Etan Thomas lays out the players’ case in labor strife

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Etan Thomas can flat out write.

Which makes the Atlanta forward’s explanation of where the players are coming from in the ongoing Collective Bargaining Agreement must reading over at Hoopshype.

You don’t have to agree with it — if you want to side with the ultra rich owners over the wealthy players go ahead, personally I don’t think either side has a monopoly on the truth — but you should read it.

In a similar manner, the NBA presented the Players Association with a proposal that appeared to be more like a Christmas List to Santa Claus than the start of an actual negotiation. The NBA expressed desires of a new imposed hard cap, removal of all guaranteed contracts, drastic economic concessions and a guaranteed profit for each team. They wanted to ensure that no matter what poor business decisions individual teams make (economic, personnel, etcetera) they all can expect guaranteed profits.

Greed should not be the determining factor that takes an entire season, or possibly more, away from the fans. They deserve better than that…

The NBA’s “concession” of backing off their desire for non-guaranteed contracts, but implementing a hard cap system is fool’s gold. It absolutely does us no good. There would still be roll backs. Each contract would have to conform to a hard cap system, meaning they could be reduced by as much as a third depending on the actual hard number agreed upon. It would cut out the middle class completely. Two guys may be able to obtain an actual contract while it will be difficult for the rest of the team to get guaranteed deals, etcetera, etcetera.

This cannot be a starting point for us. They have in essence tried to insult our intelligence by making us think that something they have “given us” is a slam dunk when in reality its very far from progress. Again, it’s fool’s gold. Not to mention the fact that we already have guaranteed contracts as well as a soft cap system. They have put two non-starters for us on the table and tried to begin negotiating from that standpoint.

We might as well had told them that we’re going to back off our desire of having no salary cap (which has proven to work in baseball no matter what they say) and wait for their “response” and see what they were willing to give back to us in exchange for the gracious concession we just made for them.

Go read it. Agree with it or don’t, but you’ll have a better understanding of where the players are coming with as we settle in for what looks like a long lockout.

Mavericks’ rookie guard Dennis Smith Jr. misses game with knee swelling

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DALLAS (AP) — Dallas Mavericks rookie point guard Dennis Smith Jr. missed Friday’s game against the Sacramento Kings with swelling in his left knee.

Smith, the ninth pick in the NBA draft out of North Carolina State, had 16 points and 10 assists in the Mavericks’ season-opening loss to the Atlanta Hawks.

Smith participated in the Mavericks’ shootaround on Friday morning and was a late scratch. It is not known if Smith will play Saturday for Dallas.

The Mavericks were also missing guard Devin Harris, who was granted leave of absence after his brother died on Thursday.

Watch Lonzo Ball’s 29 point, 11 rebound, 9 assist game Friday night

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This was more of what fans expected from Lonzo Ball.

After a rough first game against the Clippers — with Patrick Beverley in his face all night — Ball found plenty of room to operate against the soft defense of the Phoenix Suns. With room to operate Ball had 29 points, 11 rebounds, and nine assists — just one assist short of a triple-double. He helped the Lakers pull away to a lead in the third then hold on for a 132-130 win over the Suns.

Ball wasn’t terribly efficient, 12-of-27 shooting, but he was 4-of-9 from three, he played with great pace, he was decisive, and was finding guys with his passes. It was a step forward, even if it was against a sad defense (Eric Bledsoe can be a good defender, but he has seemed disinterested in recent years).

Ball and the Lakers are going to be up and down this season, the goal is for there to be more ups near the end of the season.

LeBron James rejects Giannis Antetokounmpo at the rim

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Through the first couple games of the season, Giannis Antetokounmpo has put up impressive numbers — he dropped 34 points, 8 rebounds, and 8 assists on the Cavaliers Friday night.

But the Cavaliers still have LeBron James.

He had 24 points and 8 assists, leading Cleveland to the win.

LeBron also reminded the Greek Freak just how good a rim protector he is. Few people can slow Antetokounmpo on the drive, but LeBron is one of them.

Is it too early to root for a Cavs vs. Bucks playoff series?

Hawks’ DeAndre’ Bembry out with fractured wrist

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In their season opener Wednesday, Atlanta second-year man DeAndre’ Bembry came off the bench and played 17:45, scored six points and was +13 on the night. It was a good start to his career.

But now he is going to miss some time with a fractured wrist.

Bembry underwent an MRI, which revealed a fracture in his right wrist, the Hawks announced Friday. He will return to Atlanta with the team (the Hawks lost to the Hornets Friday night) and will meet with team doctors at the Emory Orthopaedics & Spine Center on Monday. His status will be updated after that.

“We just may play some other guys more, we may use some of the young guys,” Hawks coach Mike Budenholzer told the AP before Friday night’s game. “We’ll just figure it out tonight and as we move forward. I don’t think there’s anything guaranteed for anybody, it’s unfortunate for DeAndre’ and for us.”