Posted on: October 1, 2011 6:07 pm
Edited on: October 1, 2011 7:00 pm

NBA, NBPA have 'huge gaps' after 7-hour meeting

Posted by Ben Gollivernba-lockout

The NBA and the National Basketball Players Association met for the second straight day in New York City on Saturday, but the talks failed to produce an agreement or even much progress. 

CBSSports.com's Ken Berger reports that the talks will not continue on Sunday as expected and that the two sides will be "back at it" on Monday in smaller groups. 

Talks lasted for more than seven hours on Saturday following a lengthy negotiating session on Friday that featured some tense moments and cameos by superstars like LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Carmelo Anthony.

Representatives for both sides addressed the media afterwards.

Berger reports that NBPA attorney Jeffrey Kessler said that the two sides did not discuss the most contentious issue, the division of Basketball-Related Income, and instead talked about system issues. NBPA president Derek Fisher, meanwhile, acknowledged that there were "still huge gaps" between the two sides, who decided to switch the discussion to individual system issues.

"Break down the mountain into separate pieces and tackle it one step at a time," Fisher explained. "We weren't going to be able to make major, sweeping progress on the entire economic and system at the same time. Maybe if we split them up and try to go at them one at a time ... we can at least get some momentum and some progress going."

USA Today reported that NBPA executive director Billy Hunter said the two sides were still "miles apart."

Berger reported that Hunter believes the owners are still pushing for a system that resembles a hard cap rather than the soft cap that the players prefer. "If you gave them everything they're asking for, you'd ultimately have a hard cap," Hunter said.

On the other side of the table, Berger reported that NBA commissioner David Stern said that the two days of negotiations were "long and in some ways exhausting" and that the two sides were "not near anything." However, Stern noted: "We're closer than we were before."

NBA deputy commissioner Adam Silver painted the discussions as a clear exchange of ideas: "The owners certainly heard the passion from the players, and right back at them from the owners."

NBPA vice president Matt Bonner told MySanAntonio.com that both sides were "a little burned out" and only made "minor progress" on Saturday. His fellow NBPA vice president Roger Mason, Jr. tweeted: "Finished another long day of meetings. Unfortunatey nothing new to report. We are still very far from a deal."

Berger also reports that Stern acknowledged that he exchanged words with Wade on Friday. "There was a heated exchange of some kind."

The next steps for the NBA will be to announce the cancelation of the rest of the preseason schedule. On Sept. 23, the NBA announced the cancelation of the first half of the preseason. Once the entire preseason slate is wiped, a delayed start to the regular season, which is currently slated for Nov. 1, is essentially inevitable. Berger reports that Stern no announcement will be made on Monday but that the decision will be a "day to day" matter after that. 

This post will update with the latest NBA lockout news.
Posted on: September 24, 2011 6:27 pm
Edited on: September 24, 2011 6:39 pm

2012 NBA All-Star Game facing December deadline?

Posted by Ben Gollivernba-lockout

On Friday, the NBA officially postponed the start of its preseason schedule. With that first ugly step now taken, the question becomes how many more similar announcements are coming down the pipeline?

The next two major decisions, chronologically, will be the cancellation of the rest of the preseason and the delay of the regular season. Past that, the next major event on the NBA calendar is the league's annual All-Star Game, slated to be held at Orlando's Amway Center in late February.

The Orlando Sentinel looked back at the NBA's last work stoppage, during the 1998-1999 season, to pinpoint a possible deadline date for the league's mid-winter classic.
In the last lockout, the league cancelled the Feb. 14 1999 all-star game scheduled in Philadelphia on Dec. 9, 1998. This year’s game is set a little later — Feb. 26 at the Amway Center in downtown Orlando. So it could be that if this lockout continues, eating up regular-season games, the league likely will cancel Orlando’s game around Dec. 15.
NBA commissioner David Stern has reportedly pledged to bring the All-Star Game back to Orlando should next season's game be compromised.
Posted on: September 15, 2011 5:39 pm
Edited on: September 15, 2011 7:58 pm

NBPA preaches resolve, patience in Vegas meeting

Posted by Ben Gollivernbpa-stand

LAS VEGAS -- Yards away from the Vdara Hotel's lobby, where an endless line of tourists stood patiently waiting to check into their hotel room, a large group of NBA players sat in a conference room on Thursday morning, getting briefed on the latest news from ongoing collective bargaining agreement negotiations by National Basketball Players Association executive director Billy Hunter, NBPA president Derek Fisher and other NBPA executive committee members.

The immediate message from the NBPA executive committee after the meeting closed approximated the sentiment expressed in a letter sent Wednesday from Fisher to every NBA player: Player solidarity is important, there is a fundamental split among the owners, and decertification of the union is not imminent. 

To underscore that solidarity, the NBPA distributed gray t-shirts, featuring a silhouette image of basketball players above the word "STAND" in yellow block letters. More than 30 players wore the t-shirts and stood behind Hunter and Fisher as they addressed reporters in an adjacent press conference room.

"We had a very colorful and engaging meeting today," Fisher began. "We are together. We are unified. There is not a fracture and a separation amongst our group that in some ways has been reported. We want to continue to reiterate that point."

Despite some players expressing frustration at the lack of progress in the ongoing negotiations between the NBA and NBPA, Hunter said that frustration didn't rear its head in Thursday's meeting.

"I don't get the kind of negative feedback that I get from some of the articles that you guys write," Hunter said.

Roughly 35 NBA players attended the meeting, which was scheduled to begin at 10:30 a.m. and was expected to last at least 75 minutes, adjourned around 1:30 p.m. Attendance estimates presented earlier in the week were nearly double the number of players who actually showed up.

"There's no disappointment in the number," Fisher said, noting that 90 percent of the players who are competing in the Impact Basketball Competitive Training Series attended Thursday's meeting.

Those who did attend were greeted by a presentation from National Football League Players Association negotiator DeMaurice Smith, who was reportedly invited by Fisher. Smith hurriedly left the meeting at 11:30 a.m. and refused to comment to the media assembled, citing another engagement. Hunter said Smith provided some thoughts on his experience handling the NFL's labor dispute and noted that he cautioned the NBA players that decertification of the union is not a "silver bullet" and that the "real key is solidarity." 

Hunter also wanted to make one point crystal clear: "We did not talk about decertification as a strategy." He did say the NBPA presented "a full disclosure" of the facts and circumstances surrounding a potential decertification but that it was simply a part of the education process and not a tactic or plan.

Fisher maintained that any player agents who were hoping to push the decertification issue or undermine the union's executive committee will not succeed.

"Any statements or agendas that are being pushed by groups, they don't have a way in as long as we stand shoulder to shoulder," Fisher said.

With decertification apparently tabled, at best, the so-called "blood issues" for the players remain unchanged.

"We've been clear on a few main points which are, in a sense, nonnegotiable," Fisher told reporters after the main press conference adjourned. "We're not going to sign a deal if they include a hard salary cap, if they include a limitation on exceptions and guaranteed contracts, those are things we just cannot and will not sign off on."

Asked whether he thought the 30 NBA owners were united in a willingness to sacrifice a season in general and to sacrifice a season over the institution of a hard cap, Fisher was clear.

"No. Not even close. Nowhere near 30 teams and 30 owners. [Less than half], in my opinion. Obviously, I'm not in the room when they take votes but in my opinion there are not as many teams and owners as people would think that are interested in throwing away a season over a hard cap issue. I think [deputy commissioner] Adam Silver and commissioner [David] Stern have even said it themselves. If we can find a way to find some common ground on economics, they don't see throwing away a season over the system. And so that's the way we've attacked the matter. If we can get into a range where the economics are acceptable for both sides, the system will stay where it is."

As far as a timeline, Fisher would not confirm specific next step plans but said he hoped talks with the owners would begin next week, noting that the players are ready to continue the process. Hunter also noted that he expects to hear back from the National Labor Relations Board regarding the union's complaint that the NBA is not negotiating in good faith "within the next three weeks or so." 

Until then, the message is simple: keep negotiating whenever possible, and wait.

"The resolve is strong," Hunter concluded. "This is still early in the game, nobody has lost any paychecks. That doesn't happen until November 16. There's still time to get a deal."

Posted on: September 9, 2011 10:36 am

Photo: Former NBA player Sean May with a dolphin

By Matt Moore

I'd love to fill this in with some sort of basketball analysis on May, how he looks like he's lost weight, how he's doing overseas, how he represents the very reason two draft picks should be granted to NBA teams. But really, this is just a photo of former Charlotte Bobcat and Sacramento King Sean May swimming with a dolphin. 

My favorite part is that he used one of those artistic photo apps for the smartphone to have this picture taken. Note the artsy border to the photo. Because really, when you want to remember that time you swam with a dolphin (who looks stoned), you want to make sure you have it look like something out of a hipster's photo exhibit.

Via Sean May's Tumblr, my new favorite thing in everything. 
Posted on: August 27, 2011 10:16 am

Legend vs. Star: George Gervin vs. Kevin Durant

Posted by Royce Young

We live in an immediate society. The internet, social media, the ever-accelerating news cycle, everything means that the next 30 seconds is 10 times more important than the last 30 seconds regardless of what actually happened in the past 30 seconds. As a result, we lose perspective on what stands truly relevant from the past. The NBA is no exception. So in an attempt to merge the two worlds (since, as a blog, we love/hate/want to be BFFs within the next 30 seconds), we'll be bringing you a look at players past and present, in relation to one another. 

Previously: Isiah Thomas vs. Chris Paul | Larry Bird vs. Dirk Nowitzki | Michael Jordan vs. Kobe Bryant | Dwight Howard vs. Moses Malone | Magic Johnson vs. LeBron James

Next up: George Gervin vs. Kevin Durant

Finding a historical parallel for Kevin Durant is sort of challenging. There's just no an obvious fit. Sure, there have been countless pure scorers throughout NBA history that effortlessly drop 30 points a night as if they're doing something routine like taking out the garbage.

That's not what I mean.

But finding that similar fit in terms of frame, style, demeanor and everything else that we've tried to do in this series, has been tough. There's isn't a really natural fit. Bernard King? He was as gifted a scoring machine as there ever was, but I'm not sure he actually has "legend" status. John Havlicek? Elgin Baylor? Both are certifiable legends and both were scoring savants but each were just 6-5 while Durant stands darn near seven feet tall. Julius Erving? Different players entirely. Dr. J was the slash king but couldn't make anything outside of 15 feet. That's not Durant.

There is one mirroring image of Durant, but for the first time in this series, it's a player that he probably doesn't want to be. A player who while a no-doubt Hall of Famer, someone that Durant should try and push past: the Iceman, George Gervin.

Obviously no disrespect intended to Gervin, because we're talking about an all-time NBA great, but he's not exactly Bird, Magic, Moses, or MJ here. He never won a title and some even questioned which type of title he was even playing for -- scoring or an NBA championship. He's an all-timer, but it's questionable whether or not he qualifies for "legend" status.

But still, his resume is sparkling. Gervin finished with 26,595 points (including the ABA, which would put him 12th all-time), won four scoring titles (including three straight -- Durant just put away his second consecutive), was a nine-time NBA All-Star (three-time ABA All-Star) and made five first-team All-NBAs.

I hope you get my point here. George Gervin absolutely is an all-time NBA great. He's got the numbers, the highlights, the status, the Hall of Fame-ness -- his resume is pretty much complete. It's just missing that final piece that would catapult him from a top 50 player into an easy top 20 guy. Sometimes judging players by only championships isn't fair, but in Gervin's is kind of is.

But he fits as Durant's historical parallel. At least better than pretty much anyone else. Mainly because he serves as sort of the Ghost of Ring-less Future for Durant. And also, because they're pretty darn similar in game, style and ability.

When Durant was coming into the league, everyone was drawn to this comparison because of the similar body styles, scoring ability, personality and all that stuff. It's probably not a coincidence that some have nickname Durant "Baby Ice." Gervin was the original lanky, long, lean scoring machine that could put up a 40 spot by the end of the third quarter and you'd say, "Hey, did you know Gervin's got 40?" Scoring within the flow makes you a silent killer, which is the Durant way. But originally, it was the Gervin way.

Check Gervin's four best seasons. He averaged 33.1 points a game on 52.8 percent shooting in 1979-80, 29.6 ppg on 54.1 percent in 1978-79 (with no 3-point line) and 32.3 ppg on 50.0 percent shooting in 1981-82. Compare that to Durant's last three seasons: 25.3 ppg on 47.6 percent, 30.1 on 47.6 percent and 27.7 on 46.2 percent. The main difference in those seasons between Durant and Gervin though? Durant averaged those taking 20 or fewer shots a game. In Gervin's '81-82 season, he took more than 25. Main reason: Gervin didn't have the same silky outside touch Durant does and the most free throw attempts a game he averaged in a season was 8.3 (Durant got to the line 10.2 times a game in 2009-10).

It's easy to see Gervin in Durant. The easy-going, calm personality. The lanky frame. The other-worldly scoring abilities. Of anyone, it's the most natural comparison. But like I said, if Durant were to finish his career like Gervin, he'd be disappointed. All the points and all the All-Star teams would be nice, but Durant isn't playing for scoring titles. He's playing for real titles.

Consider this quote from Gervin in 1980, via Bill Simmons' The Book of Basketball: "I'm perfectly happy being known as George Gervin, scoring machine, because in this game the person who puts the ball in the hole is the person that usually gets ahead." Can you EVER imagine Durant saying something like that?

Not to say Durant doesn't have a chance to put up historically scary numbers. Before his 23rd birthday he's already scored 8,128 points. If he plays to his 35th birthday (that's 16 NBA seasons), he's on pace for around 32,500 points. That would put him third all-time, ahead of Michael Jordan. Wow. Even sans a title, it'd be hard to ignore that.

And already Durant is stockpiling those pantheon moments that place him in our memory banks as a great. That Game 5 takeover against Denver in the first round last year? Legendary stuff. How many moments like that can you think of off the top of your head for Gervin? Durant seems to have that alpha mentality, that takeover killer instinct that can lift his team to a higher place. Gervin didn't have it. He just scored.

Here's the thing though: Durant may seem like he's on a path to all-time greatness right now, but there's nothing preventing his career from going to same path of Gervin's. (I feel like I have to point out once again that that's not really a bad thing at all, but you get what I mean. Durant wants to be a legend. Not just a top 50 all-time player.) There are a ton of factors that can derail otherwise destined careers. Injury, bad front offices, bad luck, etc.

Winning a championship is hard. Durant's definitely on a crash course it seems now, but getting over that hump is a major challenge. Charles Barkley, Karl Malone, John Stockton -- never won titles. And in a lot of ways, their careers are defined by that. If Durant were to go 15 years, win 10 scoring titles while piling up something like 28,000 points, he'd be a top 30 all-time player, but he'd basically just be a slightly improved Gervin. There's really no way around it.

Recall Tracy McGrady when he was torching the league as maybe the most offensively gifted player anyone had ever seen. Already Durant has nearly accomplished as much as McGrady -- and more in some ways as KD has won two playoff series while McGrady hasn't won any -- with a whole lot of career to go. But Durant will certainly be one of those players defined by championships. It's going to happen. Because history doesn't always seem to appreciate pure scorers like Gervin. We all sit back, fold our arms and say, "Yeah he won a bunch of scoring titles, but what good did that do him?" Not only did Gervin never win a title, but he never played for one either. If Durant's career walks down that same path, one day we'll be using him as a cautionary tale to the next young great scoring savant.

But lucky for Durant, he's just 22. Still a lot of time to write his own story yet.
Posted on: August 20, 2011 12:05 pm

Report: NBA median salary is $2.33 million

Posted by Ben Golliver. nba-lockout

Nobody likes math anymore but this is kind of important.

There are a bunch of ways to measure data in a group. If you're looking for a simple average, that's called the mean. Add up everyone's values and divide by the number of people. Easy. If you're looking for the middle, though, that's called the median. Line everyone up in order from smallest to largest and stop when you get exactly to the halfway point.

What's the difference? Mean is used far more often because it's very easy to calculate and understand. But median more accurately reflects the middle value in sets of numbers that have extreme values on one end of another that might skew things.

Knowing both numbers is always better than knowing either one or the other, and that holds true when it comes to NBA salaries.

NBA.com smartly investigates this issue because the average player salary -- $5.15 million -- has come up over and over in comments concerning the NBA lockout. That's a lot of money for anyone to make! 

Of course, we all know that that figure is inflated by the vastly superior sums made by superstars (or players paid to perform like superstars). If we're talking about an "average" NBA player in terms of skill, we all probably assume he's making less than that $5 million figure. NBA.com crunched the numbers to confirm that suspicion. 
In the NBA, using USA Today salary figures for the 2009-10 season, the estimated median salary was about $2.33 million. That's still about 46 times what the median U.S. household earns, but it is less than half what the max-salary-bloated "average" is.
As you might expect, the owners and players have reasons to prefer opposite measurements. The players side might prefer the median salary because it reflects what the middle class is taking home; the owners prefer the mean salary because it better reflects their overall costs.
"It's the median salary that's more important," NBA agent Bill Duffy said. "Look at the Miami Heat as an analogy here: You've got three guys making $17 million and probably six guys making $1.2 [million]. So that's a little misguided, that average salary."

"We use [average] because it's the most commonly used measure and best reflects the amount of compensation that the NBA provides to players across the league," an NBA spokesman said this week. "In addition, it's the measure that both we and the union agreed upon in the CBA."
In truth, no statistical measure is really "more important" in accurately assessing the financial landscape of NBA salaries. Surely both numbers are useful and readily available to the lawyers and accountants who will eventually hammer out the details of the next Collective Bargaining Agreement.

Knowing both is significantly better than knowing just one. Knowing both numbers, as we do now, helps protect us from the misinformation or incomplete information that statistics can be lured into presenting by those with an agenda on either side. So now you know. The "average" NBA player is extraordinarily rich, but less than half as rich as the NBA has led you -- intentionally or not -- to believe up to this point. And he has his super-rich superstar teammates to blame for that too.
Category: NBA
Posted on: August 16, 2011 10:36 am
Edited on: August 16, 2011 4:08 pm

The NBA is in a lockout.. but coming to Bangkok

By Matt Moore

Update (3:02 p.m.): A representative for the NBA notified CBSSports.com today that the NBA will "not lose money on this." The rep further clarififed that the event is sponsored by various entities including Singha Drinking Water, so apparently everything's paid for. Good work if you can get it. The league isn't spending anything extra on the event, it's just a "grassroots" event, according to the NBA. 

Original report:  The NBA has let go of 114 employees in the past month. Teams are hemmoraghing employees. There's a lockout in place to try and choke the will out of the players to force them to agree to roll back salaries. All of this because the NBA insists its costs are too high, that its teams are losing money and the league itself needed to trim the fat. 

But that's not stopping it from teaming with other companies to promote itself overseas.  From the Bangkok Post:
The National Basketball Association will host its first-ever event in Thailand with the NBA 3-on-3 Thailand 2011 presented by Singha Drinking Water, the league announced yesterday.

Featuring Hall of Famer Chris Mullin, the NBA 3-on-3 Thailand 2011 will take place in Bangkok at CentralWorld on Sept 10 and 11.

The competition, which will provide youth with an opportunity to hone their basketball skills and compete amongst their peers, is open to 11-19-year-old boys and girls and also features a division for adult men.
via Bangkok Post : NBA to host first event in Thailand.

It's kind of weird that the NBA is hosting this event in a lockout. One would think that all the resources in the league are focused on resolving the conflict, or at least putting all events like this on hold. 

But hey, it's great for the kids in Bangkok. It'll bring a special moment for kids that don't often get to see people like Mullins or... the Grizzlies mascot. It's a feel-good project. The timing just seems a bit odd, what with the basketball league promoting a basketball event without its basketball players because it doesn't have a basketball league at the moment.
Posted on: August 10, 2011 5:48 pm
Edited on: August 10, 2011 5:53 pm

Report: Houston to host 2013 NBA All-Star Weekend

Posted by Ben Gollivermcgrady-yao

The NBA All-Star Game is reportedly heading back to Texas.

MyFoxHouston.com reports that Houston will play host to the NBA's annual weekend extravaganza in 2013.
NBA sources told FOX 26 Sports the Houston Rockets and the City of Houston landed the NBA All-Star Game in 2013. The game will be played at Toyota Center on Feb. 17, 2013. NBA All-Star week will be Feb. 15-17. The Rockets and Toyota Center also hosted the game in 2006.

Houston is the United States' fourth largest city, boasting a population of more than 2 million residents. It also happens to be in a warm weather locale unlike New York City and Chicago. That's crucial for a multi-venue, multi-day event that takes place in February.

The big question: will the hometown Rockets have an All-Star selected to the Western Conference squad? Center Yao Ming was a penciled-in starter for years thanks to his contingent of Chinese fans, but his retirement in July created a huge hole in the middle and a massive absence of starpower on the roster.

The last member of the Rockets to make an All-Star Game besides Yao was the since-departed Tracy McGrady, in 2007. No current member of the Rockets looks like a potential All-Star, unless point Kyle Lowry somehow continues to improve by leaps and bounds or wing Kevin Martin stays healthy to put together a career year of high-efficiency basketball. If neither of those eventualities develop, there is one last possibility: the Rockets could finally cash in all of their minor assets to make a long-anticipated trade for a legit star. Don't hold your breath.

The city of Orlando, Florida, and the brand spanking new Amway Center are on tap to host the 2012 NBA All-Star Game, should it take place.

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