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).”

For a couple grand, Warriors fans can have Larry O’Brien Trophy visit their suite

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There’s so much money floating around the Bay Area right now thanks to another tech boom, this price almost seems low.

If you have a suite for the Golden State Warriors home games this season — and those are pretty much sold out, the Warriors draw big from the Silicon Valley crowd — you can have the NBA championship Larry O’Brien Trophy visit your suite. All for just a couple grand. From Gilbert Lee, via ESPN’s Darren Rovell.

The best part is it includes champagne… do you get to spray each other with it as you hold up the trophy? Now that would be perfect (goggles included, of course).

Have an issue with this? Why? To the victor goes the spoils. The Warriors may be able to sell this package for years.

Sixers new “Spirit of 76” court is fire

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First, the Sixers nailed the Nike “statement” jersey.

Now, they have announced a new “Spirit of 76” promotion, with seven tribute nights this season honoring the history of the franchise and of the Philadelphia area (and there is plenty of history to honor).

The best part — the “Spirit of 76” court with the bell logo.

Here is the promo vid

I just hope the Sixers team can live up to all the hype.

Wizards’ Markieff Morris to have sports hernia surgery, miss start of camp

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When the Washington Wizards open training camp next Tuesday, starting forward Markieff Morris will not be on the court.

That’s because he will have surgery to repair a sports hernia, a story broken by Candice Buckner of the Washington Post and since confirmed by Chase Hughes at CSNMidAtlantic.com.

While we don’t have details on the surgery, often recovery time for this is just a few weeks, and Morris could well be ready for the start of the season.

Morris averaged 14 points and 6.5 rebounds a game last season, and the Wizards offense was 5.7 points per 100 possessions better when he was on the court last season. With him out, coach Scott Brooks can lean on Jason Smith or Mike Scott for traditional lineups, but don’t be shocked if he tries a little small ball with Otto Porter and/or Kelly Oubre at the three or four.

Morris also is in the midst of a felony assault trial in Arizona (one where he does not need to attend).

Sixers enter camp with Joel Embiid not cleared for 5-on-5, Jahlil Okafor on trade block

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This is the season the 76ers make the leap from team with potential to playoff team fast on the rise.

Maybe.

That’s the plan in Philly, but there are a lot of questions for this team to answer. While a couple of these issues are answered already — Ben Simmons and Markelle Fultz are cleared to play and practice with teammates — a couple big ones still hang around. At the top of the list is “how healthy is Joel Embiid?” Coach Brett Brown doesn’t even have that answer yet, reports Derek Bodner of The Athletic.

It’s this simple: The Sixers outscored opponents by 3.3 points per 100 possessions when Embiid was on the court last season, he was a dominant force defensively who scored 20.2 points a game. When he was off the court the Sixers were 11.5 points per 100 possessions worse. They need him to play and play consistently if the Sixers have playoff dreams. It’s unclear when Embiid will return, but know that the Sixers will be cautious with his minutes again when he does get cleared (he has played just 31 games in three seasons).

Does that mean more Jahlil Okafor? Maybe not, the Sixers are still willing to trade him.

The Sixers have shopped Okafor for most of a year and found no deal they like. Okafor battled knee issues last season and, after a summer working to get healthy, other teams will want to see him play a little before talking trade. If he comes to camp slimmed down and his knee looks right, it could revive trade talks. Using a back-to-the-basket game, he averaged 11.8 points a night shooting 51 percent last season, he’s efficient, and some teams could use what he does (off the bench).

It’s going to be an interesting season in Philly. Are they playoff bound?