How a day of lawsuits can help end the NBA lockout

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We are nowhere near the end of this lockout. Sadly. Especially sad since you could throw a group of five or so bloggers (or NBA writers, or you and your friends) in a room and we could hash out a deal in 24 hours that would pretty close to where the two sides will land after a couple of months and untold lawyers fees.

But Tuesday’s actions by the NBA — filing a complaint with the National Labor Relations board complaining the players are not negotiating in good faith, and filing a pre-emptive lawsuit saying that if the union does decertify all current contracts should be void — could actually help move us toward a resolution.

How?

Because something needs to move the two sides off the current stalemate where neither side feels a need to compromise. That’s the only way a deal is getting done, and right now there is no pressure.

The best pressure should come as the deadline looms in the second half of next month where regular season games could be lost. The momentum the league would lose after its most popular season in a decade should be enough to scare teams.

But it’s not scaring the hardline owners – they guys who paid big money and leveraged themselves for franchises and need a cash flow now — and it’s not scaring the players, who keep talking about Europe.

David Stern didn’t seem particularly concerned about players going to Europe when speaking to the Associated Press Tuesday night.

Locked out by the league, numerous players have said they would consider playing overseas. Yet Stern tells The Associated Press there are “maybe 10, 15, even 20 players who might, might be able to secure employment, but nothing approaching the NBA system.”

On ESPN he actually tried to play a little divide and conquer with the union, saying only the high priced players are going to find good deals overseas and the rank and file could be left out. It should be noted Deron Williams is the only elite player to sign a European deal so far, everyone else has been rank and file.

Taking things to the NLRB and the courts carries risks for both sides — you can’t control the outcome. You may think you have the best argument and the law on your side, but a judge may see it differently.

Still, a ruling by the NLRB that one side or the other is not negotiating in good faith, or a ruling on what happens to contracts with decertification, could tilt the balance of power. It could give one side real leverage.

It could force actual, meaningful negotiations.

Right now, the legal moves by the league and the players union are just stepped up posturing. It’s no different than what has gone on before, save for some lawyers are getting rich. Well, richer. Until something happens that forces one or both sides to move off their hard lines and actually negotiate, nothing is going to happen.

And if it takes a lawsuit to make that happen, the please sue away.

NBA fines Chicago’s Rajon Rondo $25,000 for attempting to trip Jae Crowder (VIDEO)

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Rajon Rondo‘s end-of-season performance may have helped him earn a little extra coin this offseason. He’s certainly going to need it given that the NBA has fined the Chicago Bulls PG $25,000 after he attempted to trip Boston Celtics wing Jae Crowder.

The league released the decision in a statement on Sunday morning.

The incident occured with 31 seconds left in the first quarter of Game 3, a game the Celtics won, 104-87. Rondo was on the bench, and as possession changed Crowder took a wide sweeping angle along the sideline, right in front of Rondo.

Rondo casually stuck his leg out as Crowder passed by, but didn’t seem to make any contact.

Chicago leads the series, 2-1.

Thunder’s Taj Gibson providing scoring help for Westbrook

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OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Taj Gibson often describes his role for the Thunder as doing whatever the team needs.

For now, scoring is playing a bigger part than usual. The versatile 6-foot-9 power forward has found his way since being traded from Chicago and has emerged one of Oklahoma City’s few consistent offensive weapons alongside Russell Westbrook in the playoffs. He may need to keep it up to give the Thunder a chance of winning the first-round series with Houston – Oklahoma City trails 2-1 heading into Game 4 Sunday at home.

Gibson built a sterling reputation in Chicago, but the Brooklyn, New York native is more concerned with the respect he’s earned since his arrival.

“They see I’m in here late nights, early mornings, just constantly working with my teammates, constantly putting work in,” he said. “The confidence is going to be there because they understand you do the work, but I’m just trying to do whatever I can to help my team.”

Gibson has done a little bit of everything since coming to the Thunder. He has provided experience and versatility to an already stacked frontline that includes emerging young players Steven Adams and Enes Kanter. He also has added toughness, and at times, scoring punch. His athleticism and ability to guard on the perimeter against outside-shooting big men and on switches fills some of the void created when the Thunder traded Serge Ibaka on draft night this past offseason.

“Great vet,” guard Victor Oladipo said. “Great man, first and foremost. Very positive and does what it takes to win. It was a great pickup for us.”

Domantas Sabonis was the starting power forward when Gibson arrived in Oklahoma City, but once he got settled and began to understand coach Billy Donovan’s system, the Thunder improved. Gibson replaced Sabonis for the first time March 9 against San Antonio, and the Thunder went 11-5 with him in the starting lineup. He averaged 9.0 points and 4.5 rebounds in 21 regular-season games for the Thunder.

He is averaging 11 points on 65 percent shooting in the playoffs. He was effective on offense in Game 2, establishing himself early and helping put the Thunder in position to win. Oklahoma City went away from him late, and Houston rallied for the victory.

In Game 3, the Thunder went back to him consistently. a href(equals)’https://apnews.com/dab4b99c496a4450906c11a9c72132d1/Westbrook’s-triple-double-leads-Thunder-past-Rockets-115-113?utm-campaign=SocialFlow&utm-source=Twitter&utm-medium=AP-Sports’He finished with 20 points on 10-for-13 shooting in Oklahoma City’s 115-113 win/a on Friday night.

“Taj is a great post player,” Westbrook said. “He does a great job of getting in great position down low. When we see a matchup that we like we are going to keep going to him. Whether it is a miss or a make, it gives us the opportunity to score the basketball in the paint.”

Gibson did damage inside and out and punished the Rockets with his mid-range jumper.

“It’s no shock to me, just because that mid-range is automatic for him,” Thunder forward Doug McDermott, who also joined the Thunder in the trade with Chicago, said. “He’s tough to guard on that block too.”

Gibson also had a fast start in Game 2, but once the Thunder began to struggle, they went away from him. Gibson knew he didn’t need to change much going into Game 3.

“Just continue to be aggressive,” he said. “I felt like I had good shots in Game 2. Just got to stay with it and play the game as it flows to me.”

On defense, Gibson has been a better option than Kanter and Adams, who have struggled to keep up with the more athletic Rockets. Gibson performed well in all facets in Game 3, and Donovan needs more of that in Game 4.

“I was happy for him last night,” Donovan said Saturday. “I thought he gave us a great lift in both the first and second half. He’s professional, he’s a man, and he’s a reliable guy.”

Follow Cliff Brunt on Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/CliffBruntAP .

Watch Kawhi Leonard, Mike Conley in epic playoff duel Saturday (VIDEO)

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Kawhi Leonard scored 16 straight points for the Spurs at the end of regulation to give San Antonio the lead and a chance. Then Mike Conley hit a floater in the lane forced overtime.

There Mike Conley hit a floating bank shot that had the Grizzlies up three with :47 seconds left, only to have Leonard answer with a three to tie the game. Marc Gasol would break that tie and get Memphis the series-evening win.

Conley and Leonard traded blows through the clutch parts of Saturday’s epic Game 4 between Memphis and San Antonio. It’s worth checking out the highlights again.

John Wall goes coast-to-coast, behind-the-back for lefty dunk (VIDEO)

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There’s not going to be many plays better than this in the entire playoffs.

There wasn’t a lot for Wizards’ fans to cheer in Game 3, the Hawks took control early and routed Washington, making it a 2-1 series. But there was this, John Wall going coast-to-coast with the ball, going around-the-back and throwing it down left handed.

Wall is just so fast end to end.