David Stern says it will be the best season ever… except for all that lockout stuff

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David Stern realizes what is happening, that there is a genuine swell of interest and excitement around the NBA.

I think we’re going to have perhaps our best season ever this year,” he said during a conference call with reporters on Friday. He talked about the buzz and acknowledged the fan interest in the Miami Heat. However he was ever the diplomat about the title.

“It would be premature for us to mail the trophy to Miami,” Stern said.

However, the dark clouds of Collective Bargaining Agreements with the players and the possibility of a lockout loom over the season. It took center stage on the media call, and showed how it could darken the NBA season

That doesn’t mean Stern backed down. He stood by the idea that there needs to be a fundamental change in the economics of the game.

“I would say the league is viable as long as you have owners who want to subsidize losses,” Stern said.

He said that it is a combination of factors that brought the league to this point.

“One of the things we have found out as we work with our teams to keep the high level of sales and first class arenas and amenities…. that it has become much more expensive to do the things we have always done. And the world changed. We’ve gone through the worst recession of anyone on this phone call… We need a reset that makes (the league) viable.”

Stern talked about a number of things that could be part of that CBA, noting that this is still in the conceptual phase and they have not gotten down to talking details yet.

Stern mentioned a “franchise player” tag as something that would come up, although he himself sounded hesitant about that as a way to restrict player movement once they have completed a contract.

Stern talked about a commitment to small-market franchises and coming up with ways in the CBA to make them competitive with the teams with deeper pockets.

Along those lines he talked about more robust revenue sharing between the owners, but added that some of the owners want teams to meet certain thresholds — seat sales, television deal size and more — before they get to fully share in it. They want those owners to prove they are really trying to sell the product, to avoid what happens in baseball where that revenue sharing money has gone right into the pockets of some small market owners.

Stern was unconcerned with the the statement from the union earlier Friday, one that threatened a lockout. Stern basically said that’s negotiations. And that he is optimistic that this can get done because the people at the table have been there before and know what is at stake.

We know we’re going to get an agreement, and we think the enthusiasm of the season and the growth it represents… we’re both intent on trying to reach a deal,” Stern said.

Draymond Green says Warriors are “more relaxed” this season

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Last year, the Warriors entered the NBA Finals with the weight of expectations: Defending NBA champions, 73 regular season wins, if they got the title they would leap up the ladder of all-time great teams, lose and it would be a massive let down. We all know what happened from there.

The Warriors are back in the Finals, taking on the Cavaliers for the third year in a row — but this year things are going to be different. Mostly because of Kevin Durant changing the equation. But also the Warriors mindset is better if you ask Draymond Green. Which Mark Spears of ESPN did.

This makes sense. The Warriors to a man denied the pressure and how physically/mentally taxed they were by the chase for 73, but it clearly wore on them physically and mentally. Green was thrashing about and drawing techs, over-reacting to everything (although sometimes that feels like his default setting). Curry was injured but also tired. The Warriors opened the door, LeBron James and the Cavaliers stormed through it.

Will a rested Warriors make a difference this time around? Maybe. But again, Durant matters more than rest.

Report: Harlem Globetrotters to resume series with Washington Generals

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The Harlem Globetrotters dropped the Washington Generals as an opponent a couple years ago – a sad development for basketball traditionalists.

But the sport’s most-lopsided rivalry is returning.

Darren Rovell of ESPN:

Sources said the Generals will be put into rotation to play the Globetrotters again as early as this summer and will take on a greater life than before as the lovable losers.

This just feels right. There’s a spirit about the Generals that complements the Globetrotters so well.

Report: Turkish government issues arrest warrant for Enes Kanter

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The current, authoritarian government in Turkey is not big on dissent (they have beaten protestors of the Turkish regime at a march in this country). Or human rights.

So what’s real trouble for them is opposition and dissent from a famous, well-known person.

Which brings us to Oklahoma City big man Enes Kanter. He is a native of Turkey, and he has been outspoken in his opposition to that country’s current president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. Last week the Turkish government revoked Kanter’s passport while he was traveling the globe promoting his charity. He barely got out of Indonesia and was able to get to Romania, where he was detained for a stretch before getting to return to the United States via London.

Now, the Turkish government has issued an arrest warrant for Kanter, reports the Agence France-Presse.

Turkey issued an arrest warrant on Friday for Turkish NBA star Enes Kanter, accusing him of being a member of a “terror group”, a pro-government newspaper reported.

A judge issued the arrest warrant after an Istanbul prosecutor opened an investigation into Kanter’s alleged “membership of an armed terrorist organisation”, Sabah daily reported.

He is in no danger of being extradited by the United States because of this. If anything, it strengthens his case for U.S. citizenship based on asylum.

Kanter is a supporter of the Gülen movement in that country, which is led by the exiled cleric Fethullah Gulen, who currently lives in Pennsylvania. That movement has opposed Erdogan (who recently won a disputed election in that country that gives him sweeping, almost dictatorial powers). Erdogan blamed Gulen for masterminding a failed 2016 coup attempt in Turkey, one with members of the military involved (after that attempt members of the Gulen movement have been swept up by the government all over Turkey). This has come at a cost for Kanter, who has been disavowed by his own family because of his political beliefs.

Kanter is not about to back down from his position. Which means it may be a long time before he gets to visit his homeland again.

Report: Duke guard Frank Jackson undergoes foot surgery before NBA draft

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Duke guard Frank Jackson declared for the 2017 NBA draft with an outside shot of going in the first round and a likelihood of getting picked in the second-round.

This won’t help his stock.

Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports:

Duke’s Frank Jackson, a well-regarded point guard in the 2017 NBA draft class, underwent right foot surgery and is expected to be fully recovered sometime in July.

When Jackson recovers will determine whether he plays in summer league, and that can affect transition to the pros as a rookie.

The bigger questions: Will this hinder his athleticism long-term? Does this put him at greater injury risk?

Jackson, a 6-foot-4 scoring guard, relies on a strong first step to attack the basket and high elevation on his jumper.