Posted on: January 20, 2011 8:46 pm
Edited on: January 20, 2011 8:47 pm

Hornets should meet attendance mark; is it fair?

Posted by Royce Young

The New Orleans Hornets have the right to terminate their lease early with the city if certain benchmarks are not met. It's kind of been the cloud that's hung over the franchise recently, especially with all the uncertainty surrounding ownership and potential relocation talk.

The catch has always been that a new buyer could potentially have the opportunity to uproot the franchise immediately because of the ability to break the lease with the city.

However, it doesn't look like the franchise will be given that opportunity. As mentioned in today's Shootaround, the team only needs to average 14,891 fans against San Antonio on Saturday and Oklahoma City on Monday, which should happen.

The announced attendance at the Hornets past two home games against the Grizzlies and Raptors were 15,951 and 15,155, respectively. The benchmark is set to expire Jan. 31

According to The Times-Picayune , local businesses have donated about $412,000 for tickets to games against Memphis and Toronto to help increase attendance figures. The home game previous to that against the Orlando Magic, who have big names like Dwight Howard and Gilbert Arenas, only brought in a crowd of 13,688. The previous two home games before the Magic, the Hornets saw crowds of 13,532 (Warriors) and 13,433 (76ers).

I don't know what to think about this. On one hand, good going by the locals in rising up to help take a big step in keeping the team in New Orleans. On the other hand, do they really deserve it? The fans of the Hornets didn't actually do it. Some rich people made it happen. Meeting the benchmark is a fabrication. It only happened because some business people beat the system. Is that really the way it should work?

I guess you can't really change it because how can you stop people from buying tickets? But still, donating more than $400,000 just to massage some attendance numbers seems weird to me.

The team expects to have good crowds against the Spurs and Thunder, but is it because some business folks are making it happen or are people really turning out? And does it really matter?

In the end, the arena is going to meet its benchmark which is step one in keeping the team home. But it's only a step and in the end, probably won't mean all that much.

Category: NBA
Posted on: January 19, 2011 11:01 pm

NBA unveils 2011 All-Star jerseys

The NBA has unveiled its 2011 All-Star jerseys. Posted by Ben Golliver.

With the 2011 NBA All-Star game just a month or so away, the NBA unveiled the official jerseys for the game on NBA.com's store.

Made by NBA apparel provider Adidas, the jerseys come in two colors: red and gold for the Western Conference and blue and silver for the Eastern Conference. 

The jersey fronts are plain other than the words "The West" and "The East" in block letters highlighted by a shadow and another star above the numbers. A modified version of the official NBA logo, encased in a star, appears over the left breast while the Adidas logo is on the right breast. An All-Star logo appears on the lower left portion of the jersey. 

The jersey backs have large block numbers above the player's name in smaller lettering, with a textured star design silhouetted into the background on the bottom of the jersey. 

NBA.com also notes that the jerseys are "decorated with Heat-applied twill All-Star graphics and features stitched-down ClimaLite® mesh numbers for breathable comfort."

Take a look. Images courtesy of NBA.com.


Final verdict: not too memorable, but not terrible by any means. And, most importantly, no giant cacti like 1994

The 2011 NBA All-Star game will be held at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, California on Feb. 20.

Hat Tip: Pro Basketball Talk.
Category: NBA
Posted on: January 9, 2011 1:17 pm

Would NBA owners move to cancel next season?

NBA owners are considering a season-long shutdown next year. Posted by Ben Golliver.

In Ken Berger of CBSSports.com's latest dispatch regarding labor negotiations between NBA owners and the National Basketball Players Association, some new details emerge about ownership's position on a potential work stoppage. Citing "a person who had wielded enormous clout in past NBA labor talks," Berger writes that the owners are considering a take-it-or-leave it posture.
In an intriguing if contradictory prediction, the person said that despite a steady stream of lockout rhetoric, he has come to believe that owners and players will reach an agreement and avoid a work stoppage at the 11th hour before the current CBA expires on July 1, 2011. However, if cooler heads do not prevail, the owners will be so entrenched and determined to make a work stoppage pay off that they will push to cancel the entire season to cripple the National Basketball Players Association and implement the drastic changes they are seeking.
Basically, if a lockout is the only way to get the players to cave, then the owners are really going to make them cave. If there's a lockout, the participant in past negotiations predicted, it will not simply be for show. It will be Armageddon.
"After a year, the players will come back with $2.1 billion less in their pockets," the person said. "Who has more leverage now?"
Before we get into the threat presented, let's applaud the fact that this source seems to be hold promise for a relatively quick resolution to the labor negotiations. That's some badly needed good news.

As for the scenario outlined, a full season shutdown is the latest of many hammers that have been floated by NBA owners, which also include contraction of teams/jobs, salary rollbacks and a hard cap. The stance presented here runs perfectly counter to the tact currently being taken by the players association, which has assembled a war chest in the event of a work stoppage, has told its members to save money throughout this season and to prepare to live without guaranteed paychecks at the start of next season.

The situation described above attempts to torpedo that month-to-month cautious approach and remove the mental safety net created by the notion of a partial season work stoppage. Berger's source is saying, in effect: "Save your pennies all you want, it's only going to cost you more in the long run and you have no idea how long that run could be." This move certainly plays up the fear factor for the players, who, at some level, have to place faith and trust in their union to reach an agreement in an expedient manner. Saving extra seems like a reasonable plan if there is a payoff in the future. If there's not an extra payoff, saving money and passing up the opportunity to compromise can seem foolish, especially to players who have a limited career shelf life as it is. 

Should the players be listening to this latest stance, or is it more posturing? 

I'd argue that they should be listening. One, this just happened in the National Hockey League and it got really, really bad for the players there. Two, there's not much benefit to the owners to compromise once the work stoppage point has been reached. If they're forced to bite the public relations bullet and cancel games, angering their fans, losing season ticket holders and absorbing all the abuse and heckling from the media in the process, won't they be that much more likely to radically alter the financial structure of the game to protect themselves and their interests in the future? 

Berger thinks so, and writes that the players will "get a worse deal after they've lost a year of income and owners have skipped a year of losing money." Resolve, in this case, seems like just another commodity that can be amassed in greater quantity by the super-wealthy.

The lesson to take from this is that the players have a vested interest in keeping negotiations amicable, because if they get protracted and ugly they'll be playing poker heads-up against an opponent whose chip stack is much, much greater. They clearly understand that fact, because their rhetoric has, generally, been blandly positive and focused on unity, rather than divisiveness. 
Category: NBA
Tags: Labor, NBA, NBPA
Posted on: January 6, 2011 11:10 am
Edited on: January 6, 2011 2:18 pm

Larry Ellison tried to buy the Hornets

Posted by Royce Young

You know how the NBA bought the New Orleans Hornets? Well I just assumed that was because there wasn't another buyer out there after Gary Chouest backed off. But really, it was because there wasn't the right buyer.

Larry Eillison told the San Jose Mercury that he put in a $350 million bid to buy the Hornets, but was rebuffed and outbid by the league. David Stern said the league paid "a little over $300 million" for the Hornets.

Eillison, who is a billionaire by way of his company Oracle, also tried to purchase the Golden State Warriors over the summer but didn't win that bid either. Ellison is the world's sixth richest person.

Probably one reason the league "outbid" or just said no to Elllison is that he was in no way committed to keeping the team in New Orleans. He was definitely buying with the intention to move, something the league is not looking at doing at the current moment. So the fact that there was a buyer available but the league pushed him away bodes well for the future of professional basketball in New Orleans.

At least for now. When the NBA starts dropping major money on the franchise and things get too tough to operate, I'm sure they'll be fine selling the team to whoever as long as the buyer's got a big checkbook.

Eillison told the Mercury News in regards to him buying the Hornets, ""I was trying to buy the team first, and then figure out what I was going to do with it." He didn't necessarily have plans to move the team to San Jose, where he currently resides.

Forbes blogger Mike Ozanian said a source suggested Ellison is interested in buying the Hornets for about $300 million and then pay the Warriors an additional $150 million for the legal right to operate a second NBA franchise in the Bay Area. Ellison said those reports were not true.

It's interesting nonetheless that a buyer was at least there. All indications made were that the NBA really didn't have an option outside of Chouest when George Shinn committed to selling. But evidently there was. It's just the prospective owner didn't have the plan in mind the NBA wants. Kind of a conflict of interest, wouldn't you say?
Posted on: November 21, 2010 6:06 pm
Edited on: August 14, 2011 9:00 pm

Video: NBA Fantasy Hoops Analysis: 11.21.10

CBSSports.com's Sergio Gonzalez breaks down this week in fantasy basketball on video. Posted by Ben Golliver Sergio Gonzalez, CBSSports.com's NBA fantasy expert and good buddy of the NBA Facts & Rumors Blog, breaks down this week in fantasy hoops in two chats with Lauren Shehadi.  First up: this week's news and major developments. Then, Gonzalez's advice on starting versus sitting in another video with Shehadi this weekend. Take a look!
Category: NBA
Posted on: October 29, 2010 4:12 pm
Edited on: August 14, 2011 8:15 pm

Jason Williams suspended for bumping NBA official

Orlando Magic guard Jason Williams has been suspended by the NBA for one game after making contact with a referee. Posted by Ben Golliver The NBA has announced in a press release that Orlando Magic reserve point guard Jason Williams has been suspended by the league for a game after he made contact with a referee during Orlando's Thursday night season-opener against the Washington Wizards.  Here's the release.
NEW YORK, October 29, 2010 –  Jason Williams of the Orlando Magic has been suspended without pay for one game for making contact with a game official following his ejection, it was announced today by Stu Jackson, NBA Executive Vice President, Basketball Operations. 
The incident occurred with 58 seconds remaining in the fourth quarter of the Magic’s 112-83 victory over the Washington Wizards at Amway Center on Thursday, Oct. 28.  Williams will serve his suspension tonight when the Magic face the Miami Heat at American Airlines Arena. 
And here's the video of the incident courtesy of NBARauf on YouTube Williams received back-to-back technical fouls during the final minute of Orlando's blowout win for arguing a player control foul. Williams then lightly brushed one of the officials before being escorted off the court by teammate Marcin Gortat.  The NBA, of course, has implemented stricter technical foul guidelines this year.  The Artist Formerly Known As White Chocolate goes down as the regular season's first high-profile victim of the new rules.  The Magic will make due with starting point guard Jameer Nelson and backup point guard Chris Duhon in Williams's absence.
Posted on: October 21, 2010 5:42 pm
Edited on: August 14, 2011 7:58 pm

NBA contraction: painful but necessary?

The NBA is open to the idea of contracting its less successful teams in the face of a potential lockout. A painful process, no doubt, but a good idea?david-stern  Posted by Ben Golliver

Contractions are painful; if you don't believe me, ask your mom.
And today's news from Ken Berger , that the NBA is open to the idea of contracting its less successful franchises, is painful for the NBA and its fans on a number of levels.
In another staggering development Thursday, CBSSports.com learned that salaries may not be the only area cut as the NBA tries to gets its financial books up to speed with the explosion in popularity the league will experience this season. A person with knowledge of the owners’ discussions said the league “will continue to be open to contraction” as a possible mechanism for restoring the league to profitability. The owners’ ongoing talks about competitive balance, profitability and revenue sharing have included the notion of whether teams are operating in “the best available markets,” the person said, and whether reducing the number of teams from the current level of 30 would help improve the product and the bottom line for the league.
Contraction brings so many negatives. For the city, a loss of history, pride and identity. For the organization, a loss of, well, everything, including the office supplies, which will have to be liquidated on Craigslist. For the league, contraction is a major blow to its overall image and long-term prospects, hard facts running counter to plans for international expansion and global domination jingoism. Despite all of the pain and Seattle-style heartache that would result in any city that saw its NBA team folded, a strong argument for cutting off the foot (contracting struggling franchises) to save the leg (avoiding a lockout) can be made here.  It's no secret that the NBA's business model isn't working and that it adversely affects owners in small markets, who are, in turn, most likely to want to take a hard line with the players, because they 1) have less to lose and 2) have more to gain. Need proof? Look at the league's latest proposal , which aims to shave off $750 million or more off total player salaries, an astonishing figure. Those kind of demands dare the players to walk and are so dramatic that they could only arise from a contingent of owners who aren't invested in, or profiting from, the current system.  Owners pushing the player pay envelope are operating in their own best interests, first, and the league's second. So it's only right for the league, if it is audacious enough to publicly demand these concessions from the players, to take a long, hard look in its own house to make sure everything is in order.  An honest appraisal of its ownership groups would find a wide variance in commitment to excellence and profitability. On one end, you have the Los Angeles Lakers, global brand with fistfuls of championship rings, more than 1.6 million followers on Twitter and untold merchandise sales. On the other, you have someone willing to turn over the keys to the car to David Kahn. Instead of trying to find a solution that's in the best interest of every owner along that continuum, it would seem from the outside that a compromise with the players would be easier to reach if the league's poorest, least profitable ownership sisters simply weren't at the table. Perhaps, then, this early contraction talk is a nudge for certain owners who might be on the edge of relocation, selling their franchise or reconsidering their financial commitment to their team. Something like, "It's about to get rocky, guys. Do the rest of us a solid and parachute out now while you have the chance." Am I a gung-ho advocate for contraction? No, not particularly. But am I in favor of contraction if it means that a labor stoppage can be avoided, or minimized, and an easier path to a successful business model for all can be found in the future? Definitely.  The long-term global benefits to the league for keeping the product on the court - in terms of continuity, fan loyalty and image -  far outweigh the costs of losing the game in a few courts across the country. In the end, basketball and those who play it cannot be made the scapegoats for a system that is too large and inefficient for its own good. The NBA owes it to the game and its players, past, present and future, to establish the best business climate for the product. And if that doesn't include the David Kahns, Michael Heisleys, or Donald Sterlings of the world? So be it.  Coaches love to say that basketball is a team game, bigger than any individual player. We shouldn't forget that it's bigger than any individual executive or franchise, too.
Category: NBA
Posted on: August 12, 2010 10:19 pm

Could Brandon Marshall play in the NBA?

Posted by Will Brinson

That's the question NBA blogger Matt Moore (what, even the Panthers quarterback needs a hobby) and I set out to answer in a series of emails Thursday night when Brandon Marshall announced he was heading to the NBA if the NFL lockout actually occurs. These are those emails.

Brinson : So, Brandon Marshall wants to play in the NBA when/if the NFL gets locked out. Unfortunately, there's not enough roster spots to go around for my NFL peeps to just make the jump (not to mention 75% of them couldn't make it in the L), but it kind of brings up an interesting question: which guys from the NFL could ball it up in the NBA?

I think at some point we've discussed crossing over the other way (Bron would be an epic tight end and Allen Iverson's high school tapes still make me drool) but who the hell is your first pick from the NFL pool if you're creating a basketball team? Or, alternately, could Marshall make it? At 6'4", 230 he at least has the body, if not the game.

Moore: As I said in my post (SYNERGY, BABY), he's got a combo-guard's body, but a small forward's skillset. Maybe with his soft hands and awareness, his handle would actually be pretty good. Wait, why does it sound like I'm building his Match.com profile? Anyway, his athleticism would transfer, and that's really the big determining factor. Athleticism is at a premium in the NBA. Work ethic and focus are much more important in the NFL, and that's why guys like Wes Welker likely wouldn't translate well. But Marshall is kind of an ideal candidate.

I'd be interested to see some of the taller, slimmer defensive ends at power forward and center. But even then, most would be too small. Julius Peppers is 6-7 and 283. That's small forward height with power forward weight. As a comparison, Josh Smith is 6-9 and 234. That weight differential is what would probably make the most awkward translation. Then again, most NBA players would likely be destroyed by the sheer physical nature of these guys.

Brinson: I love that you thought of Wes Welker, who's barely taller than me . (Although, hey, Earl Watson, Muggsy and Spud made it ...) But you're right -- Marshall would be a good candidate to shift leagues.

As would Peppers, who, I'm sure you know, played ball at Carolina. So he's got a pedigree, not to mention being a freakish athlete. Size would be an issue, though: you almost never see NFL players even sniff the high end of six feet.

Also, think about guys like Tony Gonzalez or Antonio Gates (who also played basketball). Gates is 6'4", 260 and fast, which makes him an unbelievable tight end prospect. But in the NBA? He'd be a fat shooting guard. (Or, so Gates doesn't beat me up next time I see him, how about "stocky"?)

Moore: I mean, that's really the issue. It's not a matter of the NBA guys being more athletic, it's that they're athletic at the things which make them good at basketball. How's that for some obvious analysis? Essentially, all those high flying catches you see in the NFL? That's an average NBA jump. That's "kind of trying for a rebound on the perimeter" in the NBA.

Now, the explosiveness would probably translate. The way tight ends, defensive linemen, linebackers, running backs, and receivers come out of their breaks? That would work well on the perimeter, provided they could dribble. Of course, they'd have to be able to finish at the rim, but then you'd think the hyper aggression might get them there.

Hey here's an idea. Ray Lewis versus Kevin Garnett. I know they're both past their primes, but think of the insanity on the floor.

Brinson: Yeah, I'm pretty confident that Gates can dunk without any real issue, but he's not going to be going against six-foot-tall DBs when he's attacking the hoop or boxing out people on the block. Or as you put it "kind of trying for a rebound on the perimeter," a.k.a. a "Vince Carter Rebound."

Here's the other problem -- how many shots is Gates going to get off with J-Smoove guarding him? Like 10 out of every 20 with a lot fadeaways mixed in?

How about instead, we just bring Tractor Traylor out of retirement and have he and Andre Smith go NBA Jam style with Garnett and Ray-Ray? Fat AND crazy -- that's something I can get behind.

Moore: Bringing it back home, if Marshall can shoot, then I think he could conceivably make a roster. I mean, how many guys at the end of a bench are there only for their athleticism? I think that the size differential between NFL (shorter and more muscle) and NBA (longer and lankier) means it's going to be difficult for anyone, but Marshall's receiver-to-combo-guard may be the model.

You know, if we can't get Tractor Traylor back.

Do you think Marshall could ball in the NBA? Let us know in the comments or on Twitter @cbssportsnfl and @cbssportsnba .
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com