The players' union ain't buying what Stern's selling

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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.

The union, however, is not buying it.

On Saturday, NBAPA Executive Director Billy Hunter is quoted by CBSSports’ Ken Berg as saying:

“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.

Report: Carmelo Anthony’s camp ‘cautiously optimistic’ Knicks will trade him by Monday

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In July, Carmelo Anthony was reportedly confident he’d be traded to the Rockets.

That optimism always seemed misguided. A couple months later, with Anthony still on the Knicks, it looks downright foolish.

Yet…

Frank Isola of the New York Daily News:

Anthony’s camp is cautiously optimistic that a deal will be struck before Monday, and trying not to think about the potential media circus that will take place if Carmelo is still with the Knicks.

It’s more likely Anthony’s confidants are hopeful than optimistic. If they’re actually optimistic, they’re very likely to be disappointed.

If Anthony hasn’t been traded by now, what will change between now and Monday? Houston still must find a taker for Ryan Anderson, and that’s no easy task – not without relinquishing sweeteners more valuable than Anthony. I suppose Anthony could waive his no-trade clause for additional teams, but it’s late for a deal to come together.

Hopefully for Anthony, his advisors aren’t pinning everything on a longshot trade and are helping him craft answers to the numerous questions he’ll face at media day next week – likely in New York.

Rick Pitino predicts NBA draft will accept high schoolers within two years

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Once an advocate of increasing the age minimum and a willing accepter of one-and-done, NBA commissioner Adam Silver sounded more open about allowing high school players to declare for the NBA draft.

The new Collective Bargaining Agreement left the issue open, but Louisville coach Rick Pitino predicts change is coming – relatively soon.

Pitino, via ESPN:

When I was at Kentucky, I had seven high school basketball players, told me they were coming, and instead, they went to the pros out of high school. And by the way, I think that rule is going to change back to that. I think high school players are going to be able to go pro again.

I think the commissioner is probably going to do it within two years.

Does Pitino know something? With decades of experience in the NBA and college, he could have many contacts with inside information. It’s certainly imperative for devising a recruiting strategy to know how this rule will change.

It’s also possible Pitino saw Silver’s comments, like any outsider could have, and is making a relatively blind guess.

But the possibility of inside information makes his comments more intriguing.

Warriors executive: Golden State rejected richer jersey-ad offers

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The Warriors are charging $60 million over three years for their jersey ads – about double what any other NBA team is getting.

Golden State chief marketing officer Chip Bowers, via Darren Rovell of ESPN:

“We actually had multiple finalists,” Warriors chief marketing officer Chip Bowers said. “This was not the biggest deal that we were offered.”

Bowers said the team felt it was important for the deal to be with a worldwide brand.

Light years ahead.

New Bulls advisor Doug Collins: ‘I am woke’

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The Bulls hired Doug Collins as an advisor.

Is Collins, who has coached only one winning season in the last 20 years and often sounds analytically disinclined, too behind the times?

Collins:

I’m old. Let me finish. But I’m not old school. I’ve got a young brain. And I think you get pigeonholed: That guy is old school because he’s old. Now, if being on time and working hard and doing all those things are old school, then yes, I’m old school. But I will match my wits with anybody in terms of young people, in terms of what’s going on now and what’s happening. So, I am woke.

Suddenly, Kyrie Irving‘s statement on ESPN – “Oh, if you’re very much woke, there’s no such thing as distractions” – has a challenger for the most awkward use of “woke” by NBA personnel this week.