Get your lockout shoes on: players rip owners proposal

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UPDATE 11:10 pm: NBA Commissioner David Stern released this statement to the Associated Press when asked to comment on what Derek Fisher and Billy Hunter said of the last proposal from owners.

“Players have benefited from the current system more than the teams. For them it has been a much better partnership,” Stern said in a statement. “We are sorry that the players’ union feels that way since it doesn’t seem designed to get us to the agreement that is so important to the teams, and we had hoped, the players.”

7:41 pm: My friends, the lockout is coming. There are dark days ahead.

It is going to get worse before it gets better. Earlier today we relayed some quotes for you from an interview NBA players union president Derek Fisher gave on the radio, and they weren’t positive.

But that was upbeat like a Michael Franti dance tune compared to what the union told a handful of reporters in New York on Wednesday afternoon.

We bring you a few tweets from Ken Berger of CBS Sports as an example.

Fisher on player reaction to owners’ latest offer: “They’ve asked us point-blank why we are even talking.”

According to players, the #NBA’s proposal will cost them $7 billion over the life of a 10-year deal. (Union executive director Billy) Hunter said players would not regain their $2.17 B in salary/benefits until the 10th year of the owners’ proposal.

Hunter said league wants to keep the $160 million in escrow withheld from players for ’10-’11 season, under current CBA. Of owners reaching into players’ pockets for money already earned, NBPA president Derek Fisher said, “It speaks to their arrogance.”

Fisher also called Stern’s description of “flex” cap “a total distortion of reality. It’s not a flexible cap, it’s a hard cap.”

If the NBA owners want to keep the escrow money, those are fighting words. (The escrow money a percentage taken out of every player’s paychecks and put in savings to make sure the players get exactly 57 percent of the NBA’s basketball related income. Money is taken out of their checks, then returned, all or in part, to get to the even 57 percent.) That is money the players feel they have earned.

On the flip side, arguing money lost is a little hard because nobody thought the old deal would just be extended. Everyone knows the players will have to make givebacks. The question is how much.

Bottom line (as we have said before), the lockout is coming. It’s going to get nasty. If you want to be optimistic, hold out hope that by the middle of September the two sides will have come together and a deal will be struck that allows the season to start on time. That is honestly the best-case scenario right now. Otherwise, we’ll be watching a lot of D-League and the NHL on NBC and Versus this fall.

Mario Chalmers trips James Harden, Harden shoves him back (VIDEO)

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Memphis came back on an 18-2 run late to in the fourth quarter to knock off the Houston Rockets, a very impressive road win that reminds us Memphis is not a team to be written off.

This is the play everyone will be talking about — James Harden squared up looking for a fight.

Mario Chalmers got knocked down by a Harden screen, and while on the ground tries to trip up Harden, and Harden turns around and shoves him. Harden squared up, but as happens in the NBA everyone stepped in, and nothing actually happened.

Neither man was ejected. The referees called it an offensive foul on Harden for the pick, then there were double technicals. Fines may follow from the league.

Metta World Peace joins Lakers’ G League team as ass’t coach

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EL SEGUNDO, Calif. (AP) — Metta World Peace has joined the Los Angeles Lakers’ NBA G League affiliate as a player development coach.

The veteran NBA forward was added to the South Bay Lakers’ staff Monday.

World Peace played 16 NBA seasons for six franchises, including six years with the Lakers from 2009-10 and 2015-17. He was a standout defensive player who won a championship alongside Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol in 2010.

While he hasn’t publicly retired, the forward formerly known as Ron Artest will assist South Bay Lakers head coach Coby Karl and his staff.

World Peace earned the longest suspension in NBA history for his role in the Indiana Pacers’ infamous brawl in the stands at Detroit in November 2004, but he matured into a valued veteran leader for the Lakers.

LaVar Ball calls out Wizards, Marcin Gortat doesn’t think that was smart

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“I told him after the game, due to all the riffraff his dad brings he’s going to get a lot of people coming at him. He’s got to be ready for that, and I let him know after the game… (I had to) welcome his little young a** to the NBA.”

That was the Clippers’ Patrick Beverley after he tormented Lonzo Ball on opening night, and he speaks for a number of other players I have heard from who said father LaVar wrote checks that Lonzo is going to have to cash, and guys were going to go at him. Not every night, but enough.

Since that rough opener the rookie has had a decent couple of games — averaging 18.5 points, 11 assists, and eight rebounds a night, not efficient but playing better — going against Eric Bledsoe (a capable defender who had checked out mentally in Phoenix) and Jrue Holiday and the Pelicans. Wednesday night John Wall and the Wizards come to town, and that’s another level of competition.

My least favorite thing about this Lakers season is the way the L.A. media sticks a microphone in front of LaVar Ball after every game. I don’t care about LaVar, in the same way I don’t care about the Kardashians.

But what he said has become a thing. After the Lakers loss to the Pelicans LaVar said, “[The Wizards] better beware cause Lonzo ain’t losing again. Not in the same week!”

Wizards’ center Marcin Gortat thought that was funny.

First off, Lonzo is going to lose twice in a week a lot this season — the Lakers are not a good team.

Second, Wall is a top-five NBA point guard by any standard, an All-NBA player who is far more than just quick (although he is that, too). He can shoot, he’s an aggressive defender, and he knows how to set up teammates. He’s going to be more than a handful for Ball. To put it kindly.

Whatever happens Wednesday night (most likely Wall smokes Lonzo) we know one thing for sure: LaVar will say something outlandish. And it will become a thing. The game is secondary for that marketing effort.

Lakers to break out powder blue Minneapolis throwback uniforms this season

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The Lakers have gone a few different directions with alternate uniforms in recent years, such as the black version, but when you have a classic brand you shouldn’t mess with it. Same with the Celtics, Bulls, Sixers, and other classic uniforms — if you’re going to go alternate then go older.

The Lakers are doing just that — going back to Minneapolis.

They are breaking out the George Mikan era jerseys, starting on Wednesday vs. Wizards and in four other games later in the season.

I like it.

Now if the Lakers could get George Mikan in the paint it would help.