It’s too early in the process to get to the “just lock them in a room together until they figure it out” stage of negotiations on a new NBA Collective Bargaining Agreement. But as both sides continue to posture, I am all for moving up that deadline just to stop the tit-for-tat.
The latest salvo came from Maurice Evans, the veteran guard and VP of the NBA Players Association. He told the Associated Press the players are not buying what David Stern is selling about the massive financial losses of owners ($750 million or more) and the need to roll back salaries.
“We definitely don’t agree with those numbers,” Evans said. “We feel like the game is really at a great place.”
But Evans also spoke the truth — a lockout would be a disaster.
“If we have a lockout, it’s just going to set us back,” Evans said while distributing 1,000 Thanksgiving turkeys to Atlanta-area families in a program sponsored by the NBPA and the Boys & Girls Clubs of America. “With the state the economy is in, fans are not going to want to keep getting slapped in the face with players and NBA teams, as fortunate as we are financially to even be playing a game for a living, to keep throwing it in people’s face that we’re not making enough money, whether it be the league or whether it be the players.”
Missing a few days in July, or missing Summer League and postponing free agency is one thing. Missing actual games in the fall is another entirely. That would be a huge setback for the league that would take five years or more to overcome.
Right now, Evans is saying the right thing about a lockout. So is David Stern. But like their rhetoric on the new CBA, it’s meaningless without action. But right now it’s just rhetoric, posturing. When push comes to shove, will they fear a lockout as much as they should?
The Detroit Pistons’ playoff dreams hinged on them being able to hang around until point guard Reggie Jackson got back from this thumb and knee injuries. They have done just that — the Pistons are 11-10 and would be the eighth seed if the playoffs started today.
And now they get Jackson back. Stan Van Gundy made the announcement Sunday at shootaround, before the team takes on the Orlando Magic.
It will take a few games to get his conditioning back, but this is huge for Detroit. Jackson running the pick-and-roll with Andre Drummond is at the heart of Detroit’s offense – the Pistons were 2.3 points per 100 possessions better with the ball in his hands. Ish Smith played well for the Pistons in his absence — 10.8 points per game, 6.4 assists, and he’s been solid. Move his playmaking to the second unit and suddenly the Pistons become a lot more dangerous.
The scouting report on Jakob Poeltl coming out of Utah said he could run the floor well and he was a good finisher around the rim.
But we didn’t expect this.
During the Raptors win Sunday against the stumbling Hawks, Poeltl filled the lane on the break, got the rock, and nobody was going to stop that finish. Least of all Tim Hardaway Jr., he just ends up in the poster.
Entering free agency last July, Hassan Whiteside said his first choice was to stay in Miami — then Pat Riley gave him 98 million reasons to stick around. While the Heat have been up and down this season, Whiteside has thrived as the franchise player in Miami.
Last July he also met with Dallas, but it turns out that was not his second choice. Here is what Whiteside told Erik Gunderson of the Miami Herald before his team fell to the Blazers on Saturday.
“Portland was my second option,” Whiteside said at the team’s Saturday shootaround in Portland. “I would have came here.”
Interesting. There were reports the Blazers chased Whiteside, but it didn’t seem that serious. Apparently, it was. If The Blazers got Whiteside, would they still have spent $70 million on Evan Turner? Probably not. And suddenly a lot of things look better in Portland.
For Blazers fans, watching their team try to outscore opponents while playing terrible defense this season — in part because of a lack of rim protection behind their undersized guards — it’s easy to imagine how much Whiteside would have changed the picture in the Northwest. But at this point, that’s just fan fiction.
JaVale McGree has become a solid contributor for the Warriors off the bench, giving them a needed shot blocking presence. He’s not getting a ton of run (seven minutes a night), but he’s efficient when he’s out there.
Still, there is his reputation as the guy most likely to end up on Shaqtin’ a Fool. He hasn’t done anything like that for a while… until Saturday night, when after a made free throw he tried to inbound the ball for the Suns for a second.
The Warriors bench was laughing under their shirts and towels.