Posted on: November 4, 2011 8:05 pm
Edited on: November 4, 2011 8:13 pm
By Matt Moore
The Mavericks and Spurs have had some titanic battles through the course of the past decade-plus during this time of contention for both teams. For the first time, we would be seeing the Mavericks as the defending champs, as the team that figured things out, while the Spurs are the team that couldn't put it together, who fell apart at the wrong time.
These battles are precious. We're only going to see Dirk Nowitzki go at Tim Duncan so many more times as both head towards retirement. Already Duncan is not the player he used to be, as Manu Ginobili and Tony Parker take more of a role. But it's still Duncan vs. Dirk, Parker vs. Jet, Manu vs. well, whoever the Mavs put on him. The Mavericks now have the bruisers inside, Tyson Chandler and Brendan Haywood, while it's the Spurs with the defensive sieves in DeJuan Blair and Matt Bonner.
This game would still be a huge clash of juggernauts, though, especially with the shooters on each side. Both teams had titanic offenses last week, while it was only the Spurs who ran into the iceberg against Memphis.
Jason Kidd against Tony Parker is a smarter matchup than it seems, while Kawhi Leonard would be facing Caron Butler in a past-face-present. It would have all the rivalry that Texas teams demand, and the drama of a battle between two teams with five championships and six Finals appearances over the past twelve seasons.
And we get none of it.
Today is Day 127 of the NBA Lockout.
Posted on: November 2, 2011 2:29 pm
Posted by Royce Young
Don't worry you guys, Matt Barnes is going to clear this all up. He's totally not dating Eva Longoria. Wait, people thought he was dating Eva Longoria?
Evidently they did because of a bunch of pictures of the two hanging out in New York City. Longoria has already denied it but now it was Barnes turn.
Via Sports Radio Interviews, Barnes was on 95.7 The Game in San Francisco and the last question he was asked was about that:
"Eva and I are friends. We are working together. She has an amazing cancer foundation as well, so we are working together and setting up an event for 2012. I know everyone likes to read and everything and hope or talk bad about situations, but Eva and I are just friends.”If somehow you weren't aware, Longoria divorced from Spurs point guard Tony Parker last year. And it's a relief to know Longoria and Matt Barnes are friends. Because Barnes isn't exactly the type of guy you'd picture following Tony Parker. Or maybe he is. Go from the clean cut Frenchman to the tatted bad boy.
I just realized what I'm writing about. End this lockout please.
Barnes was asked about that and gave the response we've heard roughly 2,000 times from every player who has been asked:
“Man I hope so. I hope so. It’s starting to be that time now where everyone is itching. We are supposed to be playing now. Earlier in the summer we were supposed to be on vacation and now the ball is supposed to be tipped up. I think everyone is starting to itch a little bit, so I hope so.”I hope so too so I can go back to not caring about your personal life.
Posted on: October 5, 2011 1:25 pm
Posted by Royce Young
Tony Parker, owner of ASVEL in France, made a big signing today. He signed Tony Parker.
In the meantime, at Radio Montecarlo, Parker confirmed the deal: ‘Today I can say that I signed with ASVEL for the lockout period. I took my decision on Monday. For me it is a big honor to return to France and it is a logical choice to play for ASVEL”. As reported by Basketusa.com, Parker accepted to play for the minimum salary, €1.500 per month and paid his own insurance. ‘I had a rich offer from China and an important one from Barcelona, but I said since the beginning I would have played just in France’ said Parker.A previous issue was Parker's insurance but he's already said he'd pay for that himself.
Parker, like a lot of other players, was waiting a little bit before committing to anything overseas. Already more than 50 NBA players have signed to player in Europe or China, but the biggest names have mostly held out. Labor negotiations are still ongoing, but already preseason games have been cancelled as well as training camps postponed. With the lockout threatening to delay the start of the regular season by Monday, Tony Parker just made the decision it would be best to sign with Tony Parker.
I assume Tony Parker gave Tony Parker and NBA out clause as well.
Parker will miss his team's first game but should make his debut next week against Paris-Levallois.
Posted on: September 23, 2011 5:05 pm
Posted by Royce Young
Tony Parker looks to be just another NBA player ready and willing to take his game to Europe if the NBA lockout extends into the regular season. Parker is already part owner of the French team ASVEL so it's a natural fit for him to just play there.
In fact, he's already made it very clear that's where he'd play.
However, as is the case with a lot of big names trying to go overseas under contract, getting his NBA contract insured could be a problem. A problem though that Parker is willing to fix on his own. Via Eurosport.fr:
“If I play in France, it will be for the minimum salary and I’ll pay for my own insurance. I’m not going to ask for my own club to pay this and besides, ASVEL couldn’t do it even if it wanted to."
A noble gesture from Parker, but it clearly makes the most sense for him. It would be a tad awkward for him to go to Europe and not play for the team he owns. Plus, it's fairly likely that he'll make a good amount back of whatever he has to pay not just in his own salary, but in the boost of merchandise, ticket sales and whatever else happens with his presence on the team.
And there's no way he could play for the team without the insurance anyway. Which is something that club likely wouldn't be able to afford. So paying for it on his own is sort of the option. Most likely, that policy will be in the $500,000 range.
Parker, like a lot of other players, is probably trying to wait a little bit before committing to anything overseas. Already more than 50 NBA players have signed to player in Europe or China, but the biggest names have mostly held out. Labor negotiations are still ongoing, but already preseason games have been cancelled as well as training camps postponed. If the lockout cuts into the middle of October, it's pretty likely that Tony Parker is going to sign himself.
Posted on: August 30, 2011 3:11 pm
Edited on: August 30, 2011 4:03 pm
Posted by Royce Young
Actual competitive basketball being played in an actual arena with actual NBA players! No, this isn't another Drew League versus Goodman League showdown -- it's better. It's Eurobasket 2011 and if you're completely starved for some quality hoops, then welcome your all-you-can-eat buffet of basketball.
You're probably sick of people trying to convince you how quality the European game has become, and while no, it's not the NBA, it is about as good of basketball as you're going to get. And with the labor negotiations going about as well as Charles Barkley in a marathon, this might be one of your last chances to get competitive basketball.
The EuroBasket tournament features 24 countries all with the opportunity to put away an automatic bid to the 2012 Olympics in London. The top two finishers get an automatic bid while four bids to the Pre-Olympic qualifying tournament (for third through sixth) are at stake as well. But it's not only about the Olympic bids. It's about taking home a title for your country against the top competition in Europe. It's a big deal.
It starts up Aug. 31 and runs through Sept. 18. It's going to be a frantic few weeks of hoops with big names like Pau Gasol, Dirk Nowitzki, Luol Deng and Tony Parker. Let's take a look at the field.
Group A: Britain, Lithuania, Poland, Spain, Turkey, Portugal
Group B: France, Germany, Israel, Italy, Latvia, Serbia
Group C: Bosnia, Croatia, Greece, Macedonia, Montenegro, Finland
Group D: Belgium, Bulgaria, Georgia, Russia, Slovenia, Ukraine
(A heads up: Every game of EuroBasket can be watched free on ESPN3.com.)
Spain -- Pau Gasol. Serge Ibaka. Ricky Rubio. Jose Calderon. Rudy Fernandez. Marc Gasol. If you're looking for your NBA fix, the Spaniards are your team to watch. They're going to play the most fluid, flashy game of anything and with players like Ibaka, Gasol and Rubio, will blend athleticism and skill together nicely.
It's really Spain's tournament to lose. There's just so much talent on the team, not even including the big names. Sergio Llull, recent first round draft pick Nikola Mirotic and the irresistible Juan Carlos Navarro make Spain the can't-miss team and clear-cut favorite.
NBA players: Pau Gasol (Lakers), Serge Ibaka (Thunder), Ricky Rubio (Timberwolves), Jose Calderon (Raptors), Rudy Fernandez (Mavericks), Marc Gasol (Grizzlies)
Lithuania -- The Lithuanians are sort of a borderline favorite, but they are playing the tournament in their home country, so that's an advantage. Plus, there's talent scattered throughout the team with players like lottery pick Jonas Valanciunas, Donatas Motiejunas and Sarunas Jasikevicius.
NBA players: Jonas Valanciunas (Raptors), Donatas Motiejunas (Timberwolves)
France -- Quietly, the French have assembled a pretty stellar team. Most aren't listing them as a top tier favorite, but it's hard to ignore the talent. A core of Nicolas Batum, Joakim Noah and Tony Parker make them a squad strong enough to consider. Add in Rodrigue Beaubois (if he's healthy), Kevin Seraphin, Mickael Pietrus and Kevin Seraphin and that's a quality rotation of players.
They don't have the same level of talent as Spain, but if Batum can emerge as a go-to scorer to supplement Parker, the French team could make noise in the knockout rounds.
NBA players: Tony Parker (Spurs), Nicolas Batum (Trail Blazers), Mickael Pietrus (Suns), Joakim Noah (Bulls), Rodrigue Beaubois (Mavericks), Kevin Seraphin (Wizards), Ronny Turiaf, injured though (Knicks), Ian Mahinmi (Mavericks), Boris Diaw (Bobcats)
Serbia -- One of Europe's most consistent powers, Serbia features a smooth balance of interior scorers and outside shooters. Nenad Krstic is the anchor but don't underestimate players like Milos Teodosic and Milenko Tepic. Serbia doesn't have anything all that flashy, but it's a team that's stayed together for a while and knows how to play extremely well with each other.
NBA players: None
THE DARK HORSES
Germany -- They have Dirk. That's enough to at least warrant consideration. Now after that it doesn't look extremely strong, but it's Dirk and if we learned anything, the dude can play in big moments. He can carry a team that otherwise looks like a batch of just mid-level players to a higher place and win with them. So I'm not doubting him one bit in this tournament.
Plus there's Chris Kaman and Thunder property Tibor Pleiss there with him, which gives Germany a pretty formidable front court.
NBA players: Dirk Nowitzki (Mavericks), Chris Kaman (Clippers)
Russia -- One thing that constantly intrigues me with the Russian team is coach David Blatt. He's an American coach that played for Pete Carril at Princeton and has been extremely successful overseas with major clubs. The team has some talent, but nothing to get too excited about. It would take a breakout tournament from Timofey Mozgov or swingman Victor Khryapa a huge showing from Andrei Kirilenko for them to truly contend, but they could be medal contenders.
NBA players: Timofey Mozgov (Nuggets), Andrei Kirilenko (Jazz)
Slovenia -- Slovenia's the Atlanta Hawks of Europe. Always solid, never good enough to win. They have some quality players, but lack enough quality size to compete with Spain, Lithuania or France.
NBA players: Goran Dragic (Rockets)
Turkey -- Last year's World Championship runners-up to the United States, Turkey has most of that team back. It's a good group and one that could certainly get hot and make a run again, but the World Championship run came largely because of a huge bump from a home court advantage. Not happening again in Lithuania.
NBA players: Semih Erden (Celtics), Omer Asik (Bulls), Ersan Ilyasova (Bucks), Enes Kanter (Jazz), Hedo Turkoglu (Magic)
THE MIDDLE GROUND
Greece -- When their fluid passing is leading to open 3s (which they make), the Greeks are a problem for people. But when they're missing, they're a team easy to run over. They're scrappy and will claw on each possession, but reality is, they just don't have enough talent to hang with the bigger clubs. They do have one of the funner players to watch in Dimitrios Diamantidis, so keep an eye on him.
NBA players: Kostas Koufos (Nuggets)
Croatia -- Much like Slovenia, Croatia is a squad that is always in the conversation, but lacks the firepower to truly contend. Hard to figure where the points will come from for them in big spots. They'll be good enough to likely win Group C, but after that, it'll be a tough road to advance.
NBA players: Bojan Bogdanovic (Nets)
Great Britain -- I'm intrigued by this British team despite it not having any depth whatsoever. Had Ben Gordon been cleared to play, the Brits would've had a dark horse caliber team. Instead, they'll have to fight to get out of group play. Luol Deng is good enough to carry them some with Joel Freeland and Ryan Richards potentially adding some scoring pop from inside.
Don't worry though: They've already qualified for the 2012 Olympics. Because, you know, they're hosting it.
NBA players: Luol Deng (Bulls)
Italy -- There's a little something to the Italian team. Danillo Gallinari, Marco Belinelli and Andrea Bargnani give them some scoring. Problem is, can they stop anyone? It's a decent team and one that can probably make the knockout round, but not much after that.
NBA players: Danillo Gallinari (Nuggets), Marco Belinelli (Hornets), Andrea Bargnani (Raptors)
Montenegro -- Not a powerful team but one with some consistent shooters and a couple decent interior players. Montenegro could very well be every bit as good as Slovenia or Croatia, but their roster doesn't strike you as anything special.
NBA players: Nikola Vucevic (76ers), Nikola Pekovic (Timberwolves)
THE NO CHANCES
NBA players: None
NBA players: Omri Casspi (Cavaliers) -- Casspi's unlikely though because of injury
NBA players: None
NBA players: None
NBA players: Zaza Pachulia (Hawks)
NBA players: Kyrylo Fesenko (Jazz),
THE BLOWOUT FODDER
NBA players: None
NBA players: None
NBA players: None
NBA players: None
NBA players: None
PREDICTION: If Spain doesn't reach the final, it's a massive disappointment and a massive shock. It's really just a matter of who will challenge the loaded Spaniards. I see the final four teams being Spain, France, Lithuania and a dark horse in Germany. A lot of people aren't necessarily on the French bandwagon, but I see a team with a bunch of talent that could possibly put together a little run. The safe bet is to go with a Spain-Lithuania final (this of course assuming the teams match up correctly in the knockout round), but I'm looking at France to fall to Spain in the gold medal game but still earn that automatic bid to London in 2012.
Posted on: August 17, 2011 5:26 pm
Edited on: August 17, 2011 10:57 pm
Posted by Ben Golliver.
Rankings by EOB Staff.
This is the seventh segment of the CBSSports.com Eye on Basketball Elite 100, counting down the top-100 players in the NBA.
Asking Boston Celtics fans and observers to rank the team's players top-to-bottom is a bit like asking a mother to rank her children. With Rajon Rondo ascending and the Big 3 maintaining, simply ranking the team's four All-Stars is a task in and of itself. That job takes on an added degree of difficulty when they face off against their competition around the league.
2011 Stats: 14.1 points, 6.3 assists, 5.8 rebounds, 1.5 steals, 44.5 FG%, 17.30 PER
Composite rankings (random order): 27, 36, 36
After playing all but six games in his first six NBA seasons, injuries marred Iguodala’s 2010-2011 campaign, keeping him out of 15 games and limiting his minutes per game to the fewest he’s played since his rookie year. As a result, his numbers took a predictable hit pretty much across the board. Iguodala’s reputation as a two-way player is well-earned; his size, strength, quickness and instincts are an exceedingly rare combination.
Persistent trade rumors swirled throughout the season, too, owing to Iguodala’s long-term, eight figure per year contract and his tweener franchise guy status: he’s paid to be “the man” but not quite transformative enough to pull it off. Until he is moved to a contender with an established top dog, Iguodala will continue to impress outsiders and let down those who expect him to deliver a team to playoff success.
2011 Stats: 11.7 points, 10.4 rebounds, 2.2 assists, 1.5 blocks, 1.0 steals, 52.5 FG%, 18.83 PER
Composite rankings (random order): 33, 32, 30
Perhaps Noah gets a friendly bump up in these rankings by virtue of playing in the vicinity of the Derrick Rose superstar glow, but he has done plenty to carve out a strong reputation for himself. It starts with doing the things most NBA players don’t like to do: crash the boards relentlessly on both ends, cover ground (while talking) on defense, hit the floor for loose balls, make the extra big-to-big pass and exercise restraint when it comes to shot selection.
Given his age, Noah should be a perennial double-double guy for the next 3-5 seasons. That, plus more than a block and a steal per game and 50+ percent shooting is excellent production from the center position.
2011 Stats: 17.5 points, 6.6 assists, 3.1 rebounds, 1.2 steals, 51.9 FG%, 20.44 PER
Composite rankings (random order): 26, 31, 30
San Antonio’s early playoff exit might have caused you to forget that the Spurs were the league’s second most efficient offense during the regular season. Parker’s well-rounded game – basketball intelligence, shooting, decision-making, pick-and-roll skills, drive-and-kick skills, open court skills – served as the engine in that machine. The elite newer-age point guards boast size/strength combinations that Parker can’t match, but he currently inhabits a pleasant nexus between “savvy veteran” and “not yet tailing off physically”, so he gives as good as he gets against just about anyone at his position.
The Spurs will never be able to replace Tim Duncan, but they were wise to ride with Parker into the foreseeable future.
27. Paul Pierce, F, age 33, Boston Celtics
2011 Stats: 18.9 points, 5.4 rebounds, 3.3 assists, 1.0 steals, 49.7 FG%, 19.76 PER
Composite rankings (random order): 38, 23, 22
The passing of the Eastern Conference torch from Boston to Miami went down in particularly cruel fashion, with Heat forward LeBron James unleashing a whirlwind to usher the Celtics into the past. Not being athletic enough to keep up with Miami is no real sin, though, as that label applies to 99 percent of the league. Pierce is slower, more ground-bound, less decisive and less explosive than James, but he’s still an elite producer at his position, upping his numbers in most categories last season. He can score in a variety of ways, shoots with range, gets to the line and cashes in his free throw opportunities, and is a hard-working defender.
With three years left on his contract, it’s certainly possible the Captain becomes a burden on the books. For now, he’s steady and solid as always, the same All-Star with the track record for winning, even if his team has finally been overtaken.
26. Nene Hilario, C, age 28, Denver Nuggets
2011 Stats: 14.5 points, 7.6 rebounds, 2.0 assists, 1.0 blocks, 1.1 steals, 61.5%, 20.49 PER
Composite rankings (random order): 27, 29, 23
Arguably the biggest prize in this year’s free agent crop, Nene has gotten overlooked to a degree in a crowded Denver frontcourt that always took a backseat to whatever Carmelo Anthony was doing. Now that Anthony is in the Big Apple, Nene’s uber-efficient scoring around the rim, high-energy play and overall athleticism look even better, especially if one considers what will be left of the Nuggets should he decide to find a new home.
2011 Stats: 11.3 points, 9.4 rebounds, 2.0 blocks, 1.4 assists, 57.4 FG%, 21.14 PER
Composite rankings (random order): 28, 22, 28
Nobody in the NBA causes more people to slap their foreheads than Bynum: he’s yet to approach his potential on the court, has a lengthy injury history and has repeatedly resorted to some of the dirtiest play seen anywhere in the modern NBA. For all his faults and immaturity, he has shown the ability to be the best center in the NBA not named Dwight Howard by simply overpowering defenders and playing over the top of them, finishing at the rim with an emphatic dunk or a soft touch. He doesn’t have ideal mobility but he is still a legit paint presence defensively, even able to control games at times. The progress he’s made in expanding his offensive repertoire gives hope for the future, as does his expressed desire to carry more of the load.
2011 Stats: 15.3 points, 9.3 rebounds, 3.5 assists, 1.0 blocks, .8 steals, 55.7%, 20.79 PER
Composite rankings (random order): 24, 24, 29
Horford is an interesting contrast with Bynum, in that he seems to have figured life out and come to terms with what he will be as an NBA player. An excellent defender whose offensive production doesn’t get enough run, Horford should be the centerpiece for the Hawks for years to come. He’s managed to improve his scoring numbers during all four seasons in the NBA while keeping his rebounding numbers near the magical double-digit mark. Horford is smart, consistent, has a winning mindset and provides zero distractions off the court. He can pass too.
At 25, he’s probably getting pretty close to his peak productivity and isn’t – and may never be -- a game-changing No. 1 option on offense. Still, he provides stability and plenty to work around even if he is never able to carry the team out of the massive shadow cast by Joe Johnson’s contract.
23. Chris Bosh, F, age 27, Miami Heat
2011 Stats: 18.7 points, 8.3 rebounds, 1.9 assists, 49.6 FG%, 19.44 PER
Composite rankings (random order): 19, 25, 28
The planet Earth sure learned a lot about Bosh this season. Indeed, he probably faced a greater increase in scrutiny than any other NBA player, when he bounced out of Toronto to team up with LeBron James and Dwyane Wade in South Beach. Bosh’s game is predicated on outside/inside offensive versatility. He is equally able to knock down a jumper, get to the free throw line, finish a play above the rim and create a bit off the bounce. He’s more sinewy than beefy and that’s earned him plenty of criticism because he doesn’t hold the paint on defense and lacks a true nose for rebounding and dirty work.
Bosh wore goofy outfits, was rightfully cast as a third wheel, got tattooed, got married, and broke down crying in his first year with the Heat. Who knows what the sequel holds?
22. Rajon Rondo, G, age 25, Boston Celtics
2011 Stats: 10.6 points, 11.2 assists, 4.4 rebounds, 2.3 steals, 47.5 FG%, 17.11 PER
Composite rankings (random order): 19, 21, 25
Rondo may very well be the most magical point guard since Magic Johnson, his knack for fitting passes into tight spaces is uncanny and his vision is peerless. At his best, he conducts games rather than simply playing in them, weaving together his teammates in such a way that open shots result. His eye-popping wingspan is matched only by his gambler’s instinct, making Rondo an excellent on-ball and off-ball defender. Of course there’s the whole business about his shooting, which remains troublesome and limiting, but he compensates with a warrior’s spirit and a full understanding of his own limitations. He is the future.
21. Kevin Garnett, F, age 35, Boston Celtics
2011 Stats: 14.9 points, 8.9 rebounds, 2.4 assists, 1.3 steals, 0.8 blocks, 52.8 FG%, 20.67
Composite rankings (random order): 23, 21, 21
Over the past two years, a crop of younger power forwards have surpassed Garnett, whose prep-to-pros jump and heavy minutes as a franchise guy earlier in his career have taken their toll. His body doesn’t allow 82 nights of top-shelf performance a season -- it would be next to impossible to manage that at 35 -- but he’s still the most feared and hated player in the NBA. His length and understanding of positioning create endless problems for his opponents and his basketball intelligence and leadership making the game easier for his teammates. His trusty jumper has kept him an offensive force and he can be paired with all sorts of lineups – big and small – thanks to his face-up game, passing skills and mobility. While Garnett is no longer a player capable of carrying a team to a title, he’s still the last guy you want to play against.
Posted on: August 16, 2011 8:26 pm
Posted by Ben Golliver.
If San Antonio Spurs guard Tony Parker wants to negotiate a contract so that he can play professionally during the ongoing NBA lockout, all he needs to do is look in the mirror.
ESPN.com reports that Parker, who is a part owner of the French team ASVEL, says he will turn down other offers and play for his own club if he does decide to compete professionally during the lockout.
"My agent talked about China a little bit," Parker said after totaling 23 points, seven rebounds and four assists in France's 82-60 victory. "But for me I just want to focus on the national team, that's most important for me. I'm not going to take any decision until the end of September, after the European Championships. I want to see if I'm healthy, if I'm hurt and by then we will also know a lot more what is happening with the situation of the lockout.Parker, 29, averaged 17.5 points and 6.6 assists for the Spurs last season, who moved fellow guard George Hill in a draft-day trade with the Indiana Pacers. In other words, he'll be needed to play big minutes and expected to make big contributions next season. Meanwhile, he's on the Spurs' books for eight figures a year through 2014-2015. All things considered, taking it easy during the lockout wouldn't be the worst idea.
In any case, we've heard hundreds of players lay out their thought process for what to do if part of the 2011-2012 NBA season is lost to a work stoppage, but nobody comes close to Parker in terms of sheer coolness. Why bother with haggling with teams in Turkey, China or Brazil when all he needs to do is make himself an offer that he can't refuse?
Posted on: July 10, 2011 5:22 pm
Edited on: July 10, 2011 5:38 pm
Posted by Royce Young
Talk of losing an entire NBA season is a bit ridiculous. But it's a possibility. And with all this hardline talk going on, it seems like neither the players nor the owners are wanting to budge. There's incentive for teams to get a deal done and not just for the money, but because a year without basketball and more importantly, basketball operations, could greatly affect each and every NBA franchise.
Earlier, we took a look at the Southeast, Atlantic and Central Divisions. Let's continue on with the rough and tumble, yet aging, Southwest Division.
New Orleans Hornets
The Hornets easily present the most interesting lockout case of any team in my mind. First off, the league owns them. Secondly, and related to that, Chris Paul is a free agent in 2012. The league took on the responsibility of the Hornets because David Stern wasn't about to see a franchise lost on his watch and wants to do everything he can to keep the team there.
But a prolonged lockout resulting in a lost season really might end professional basketball in New Orleans. Chris Paul would have the ability to walk with the Hornets never having an chance to get anything in return, meaning the one draw the team has could be gone and the already struggling franchise might not have anything to show for his exit. On top of that, David West opted out and is an unrestricted free agent currently. So not only could the roster be entirely turned over, the already suspect fanbase might take another blow.
Now of course if Stern and the owners can negotiate a deal that makes a franchise like the Hornets profitable no matter what, then the league can sell the team and potentially pocket a bit. That's obviously something in the back of Stern's mind. The Hornets really make this lockout all the more intriguing because now Stern has a stake in things directly. He's not just the mediator trying to produce a good system for his league, but he's an owner too now.
Here's one benefit of a prolonged lockout: The Mavs get to be champs for two years instead of one. Bonus? I don't think they'd think so. Especially because the window the Mavs have to remain serious contenders isn't going to stay open much longer. Dirk is aging, Jason Kidd is like 78 and there are a bunch of questions surrounding players like Tyson Chandler, Caron Butler and J.J. Barea.
Mark Cuban is a big market owner, but I can see him as someone leaning toward making sure there is basketball over the owners guaranteeing profits. He's a fan first and foremost and he's tasted the top of the mountain. Granted, he gets the chance to soak it up a little longer, but if he wants his roster to keep going, losing a year might be the beginning of the end for the current Mavs.
San Antonio Spurs
There's no hiding that the Spurs are getting older. A year lost means another year tacked on to Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobili and Tony Parker. A year lost means Gregg Popovich gets a little older and as the longest tenured coach in the league, he might not have many left. The Spurs have a fanbase that will absolutely return in force and Peter Holt is maybe the finest owner in the league, especially in terms of managing a small market franchise, but I'm sure a year of lost basketball isn't something that sits well.
Holt obviously would love a system that levels the playing field a bit and helps smaller markets on the road to basking in the same light the Lakers, Bulls and Knicks get, but basketball is a priority in San Antonio. The window won't be open much longer. Even Tony Parker acknowledged that. And that roster still wants to try and make one more run at it all.
Really, Michael Heisley probably isn't all that terrified from losing a season. He's a small market owner who has spent big as of late and saving money on Rudy Gay, Zach Randolph and Mike Conley isn't all bad for him. The core of the team, sans Marc Gasol, is all locked up long-term so while a lost season would mean missing out on all the positive movement and momentum from last season, there's still a lot of opportunity ahead for Memphis.
Still, it's a risk to mess with a potentially fragile fanbase like the Grizzlies'. The FedEx Forum has never been known to be full, but during the postseason run, the Grizzlies emerged with one of the most passionate, loyal crowds in the league. There's clearly something working right now and Heisley and the Grizzlies don't want to jade and sour those fans that have come around by damaging all that goodwill they worked so hard to build.
Hard for me to guess how the Rockets see this thing. They are an in-between franchise, not necessarily small market but not big either. Their roster is set up to withstand a lockout and return with good pieces intact. They don't have any major lingering free agents of concern.
What I think would scare them a bit though is missing out on the opportunity to compete in the trade market for players like Dwight Howard, Chris Paul and Deron Williams all season long though. The Rockets have quality trade pieces and good assets to dangle in front of teams and I'm sure Daryl Morey would have some interesting proposals to make. Sure there's always 2012's free agency but opening it up to that puts the Rockets a bit behind the other, more intriguing, brighter markets. A sign-and-trade might be their best chance to land that superstar player Morey so desperately wants.