Timing is everything.
Back at the All-Star break, players scoffed at the first Collective Bargaining Agreement submitted by the owners, one that called for a hard salary cap and other major changes. The owners gave that to the players on the same weekend that David Stern was claiming the owners would lose $400 million this year.
The players submitted their proposal to the league — right as owners are on an orgy of spending, throwing big money after mediocre players, making it look like money is no object.
Ken Berger from CBSSports got the league to acknowledge they got the document. Here are the key points:
* The soft cap with exceptions stays in place, similar to current system (owners wanted a hard cap in their proposal).
* More aggressive revenue sharing between the teams. (That was not in the owners proposal, with the league saying owner revenue sharing and the CBA are separate issues.)
* A looser interpretation of restricted free agency that should be more to the owners liking. For example, a system that would not have pushed Memphis to make a max deal offer to Rudy Gay to avoid dealing with a front-loaded contract from a team such as New Jersey.
* Changes to make it easier to trade a player who was recently signed to a deal, facilitating more trades.
The owners will look at this and have the same reaction to it — which basically calls for the status quo — as the players did to the owners’ proposal that called to radically shift the financial playing field for the league.
Basically, we are all still on pace for a lockout next July 1. Imagine how much fun it will be a year from now to read tweets and updates from some hotel boardroom about negations over a CBA, not free agency?
The Bulls suspended Rajon Rondo for tonight’s game against the Trail Blazers for conduct detrimental to the team.
But what does that really mean?
K.C. Johnson of the Chicago Tribune:
Rondo had an emotional exchange with an assistant coach during and after Saturday’s loss to the Mavericks, according to a source. One source said Rondo threw a towel in the direction of associate head coach Jim Boylen during the game and the situation escalated postgame.
Rondo has already apologized to the coaching staff and his teammates, the source said. He met with coach Fred Hoiberg on Sunday and also attended a team function that day.
Rondo has long been notoriously difficult to coach. That reputation has only intensified in recent years as his play has declined, which is probably not a coincidence. Struggling on the court – Rondo had two points, two assists and five turnovers against Dallas – will only lead to frustration. Plus, tolerance for players acting out exists on a sliding scale with their ability.
But it’s also worth noting teammate Jimmy Butler and coach Fred Hoiberg continue to speak positively about Rondo:
Butler said following Monday’s shootaround that Rondo “has been great” during his stint with the Bulls.
“I think this is just another bump in the road,” Butler said. “He’s a phenomenal damn teammate and I back him on everything.
Hoiberg refused to get into details about the suspension but echoed Butler’s opinion on Rondo’s stint with the Bulls.
“Rajon, as we’ve all said, has been great,” Hoiberg said. “A great teammate. I’ve enjoyed the relationship that we developed, and … it’s not going to change moving forward.’’
This could explain why Rondo got a one-game suspension for throwing a towel at a coach when Markieff Morris, who was already feuding with the Suns, got two games just last year (as could the fact that Chicago is not Phoenix and can administer discipline differently).
Player-coach feuds happen over a long season. The reaction is often telling. Some get ignored. Some result in suspensions.
The Bulls are treating this like an isolated incident from an otherwise model player – but a situation serious enough to warrant a suspension. Rondo will eventually prove that approach right or wrong.
New York police reportedly want to question Kings forward Matt Barnes over a nightclub fight early this morning.
What happened between Barnes, teammate DeMarcus Cousins and other clubgoers?
A rep for the NBA star tells us … Barnes was having a good time at Avenue Nightclub with his teammate, DeMarcus Cousins, when he went to sit at his VIP booth and accidentally “butt bumped” a woman who was at the next booth over.
Barnes claims the woman reacted by slapping him in the face, hard — and that’s when all hell broke loose.
Barnes claims the woman’s crew — which included several men — jumped in and began to get violent. Barnes was knocked to the ground in the melee and one of the men began to choke him.
We’re told Barnes got physical in an effort to protect himself. Cousins also jumped in to defend Barnes.
We spoke with Barnes’ attorney Alex Spiro who tells us, “We do not believe a crime was committed and are hopeful no charges will be pressed.”
By this telling, it sounds as if a crime was committed – with Barnes as the victim. I have no idea whether this account is accurate – what else would Barnes’ representation say? – and it’s reasonable for Barnes not to desire charges even against the other side. But it’s a little strange to hear Barnes’ lawyer give the other side such a quick reprieve while Barnes’ camp circulates this story of Barnes as a clear victim.
Starting for an injured Rajon Rondo, Jerian Grant had 18 points and five steals in the Bulls’ 25-point win against the Trail Blazers last month.
Grant will likely get another crack to start against Portland tonight.
Vincent Goodwill of CSN Chicago:
Chicago’s net rating with each starter on the court is lowest with Rondo:
But I doubt that’s the detrimental conduct the Bulls are referring to.
Chicago’s other starters have been dynamite with Grant instead of Rondo, outscoring opponents by 28 points per 100 possessions (relative to +10.6 with Rondo, still a robust mark). That’s a small sample with Grant, but we’ll get another opportunity to learn how this team meshes without Rondo.
Remember, though it started with a team-imposed one-game suspension, the Mavericks eventually told Rondo to stay away.
Joakim Noah kept his hands on DeMarcus Cousins after getting called for a foul, and that – and/or the Kings heading toward their third straight loss – agitated Cousins into pushing the Knicks center.
Remember, Cousins and Noah have a history.