Tomorrow could be black Friday for the NBA.
After a lengthy but apparently fruitless negotiating session on Thursday the NBA is set to announce the postponement of training camps and cancellation of the first two weeks of preseason games on Friday. According to a Yahoo report there is going to be a conference call with owners to approve the move, followed by the formal announcement. Players at the Impact Competitive Training Series in Las Vegas confirmed they were told this was coming.
Camps were set to open Oct. 3, the first preseason games were Oct. 9.
This isn’t a huge surprise, everyone knew the day was coming soon. The two sides need to reach at least a handshake agreement in the next week for there to be a chance for camps to open on time. After Thursday’s meeting the two sides did not plan to meet again until next week. They remain miles apart, ESPN’s Ric Bucher reports.
Stern, according to one source, told Hunter in Thursday’s meeting the owners want to reduce the players’ cut of basketball-related revenue (BRI) to a figure well below 50 percent. The players were guaranteed a minimum of 57 percent of BRI would be spent on salaries at the end of the last agreement.
That’s not even getting into hard salary cap vs. soft cap issues.
The regular season is scheduled to open Nov. 1, but that appears in jeopardy. While the preseason and free agent period could be cut shorter, in 1998 (the last lockout that cost games) it took them a month to get up and running.
You can do the math from there. It’s not pretty.
The release of NBA 2K17, the latest edition of the popular 2K video-game series, is less than a month away. Players are starting to get their likenesses in the game, as well as their player ratings, and tweet them out. Magic forward Evan Fournier wasn’t too happy with the way his came out.
Fournier’s countryman Rudy Gobert got in on the fun, too, changing his Twitter avatar to Fournier’s screenshot and encouraging others to do the same. He even created a hashtag for it.
At least they’re having fun with it.
On Friday, the Jazz traded German center Tibor Pleiss to the Sixers along with two second-round picks for Kendall Marshall. The big draw of the trade for Philly was the picks, and Pleiss is not expected to stay with the Sixers, according to Comcast SportsNet Philadelphia’s Jessica Camerato.
Pleiss had a forgettable season with Utah, and the Sixers have a glut of bigs including Nerlens Noel, Jahlil Okafor, Joel Embiid and Dario Saric. It would have been virtually impossible for Pleiss to crack the rotation, and it’s unlikely another team picks up his contract, which has $3 million guaranteed this season.
As a Jordan Brand athlete, Russell Westbrook is under the same Nike umbrella as former teammate Kevin Durant. But his latest Jordan spot, released Friday, has a very pointed tagline: “Some run, some make runways.”
Given the circumstances, it’s hard to interpret that as anything other than a reference to Durant signing with the Warriors and Westbrook signing an extension with the Thunder.
For two decades, Kobe Bryant saw everyone and everything as an obstacle to overcome: The Pacers, Sixers, Nets, Magic, Celtics, Tim Duncan, Gregg Popovich, Smush Parker, a torn Achilles. It didn’t matter. Kobe’s work ethic and drive had him rising above it all.
His focus hasn’t changed now. Kobe was on the Jim Rome show, and the topic of the new-look Warriors with Kevin Durant came up, along with the “woe is me” attitude of some players (and plenty of owners and GMs).
“I would have thought less about myself if I looked at that move and said, ‘That’s unfair,'” he said. “If you’re a real competitor, you look at that and say, ‘OK, lace ’em up. Let’s go. I don’t care how many players you have over there; we’re still going to take you down.'”
Easier said than done to make that happen, but that attitude is the only one to have if you think you have a chance. You can be sure LeBron James is thinking that way and telling his Cavaliers teammates the same.
We’re going to miss Kobe.