NBA Players Association about to send proposal to owners, which will get laughed at

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stern_Hunter.jpgBack in February, the NBA Players Association laughed at and rejected outright a new Collective Bargaining Agreement proposal from owners. That proposal used the current economy as a reason to call for a radical shift in the NBA’s deal with players: Shifting 10 percent more of basketball income to the owners, a hard salary cap, no guaranteed contracts, and making all current contracts retroactively conform to the new deal.

The players said no way. Now after their weekend meetings in Las Vegas the Players Association is about to submit its first counter proposal to the owners, according to a FanHouse report.

The owners are going to laugh and treat it the same way the players treated their first proposal. Because the players first offer will want things to stay pretty much exactly as they are.

That’s part of the negotiating game — in your first offer you ask for the moon, knowing that there will be compromises but in the end you can get some of what you want.

But right now, the Players Association and owners disagree on the basic economics of the league, the foundation for any deal. The owners say they are losing money fast, with Stern saying at the All-Star break they would lose $400 million this year. The players disagree, pointing to teams like Dallas and New York where arena and television networks owned by the same owner are not factored properly into what counts as profit. Plus, the economy is starting to improve.

What does it mean, fans? Brace for a lockout one year from now.

“It’s very simple. We don’t want a lockout,” (Adonal) Foyle, an Orlando center, said Sunday in a phone interview with FanHouse about what could occur when the current collective bargaining agreement (CBA) expires June 30, 2011. “We think that this business is going very well. But, at the same time, we are preparing guys for the next year just to make sure. We’re telling them to save their money more … We’ll take a deal yesterday or take a deal tomorrow. But it has to be a fair deal….

“I think it’s safe to say that we’re very aware of what’s happening in the economy, and we’re very sensitive to what’s happening globally,” Foyle said. “But we have looked at everything with the overall (financial) numbers (involving the NBA). At the end of the game … it’s how the numbers are split up (between the owners and the players).”…

“The league is very profitable,” Foyle said. “I think that the league is healthy … We’re waiting on the final numbers (from the NBA season, which should be available in the first week of July). The salary cap is not going to be as low as it had been expected, and that’s a pretty good indication we’re doing OK. It was thought it could be as low as $51 million … But it might be just a one-percent drop (many project the cap will be about $56 million, which actually would be nearly a three-percent drop from 2009-10’s $57.7 million).”

PBT Extra bold prediction previews: Don’t expect more wins in Toronto

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After winning the Atlantic Division then getting thumped in the playoff two years running, the powers that be in Toronto decided it was time for a change.

The added DeMarre Carroll and made shifts to make this a more defensive-minded team, all because of dreams of playoff success (which for the Raptors would be making the second round). What this changeover is not going to mean is an improvement off the 49 regular season wins the Raptors had last season — they sacrificed some scoring to get this defense, and there is a trade-off.

That said, I still expect the Raptors to win the Atlantic. Maybe they make the second round of the playoffs (way too early to make that call).

How many regular season wins they get — and if they win a postseason series — for me is going to come down to if Jonas Valanciunas takes a step forward. Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan will be strong, Carroll is an upgrade, but the big man in the middle will be the hinge for everything.

Mike Budenholzer smirks at lawyer calling Thabo Sefolosha ‘NBA superstar’

Mike Budenholzer, Thabo Sefolosha
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The funny part, via Robert Silverman:

The substantive part:

NEW YORK (AP) — NBA player Thabo Sefolosha, who was arrested outside a New York City nightclub in April following a confrontation with police officer, has a character “of the highest order,” his head coach, Mike Budenholzer, testified Thursday.

Taking the stand as the final defense witness in Sefolosha’s trial, Budenholzer described the Atlanta Hawks guard-forward as “highly intelligent” and a “hard worker.”

When asked by defense attorney Alex Spiro to describe his character, he said it was, “of the highest order.”

“Thabo is of the highest character,” he said during brief testimony in Manhattan Criminal Court.

The Swiss national is charged with misdemeanor obstructing government administration, disorderly conduct and resisting arrest charges stemming from a confrontation with officers outside a trendy Manhattan nightclub early in the morning on April 8. He has pleaded not guilty.

Officers testified this week that Sefolosha and former teammate Pero Antic repeatedly disobeyed their orders to move off the block and away from a crime scene that had been established following the earlier stabbing of another NBA player, Chris Copeland, and two women.

One of the officers also said Sefolosha lunged at an officer with his arm extended but was intercepted before making contact, eventually taken to the ground and arrested.

Sefolosha has testified that he was complying with orders and moving up the block as a particularly aggressive officer screamed profanities at him.

His attorney has argued that his client was singled out by the officer, who is white, because Sefolosha is black.

Sefolosha testified Thursday that he was trying to give money to a panhandler before entering an awaiting car when he was grabbed by police. He said his leg was kicked in the scuffle and he was taken to the ground, handcuffed and hauled to a police precinct. He suffered a fractured right leg, which forced him to miss the playoffs.

The case is the second one involving high-profile athletes accusing New York Police Department officers of wrongdoing this year. On Wednesday, the city agency charged with investigating police misconduct substantiated claims by former tennis star James Blake that an officer used excessive force when he took him to the ground last month after mistkaing Blake for a fraud suspect.