Stern using economy as hammer: $400 million in losses

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Thumbnail image for stern ASW.jpgWhy did the owners submit the first proposal in the new Collective Bargaining Negotiations a full 18 months out from when the current deal ends? (That’s providing the owners opt out of the deal by the end of the year, which they will.)

Because they want to negotiate right now. Today. In this economy. Because this is the best time to say players are overpaid and get the public to agree with you.

People may not be feeling it on the ground yet, but economists say the economy is starting to turn around. It won’t be fast, but things should get better over the next couple of years, they say.

The owners see today’s economy, and how it has hurt their bottom lines, as the chance to really change the CBA. They want a larger share — 57% of Basketball Related Income went to the players last year — of a shrinking pie. If things are getting better, their negotiation position weakens.

David Stern, during his state of the NBA speech All-Star Weekend, threw out that league teams are going to lose $400 million this year. It is expected that the majority of teams will lose money. For the owners now is the time to negotiate, and Stern said as much.

“We had assured the players that we would deliver a proposal that was one that would lead to that sustainable business model [during this economy]…” Stern said. “Our response is you can denounce it, tear it up, you can burn it, you can jump up and down on it, as long as you understand that it reflects the financial realities of where we are…. We have shown the players the facts, and, at our current level of revenue devoted to players’ salaries, it’s too high. I can run from that, but I can’t hide from that. And I don’t think the players can, either.”

Henry Abbott at TrueHoop nailed the fact that Stern had to walk a fine line at that press conference. Stern talked about how gate receipts are better than expected (down about two percent league wide) and that the league is growing internationally. See what a great job we’re doing? Oh, by the way we’re losing boatloads of money and the players are overpaid.

The players see this, too. They also see the economy and should realize on some level that they will have to give back a little in these negotiations. But they want these talks to drag out, they want to negotiate in the economy of next year, not this one.

Spurs to give Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobili Friday night off in Denver

Manu Ginobili, Harrison Barnes, Tim Duncan
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The Spurs are 12-3 and comfortably in second place in the West, they have the best defense in the NBA allowing just 93.8 points per 100 possessions, and they have a top-10 offense to go with it.

So, time to start making sure guys are rested.

That is the first night of a back-to-back, with former Spurs’ assistant coach Mike Budenholzer and his Atlanta Hawks coming to San Antonio on Saturday. Popovich is saving his two veterans for that game.

Duncan and Ginobili have looked like they found the fountain of youth this season. Duncan is taking on less of the offense but has been very efficient in those moments. Ginobili has the impact he did a few years back in his bench role.

What Gregg Popovich cares about is them playing like that come the postseason. So they will rest on Friday.

Brandon Armstrong impersonates Ray Allen (video)

2014 NBA Finals - Game Five
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Ray Allen is retired-ish, but he’ll always be running through screens – in our mind and in this video.

Celtics draft pick Marcus Thornton gets beer dumped on head during Australian game (video)

Marcus Thornton, Will Cherry

The Celtics drafted Marcus Thornton with No. 45 pick in the 2015 NBA draft. That essentially entitled him to the required tender – a one-year contract offer, surely unguaranteed at the minimum.

Thornton rejected that, which is almost always a mistake.

Rejecting the tender is a favor to the drafting team, which gets to keep the player’s exclusive rights for a year. If Thornton tries to join the NBA now, he’s stuck negotiating with only the Celtics.

By accepting the tender, the player typically gets one of two outcomes. He either plays on that contract and draws an NBA salary or he gets waived. But even getting waived is better than rejecting the tender, because at least the player becomes a free agent and can negotiate with any team.

Players who reject the tender go to another league and play for less money. In Thornton’s case, that mean Australia.

How’s that going?

(Almost) never reject the required tender as a second-round pick.

Byron Scott says they just have to get Kobe Bryant better looks

Kobe Bryant, Joe Johnson, Byron Scott

Kobe Bryant is averaging 15.2 points a game at age 37. It’s just taking him 16.4 shots per game to get there. After his 1-of-14 shooting performance against the Warriors the other night — with too much isolation and too many plays run just for him — there has been a lot of talk about his shot. With reason, this is his shot chart so far this season.

Kobe shotchart season

So what do the Lakers’ do? Get Kobe to shoot less and get the ball in the hands of the young stars they supposed to be developing more? Nah.

They just need to get Kobe better looks, Scott told the Los Angeles Times.

“I know his mentality is that he can still play in this league,” Scott said. “And we feel the same way….

“Obviously he’s struggling right now with his shot, and I think everybody can see that,” Scott said. “So it’s trying to get him in better position to be able to have an opportunity to knock those shots down on a consistent basis. That’s No. 1.

“I don’t know if it’s his legs. I don’t think so. Again, our conversations are pretty blunt. … He tells me when he is tired and he tells me when he’s not tired. And the last few days, he said he feels great. So, I don’t think it’s a matter of him being tired or his legs being tired. I think it’s a matter of his timing being a little off.”

Yes, how could it be his legs? It’s not like he’s a 37-year-old with more than 55,000 NBA minutes played, and coming off an Achilles rupture and major knee surgery.

Honestly, I hope the Lakers and Kobe find a balance soon, because they have become just hard to watch. And I don’t want Kobe to go out this way.