy fight between two camera/sound men on Monday night had to take the, um, cake.
Posted on: October 7, 2011 5:33 pm
Edited on: October 7, 2011 5:52 pm
 

Friday 5 with KB: Almost Zero Percent

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?

KB: No.

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?

KB: 

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: September 16, 2011 11:48 am
 

Friday 5 with KB: Just how bad are things?

By Matt Moore



In this week's edition of 
the Friday 5, we look at just how bad things are, how idiotic the Palin-Rice story is, and how much power Adelman will have. You can follow Ken Berger on Twitter @KBergCBS.  

1. What was more idiotic this week, the Glen Rice-Sarah Palin story or the way the negotiations broke down?

KB: The Rice-Palin story was silly, salacious, unnecessary and typical of our current blogissism environment. So, hands down, that was more idiotic than the talks breaking down. You know why? Because I refuse to believe that the talks have broken down. I'm clearly in the minority on this, but I still see the possibility of a deal. First, there is agreement -- or at least an acknowledgement of common ground -- on the econonics. That's huge. Now, the players will not make their proposed economic move -- believed to be 52-53 percent of BRI -- unless the owners give up their insistence on a hard cap. I was told by multiple people involved in the negotiations that what happened Tuesday was nothing like the manner in which talks have broken off in past CBA talks. There was no enmity, no name-calling, no storming out of the room. There was disappointment on both sides that the discussion had stalled on the system issues. But it doesn't have to stall forever. Stern stated Thursday in Dallas what ownership sources have told me over the past few days -- that there is room for negotiation from the league's standpoint on the cap and system issues. I have been told that the players are willing to negotiate certain specific system issues as well. So once cooler heads prevail and the posturing subsides, that is what they'll do. I wouldn't expect the players to move another inch until they at least give the NLRB a chance to rule on their unfair labor practices charge. But there is too much at stake and enough open-mindedness in the process for things to stop on Sept. 15 and never evolve from there.

2. You're urging for the plebeians to keep calm and carry on in the face of the breakdown this week, with there being actual movement with the union offering a lowered BRI. Here's a hypothetical. What would be the owners' reaction if the players did in fact offer a 50/50 split?

KB: I don't have any evidence that the players are willing to move that much, particularly if the words "hard cap" are ever uttered again. But I think while the players wait for the NLRB to rule, you will begin to see an evolution of the owners' bargaining position. I'm not here to do anyone's negotiating for them -- and lord knows, they wouldn't want me to -- but if I were the owners, the next logical step would be to say, "OK, how about 50-50 with a system that addresses competitive balance isssues to a degree, but not through a full-fledged, 100 percent hard cap?" For example, as in the NHL system, guarantees could be limited and tied to age or years of service. The players would have a chance to preserve some of the exceptions and security they're anchored to while making back much of the money they're giving up with a gradually more favorable split as revenues increase throughout the deal -- especially when the new broadast contracts take effect in 2016. Throw in a significant overhaul of the revenue-sharing mechanism, and youv'e got yourself a deal that doesn't give either side what it wants, but delivers most of what both sides need. Honestly, it ain't that hard, folks.

3. It's division week, as civil war rages on both sides. Agents fighting with union leadership, and Sarver-Gilbert undercutting the hopes of a season. Rank the four various factions by power: agents, union, Stern, hawk owners.

KB: Tough question. The outcome of the talks hinges on the answer. I'm going to say 1) Stern, 2) hawk owners, 3) union and 4) rebellious agents. Despite the outside pressures and the appearance that only a handful of mid-level players are invested in the negotiations, this could be construed as a good week for the union, which came across publicly as the side willing to negotiate and compromise and demonstrated calm, strong leadership from Billy Hunter and Derek Fisher. At such time when the union passes the hawk owners for No. 2, a deal will soon follow.

4. The Wolves of course got out in front by laughing at the idea that Adelman has any clash with Kahn. Do you see this becoming a power struggle over their time together?

KB: The man with the power in Minnesota clearly is Adelman. Just follow the money and the resume. It's hard to imagine it becoming a power struggle. For there to be a power struggle, you have to have two people with equal power -- or at least two people with the perception of equal power. Not the case here. Adelman is the man.

5. What is with the players' union and their fascination with clothing coordination? Are they a glee club? Do they think they'll do well at the junior high band competition?

KB: The T-shirts weren't a terrible idea, but I'll put it this way: Clothing is all about who's wearing it. No disrespect to Paroxi-Wife, but if the Victoria's Secret stuff you ordered for her birthday came with Scarlett Johansson inside, it would be a whole different story. So the T-shirts would've looked a lot better, and would've sent an entirely more powerful message, if the were worn by LeBron James, Kobe Bryant, Dwight Howard, Kevin Durant and Chris Paul. Or Scarlett Johansson. 

(NOTE: Paroxi-Wife got books. Lots of books.
Posted on: August 26, 2011 12:00 pm
 

Friday 5 with KB: Zero gravity

By Matt Moore



In this week's edition of 
the Friday 5we check in with how much the players are willing to negotiate, the impact of Woodson joining the Knicks, and find out who Ken's top five players in the NBA would be. 


1. So Mo Evans says that the players are "ready to negotiate." Do you believe that, given the non-progress of the talks? The players have offered compromise on BRI as you've reported in the past and as Evans said, but not enough to get any sort of momentum going. How far are the players going to have to head towards the owners just to get talks going in a serious direction?

KB: It's pretty difficult to question the players' willingness and availability to negotiate. The owners, in my view, have been far more intransigent. The players have offered to reduce their share of BRI from 57 percent to 54.3 percent, and despite the fact that everyone wants a kumbaya moment next week or the week after, it ain't happening. Why? Neither side is going to budge until it's forced to. And there are only two things that could do that at the moment: 1) an outcome in the players' NLRB complaint, or B) the calendar.

2. In a podcast with ESPN earlier this month, Stern said that contraction is on the table for the owners, and players. I can hear you giggling with joy. But he mentioned that New Orleans' season ticket sales are strong, and he's been pretty committed to not screwing over an area ravaged by the worst natural disaster in U.S. history, and he also mentioned that no owners are stepping to the plate to offer contraction for their buyout. Considering the owners won't even come together to boot Donald Sterling, how do you get them to move on one of their brethren in order to force a contraction?

KB: Matt, I have a car with more than 125,000 miles on it that I'd like to sell to you. It may be old and have frame damage from a wreck, but she purrs like a kitten when idling in the driveway and only leaks when it rains. In his role as used car salesman, I don't find it unexpected that Stern would say nice things about something he's trying to sell. Also, the NBA is stuck with the Hornets in New Orleans for three more years, per an agreement that was signed when the league took ownership of the team. Everyone can snicker at contraction all they want, but this is what will happen: Once the owners and players agree on a new CBA, whenever that may be, league officials will take a serious look at whether the NBA has franchises in the right cities or too many franchises. It has to be part of the overall re-evaluation of the business model.

3. Mike Woodson reportedly joining the Knicks bench, how much will that help on a scale of 1 to 5, with 1 being "they're still defensive doormats" and 5 being "Chicago 2.0!?'

KB: Well, Mike D'Antoni always says, "I don't need shooters. I need makers." So to be a good defensive team, you need good defenders. Mike Woodson isn't going to change the makeup of the Knicks' offensive-oriented roster. But he'll help some, and the fact that D'Antoni was willing to bring an experienced defensive coach on board to address a deficiency should get some Heat off him in his contract year. So all things considered, I'll say 2.5.

4. We just wrapped up our Elite 100, ranking the top players in the NBA 1-100 based on overall value. Who are your top ten?

KB: You guys did amazing work on those rankings, and it's hard to quibble with your top 10 -- especially just doing this off the top of my head without putting in the thorough research you did. The talent is so good at the top that it becomes a matter of preference. So here are a few very subjective points: 1) Watching the Heat throughout the playoffs, Wade was their best player more often than LeBron; 2) As great as Dwight is, he too often hurts more than he helps offensively late in games; 3) Pau Gasol is supremely gifted, but his lapses in concentration and aggressiveness during the Lakers' brief playoff run haunt me; 4) I love CP3 and D-Will, but just prefer Williams due to his size. So here's how I would go: 1) Wade, 2) Nowitzki, 3) James, 4) Howard, 5) Rose, 6) Kobe, 7) Durant, 8) Williams, 9) Paul, 10) Griffin. Side note: The fact that you have only three 7-footers in your top 10 and I have only two speaks to the rules changes I suggested that would accentuate the strengths of the big man. Guys like Amar'e Stoudemire, LaMarcus Aldridge, Zach Randolph, and the Gasol brothers should be in the top 10 but the rules are designed for wings and point guards to dominate.

5.Given the Labor Day "unofficial deadline" right around the corner, what are the chances we're losing the entire season in your mind right now as compared to two months ago?

KB: I'm sticking with my prediction of 25 percent. When one side or the other gains leverage in federal court or with the NLRB, and as we get closer to mid-October when regular season games will be jeopardized, we will find out how entrenched each side really is. I believe that only the height of stubbornness and foolishness could cause the entire season to be lost.
Posted on: August 19, 2011 2:35 pm
 

Friday 5 with KB: An NBA Hall of Fame edition

By Matt Moore



In this week's edition of the Friday 5we delve further into the idea of an NBA Hall of Fame. Who would Ken take in the inaugural class? Why won't this happen? And by the way, did Kobe pumping up the union really mean anything? 


1. Let's say the NBA didn't figure out how to blow a $930 million media deal, the merchandising, ticket sales, sponsorship money, and various investments, and instead had the money to open their own Hall of Fame. You get six guys, and six guys only to put into the inaugural class. Who goes in? Players, coaches, league personnel, etc.

KB:  Good question. I'd have to go: 1. Michael Jordan; 2. Wilt Chamberlain; 3. Bill Russell; 4. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar; 5. Oscar Robertson; 6. Magic Johnson. It's tough to leave Elgin Baylor, Larry Bird, Shaquille O'Neal, and Hakeem Olajuwon out, but six spots are six spots. Also, tough call not to have Red Auerbach among the first inductees, but the NBA has always been and will always be a players' league.

2. If you were designing said Hall, what would you have its primary mission statement be?

KB: The mission would be simple: To honor, recognize and remember the greatest contributors in the history of NBA basketball.

3. Who leads the coaching exhibit, Red or Phil?

KB: Though Phil passed Red for the most titles, there is no surpassing Auerbach's legacy. Aside from nine championships in 10 years as a coach, there were the titles he orchestraed as GM, and most importantly, his achievements with racial integration at a time of segegation and deep racial divides in America -- and especially, in Boston. Auerbach drafted the first black player in the NBA, hired the first black coach in any American professional sport, and had the first all-black starting lineup in NBA history.

4. What's the biggest reason outside of financials for the league not to do this?

KB: Politics. Does the NBA risk alienating itself from the basketball community by breaking away and declaring its independence from a sport whose various tentacles -- college, international -- are intertwined?

5. Jumping back to reality real quick. What exactly is there for the players to unite around that Kobe's talking about? Isn't it pretty much just "don't spend all your money and get desperate?"

KB: No, there's much more than that. With the various income levels and priorities among the players, it could be easy for a wedge to be driven into the NBPA. So while there's a divergence of opinion about executive director Billy Hunter's strategy not to decertify or disclaim interest, it is in the best interests of the players to stand behind that strategy until it is exhausted as a viable option. The agents pushing for decertification are forgetting that the strategy turned into a dead end for the NFL players. The same fate would likely await the NBPA in federal court under antitrust law. The best strategy for the players is to see the NLRB strategy through to a conclusion and proceed from there depending on whether they win or lose. Don't forget that regardless of which legal strategy the players pursue, this will only be resolved one way: at the bargaining table. A fractured union will suffer a slow, horrible death there.
Posted on: August 12, 2011 1:09 pm
 

Friday 5 with KB: Hall of Fame Edition

By Matt Moore



In this week's edition of the Friday 5we take a look at the Hall of Fame and what it means, the power of super-teams, and wonder what exactly the NBPA and NBA are doing during this lockout, since they're so busy. 

1. There's been some discussion of whether Dennis Rodman was "flashy" enough to belong in the Hall. I argued yesterday that not only is he arguably the best true role player of the last thirty years, he was also pretty good at offense early in his career before he switched to just defense and rebounding. Is "style' a prerequisite for the Hall in your mind?

KB: I think style could be a qualifying factor to enhance a Hall of Fame resume -- i.e. Julius Erving and Pete Maravich -- but shouldn't be a disqualifying factor. Should Tim Duncan not be in the Hall of Fame because he's boring? Rodman definitely belongs on the merit of his play. The fact that he was a grunt specialist on the floor and has become a comic book character off it has little to do with how deserving he is.

2. Your terrific piece on Tex Winter with his son Chris hearkened back to those days in Chicago, which he's most known for. Phil, Jordan, Pippen, now Rodman and Tex. Will we see a team's nucleus enter so many Hall of Famers again?

KB: Well, interesting that you should ask this question in the middle of a death struggle for the future of the NBA. What the owners seem to be saying with their proposals is that they don't want super teams. They want parity. But super teams -- the Showtime Lakers, the Celtics' various dynasties, and now the Heat's Big Three -- have been so good for business, it's hard to imagine smart businessmen wouldn't want that. Would it really be had for basketball, and for business, if the Heat won three or four titles? Or if the Knicks got Chris Paul and won a couple themselves? Hardly. It would be astronomically good for business. But it's up to the owners and what they really want, and which owners ultimately will win this struggle. I maintain that we haven't even begun to hear from the moderates in big, successful markets who aren't so opposed to a system that at least imitates the status quo.

3. Here's a golden oldie. Are you of the opinion that there should be an NBA Hall of Fame, separate from the Naismith?

KB: This is a tough one, because I really do enjoy how the different levels of basketball are all intertwined. I think you lose something if you separate them. But there is a college Hall of Fame, and many players' and coaches' bodies of work in the NBA stand apart from whatever college canvas they may have painted. So yes, ultimately I think it would be better to separate the two. What could possibly be the harm?

4. Outside of No.3, what's the biggest thing you think should be changed about the Hall?

KB:I wouldn't want to see the voting become as political as it is for baseball, but more transparency in the voting would be nice. I want to know who's voting, and who got what percentage of the votes, and have a clear view of what the criteria are.

5. One lockout note: Big to-do's on Thursday about both sides saying the other wouldn't meet. Here's a question. WHAT ELSE ARE THEY DOING THAT THEY CAN'T POSSIBLY FIND TIME TO MEET? We're in a lockout! That's their only job right now, on either side!

KB: Welcome to the dance, Matt. It's still only August, so the slow waltz continues. And you have to admit, the so-called bargaining sessions we've witnessed for the past two months have been exercises in futility. Honestly, I can't imagine what the two sides spent four hours talking about the last time they met earlier this month. The owners still want what they want and aren't willing to compromise, and the players still reject it and feel that if they make major concessions, they'll be caving to the owners. So here we are, in lockout purgatory. What we need is some momentum, some event that creates leverage or urgency for either side. The calendar will take care of that naturally as we get into September and the owners have to grapple with the notion of canceling games. It also could happen on the legal front, with the next mile-marker being a decision from the NLRB on the players' unfair labor practices charge. The double whammy of a victory for the players with the NLRB, which could lead to an injunction lifting the lockout, combined with the sheer element of time would provide the urgency these proceedings currently are lacking. One final thought: I just hope that both sides aren't confident in the belief that they survived a lockout that shortened the season to 50 games in 1998-99, and thus are subconsciously aiming for the same outcome again. Because 50 games can become zero games faster than they think if they don't get moving.

You can follow Ken Berger on Twitter @kberg_cbs
Posted on: August 5, 2011 2:53 pm
 

Friday 5 with KB: Lockout blues

By Matt Moore



In this week's edition of the Friday 5, we take a look at what the odds are of losing the season, check in on how the Joe Dumars reclamation project is going, and ponder if there's anything to move the negotiations on the new CBA forward. 

 1. Well, it's been a downright depressing week on the labor front. Billy Hunter says he'd "bet" on losing the whole season. You've been more optimistic like me that the season will be salvaged, but I'm losing hope. What's a percentage you'd put on missing the whole year at this point?

KB: The whole season? I'd say -- and I'm just pulling this number out of thin air based on a gut reaction -- 25 percent. When I laid out my timeline for the lockout, I predicted this would be settled by Oct. 15 -- just in time to avoid the cancellation of any regular season games. Now, I'm almost certain that prediction will be wrong and that some games will be lost.

2. Whatever happened to "we both want to keep this out of the courts?" If both sides have known the other's position for months, why the increasingly antagonistic tactics from both sides? Is there any way to defuse this situation?

KB: Well, even with the lockout well into its second month and with lawsuits and labor charges flying back and forth, the two sides can continue to negotiate. And both sides know, despite the litigation, that the only way this is going to be solved is at the bargaining table. They can do that now, next month, in October, in January, or next July -- but that's where it's going to be solved. The legal tactics are efforts by each side to gain leverage and pressure the other side to move off its bargaining position. So the only way to get closer to a deal was to escalate the legal battle and see if one side or the other can win a small battle that will bring everyone closer to a deal.

3. Let's say before the lockout is one round, the first 30 days after are another, and the last week is a third. Score the rounds for the union and the NBA.

KB: OK, pre-lockout goes to the owners, 10-8. They got their lockout, which is what they wanted all along. The month of July was a draw; nothing happened, nobody won or lost anything, and Deron Williams' foray into Turkey did not open the floodgates for other stars to leave. This past week was a decisive victory for the owners, who beat the players to the legal punch, got a Republican-appointed judge in district court, and chose a venue with an appeals circuit where the law is heavily favorable to them. Also, they exposed a rift within the players' association -- the influential agents who are clamoring for decertification vs. union officials are want to wait for this to play out with the NLRB.

4. Joe Dumars called Lawrence Frank his "mulligan" this week. Do you think the hire will wind up getting the second crack Joe's looking for at success, or is the roster too far gone?

KB: There's actually a lot to like about the Pistons' roster. I like Monroe and Jerebko, love Stuckey and Gordon, and really love the Brandon Knight pick. But as has been the case for some time, it's a matter of fit. Whenever the free-agent floodgates open, Dumars will have to move Tayshaun, Rip or preferably both. L-Frank is a solid coach, and his defensive principles will get the Pistons back to their roots. But he's wired, high-strung and emotional -- all traits that will play better with the younger core than with the old guard. So nothing's changed in that respect; the old guard has to go for the Pistons to truly turn the page and move on.

5. Tell me why the endorsement money, not the salary, but endorsement money in China and overseas isn't enough to tempt players with the lure of being a "global brand."

KB: Well, several top stars already have significant endorsement deals in China. Signing there and playing there for a while certainly could enhance that. But this isn't really the question to be asking. Every move by the players should be viewed through the prism of the lockout, and what helps their bargaining position. I disagree with the NBPA over how much an overseas exodus of stars would help the union's bargaining position. I don't think a handful of stars "getting theirs" in China or anywhere else helps the union at the bargaining table. Even if 20 stars sign there -- and that would be a lot -- where does that leave the other 400 players? True, you can't have an NBA without the stars, but you can't have a powerful bargaining unit without them, either. And since they'll all have out clauses to come back when the lockout ends, what are they really accomplishing there, anyway? One last point: If the best the NBA's top players can do is $1 million a month to play overseas, what does that really tell the owners who were paying them many multiples of that under the previous CBA? As one front office executive told me recently, "I think Dr. Buss would kill to pay Kobe $1.5 million a month." Look at it another way: If a $17 million player like Deron Williams goes to Turkey and the best he can do is get $5 million, the owners respond, "Why don't you just stay here for $10 million?" That's the clearest explanation I've heard for why this overseas stuff doesn't make sense for the players.
 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com