Players union draws line in the sand: no hard salary cap or rollbacks

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Right now, the negotiations between the owners and the NBA Players Association is a lot of posturing.

In any situation, there needs to be a deadline to spur real negotiations. Technically, for the NBA that deadline is July 1, when the current Collective Bargaining Agreement expires and a lockout would start. In reality, the real deadline is when camps open and then games would start — a loss of Summer League will be forgiven by fans, a loss of regular season games would be a much deeper wound.

So with the knowledge that we are still posturing, we bring you Billy Hunter, executive director of the Players Association, laying out the union’s position and counter offer to the owners in a podcast sent to players (via Howard Beck at the New York Times and Art Garcia at NBA.com).

The big issues were that the union would not accept a hard salary cap nor rollbacks on existing contracts, Hunter told the players.

The union is offering flexibility on the big number — the percentage of Basketball Related Income (BRI) that has to go to the players. Currently the players get 57 percent of that money. What Hunter proposes is that 57 percent is the ceiling but to create a new floor so players could make a smaller percentage of the pie.

The union also offered to loosen trade restrictions — currently teams making a trade have to match salaries within 125 percent, the union wants to double that number. It would make it easier for teams to unload contracts if they so wished.

The union has offered to reduce the maximum length of mid-level exception contract to four years (currently five) but they want a second one.

The players also want the age limit put back down to 18 and for owners to do more increased revenue sharing.

That is all radically different than the owners first offer last All-Star break, which called for a rollback of existing player salaries of more than one-third, a hard salary cap, an elimination of the mid-level and all cap exceptions, and a reduction in the length of guaranteed contracts.

The owners have not submitted a new proposal since then and a number are willing to take a more hardline stance to reverse what they see as a growing financial problem with the league.

Hunter says that with league revenues increasing year after year, there is no need for this kind of radical restructuring. Owners say revenue is not the issue, it’s expenses.

Lockout people. Learn to love it. Or at least tolerate it. Because it is coming.

John Wall goes coast-to-coast, behind-the-back for lefty dunk (VIDEO)

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There’s not going to be many plays better than this in the entire playoffs.

There wasn’t a lot for Wizards’ fans to cheer in Game 3, the Hawks took control early and routed Washington, making it a 2-1 series. But there was this, John Wall going coast-to-coast with the ball, going around-the-back and throwing it down left handed.

Wall is just so fast end to end.

Warriors take 3-0 series lead over Blazers with 119-113 win

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PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — Stephen Curry scored 34 points, Klay Thompson added 24 and the short-handed Golden State Warriors overcame a slow start to take a 3-0 lead in their playoff series against the Portland Trail Blazers with a 119-113 victory on Saturday night.

The Blazers led by as many as 17 points in the first half, but couldn’t hold off the Warriors, who can clinch the series with a win Monday night in Game 4 at the Moda Center.

Golden State was without Kevin Durant, who was sitting for a second straight game cause of a left calf strain, and coach Steve Kerr stayed back at the team hotel because of illness.

The Warriors took a 108-100 lead after Andre Iguodala‘s dunk with 4:05 to go.

Noah Vonleh‘s dunk got Portland within four at 110-106 with 1:29 left, but Curry answered with a 3-pointer that all but sealed it, sending fans streaming for the exits.

CJ McCollum led the Blazers with 32 points, while Damian Lillard added 31.

Markieff Morris calls Paul Millsap a “crybaby,” Millsap responds “It definitely got personal now”

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The Atlanta Hawks owned the Washington Wizards from the opening tip Saturday, making it a 2-1 series with an easy win.

It’s a series now — and that includes trash talk.

Paul Millsap had 29 points, pulled down 14 boards, got to the line 11 times, and led the Hawks to the win. He got the calls he wanted this game, but Washington’s Markieff Morris was not exactly down with high praise for Millsap.

The key line here: “”He just did more for his team. He’s a crybaby. Get all the calls and you a crybaby.”

Millsap was asked about that comment in his postgame presser — and the best part may be Dennis Schroeder’s reaction.

“It definitely got personal now, yes. I mean, I don’t care. So what? He can take his loss and go back to the hotel and be ready for the next game.”

These two have already had a beef this series.

Game 4 in this series just got a lot more interesting.

Marc Gasol game-winner tops Kawhi Leonard’s brilliance, evens Spurs/Grizzlies series 2-2

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Best. Game. Of. The. Playoffs.

So far at least.

Kawhi Leonard scored 16 consecutive points for the Spurs down the stretch of regulation to force overtime, then in OT hit a corner three with 7.2 seconds left to tie the game at 108-108. Leonard finished the game with a career playoff high of 43 points.

It wasn’t enough. Because in those final seconds Marc Gasol did this.

The 110-108 Memphis win ties the series at 2-2 as it heads back to San Antonio for Game 5. I might not want to sit next to Gregg Popovich on the flight home.

While Gasol hit the big shot, he never gets the chance if Mike Conley isn’t every kind of amazing through the clutch parts of this game. Conley finished with 35 points, and that includes a floater in the lane that forced OT (although Leonard got a pretty good look to end it in regulation and just missed). I’m surprised the Spurs switched on the pseudo pick on this play.

The Spurs struggled to get stops down the stretch, mostly because they had David Lee and Tony Parker both on the floor and Memphis did a good job getting switches onto those defenders. Spurs starting center and best defensive big Dewayne Dedmon missed the game due to an illness, and that ended up mattering.