It’s day 32 of the NBA lockout — meet the new lockout, same as the old lockout.
For the first time since the lockout started the two sides sat across the table from one another for nearly three hours in New York Monday but afterwards players union president Derek Fisher emerged to say little had been accomplished, that the two sides are pretty much in the exact same place as 32 days ago. There is this quote from Fisher (via a tweet from Ken Berger of CBSSports.com)
“A lot of ideas are being thrown around, but it’s become clear that the bottom line is the bottom line.”
Um, yea. It’s all about the money. The Benjamins. The bank.
The challenge was the owners first want to figure out the big issue — the split of Basketball Related Income and how to define that number — while the players came into Monday’s meeting looking to talk about system issues like the type of salary cap and length of contracts. Apparently that went nowhere. The two sides are not even discussing non-monetary issues such as drug testing yet.
If you want a bright side, the two sides agreed to try and schedule another meeting this month where they could meet for two or three consecutive days. Okay, that’s not much progress. Sorry, that’s the best we’ve got. Also, Fisher told reporters that the union is not yet looking to decertify (although that is still on the table).
We warned you not to get your hopes up about the first meeting of NBA owners and players since the lockout started. We meant it. If we don’t see any progress in five or six weeks, then you should really start to worry.
NEW YORK (AP) — TNT will use broadcast teams featuring only former players and no traditional play-by-play men during five NBA doubleheaders later this season.
The “Players Only” schedule runs Monday nights from Feb. 27 to March 27 and includes matchups such as Golden State-Oklahoma City on March 20 and Cleveland-San Antonio a week later.
Brent Barry will serve as the primary host of one team with Derek Fisher and Grant Hill, while Greg Anthony partners with Kevin McHale and Richard Hamilton on the other.
Lisa Leslie and Dennis Scott will serve as reporters.
Turner Sports says Thursday that Chris Webber will anchor the studio coverage with Isiah Thomas and Baron Davis, and that additional NBA players will contribute to the five-week program.
HOUSTON (AP) — James Harden took some time out after the Houston Rockets’ win over the visiting Milwaukee Bucks to give a fan a present on a her 100th birthday.
Video shows Harden signing a ball for the woman and spending a few moments sitting next to her in her courtside seat and posing for pictures Wednesday night.
Harden told ESPN’s Doris Burke in an interview that he told the woman how “blessed” he was to be able to have a chance to meet her.
The Houston guard also put on a good show for the fan during the game, scoring 38 points in a 111-92 victory over the Bucks.
Kings center DeMarcus Couins appears set to become the first player to sign as a veteran designated player. The Pacers hope Paul George will follow.
But in the Pacers’ win over the Kings yesterday, George beat Cousins.
Not even Cousins thwacking George in the face could stop this dunk.
The Bucks projected Khris Middleton to miss about 70 games when he tore his hamstring before the season. That extended absence often leads players just to shut down for the year, but Middleton vowed to return in time for the playoffs.
He might get back far sooner than that.
Marc Stein of ESPN:
Sources told ESPN.com the Bucks think Middleton, who suffered a hamstring tear just days before the season began, “has a chance” to return to the lineup during a three-game homestand next month before the All-Star break.
Whether Middleton ultimately makes his season debut before or after the All-Star Game, he is expected to be kept on a minutes restriction as he eases way his back from the injury, sources said.
The Bucks have started Tony Snell, who has held his own as an outside shooter. But Middleton will upgrade Milwaukee on Snell’s biggest strength and provide massive defensive improvement. After a strong start, the Bucks have really struggled lately on that end.
Giannis Antetokounmpo has led Milwaukee to a 20-21 record, though the team is better than its won-loss mark indicates. The Bucks will be even better with Middleton, who will rival Jabari Parker as their second-best player and fit seamlessly.