It’s official: Owners tell players there will be a lockout

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This is a sad day for the NBA.

We all knew it was coming. Frankly, everyone has been expecting this for a couple of years now, you could see the storm clouds gathering for that long. It doesn’t make it feel any better.

And things are only going to get worse in the short term. Not better.

Owners informed the players during a bargaining session Thursday that they will lockout players starting at midnight ET. Technically the owners still have to have a formal vote of the Labor Relations Committee, and they can’t do it until midnight, but in practice it’s done.

No further bargaining sessions are scheduled. Here is what union director Billy Hunter told Ken Berger of CBSSports:

“I’ve been anticipating this lockout for the last two or three years, and now it’s here.”

Hunter also said that the NBPA — the player’s union — does not plan to file to decertify, as the NFL players union did.

With the lockout in place, expect both sides to start playing a little hardball — the owners may well take back some of the concessions given in recent bargaining sessions. The players also will dig in their heels. The sides will likely move farther apart in an attempt to move the middle (the ultimate spot of a compromise) more in their direction.

At the final bargaining session, the players did not present a new proposal but again tried to sell the owners on savings from their last proposal, which would drop their percentage of “basketball related income” from 57 percent to 54.3 percent. NBA commissioner David Stern scoffed at the idea after the meeting, saying that the five-year deal would have raised the average NBA salary by $2 million per year ending at near $7 million a year. The owners’ proposal has been to essentially keep salaries flat for the next decade — the players would make a little less but would see nothing from increased revenues from the game. Their proposal would drop the BRI number the players get to closer to 40 percent in a decade. The players are not easily giving up that revenue from growth of the game.

The owners have said the system needs to change so smaller market teams can both compete and turn a profit. The players have said part of that is revenue sharing — the richest NBA teams share none of their local television revenue and only a portion (less than half) of their luxury box revenue.

The only question becomes will the sides be able to reach a deal before games are lost. That would mean, roughly, reaching a deal by Oct. 1 (there could be wiggle room there, but they need a month to have an abbreviated free agency and training camps).

That’s a long time away, but these two sides have been talking for two years and a lockout is where we are now. So it feels like a dark day.

Brook Lopez ducks LeBron, then airballs two free throws (VIDEO)

AP
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Los Angeles Lakers big man Brook Lopez is a good free-throw shooter. He is shooting 79.7% the year in 2017, and indeed is a 79.4% FT shooter for his career.

You wouldn’t know that given the sequence that happened on Thursday night as the Lakers took on the Cleveland Cavaliers in Ohio.

Lopez’s confidence seemed to be shaken when in the first half LeBron James was driving down the middle of the floor and came in for a dunk. Lopez was standing underneath the basket, and graciously stepped out of the way despite being the tallest player on the floor and the most likely candidate to challenge LeBron at the rim.

Via Twitter:

Just 40 seconds later, Lopez went to the line and missed too straight free throws via airball.

Via Twitter:

The sequence was topped off around 12 seconds later when Lopez racked up a goaltending violation.

It was a tough outing for all of the Lakers as Cleveland got the better of them, 121-112.

Kevin Garnett on Timberwolves ownership: “They suck”

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Kevin Garnett and the Minnesota Timberwolves are at odds. That should come as no surprise.

Garnett has publicly said that he would like to buy out Timberwolves owner Glen Taylor as opposed to partnering with him in someway for the team. For his part, Taylor has said that Garnett has failed to reach out after the team said they wanted to retire his number.

Then there’s the whole issue that Garnett has with how the team handled Flip Saunders’ death.

It’s a back-and-forth situation, and Garnett isn’t afraid to speak his mind as he did recently with vice sports. Speaking with Michael Pina, Garnett had some very choice words when he was describing the front office and ownership of the Timberwolves.

Via Vice Sports:

I’m more with individuals versus the teams. I’ve gotta admit that. I’ve gotta say that Embiid, Karl-Anthony Towns, Jokic, Porzingis, Damian Lillard, Curry, Durant, I’m enjoying the young bucks, watching young Ingram get better and watching little L. Ball figure it out, you know what I’m saying? I’m checking it all out. I like individuals, not so much on the organizations. Obviously I’m gonna be with Minnesota and the players. Not so much upstairs. I don’t really deal with Minnesota’s upstairs. They suck. But Boston, all day. You know I’m a C ‘till I die. I always root for Brooklyn. But other than that I don’t really get into too many of the upstairs. I’m more watching the guys and watching their progression.

How much do you want to see Kevin Garnett as owner of the Timberwolves? It would be great when he comes into the office at 6 AM every day dressed in a full suit already with a full bead of sweat on.

Kristaps Porzingis leaves game with sore left knee

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Everyone please hold your collective groans until the end.

On Thursday night, New York Knicks big man Kristaps Porzingis had to leave with an apparent left knee injury on a non-contact play against the Brooklyn Nets.

The play happened early in the third quarter when was guarding Brooklyn’s Rondae Hollis-Jefferson. After the play, Porzingis came up wincing on his left knee and immediately asked out of the game.

Via Twitter:

As a publication, the team had only released for that Porzingis would not return to the game against the Nets. For Porzingis’ part, it looks like he is feeling OK for now, although he has yet to be examined for a definitive prognosis. Non-contact injuries seem to give us pause given injuries to players like Derrick Rose, but there’s no reason to panic just yet. He did walk off by his own, so that’s heartening.

Let’s hope Porzingis returns to the floor after a bit of ice and some rest.

NBA “City” jerseys appear to leak via NBA 2K18, and they’re real ugly (PHOTOS)

SportsLogos.net
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We’ve seen NBA jerseys leak accidentally in the past, and the new Nike uniforms haven’t been a well-kept secret.

The new jersey sponsor announced plans for four kits for each team, with the final one supposedly coming late in the year or early in 2018. Now, it seems we have our answer for what Nike’s “City” jerseys will look like for many clubs.

According to the guys over at SportsLogos.net, the popular video game franchise NBA 2K accidentally leaked many of the city jerseys for the teams. There is a huge group of photos for these jerseys, and many of them are absolutely terrible.

Here’s a smattering of some of the worst offenders (although “smattering” is a loose term considering there are a lot to choose from):

The Magic one is an iPhone background, Utah’s is ORANGE, Oklahoma City’s looks like an abbreviation for a regional auto parts store … it just goes on and on like this.

Out of the ones leaked thus far, I see only two universally good ones (although the staggered numbers on the New Orleans ones gives me pause):

What is happening in the NBA with these uniforms?