Posted on: July 14, 2011 9:39 am
Posted by Royce Young
The lockout is a major bummer for a lot of people. Especially employees of NBA teams that don't have millions of dollars to fall back on but get laid off. So it's not really all that funny.
Yet, there's still good reason not to take it all too seriously. That's what Blake Grififn and Kevin Love did in their fake advertisement for "Lockout Professionals." Need a fly swatted high on the wall? Want Ron Artest to do your taxes? Want love advice from Tyson Chandler? You can get it all for the low price of like $9 million. Not bad. Pretty good way for these guys to make some coin while they're locked out.
Sure beats playing in Europe, I'd say.
Posted on: July 13, 2011 11:48 pm
Edited on: July 14, 2011 12:16 pm
Posted by Royce Young
UPDATE: Via NBA PR, the league cleared Cuban's appearance and interaction with the Mavericks at the ESPYs prior to the event on the condition no business or CBA talking went on. So there won't be a fine.
The NBA has been very straightforward about its "no contact" policy regarding the lockout. Not only did it scrub NBA.com of the existence of players, but there's been an imposed gag order on owners, coaches and front office personnel regarding contact with players.
It's evidently so serious that acting Portland general manager Chad Buchanan nearly got fined $1 million for just answering "Yeah" to a question about Summer League.
So when Mark Cuban started hugging, fiving and chatting it up with his Maverick players at the ESPYs, naturally you'd have to assume the league might be sending Cuban a bill soon.
"You do have the checks so you can pay the fine," joked Jason Kidd. "It's just a million dollars." I couldn't tell if he was joking or not with that last part though.
Being fined isn't anything new for Cuban, though, who is easily the most tagged owner in league history. He's been fined in the double-digit millions, so adding on another seven-digit fine probably isn't too much for him to blink at. Especially when it came because his team was accepting yet another trophy.
I'm sure he'll pay this one with a smile. That is, if the league does indeed hand him one.
Posted on: July 13, 2011 4:32 pm
Edited on: July 14, 2011 12:41 pm
The NBA reportedly threatened Portland Trail Blazers Acting GM Chad Buchanan with a $1 million fine. Posted by Ben Golliver.
The second the NBA lockout went into effect on July 1, the league took great care to make its players disappear. The NBA ordered mammoth fines if team executives made public reference to current players and, in a particularly petty move, scrubbed NBA.com of references to current players.
As of yet, no fines have been publicly announced for violating the league's lockout-induced gag order on team executives.
However, the Portland Tribune reports that at least one has been threatened with a $1 million hit for a seemingly innocuous comment.
The league office has prohibited the teams’ employees from commenting on players. Employees can talk about team issues, evidently, but not about players.Update: Buchanan went a little further than simply saying "yeah," telling The Oregonian in June that the cancellation of Summer League was "disappointing" and "not ideal."
Clearly, that's ridiculous. It's also a little scary that the NBA league office is monitoring public comments that closely. But, hey, it's their perogative and their policy.
That policy faces a much more interesting test case thanks to Minnesota Timberwolves president David Kahn.
On Tuesday, the Timberwolves called a press conference to announce the firing of head coach Kurt Rambis. During the question-and-answer portion of the press conference, Kahn made reference to at least two current Timberwolves: center Brad Miller and guard Ricky Rubio.
Speaking about the youth of his team, Kahn said it was possible that even with the addition of the 35-year-old Miller, who was acquired in a draft day trade with the Houston Rockets, the Timberwolves could still have the youngest average age in the NBA. Kahn also briefly discussed Rubio in response to a question about what the Spanish point guard would do during the lockout.
To make matters worse, Kahn's comments were streamed live on video on the team's official website, NBA.com/Timberwolves. In other words, the NBA league office can't help but be aware of them. (An edited, condensed version of the press conference archived on the site leaves out the references to both Miller and Rubio.)
The NBA has reached its first pivotal fork in the road during this lockout period when it comes to this policy. Commissioner David Stern can either look the other way on a blatant violation of his very clear, oft-repeated and referenced gag order policy or he can fine Kahn as his office has reportedly threatened to fine Buchanan. If the league chooses to fine Kahn, who was fined $50,000 last year for comments made about forward Michael Beasley, does it keep its word and go for the full million dollars? After posing in dictatorial fashion for the last two weeks, the NBA can't let the first obvious violator off easily, can it?
Posted on: July 13, 2011 3:54 pm
Edited on: July 13, 2011 5:04 pm
Posted by Royce Young
Dwight Howard isn't going anywhere yet. But if he did, where might he go?
No, I'm not talking about 2012 free agency for once. I'm talking about lockout overseas options. Howard, in an interview with Marca.com was asked about what he might do if he went overseas to play.
If you play overseas, I have the hunch that you would choose China rather than Europe. Dwight Howard: Yes, I think China has more options. I've thought about it, but not in depth. The issue is the potential of injury.By "options," I think what Howard means to say is, "money." China will likely have a lot more money.
Howard, like a select few other NBA stars, has global appeal and will be a big star anywhere he goes. It's pretty unlikely he actually would sign overseas as he has a whole lot at stake this upcoming season. He even acknowledged the injury issue in his answer.
Of course Kobe Bryant is huge in China and Kevin Durant is currently there as part of a promotional Nike tour, so there's no doubt the NBA is huge there. And with the population and overall money in a lot of the major franchises, if Howard were really serious, I'm sure he'd fine a healthy payday if he went to China. Though like so many players, I think he's just playing the "If the lockout goes on, I'll look at stuff" line.
But China as an option is interesting, mainly because of Howard going to China because of the door opened by the recently retired Yao. Fitting, sort of.
Posted on: July 13, 2011 12:13 pm
Edited on: July 13, 2011 12:31 pm
Posted by Royce Young
The new most annoying story in the NBA is what players are going to do during the lockout, specifically, if they're willing to play overseas. Virtually every player has responded that he'd be open to it, with some going as far to actually sign (hello, Deron Williams).
The reasons are simple:
1) You get paid.
2) You get to play against good competition.
3) You get paid.
A handful of NBA players, other than Williams, have signed. Sonny Weems and Darius Songaila just put their name to contracts recently, with others still being rumored.
But it's not all it's cracked up to be. One NBA player who went to Europe for a season came back with a number of lessons. Josh Childress knows the system, knows what it's like and knows what players can expect. And as he told ESPN.com, playing in Europe isn't as easy as it sounds or all it's cracked up to be.
"One of the biggest things guys will have to realize is that whatever offer you get, there's no guarantee you'll actually get all that money," Childress says. "If a guy isn't playing well or a team is out of the playoffs, they'll just stop paying you. I know tons and tons of players who just walked away because they didn't want to go through the hassle of going to court to get their money.Basically, it sounds like it's a glorified D-League. Bus rides, subpar trainers, lacking medical attention and no pampering. I can't see any star NBA player being fine with that.
Childress was asked if he'd consider returning to Europe too.
"No, I wouldn't," he says. "And I don't know why guys would. I understand that guys really want to play. But you sometimes have to look at what you have and treat this as a business. The only way I could see it making sense is if you're a player from a particular country going back. But for an American player with a good-sized guaranteed deal here, I can't see why you'd do it."Remember, pretty much every single player is saying, "I'd consider it," with basically no one saying point blank no. But the one player that's definitively said he won't is a guy that has actually played there. I think that says something.
I recall watching a special on Brandon Jennings who skipped playing a freshman year in college, instead going to Italy to play professionally for a season. He said it was always a challenge to get paid on time.
Yes, Europe is a good option, especially if a player wants or need to continue their stream of income. But by the way it sounds according to Childress, it doesn't sound as wonderful as some have built it up to be. There's not nearly as much money as some might think and the lifestyle definitely isn't one an NBA star would appreciate.
Like many have said, it's probably more talking -- even with Williams -- than anything else. I'm like the opposite of Kevin Love. I'll believe an NBA star playing in Europe when I see it.
Posted on: July 12, 2011 7:51 pm
Edited on: July 12, 2011 8:24 pm
Posted by Matt Moore
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 every NBA franchise.
Earlier this week, we took a look at the Southeast Division, the Atlantic Division, the Central Division, Southwest Division, and Northwest Division. We finish our series with the Pacific Division.
Los Angeles Lakers
The quick answer here is: it depends. A lost season would remove what could be the final year of this Laker core together. Kobe Bryant will be 34 in the summer of 2012. Bryant will be able to play until he's 40 thanks to conditioning. But his body is already showing significant wear and tear at age 32. Losing another year of Bryant, along with 30+ players Lamar Odom and Pau Gasol guarantees the end of meaningful contention, most likely. That doesn't mean it's not possible. It just becomes more difficult.
But on the other hand, if the team's already moving toward the future, making the requisite good faith effort to keep this core together but planning around Andrew Bynum (as rumors have suggested), then the lockout doesn't affect things much. The question is whether the team believes the run is over. It probably doesn't, but their actions over the last few months haven't exactly spelled confidence. They haven't indicated an "abandon ship" attitude either. Far from it. But there's enough there for it to be confusing.
Some other good news from a lockout for L.A.? Matt Barnes comes off the books, Lamar Odom enters a non-guaranteed year, and Derek Fisher, Luke Walton and Steve Blake enter contract years, so their contracts finally become easily movable. The bad news? Bynum enters a contract year without a fully healthy season in four years. Good times.
The lockout would probably be a good thing for Robert Sarver's organization, based simply on the fact that the Suns' salaries will drop by close to $40 million from 2011-2012 to 2012-2013. (Note: Vince Carter and his bought-out contract make up $18 million of that, so it's kind of a fake $40 million. But still!) They lose the last year of Steve Nash's contract, which is a bummer. But considering most of us think Nash deserves to be freed from a sinking ship like the Suns, it's not that terrible. Plus the Suns manage to clear off Mickael Pietrus and Aaron Brooks (assuming they decline to match him in free agency, which they may not, but it's a nice thought) and Hakim Warrick and Robin Lopez could both enter contract years depending on if the Suns elect to pick up or not pick up various options.
That would leave just Jared Dudley, Channing Frye and Josh Childress as their only long-term contracts. And don't get me wrong, those contracts are horrible. But if the Suns want to rebuild (and they need to rebuild), they'll be in a great position to do so. The Suns are unlikely to improve next season, so there's no big risk in losing next season. Imagine paying no salary for a year plus the money Sarver will make when he sells his 2012 first-rounder! (A joke, and a bad one. Sorry, Suns fans.)
Sarver may actually sabotage the negotiations.
Golden State Warriors
Lacob and Guber spent a pretty penny on this franchise. So you can imagine they'd want to get started early. On the other hand, after spending that much, they need the profit-guaranteeing, value-increasing measures the lockout is geared toward. They're likely to commit to a full-season lockout, especially since it chops off $20 million they'd have to pay David Lee and Andris Biedrins for what will naturally be a losing season.
And hey, it's taken them two years to figure out what to do with Monta Ellis. They could use another twelve months.
But the Warriors still have a lot to fix, and they need to get on it. Time's a wastin'.
The Clippers would see their payroll drop by $20 million dollars if they lost the entire 2011-2012 season. They've already activated Blake Griffin's 2012 option, naturally. Mo Williams would be entering a contract year, taking the sting out of the money they paid to get rid of Baron Davis (now about that draft pick...). Eric Gordon would have to get paid, but the fact remains that the Clippers would only have six players on roster, and two of them would be entering expiring deals.
Thanks to their market, the Clippers make a profit no matter what happens, so this wouldn't harm them tremendously. But for a franchise with so much promise, they need to get started. Because otherwise Griffin could enter restricted free agency in 2014 (if restricted free agency exists) with only one year to convince Griffin to work with them on a reasonable extension. Fun stuff.
It's another year for the Maloofs to figure out how to get out of Sacramento. It's a year to take out the full-blown momentum of the fan uprising. But it's also a year that loses all that young talent, and a small-market team like Sacramento can't really survive losing an entire year of revenue. The Maloofs may have to fake a death to cover debts otherwise.
This could get awkward.
Posted on: July 12, 2011 7:10 pm
Edited on: July 12, 2011 7:23 pm
Oklahoma City Thunder guard Nate Robinson wants to play in the National Football League during the NBA lockout? Posted by Ben Golliver.
What better way to avoid a lockout in one professional sports league than taking on a lockout in another professional sports league?
That's apparently the plan for Oklahoma City's Nate Robinson. The diminuitive Thunder guard told SlamOnline.com that he would consider making a switch to the NFL if the NBA continues its lockout.
“I might go play football,” Robinson told SLAM on the phone. “Do something that nobody’s tried to do.”While both leagues are currently in a lockout, the NFL is said to have been making progress in recent weeks while the NBA owners and players are not even at the negotiating table.
Robinson has a football background. As a freshman, he played cornerback for the University of Washington, intercepting two passes and making 34 tackles. His father, Jacque Robinson, was a star running back for the Huskies and went on to play one season in the NFL.
Does Robinson have a chance, or is this idle chatter? An NBA/NFL hybrid career is unprecedented in the modern era, made impossible because of their concurrent schedules. That said, elite athletes in the NBA are likely to be elite athletes in the NFL, given the similar demand for quickness, strength and agility. One would think the outside positions, wide receiver and cornerback, along with special teams would be the easiest places for a basketball-to-football transition to occur. And, at 5-foot-9 and 180 pounds, Robinson is in the right ballpark to play corner and clearly has superior leaping ability, evidenced by his three NBA Slam Dunk crowns.
Still, the injury risk in making this type of transition is astronomically higher than playing basketball overseas. Re-learning a new, more physical game is a much more difficult proposition for a professional athlete than playing the same game you've always played in a different environment. Anyone giving Robinson -- who is just 27 years old and entering the final year of his contract -- good, sound advice would tell him to let the football dreams die hard.
Although it's far-fetched, this is a tantalizing possibility to think about. For a good time, check out this highlight reel of Robinson starring on the gridiron during his high school days at Rainier Beach, uploaded to YouTube by user atlhawks3.
Posted on: July 12, 2011 6:42 pm
Edited on: July 12, 2011 6:50 pm
Posted by Royce Young
For a time, Ron Artest was supposed to be headed to Finland to play at least a couple games. Then his agent squashed that.
Then Artest told the LA Times that he was going to go to Great Britain to play, either for the Glasgow Rocks or the Cheshire Jets. In classic Metta WorldPeace fashion he said, ""The teams aren't good, but I'm going there to finish a movie, so why not?" Yeah, why not?
Oh, here's why not. Artest's agent explained to ESPN LA:
Possible injury appears to be Bauman's biggest fear, but obviously that doesn't seem to matter to Deron Williams, who said he's not worried because injuries could happen anywhere.
Competition is somewhat key though. It's really not worth the risk of injury and the little amount of money just to play a couple games of glorified pickup ball. A lot of players are talking about going overseas and for some, it's about keeping the steady stream of income. For others, it's about staying sharp. For Artest, I guess it was going to be about having something to do while he's in Britain.
The bigger story here to me is though, Metta WorldPeace is going to be in a movie? I smell an Oscar.