NBA Commissioner Stern speaks at the state of the league press conference during the NBA All-Star game weekend in Los Angeles

Stern says players cancelled Thursday meeting, Union denies


UPDATE 11:32 pm: As expected, the players union denies David Sterns claim. Here is the money graph from Yahoo Sports, quoting a union source:

“The NBA refused to have a staff meeting [Thursday],” a union official said. “Billy Hunter has been with the [National Labor Relations Board] the entire week, including Thursday, and the NBPA was told that Stern would be completely unavailable to meet for the next two weeks.”

Basically, the two sides continue to play some penny-ante games that can best be described as male cow-produced organic fertilizer. It provides little hope that the two sides can actually sit down, act like adults and deal with serious issues rather than act like first graders arguing over a cupcake. I fear this lockout is going to be long.

8:45 pm: There’s more to the story than this. Which is a fancy way of saying I don’t totally trust David Stern’s spin on things.

That said, since the NBA’s owners and players have met once since the lockout started, a cancelled meeting between the sides would be disappointing.

And apparently that is what happened, according to tweets Gary Washburn of the Boston Globe.

NBA Commissioner David Stern tells the Globe that the NBA Players Association canceled a scheduled meeting today with the league

Now I can think of a host of reasons a meeting could have been cancelled, starting with not wanting another bad negotiating session to overshadow the Hall of Fame induction ceremonies on Friday. While time is fleeting, pushing a meeting back to next week is not that big a deal. Especially since neither side really wants to seriously negotiate and compromise yet.

Still, the more they start siting across the table from each other, the better. We need some kind of pressure — like the potential loss of training camps then regular season games — to get the two sides really talking, but the more they are in the room together the better.

Stern tried to sound a note of optimism in all this, take it as you will. Again from Washburn’s twitter feed:

““I expect that we’ll make a deal because the alternative is very destructive.”

Somebody looks comfortable: Paul George drops 20 in first quarter

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Paul George‘s first experience starting as a power forward was going up against Anthony Davis — not just one of the best power forwards in the game, one of the handful of best players in the game period. That didn’t go well for George, and he wasn’t happy about it.

His second experience was in another preseason game Tuesday, going up against the Pistons and their four, Ersan İlyasova. He’s not quite as intimidating.

George scored 20 points on 7-of-8 shooting, 4-of-5 on threes — and that was just the first quarter (you can see it all in the video above).

As we have said before, George at the four is not a bad call by the Pacers, but some of that depends on the matchup. On the nights the Pacers face Davis or Blake Griffin or LaMarcus Aldridge or Zach Randolph (or a handful of others) the Pacers’ coaching staff is going to have to adjust. But there are a lot of nights where George at the four is going to force the other team to adjust, and that will play into the Pacers’ hands.

Is DeMarcus Cousins MVP worthy? “It’s mine to grab”

DeMarcus Cousins

Last season, DeMarcus Cousins received zero MVP votes (the same as every year of his career). Even though he averaged 24.1 points, and 12.7 rebounds a game, which was enough to get him his first All-Star berth, MVP is another thing entirely. Only players on winning teams tend to draw the attention of MVP voters.

This season, can Cousins — arguably the best center in the game — get in the conversation?

He thinks it’s more than just that, he told Kevin Ding at Bleacher Report.

The topic is the 2015-16 NBA MVP award and whether it could be reachable for DeMarcus Cousins.

“Reachable, man?” Cousins told Bleacher Report, his voice rising high. “It’s mine to grab.”

As noted above, the only way Cousins gets into the conversation — fair or not — is if the Kings are in the playoffs (at the very least). He understands that.

“It’s going to take a full team effort,” Cousins said. “I’ll try to play at a high level and bring my team along with me.”

Vlade Divac built a Kings’ team designed to start winning now — as you would expect from a team a year away from moving into a new arena they need to fill. Owner Vivek Ranadive is not about selling hope anymore, he wants to sell wins.

I think Cousins can help provide that.

I’m less sold on the cast around him being able to help.