Posted on: November 2, 2011 3:39 pm
Posted by Royce Young
Nothing could compare to the hype and spotlight on the Miami Heat in their first season together. Right? The constant scrutiny, the microscope on every little thing -- the Heat were THE story in the NBA last season. Their second year together would've seen some of that fade away as interest in LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh's experiment waned.
Wrong. Actually, it probably would've been worse this season. Which means like last year, the Miami Heat would've been the thing we all talk about all the time. Why? Because they choked away an NBA title last season. They haven't won. They haven't started to fulfill the promise of "not one, not two, not three..."
And they would've been kicking off Game 1 of 82 tonight. But not just anywhere. They would've been playing at Madison Square Garden. Oh man, this lockout hurts.
Both teams virtually would look the same. The Heat had some offseason decisions to make on their elderly players and the Knicks had a nice draft pick to unveil in Iman Shumpert, but it was going to be Melo, Amar'e and Chauncey versus LeBron, Wade and Bosh. Which was going to be a blast.
Think about it: The last game the Heat played was a heartbreaking Game 6 loss to the Mavericks in The Finals. The last game the Knicks played was an embarrassing beatdown in the sweep to the Celtics. You want to teams itching for opening night? Well, you got them here. And in The World's Most Famous Arena to boot.
Both teams are good, but it would be the individual matchups we'd salivate over. LeBron against Melo. Wade against defensive-minded Landry Fields. Amar'e against Bosh. I'm not sure if the Knicks are really ready to take that step into contendership, but this game would've at least made a statement one way or the other.
The Knicks topped the Heat in Miami late last season with Melo actually taking over the on both ends late. He blocked LeBron and scored a couple of late baskets to seal it. Would that happen again? Or would the Heat start off by asserting themselves as the dominant team in the East? Alas, questions we won't get answers to. At least for the foreseeable future.
Starpower, good basketball, good teams, great atmosphere -- it would've been a helluva way to follow up a great opening night.
Posted on: October 28, 2011 8:06 pm
Edited on: October 28, 2011 8:16 pm
Posted by Ben Golliver.
A much-ballyhooed world basketball tour featuring an array of NBA superstars clung to life this week, before ultimately succumbing to a merciful death on Friday afternoon.
Just hours after labor negotiations between the NBA and the National Basketball Players Asssociation broke down, multiple reports surfaced that the World All-Star Classic, an exhibition game featuring 14 NBA stars set to be played in Puerto Rico this Sunday, would be cancelled.
Yahoo reported that this weekend's game was cancelled because "organizer can't deliver players." ESPN.com reported that the game in Puerto Rico has been indefinitely postponed.
The Puerto Rico game was all that remained from the hyped World All-Star Tour, a six-game, four-continent tour that was said to include stars like Kobe Bryant, LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Kevin Durant.
On Wednesday, the tour melted down to a one-game exhibition in Puerto Rico after word surfaced that James, Carmelo Anthony and Chris Paul had all withdrawn their names from the tour. While Bryant and Durant continued to say that they would be participating in the tour after James and company pulled out, the event apparently couldn't keep it together.
The World All-Star Classic will go down as another eyesore for NBA players, who have run a number of successful charity games during the lockout but have, by and large, failed to monetize their talent. A "Lockout League" held in Las Vegas drew scant crowds, and even the exhibition game circuit has had to deal with last-minute no-shows and scheduling concerns.
This would all be water under the bridge if the NBA and the players had reached a handshake deal on Friday, but that didn't happen. Instead, there will be no NBA games through the end of November and only a scattered collection of charity exhibitions to fill the void.
The league's superstars had a real opportunity to showcase their talents internationally and to prove their marketability here. Instead, the lockout continues and fans are forced to continue to cope with a basketball blackout.
Posted on: October 27, 2011 2:48 pm
Edited on: October 27, 2011 3:18 pm
Posted by Royce Young
If all this positive lockout talk is real, LeBron James better get his recruiting done quickly. Because he won't be able to (publicly) tamper after that.
LeBron took to Twitter Thursday and randomly dropped tweets about hoping to see Jamal Crawford -- a free agent -- and Steve Nash -- not a free agent -- in a Heat uniform.
Evidently, LeBron doesn't understand salary caps and all that stuff. Because not only is it pretty much impossible for either Crawford or Nash to join the Heat, but with a new NBA system, it might not even be possible for LeBron to keep Chris Bosh.
Let's fantasize though. How would Nash play alongside Dwyane Wade and LeBron? Nash is primarily a pick-and-roll point guard that prefers a lot of good movement off the ball. That's not exactly something LeBron excells at. If Nash joined LeBron and Wade, the team would have a bunch of offensive ability, but in terms of how they'd play together, it might take another full season to figure that out.
The ONLY way the Heat could trade for Nash under the current cap rules would be a deal involving LeBron, Wade or Bosh. Everyone just had a quick min-debate in their head about "Nash for Bosh?" but the answer is no.
It is possible though, but not at all likely, that Phoenix settle a buyout with Nash that would free him to try and win a title once the lockout ends or maybe with the amnesty clause. Good luck getting Robert Sarver to do that though.
Posted on: October 24, 2011 7:46 pm
Edited on: October 24, 2011 7:55 pm
Posted by Ben Golliver.
NBA players, locked out by their league's owners and stuck in a labor impasse, recently attempted to curry public favor with a social media campaign using the words "Let Us Play." Of course, it backfired, as fans pointed out that there was a deal on the table (albeit a terrible one) that would have allowed the players to return to work immediately if they simply signed off on it. Appealing to the public for sympathy and pointing their collective finger at the owners just didn't strike the right chord with fans who can easily find fault with both sides.
Leave it to Jordan Brand to find the proper wording and tone that has eluded the NBPA for months. Building on Nike's "Basketball Never Stops" tagline that's dotted t-shirts at exhibition games throughout the summer, Jordan has released a two-minute long commercial that paints the players in a better light than any Billy Hunter interview could.
Starring Miami Heat guard Dwyane Wade, New Orleans Hornets guard Chris Paul and New York Knicks forward Carmelo Anthony, the ad aims to show how devoted the players are to their craft, regardless of the lockout. To prove it, Wade, Anthony and Paul are shown competing in a variety of pick-up games and intramural leagues near their home NBA market. Wade stars in the Miami Kiwanis Club League, the Flamingo Sr. Rec Center League and the Dade County Municipal League; Paul runs game in the NOLA Inter-Parish League and the Bayou Women's League; Anthony holds court in a Williamsburg pick-up game, at Five-Star Basketball Camp and in the Jewish under-40 league. Wade, Paul, and Anthony face off against opponents of both genders and all ages, races and creeds.
As the ad wraps, the All-Star trio comes together for an exhibition game in Beijing, China, with fans giddy in anticipation. Finally, the tagline -- "Love The Game... No Matter What" -- splashes on the screen to conclude the commercial.
In terms of pure public relations value, "Love The Game" wins in a landslide over "Let Us Play." Even the most cynical observer can appreciate demonstrated passion for basketball. The players may never win the sympathy of the general public, but putting aside the financial aspects of the lockout to focus on a universal love for the game, as Jordan has done here, should earn them some renewed respect.
Video courtesy of YouTube user Jumpman23.
Hat tip: @DarrenRovell
Posted on: October 20, 2011 9:40 pm
Edited on: October 20, 2011 9:57 pm
Posted by Royce Young
Fifteen million dollars. That's roughly how much Dwyane Wade made last season playing basketball for the Miami Heat. And that's just his salary, so that doesn't include endorsements, appearances or anything else.
But here's what he tweeted after labor talks broke down Thursday:
Here's the player perspective though right now: They see themselves guaranteed to give up money, which they will. They aren't getting anything near that 57 percent BRI split. So they're going to take less, no matter what. And with the owners pushing for more and more and more, the players are pretty much convinced that the owners are doing whatever it takes to guarantee profitability.
Which they probably are.
But let's not pretend that professional basketball players make a LOT of money playing basketball. Whether it's the $15 million guys like Wade get or even the minimum, the players make a healthy living. I understand wanting their cut and trying to get what's fair, but let's not pretend that this isn't about money on their side too. The owners are fighting for every penny, but as are the players.
Stephen Curry put it a whole lot better than Wade: "The players know how important the fans r to what we do. Would not jeopardize that unless we knew we r being exploited." See, now that makes a little more sense.
The owners are trying to make more. But so are the players. Like I've always said, there's blood on both hands here. It's not just one side to blame. So to say this lockout is going on just because of greedy owners isn't at all fair. Pot, kettle, and such and such.
The players try to tug at fans' hearts and pull them to their side with apologies and finger pointing. But we know what's going on. We're not clueless. You make millions play professional basketball. And you want to make sure it stays that way.
Posted on: October 19, 2011 3:26 pm
Posted by Royce Young
I think we can all agree that the charity hoops circuit is a little played out. NBA fans are ready for real basketball. From Washington D.C. to Philadelphia to Miami to Los Angeles to Oklahoma City, fans have seen their stars play glorified pickup games. It's getting a little old now.
So the players have recognized that and are taking the next step: They're taking their talents overseas.
No, not to play professionally. They're taking their charity games on tour. Via ESPN.com:
While the final details are still being worked out, more than a dozen of the league's best players are working to join forces on what would be a two-week, six-game, three-continent blockbuster tour, sources said.The tour is planned to take two weeks and has been in construction for some three months by Atlanta business mogul Calvin Darden. While some players have actually reportedly signed contracts to play in this, there's a chance it could fall apart. One major reason being if a labor deal is worked out.
The tour is scheduled to start Oct. 30 and go through Nov. 9 with stops in Puerto Rico, London, Macau and Australia. Each game will be held in arenas with at least 15,000 seats. There's a hope to air the games internationally as well as in the U.S. too.
Here's the kicker: The players will make some bank off this too. The report says players will receive somewhere between a six-figure payout and $1 million. "Some" of the money will go to charity.
Here's to hoping the whole thing falls apart because the players are in training camp by then.
Posted on: October 15, 2011 2:45 pm
Edited on: October 15, 2011 2:52 pm
Posted by Ben Golliver.
Dwyane Wade says he was simply channeling Aretha Franklin during his confrontation with David Stern.
Ken Berger of CBSSports.com reported that the Miami Heat All-Star guard and the NBA's commissioner had a heated back-and-forth during labor negotiations in New York City two weeks ago.
Wade took exception to commissioner David Stern's tone and gesturing -- the commissioner evidently was pointing his finger while speaking to the players -- and "stood up for himself," a person with knowledge of the meeting said. According to two people familiar with the incident, Wade warned Stern not to point his finger and made reference to not being a child.Speaking at Marquette Madness, his alma mater's annual college basketball season kickoff event, Wade said that he was just seeking respect from Stern.
Mike Singer, CBSSports.com's Rapid Reporter for Marquette, has Wade's reflection on the much ballyhooed exchange of words.
Reporter: There’s only a handful of people on the planet that would’ve told David J. Stern what you told David J. Stern.That's a typically savvy response from Wade, who avoided the obvious bait by refusing to offer a ton of specifics and making it clear that he wasn't speaking from an out of control emotional state.
The negotiations haven't progressed significantly after that moment, so aside being a humorous sideshow, it's difficult to argue that Wade's words had any lasting impact. At this point, that confrontation is water under the bridge.
Posted on: October 15, 2011 12:00 am
By Matt Moore
Matt Moore:So who, individually is winning and losing the lockout? My brief list.
Winners: David West, Greg Oden (rehab). Kevin Garnett, Kobe Bryant, Steve Nash (age). Kevin Love, Dwyane Wade (image).
Losers: Rookies (obv.). DeAndre Jordan ($$$$$).
Royce Young: Derek Fisher. I think he's increased his image as the statesman of the NBA. I don't know how good a job he's really doing, but he always comes across as measured, professional and calm. The guy's in the twilight of his NBA career, but his performance as president of the union is going to net him a pretty sweet gig after he retires, I think. Front office exec? Coach? The next Billy Hunter? I could see basically anything for Fisher.
Ben Golliver: I hate to say it but I think LeBron James and Dwyane Wade are big winners here. No one entered the offseason with more motivation to bring their A-game to the 2011-2012 season after that jenga collapse in the Finals. As the lockout dragged on, the usual motivating factors for the average player disappeared. Watching these guys workout, play in exhibition games, etc. it's clear they will be ready to go from day one. They will blitz some people hard out of the gate and should stack up enough victories early to get the rest they wanted before last year's playoffs. Same thing, to a lesser extent, goes for Kevin Durant, who has just been a maniac.
Of the younger guys, I like what John Wall and Brandon Jennings did to increase their exposure. Whether that counts for anything long-term is anyone's guess. Both elevated their profile for sure. I still like what Deron Williams and Ty Lawson did, accepting the challenge of a different lifestyle and continuing to play in competitive leagues. Williams took a significantly bigger risk, but as long as he comes home without injury he will be a winner in my eyes. Zigging when everyone zags deserves some kudos. Props to Kyrie Irving and Isaiah Thomas and the other rookies that went back to school. We get on people for jumping too early but never give the round of applause for guys who get back on the diploma track.
They are bigger picture winners.
Eddy Curry is the biggest loser of the lockout and, really, of life. Scratching from exhibition games is really the bottom of the barrel. Same thing goes for Michael Beasley and Matt Barnes and their idiotic antics. Nobody needs any of that. Beasley caught a break when Rick Adelman got hired. He is about to get a great coach. Let's see if he embraces or squelches this opportunity. Take a guess at which is more likely.
Matt Moore: I'd argue Deron's a loser. He made the money but admitted it's been hard on the family and they're not winning and the attendance is terrible. As the biggest star to go he was under pressure to convert that opportunity into success. Making the money, which is always dicey overseas, doesn't make up for the other problems and the lack of impact.
Ben Golliver: If it was that bad he would have left. He's said its brought his family closer together and has been a one-in-a-lifetime experience. I think we can take him at his word about that.
Royce Young:I definitely agree with that, Matt. Deron messed up, in my mind. The Besiktas deal really didn't turn out to be all that lucrative and instead of pimping his profile here in the charity pro-am games, he's toiling away in Turkey in front of half empty arenas. What's so great about that? If it was just intended to be a family vacation, good for him, but I don't know why you can't just go to Turkey. Why sign to play for Besiktas? He got less than other superstars because he signed so early and I don't think he's really gained a whole lot out of it otherwise.
Matt Moore: Also, if we're talking bigger picture winners, no player is a winner because they lost a bazillion dollars between negotiations and lost paychecks.
Ben Golliver: Name one player who made more money playing basketball during the lockout than Deron Williams.
Royce Young: I don't think that's the point though. He didn't make all that much in relative terms, plus hasn't benefitted as much as some other players that stayed here. Williams is a star player. And he's the only star that signed overseas. Don't you think that's a little weird?
Ben Golliver: Not at all. He was in a unique situation with his contract extension coming up, with an open mind, a desire to see the world and make money, and a team that would give him a max contract even if he broke both his legs because they already mortgaged the franchise for him. Why single someone out for criticism because he made a unique choice that will prove to be in his best interests as long as he doesn't get hurt (and could still be in his best interests even if he does)? This was a great way to get back in shape after an injury, it took guts, he's getting rewarded and he is living life on his own terms, not those of the NBA owners. He's not begging fans to let him play on Twitter, he proactively sought a deal that will pay him more than any other player during the down time and will be ready to go when the NBA is back. It wasn't a decision many stars could make but there were good reasons behind it and he showed courage. That makes him a winner to me.