Play Fantasy Use your Fantasy skills to win Cash Prizes. Join or start a league today. Play Now
 
Tag:NBA Lockout
Posted on: July 20, 2011 10:05 am
Edited on: July 20, 2011 10:23 am
 

Could compartmentalizing help end the lockout?

By Matt Moore

As the lockout rounds into its true form now that we're about to start missing dedicated training sessions with players and the rhetoric ramps up with every passing interview, the new reality has sunk in for most. Those hopeful of a 2011-2012 season that starts on time are losing hope as the sinking realization of just how dedicated the two sides are to gaining/protecting ground sets in.

With Ken Berger of CBSSports.com's recent report that a full labor meeting featuring the key figures on both sides is unlikely to happen until August, there's definitely cause for doom and gloom.

But wrapped in the information that neither Billy Hunter nor David Stern would be deigning to meet with the other side until August is this little known fact. These staff meetings, which were dismissed because of their lack of star power, have a substantive subject matter. They're focused on the smaller issues. From KB:
But this time, the two sides have met once at the staff level -- last Friday -- and are scheduled to gather again this Friday for a second meeting. In the smaller sessions, which have not included commissioner David Stern or union chief Billy Hunter, the focus has shifted from the larger economic issues that led to the labor impasse to smaller-ticket system items such as how a new salary cap would be structured, according to sources familiar with the negotiations.
via Full labor session not likely before August - CBSSports.com

Wait a tick. So the lower staffs are meeting to discuss things like the salary cap, which is a huge impediment between the two sides? And we're supposed to feel bad about this because the big guns aren't in there to overcomplicate matters with politics and a media presence? 

NBA lockout
The reality is that this is a genius way to approach the lockout. Both sides are so far apart, there's got to be something done to bring the two sides to a closer chasm. Breaking out the issues into smaller groups and hammering those consistently to get the framework of a deal done is best for both parties and the fans. Get an agreement on everything but BRI, then hammer home the rest.

The question is whether there can be any substantive work done on the salary cap with the owners still pushing for that hard cap. If there's wiggle room there, that could get the players out of the corner, brandishing a chair against the lions. The players know they're not "winning" this negotiation, they've already conceded that there will have to be compromises based on the global economy and the economic model of the league. It's a matter of degrees. If these smaller meetings can just get some movement by both sides toward compromise, it could open the door for things to be settled outside of the BRI split.

And that's just money, which is what this lockout should be about, as opposed to the ideological split it's become. You can solve a disagreement over cash, even if it'll take awhile. It's trying to initiate a protocol revolution that puts both sides at Defcon 1.
Posted on: July 19, 2011 1:22 pm
Edited on: July 19, 2011 1:32 pm
 

It's not always 'shun-ny' in Seacaucus

By Matt Moore

When the NBA entered the lockout, David Stern's office issued what is essentially a nuclear gag order, more of a "shun order" to members of the league office, coaches, team officials and staff. Basically, the first rule of lockout club is you do not talk to the players about lockout club. The league threatened a $1 million (note: one million dollars) fine on anyone who broke the rule and there's been concern that people like Rick Carlisle could get tagged for it. 

Except when the league said that, it only really meant it in most situations, or ones they're not aware of. More specifically, they meant it for situations where the owner isn't present. Because apparently otherwise, it's fine.

A prime example:
But while Heat stars James, Wade -- recovering from Lasik eye surgery and sporting shades, both pictured below with Bosh -- and Juwan Howard were seated in an area separate from the suits', they later mingled on the dance floor with team GM Pat Riley, coach Erik Spoelstra, vice president Nick Arison, the son of Heat owner Micky Arison and former Heat all-star Alonzo Mourning, who now works in player relations. They got special permission from the league to attend the glitzy bash together.

One guest said, "The players were on one side of the ballroom, the executives on the other, and later they met on the dance floor."
via NBA lockout put on hold as LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Miami Heat execs celebrate Chris Bosh's wedding in Miami - NYPOST.com.

And another:
Good to see the NBA gave its blessing for the Rockets to attend Kevin Martin’s wedding and Yao Ming’s retirement announcement.

Martin was married to his longtime girlfriend Jill Adler last weekend and with the league’s permission, Daryl Morey and Gersson Rosas were permitted to attend.

They did, however, have to be careful not to make too much small talk with the athletically gifted members of the guest list.
via NBA schedules out Tuesday — whether they’re needed or not | NBA | a Chron.com blog

So pretty much if there's a wedding, you can mingle with those on the other side of the iron curtain that's been dropped. It helps if an owner's involved. You can meet but only if there's the chicken dance, the Righteous Brothers, or Lil Wayne involved. But seriously, no talking! 

On the one hand, it's nice that the league can differentiate between personal and business. On the other, it's pretty typical that the league says there are no exceptions to the burden of its iron guantlet, except when it says so. 

More importantly (or not), though, how awkward would that conversation be?

"Hey, person who pays my bills except he just locked me out of my job because he wants me to take a drastic paycut?"

"Hi there, employee who I've stonewalled and who has launched a P.R. war against me and my colleagues in pursuit of denying me what I feel is the only way to profitability in the business I run which pays him?"

"..."

"...."

"...Great party!"

"Absolutely! Try the punch!"

"..."

"..."

"... Well, I gotta go, see you, you know, around."

"Yeah, it was good, er, seeing you."

/awkward hand shake

How bizarre must that have been? Of course, by the time they had five or six rum and cokes I'm sure they were more chummy.

Hey, wait a second. 

Guys! I have an idea for how to end the lockout!


Posted on: July 18, 2011 1:25 pm
Edited on: July 18, 2011 3:40 pm
 

Besiktas' pursuit of Bryant held up by scandal

Posted by Royce Young

Turkish basketball club Besiktas has already made quite the splash in signing Deron Williams for next season, provided NBA games are lost because of a lockout.

What could be bigger? What could make more noise? Oh, just signing the biggest basketball star in the world.

Via ESPN.com, Besiktas is in hot pursuit of Kobe Bryant too. One problem though: That little soccer scandal that has frozen all accounts? Yeah, it's kind of getting in the way here. Via Turkey's NTV Spor, the Kobe chase has is being held up because of the scandal. Kobe was reportedly offered $500,000 per month (Williams is getting $200,000), but Kobe was looking for a cool $1 million a month.

But because of this scandal thing, Besiktas' funds are entirely tied up. If the club is going to make a real play for Kobe, somebody else might have to step in, like a big sponsor. As the report noted, Kobe already has a deal with a Turkish airline.

Kobe recently spoke with Reuters about playing overseas and he sounded more than OK about it.

"One thing about basketball is that it is a global sport now," Bryant said. "So you can play anywhere you want to. As far as myself, I just train. I just train and be prepared for anybody that calls."

"Whether the NBA starts again or a team in Europe or here in China decides to call, I'll be ready," he added.

Kobe is a pretty major star in China and there have been rumors of him playing in exhibition games there. He's already participated exhibitions in the Philippines. Kobe though is going through that experimental knee therapy -- which seems to be working -- and risking injury doesn't sound like something the 32-year-old would be interested in.

And on top of that, European teams practice a lot, have difficult travel and don't have the best medical staffs. Seems to me like Kobe's rumored interest in actually signing for something more than a couple exhibition appearances is more smoke than fire.

He may have interest and I'm sure if something is talking about giving him a million a month, he's going to listen. Every player is keeping overseas options open, because for one, it's the right thing to say according to the NBPA. Is it really a realistic scenario that Kobe will be signing to play in Turkey? I don't think so.
Posted on: July 18, 2011 12:59 pm
Edited on: July 18, 2011 3:41 pm
 

2011-12 schedule to be released Tuesday

Posted by Royce Young

Good news, NBA junkies. You may have been robbed of your precious Summer League, but you won't have the second best day of the boring, basketball-less summer taken from you. The NBA is still going to be releasing the 2011-12 schedule anyway on Tuesday afternoon. Yay, right?

Obviously, it would be easy to assume that this is a good sign for the lockout and reason for optimism. But really, it's just sort of a business as usual thing. I mean, the league has to be prepared either way. If a deal is reached in October and everyone just assumed games were going to be lost and no one had made a schedule, that would be a problem, right?

But it is at least a sign in some sense that the league is hoping for games and hasn't entirely dug in. Because look at it the other way: If there was no schedule coming, that would be a very, very bad sign. So since a schedule is being released, the fact that the league is doing it at all has to kind of be seen as a good thing. You see, I'm an eternal optimist, especially with this lockout. Begging for a reason to be convinced there will be games.

Last season, the schedule came out in August because the league wanted to see where all the high-prized free agents ended up landing. Since none of that's happening right now because of the, you know, lockout and all, the league is just going ahead with it a couple weeks earlier. And thank heavens it is, because having nothing, not even Summer League, is really a downer.

Even if there isn't a 2011-12 season, we'll at least have a schedule to visualize what it would've looked like. That's something, right?
Category: NBA
Posted on: July 18, 2011 11:53 am
Edited on: July 18, 2011 1:34 pm
 

Report: Stern to meet with head of FIBA

By Matt Moore

Update: SBNation.com reports that the meeting has been scheduled for months and is only to discuss the 2014 World Championships, not to cover anything specifically related to the lockout. Great, David Stern gets to know what it's like to have a conversation where you can't talk abou the elephant in the room for once. 

Original report: Deron Williams is headed to Istanbul. Every NBA player on the planet has  mentioned considering going abroad to play. But the question is, can they? 

Well, the answer is, "yes of course." There's nothing to stop a team from signing a player for their individual league or exhibition play. However, when those teams enter into international competitions such as EuroLeague or EuroCup, that's when FIBA gets involved. FIBA is the governing body for determining the eligibility of players for those international competitions and as such, they have a huge say on whether NBA players can play overseas during the lockout. FIBA has yet to rule on the matter, but HoopsWorld reports that the head of FIBA, Patrick Baumann, will meet with David Stern this week to discuss the issues. The ramifications could be astounding.
Baumann is expected to meet with NBA commissioner David Stern this week in hopes of crafting guidance for its member teams and federations on how to handle not only NBA players seeking jobs abroad, but also how to deal with the insurance issues that are surfacing with regards to national teams and the upcoming Olympic qualifiers.

Under a long standing agreement between the NBA and FIBA, the NBA covers one-third of the insurance costs associated with NBA players playing in national team competitions and tournaments. Another third is covered by the national team and the final third is covered by FIBA.

Since the NBA's self-imposed lockout on July 1st, the NBA is no longer willing to cover those costs.
via NBA AM: FIBA To Meet With NBA - Basketball News & NBA Rumors -

Now before we go too far down the conspiracy lane, keep in mind that the league has repeatedly said it will not do anything to prohibit players from playing in Europe. There's good reason. Locking out the players to prevent them from earning a living and then doing anything to threaten their ability to earn a wage elsewhere goes against that whole "life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness" gig that we're so big on here in the states and opens up the league to a lawsuit. 

But the conversation is significant. Insurance is a huge concern for the players, though the stars can easily get insured thanks to their status. But if FIBA were to rule against the players' eligibility after meeting with Stern, it would immediately quash the players' hopes of going overseas (teams wouldn't want them if they were unavailable for those competitions in most cases) and create more anomosity between the league and the players, even if Stern himself had nothing to do with the decision. 

It's a delicate meeting, is what I'm trying to get at. 

Posted on: July 18, 2011 11:53 am
Edited on: July 18, 2011 1:34 pm
 

Report: Stern to meet with head of FIBA

By Matt Moore

Update: SBNation.com reports that the meeting has been scheduled for months and is only to discuss the 2014 World Championships, not to cover anything specifically related to the lockout. Great, David Stern gets to know what it's like to have a conversation where you can't talk abou the elephant in the room for once. 

Original report: Deron Williams is headed to Istanbul. Every NBA player on the planet has  mentioned considering going abroad to play. But the question is, can they? 

Well, the answer is, "yes of course." There's nothing to stop a team from signing a player for their individual league or exhibition play. However, when those teams enter into international competitions such as EuroLeague or EuroCup, that's when FIBA gets involved. FIBA is the governing body for determining the eligibility of players for those international competitions and as such, they have a huge say on whether NBA players can play overseas during the lockout. FIBA has yet to rule on the matter, but HoopsWorld reports that the head of FIBA, Patrick Baumann, will meet with David Stern this week to discuss the issues. The ramifications could be astounding.
Baumann is expected to meet with NBA commissioner David Stern this week in hopes of crafting guidance for its member teams and federations on how to handle not only NBA players seeking jobs abroad, but also how to deal with the insurance issues that are surfacing with regards to national teams and the upcoming Olympic qualifiers.

Under a long standing agreement between the NBA and FIBA, the NBA covers one-third of the insurance costs associated with NBA players playing in national team competitions and tournaments. Another third is covered by the national team and the final third is covered by FIBA.

Since the NBA's self-imposed lockout on July 1st, the NBA is no longer willing to cover those costs.
via NBA AM: FIBA To Meet With NBA - Basketball News & NBA Rumors -

Now before we go too far down the conspiracy lane, keep in mind that the league has repeatedly said it will not do anything to prohibit players from playing in Europe. There's good reason. Locking out the players to prevent them from earning a living and then doing anything to threaten their ability to earn a wage elsewhere goes against that whole "life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness" gig that we're so big on here in the states and opens up the league to a lawsuit. 

But the conversation is significant. Insurance is a huge concern for the players, though the stars can easily get insured thanks to their status. But if FIBA were to rule against the players' eligibility after meeting with Stern, it would immediately quash the players' hopes of going overseas (teams wouldn't want them if they were unavailable for those competitions in most cases) and create more anomosity between the league and the players, even if Stern himself had nothing to do with the decision. 

It's a delicate meeting, is what I'm trying to get at. 

Posted on: July 18, 2011 10:47 am
Edited on: July 18, 2011 1:50 pm
 

Chris Paul says the lockout is not about stars

Posted by Matt Moore

Chris Paul is not like a lot of the other NBA stars. Most of them only became interested in the lockout within the last year and a half (really All-Star 2010). Paul's been active for years in the executive side of the NBPA. And unlike a lot of stars, who are simply looking to protect the deals they've already signed, Paul's a free agent in 2012. He has the most to lose personally from this lockout and a potential restructuring of salaries. But in an interview with Business Week, Paul made it clear that he believes this lockout is about the good of the many, not the good of the few. From Business Week:
There’s a cross section of players on the executive committee, which has to represent everyone. I felt there should be a guy with a maximum contract to give perspective. [Paul will be paid $16.3 million by the New Orleans Hornets next season.] Whatever sacrifices have to be made are worth it to make sure we get a fair deal, a deal that represents the whole. Some kids go to college knowing they’re only playing one year before turning pro, and it was fitting that the last meeting we had with the owners came the day after the draft. We’re standing up for those players because they don’t have a say-so. We’re their voice: It’s a big brother mentality.
via Chris Paul on Risking a Lost NBA Season - BusinessWeek

Paul also talks about how the players have a responsibility to future generations of players, making the lockout seem like more of a moralist argument than a business deal. And Paul's right that players that aren't in the NBPA have no way of protecting their future. At the same time, the players need to make sure they don't overdramaticize the conflict any more than they have. This is a business deal and should be treated as such. 

But with Paul taking this kind of stance, publicly, it speaks to the resolve of the players. If it's just individual players looking out for their individual interests, there's a lot that can go wrong to fracture the union. But with the players looking to not only protect past work and present prosperity, but also the future, that becomes an ideological approach, which is much more difficult to crack. But in the end, this comes down to money, which is what always talks. The owners know all they have to do is survive and stretch out the lockout as far as the player's resolve will take them. It's a war of attrition, even if the players are rallying around their flag to stay the course. 

Posted on: July 18, 2011 10:01 am
Edited on: July 18, 2011 10:14 am
 

Could the lockout help Howard conquer China?

Posted by Matt Moore

When we told you about how Dwight Howard would choose China over Europe if he headed elsewhere during the lockout to play, it wasn't a shocker. When Dwight Howard told the Associated Press himself Sunday that he would consider playing in China or overseas, it didn't really surprise anyone, either. After all, most NBA players are making noise about playing overseas with the lockout in full effect. After Deron Williams signed his contract (to a team that may or may not have had its accounts frozen in a soccer/football match-fixing scandal) to play in Turkey, the exodus storyline got kickstarted full-steam ahead. Every player that runs into a reporter gets asked about it. This is the new NBA life in a lockout. And with China as lucrative a basketball option as any, it's no surprise that he's making positive comments about going, despite his free agent status in 2012. 

But consider what he said about what the opportunity would mean for him:
"If I decide to go overseas, the main thing is for me to continue to get better, not to do the things that I normally do, but do better at the things I'm not good at," Howard said. "So I can use that talent to go overseas, working on my skills and staying in great shape."
via Magic's Howard mulls playing overseas during lockout - NBA - CBSSports.com Basketball.

Notice that there's no "I want to compete" stuff in there. Which is fine. His real job's here in the NBA, he just can't do it right now. It's actually refreshing that he's not spinning tales of wanting to compete for a Chinese championship. 

But what's missing here is the real driving force behind Howard, or Kobe Bryant, or really any significant NBA star heading to China. How lucrative it is, and I'm not talking about basketball salary.

Since Yao Ming (enjoy retirement, big fella!) entered the league, the NBA and its players have come to a startling realization. There are a lot of people in China. No, seriously. There's like, tons of people. And despite its communist government, there's quite a bit of money to be made there. Yao opened up a whole new realization to the NBA, that there's dough there, and it's an untapped market. Versus Europe which is chock full of endorsements already taken up by soccer/football stars and other athletes, China has a basketball thirst, and the cash to spread it around. Howard's been one of several players who have hopped on board that train. 

Consider how he spent last summer. He filmed a movie there with Carmelo Anthony and when I spoke to him in the fall, he was pretty glowing about China and effusive about how much time he's spent there.
DH: Well, I love acting and the NBA asked me to come to China and film a movie and I was there for four or five days. I had a lot of speaking parts in the movie and it was very fun -- I enjoyed it a lot and actually the director wants to write a script so I can come back and do another movie.

CBS: What's the coolest thing you saw this summer?

DH: That's a good question. I've been to China like nine times, so just going there is always fun for me. I guess the last time I went they had an expo there and it was all the countries and built this one big brand building to represent their country and it was just an amazing site to see. And there were like 500,000 people there a day so it was just crazy.
via Dwight Howard on movies, the Heat, and tennis - CBSSports.com. 

Howard understands that playing in China is much more than just about the competition level or comfort. It's about expanding his profile. With Kobe Bryant nearing the end of his career (Kobe is huge in China) and Yao Ming retired, there's a void left for a NBA star to be China's hero. With what will essentially amount to a working vacation, Howard might be able to fill that void. 


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