Tag:Royce Young
Posted on: July 26, 2011 1:28 pm
Edited on: July 26, 2011 3:28 pm

Kevin Love consulting Wolves in coaching search

Posted by Royce Young

When the Lakers hired Mike Brown as Phil Jackson's replacement in Los Angeles, Kobe Bryant was a little cheesed that he wasn't at least asked about the hire. As the team's best player and franchise face, Kobe felt he was at least owed the respect of being consulted on it.

The Lakers quickly realized their gaffe and acknowledged that Kobe should've been part of the process.

So you can imagine that the Timberwolves -- a team that's constantly battle public perception -- isn't going to be making that mistake. Via The Big Lead, Kevin Love -- who is Minnesota's best player -- says the Wolves are involving him quite a bit in the coaching search.
I have definitely been asked by David Kahn what I thought about the situation, and I gave my two cents. I told them I think we need a coach to help us grow and win in tough situations and learn how to win. A guy who is going to be able to work with young guys and go through the growing pains to help us become a better team. There were a few names thrown out to me prior to the interview process, and they’ve all interviewed so far.
Even if a GM isn't going to actually use whatever a player says as part of the hiring criteria, it makes them feel good to just be included. The player feels like he's invested in the franchise and part of the process. It can go a long way in helping a player feel like he's committed to the long-term future.

Which is probably why Kahn made sure to ask Love. Because with Love's contract status up in the air soon and the Wolves not exactly looking like an attractive situation, there's no room for error. Upset Love even in the slightest and you might give him reason to walk away.

It's kind of sucking up to a player really, but it certainly has its value. Whoever the Wolves hire, Love is going to feel like he had a hand in it. He's going to feel like it's his skin on the line too if the coach doesn't work out. Not every player gets asked about a coaching hire. It's just the best ones, the franchise guys. And the Wolves clearly are trying to tell Love he's their guy.

You have to wonder though: Who's Love's favorite? Gotta be Don Nelson, right? We can only hope.
Posted on: July 25, 2011 11:30 pm
Edited on: July 25, 2011 11:32 pm

Amar'e says a lot of foreign teams have called

Posted by Royce Young

Will he, won't he? Will he stay or will he go? The new Melodrama is Amar'e Stoudemire's potential European vacation. One day, he says no chance. The next, he says he's interested and might even play in Israel.

And as you might imagine, teams are definitely giving him a call. Via ESPN New York, Stoudemire is getting offers and is at least giving the courtesy of weighing them.

"All the clubs have called the office inquiring about me," Stoudemire said. "Teams from Israel, China, Turkey, Spain. A lot of countries have been calling."

"The chances would be high" of playing elsewhere in a lockout, Stoudemire said. "They'd definitely be high. I just want to make sure I'm healthy and totally 100 percent before I make that type of commitment. As of right now, we're not entertaining offers. I'm still trying to get (my back) right."

That's a major change in what Amar'e tweeted earlier in July. He said then, "Europe teams are calling, I think I'm going 2 stay here in the states. My loyalty is with the State of New York an the NYK's. Who's with me?" He then backed it up again on SportsCenter in an interview saying he was planning on just resting and staying in New York.

But speaking from his home in Hollywood, he said he's still considering going overseas. His first order of business though is to get fully healthy and recover from a nagging back issue that sidelined him in the postseason. Before he can play anywhere, he has to be healthy. And you know the Knicks are going to be pretty anxious if Stoudemire goes anywhere, especially with his injury history.

My opinion? Stoudemire's just kind of talking. He's getting offers so naturally he's listening. He probably has no plans of going anywhere, but is at least going to hear everything out so he keeps his options open in case the lockout extends. No reason to just rule everything out right now.

But I can definitely tell you, I'm not looking forward to daily Amar'e updates about his potential Eurotrip. It's August. The drama's supposed to be over.

Posted on: July 25, 2011 6:21 pm
Edited on: July 25, 2011 6:23 pm

'Involuntary' decertification a possibility?

Posted by Royce Young

Billy Hunter was pretty clear the day after the NBA lockout started: The union has no plans o decertify. But there could be a different play in the cards. According to NBA.com, even if the union doesn't want to decertify, there could be an interesting way around it.
A source with knowledge of the meeting indicated that the idea of 'involuntary' decertification did come up; basically, a decertification that woud take place over Hunter's objections. That would require 30 percent of the union's players to sign a petition requesting a vote of the full membership to decertify. That vote would take place at satellite offices of the National Labor Relations Board across the country. A simple majority of the union membership would cause the dissolution of the body.

So why would a group of agents be pushing for this? If the union were to decertify, they could sue on antitrust grounds. But what's the reasoning? Leverage. It's always about who has the upper hand. It would be a blow to the owners having a legal battle on their hands with the potential to lose a lot of money in damages.

The risk though for players is potentially voiding contracts though.

As far as the $4 billion goes, the league’s contention that the contracts would disappear is true only to a point. At some point, the league will reach a deal with the union, and would almost certainly have to reinstate the players’ contracts once the union recertified. The alternative would be either implementing work rules on the players without a deal, which would leave the league vulnerable to a potential players’ strike, or additional antitrust penalties if players sought redress while they continued to play under the imposed rules.

At any rate, the agents do not believe that the league would actually go ahead and void all of those contracts. Such a move could, at least theoretically, make every player in the league a free agent, able to go wherever they wanted. And owners like, say, Miami’s Micky Arison, might have a problem with that.

Hunter has avoided even mentioning decertification and David Stern even went as far to call it the "nuclear option." With as slow and painful as the NFL's situation went with decertification playing a part in it, it's not that attractive an option.

And don't think decertification is a good thing if you're hoping for a full 2011-12 season. It would set stuff back. That's why it's a good sign that Hunter wants to avoid it. Instead of strong-arm negotiating tactics, by all appearances Hunter just wants to get to bargaining. Decertifying would mean that another battle would begin on top of the already painful CBA negotiations.

Let's hope the option stays nuclear. But it's on the table regardless, even if it's not being approach in the traditional circumstances.

Posted on: July 24, 2011 2:02 pm
Edited on: July 24, 2011 2:34 pm

Image is everything: On tattoos and perception

Posted by Royce Young

Maybe you don't remember the old Canon Andre Agassi commercials. But I'm sure you remember the tagline. Image is everything.

Sure, it was just a clever way to tie in high-quality pictures with a tennis star who had quite a rebellious, care-free image, but that idea lives on. Especially with high-profile athletes. Marketing, branding, visibility, likability -- all that crap is essentially what leads to more money. The more people like you, the more people trust you. So when you endorse a product, whether it be a brand or even yourself, appearance and image, are what matter.

And nobody in the NBA has a more squeaky-clean image than Kevin Durant. He's a superstar, but one that's humble, soft-spoken, team-oriented, committed, loyal and basically 50 other words describing how good a dude he is. He caught a lot of attention when he sheepishly announced his grand five-year max extension with the Thunder while LeBron was prepping for a one-hour special, but it goes back a lot farther than that. He would run the scoreboard in college at Texas during intramural games. He plays video games with neighborhood kids. He signs every autograph. He introduces himself as you wouldn't know who he was. "Hi, I'm Kevin." I mean, we're talking about a global basketball superstar that has two straight scoring titles, was the second-leading vote-getter in the West last season and one of the most visible and brightest stars in the league.

So in terms of image, Durant has about as good a one as you can get. I think you'd have a better chance of finding the Holy Grail than finding someone with a bad word about KD. You know a guy is solid when other fan bases say things like, "Yeah, I can't hate KD. He's just too awesome."

Which is why you might be surprised to know that picture up top is actually of Durant. A lot of people were stunned to see the clean-cut, humble dude from conservative Oklahoma City so inked up. As a result, it started a minor frenzy. Virtually every major blog has picked up the photo of Durant standing in China with his shirt off and subsequently shocked the masses by what was revealed: Kevin Durant has tattoos. Not just one, either. Lots of them.

But what caught so much attention isn't the fact that he has them. It's where he has them. Not on his arms. Not on his neck. Not on his wrist, leg or shoulder. KD only has tattoos on his chest. Almost in a comical square pattern. Almost like he has them there so that they'll stay covered up when he's wearing, you know, a basketball jersey.

Some have wondered: Is this just KD maintaining his image?

Potentially. And if so, you kind of have to respect that self-awareness of his image and brand.

I understand that with tattoos, along comes a certain perception of the person getting them. Especially when they come in excess as in Durant's case. It's a pathetic stereotype, but there's a certain thinking that if a person has a bunch of tattoos, that must say something about who they are, something about their character. You didn't see a bunch of ink all over Martin Luther King Jr. or the Dali Lama. Obviously, that's silly, but that type of idea is unavoidable.

Which is why some have figured that Durant is trying to have the best of both worlds with his tattoos. Keep up that sharp-dressed-man look on the court with clean arms, but have his ink hidden underneath where it would only be seen if for some reason the NBA went shirts versus skins.

I get that theory. It makes sense. But it shouldn't matter. Durant got the tattoos because he wanted them. He had them put on his chest because that's where he wanted them. And if he wants one on his shoulder or arm, he'll get it. Durant is always, always himself. The image people have of him is great, but he's not trying to live up to that. He's not changing who he is just to try and be the person we all think he is or should be. He's simply just going to be him. If some ink on his skin changes the way someone looks at him as a brand, a role model or a player, I think that says a lot more about the person than it does about Durant.

The entire Thunder team has sort of been branded as this choir-boy bunch of kids that say yes ma'am and no sir while having no piercings or nasty body art. Maybe that's because it really fits the conservative nature of Oklahoma and people ate up the fact that the players adhered more to weird community social standards than to the perceived "thug life" of the NBA. With Durant being the face of the franchise, everything fell in step behind him.

But if he has ink, what does that say about the perfect little Thunder? Can we not root for that team now? Should fans not love them as much? Do we tell kids in school not to be like them now? I mean, really, how stupid is it that all of this is because of some ink on a guy's skin?

There is a line and even David Stern acknowledged it when he instituted the dress code a few years ago. There's a certain level of professionalism that has to be upheld for the general public to be able to be to connect with players. It's a touchy area, but understandable. I suppose you could apply those same principles to Durant and his ink, but what does it matter?

A lot of stars have tattoos all over their bodies. Kobe and LeBron have clearly visible ink. Some players don't -- like Chris Paul and Dwight Howard. Most would've had Durant in that category, too. But does now seeing him inked really change anything? And more importantly, should it?

Ink is ink, a player is a player and most importantly, a person is a person. All three aren't necessarily related.

Posted on: July 23, 2011 3:36 pm
Edited on: July 23, 2011 4:11 pm

Video: Durant and Harden rock the Philippines

Posted by Royce Young

There was already the Kobe to Rose alley-oop that was very nice. But not nearly as nice as the one that Kevin Durant tossed to teammate James Harden. The NBA players won 131-105 with Durant scoring 22, 20 coming in the first half. I couldn’t find a story with how many Harden had, but I can be certain he had at least two. Two that might as well been worth 20. Because holy mother of oop.

Goodness, I miss you NBA.
Posted on: July 23, 2011 3:23 pm
Edited on: July 23, 2011 4:10 pm

Video: Kobe and Rose hook up on an alley-oop

Posted by Royce Young

It's the first time we've really seen NBA stars on the floor playing together since the Finals wrapped in June. Saturday, Manilla hosted a star-studded NBA exhibition featuring Derrick Rose, Kobe Bryant, Chris Paul, Kevin Durant, James Harden and a bunch of others. The event didn't disappoint as the NBA stars topped the Philippine Basketball Associations top players 131-105.

The punctuation? A Kobe to Rose alley-oop that's most definitely going to make you hate the lockout that much more. Observe:

Posted on: July 22, 2011 5:28 pm
Edited on: July 23, 2011 12:36 pm

NBA releases 2010-11 audited revenue figure

Posted by Royce Young

The NBA sent out a press release late Friday that included the 2010-11 season audit of all Basketball Related Income (BRI) and player compensation. Results: Holy mother of money.

The league says:
  • BRI increased by 4.8 percent from $3.643 billion in 2009-10 to $3.817 billion in 2010-11.
  • Total player compensation also increased by 4.8 percent from $2.076 billion in 2009-10 to $2.176 billion in 2010-11. This marks the sixth consecutive season that player compensation increased under the expired CBA.
  • Total player compensation equaled 57 percent of BRI.
  • The average player salary for the 2010-11 season was $5.15 million.
  • Over the six-year term of the expired CBA, the average player salary increased by a total of 16 percent.
What's this mean? Why did the league do this? The NBA wants you to see that while yeah, the league is making a crapton of money the system clearly needs fixing because player salaries have also gone way up. The NBA might be raking in some $3.8 billion, but if it lost money last season, then what does that say about the system?

That's the whole idea. But to fans and others, all they see is a dollar sign and the word "billion" behind it. It's also hard to ignore that revenues increased by 4.8 percent. The question the players have here, as always, is, "How in the world did your franchise lose money then? If you're paying us too much, run a better business!" That's essentially true in most ways and kind of hard to argue with. If I've got a small business and I'm operating with a $200,000 a year revenue stream but I hired all my employees and signed them to a bunch of five-year, $75,000 a year deals, I'd be kind of a moron, right?

Still, that doesn't tell the whole story. Player salaries have indeed skyrocketed up the ladder and while revenues are up, they aren't necessarily up enough. At least that's what the league contends.

Hench our little impasse here.

Regardless, owners clearly want to tug down that $5.15 million average salary to somewhere in the $3 million territory and players have already agreed to come down on the 57 percent of BRI figure. But even still, it's hard to look at this release -- which the league snuck out at 5 p.m. on a Friday -- and not see that revenues had risen for another consecutive year.

Don't we all just feel so bad for the league making $3.8 billion and the players that average $5.15 million a year? I know I do.
Category: NBA
Posted on: July 22, 2011 4:25 pm
Edited on: July 23, 2011 12:37 pm

Video: Yao gets Taiwanese animator tribute

Posted by Royce Young

Sort of the new litmus test to find out how big a story is, is for it to receive the now legendary Taiwanese animation treatment. And with Yao Ming's retirement last week being huge news, what better way to put a bow on his career than by weird animation? Answer: There isn't.

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