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.
James Harden had a historic season in Houston.
Since it’s Friday afternoon and your sports viewing options consist of watching guys about to be cut from NFL rosters try to impress, why not check out Harden’s best plays from last season. It’s worth a couple minutes of your time.
Jeff Withey‘s ex-fiancée accused him of domestic violence, but he was not charged.
That frees him to continue his basketball career, which he’ll do in Dallas.
Shams Charania of Yahoo Sports:
The Mavericks could use another center, even if they re-sign Nerlens Noel. Salah Mejri is the only other true center, though Dirk Nowitzki will now play the position.
Withey is a good rim protector. Just don’t ask him to do anything away from the basket.
Dallas annually brings excess players to training camp and has them compete for regular-season roster spots. Whether or not his salary is guaranteed, Withey will likely fall into that competition.
The Grizzlies’ Grit & Grind era has ended.
Zach Randolph signed with the Kings, and Tony Allen appears likely to leave Memphis, too. The Grizzlies are prioritizing younger/cheaper players like Ben McLemore and Tyreke Evans.
Marc Gasol via Ala Carta, as translated by HoopsHype:
I’m very ambitious and I’ve wanted Memphis to be a great franchise. We’ve grown a lot the last 6-7 years, but we have to keep growing. If this is not lined up, maybe we may have to revisit things.
Gasol has been loyal to Memphis, and his first wish is probably winning there. But Giannis Antetokounmpo put it well: Teams must also do right by their players. Gasol is 32 and doesn’t have much time in his prime left. I see why rebuilding wouldn’t interest him.
But what will he do about it if the Grizzlies don’t prioritize the present? They made their push last summer with a max contract for Chandler Parsons, but because Parsons can’t stay healthy, that deal only inhibits team growth.
Gasol is locked up for two more years before a player option. He doesn’t have much leverage. This is part of the reason LeBron James keeps signing short-term contracts. Gasol doesn’t have the same ability to steer his team in his desired direction
On the potentially bright side, rebuilding teams often don’t have much use for 32-year-olds guaranteed more than $72 million over the following three years. If the fit devolves, Memphis becomes more likely to trade him.
The Celtics already said they’d retire Paul Pierce’s No. 34.
Now, we know when.
The Boston Celtics announced today that they will retire Paul Pierce’s No. 34 after a mid-season game against the Cleveland Cavaliers on Sunday, Feb. 11
After? That’s apparently in response to a new rule that penalizes teams not ready to play after a 15-minute halftime. These ceremonies can drag on, and nobody wants to cut Pierce short. I wonder whether this will start a trend of number retirements coming after games.