At All-Star Weekend, Commissioner Stern delivered his state of the league address. In it, he fired the opening salvo in the battle that will be fought in the boardroom and in the media over the 2011 CBA, by claiming on behalf of ownership that they will lose $400 million this year.
“Based upon our review and what
we’ve done thus far, we dispute the $400 million figure, (a)nd we plan to present our
rebuttal to David and the owners at an appropriate time. Our
contention is that the number’s overstated.“
The union did not present an alternative figure, but is reviewing the financial documents that outline the finances for the NBA. They’ve hired an economist to review the figures, and plan to have a counter-proposal to the league’s “nuclear winter” proposal between May and July for discussions to begin.
An interesting note in Berger’s piece is that there is a divide in ownership between those who held ownership stake in ’99 during the last lockout, and new ownership who didn’t feel the losses. Berger quotes the following:
“Ownership has changed
completely,” former Knicks president Dave Checketts said this week
at the IMG World Congress of Sports in Los Angeles. “These guys
sitting at the table were not there when we lost half a season.
… They don’t understand how damaging a work stoppage is. Nobody
wins, everyone loses.”
Okay, good. There’s some voices of reason in the… oh, wait, he’s not with the league anymore. Great. There are points to be made on both sides of the aisle. We’ll just have to see how this plays out.
Did Cavaliers dropping David Griffin lead to Kyrie Irving’s trade request?
Cavaliers coach Tyronn Lue said he had the NBA’s hardest coaching job. Following that thinking, former Cavaliers general manager David Griffin might have had the most difficult front-office job.
Not only did he face the same championship-or-bust pressure and oversee the same players (and their egos) as Lue, Griffin also reported directly to Dan Gilbert, the Cavs’ sometimes-difficult owner. The Gilbert aspect is often discussed, as is working with great/brilliant/passive-aggressive LeBron James. But it has probably been undersold how high-maintenance Kyrie Irving – who requested a trade – also was for Griffin before the general manager was ousted last month.
Over the previous few months, the Cavs had been worried about Irving’s mindset. They knew at times he’d grown unhappy with playing a secondary role on the team. Griffin had several conversations with Irving throughout the year, sources said, trying to find ways to work on the situation.
After the season, there was a desire to arrange a meeting to clear the air from all sides, sources said, but it didn’t take place. Unlike most teams, the Cavs did not have postseason exit meetings with their players.
What followed was a whirlwind, with the Cavs putting forth a series of trade packages looking to acquire either Butler or George. Some of these talks included Irving, which upset him even more when he found out about it, sources said. Previously, Griffin had worked to keep lines of communication with Irving open, but now Irving was in the dark.
Irving’s trade request had been building for years. The reported timing is vague, but Irving might have even requested a trade while Griffin was still in charge.
Either way, there’s no guarantee the Cavs keeping Griffin would have placated Irving. But it seems an experienced voice running the front office could have only helped.
Magic Johnson said he’s convinced LaVar Ball’s outlandishness is just marketing and that the father of Lakers rookie Lonzo Ball is truly committed to developing younger players.
This didn’t look like someone who put youth player development over his own image.
With LaVar Ball’s AAU team leading by nine, he got a technical foul then pulled his team off the court:
He (kind of) explained why after the game (warning: profanity):
He also touched on his reasons in a video that, of course, quickly turns to promoting his brand:
This doesn’t mean Johnson is completely wrong, but the Lakers president seemingly misdiagnosed Ball’s priorities. What if Johnson is also wrong about Ball staying clear of the Lakers? That could create problems – if it hasn’t already.
I was never convinced, as NBA commissioner Adam Silver predicted, LaVar would settle down after Lonzo was drafted. I still believe Lonzo’s talent justifies managing LaVar, but that appears increasingly likely to be a burden the Lakers must actually handle rather than just brush off.
James Dolan’s MSG threatens to sue Steve Ballmer’s Los Angeles Clippers
The Forum in Inglewood was best known for decades as being both fabulous and the home of the Los Angeles Lakers, back from the Jerry West era and through Magic’s “Showtime” teams. Then in 2001 the Lakers moved downtown to Staples Center, and after that the Forum went through some rough times. It was a number of things, including a mega church for a while, but mostly it was empty. Then several years ago the Madison Square Garden company (owned by Knicks owner James Dolan) bought the Forum, fixed it up, and started booking it again. Now the Forum is one of the hot major concert/event spaces in Los Angeles again, and it’s about to get a boost because it’s adjacent to where Stan Kroenke is building the new Los Angeles Rams stadium. Hello gentrification!
Now enter Steve Ballmer. The Clippers’ owner wants out of Staples Center and the Lakers’ shadow, so he has proposed to build his new arena in Inglewood in another space adjacent to the Rams stadium — land that MSG used to lease. As you might imagine, Dolan’s MSG is not thrilled — they are already battling with Staples to fill their space, now a state-of-the-art arena is moving in down the street.
“The mayor made it extremely clear that he needed that piece of land back for a kind of ‘Silicon Beach,’ ” said Marvin Putnam, a partner with the law firm Latham & Watkins, which filed the damage claim that serves as a precursor to a lawsuit. “They’re attempting to flat-out trick people.”
(Inglewood Mayor James) Butts declined to comment, and there is no proof that he made those statements. But when Madison Square Garden Co. relinquished the parking lease to the city, its approved contract states that the land would not be used for anything that would hurt the Forum’s business, according to documents.
Right now the Clippers and Inglewood are in an exclusive negotiating agreement to come to terms on the sale and plans for the property. Putnam told the paper — and the Inglewood City Council — that if the deal goes forward they will sue to block it.
It’s impossible to say how this will turn out, although as a former government reporter I will say these cases tend to be decided in favor of the side about to spend a ton of money on a new building.
Jaylen Brown’s #drivebydunkchallenge video is awesome