derek Fisher

Union letter tells players deal close but they have given enough

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I’ll say this for the NBA players union, they have revived the lost art of letter writing.

Once again National Basketball Players Association president Derek Fisher and director Billy Hunter have reached out to their constituency with a letter. Although clearly the message of that letter (which they knew would be leaked) was aimed at David Stern and the NBA owners as much as the players.

The good news is that the letter says a “deal is close,” something that echoes Hunter’s statements Tuesday that they just need to put the ball in the end zone from the 3-yard line.

But the letter also states that the players feel they have been the ones doing the giving so far — reducing their share of “basketball related income” or BRI, the money that flows into the league — and they have gone as far as they can.

Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo got a hold of the letter and tweeted out these notes:

In letter union sent to players today, Hunter and Fisher say: “Yesterday, the owners gave us an opportunity to back down. We refused.”… “Reducing our share of BRI by 7 points to 50% — a level we have not received since the early 1990’s — is not a fair split.”

In letter Y! obtained, Hunter reminds players that they’ve offered owners $185M per year giveback worth $1.1 billion over 6 year deal…. “The clear message we have received from the players, and the one we will heed, is not to back down.”

The players got 57 percent of BRI in the last labor deal. This letter said the players would be open to a deal that starts with them getting 52 percent and could go as high as 54 percent.

Reports are the owners offered a 50/50 split, which was really a 49 to 51 percent range.

That certainly leaves the two sides close. It is conceivable they could get a deal done by this weekend, before Monday when Stern said the league would have to cancel the first two weeks of regular season games. But as of now no talks are scheduled.

This letter is sending the message that the owners are going to have to make the next move. The question is will they, or can Stern even sell some of the hard line owners on the deal?

Pelicans signing center Jerome Jordan

Marc Gasol, Jerome Jordan
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Through the first two weeks of training camp, the Pelicans have seen their frontcourt depth decimated by injuries to Alexis Ajinca and Omer Asik, both of whom are out for a few weeks. A deal with Greg Smith fell through after he failed a physical. Now, Yahoo’s Marc Spears reports that they’re signing former Knicks and Nets center Jerome Jordan as a short-term solution:

Jordan has only played 65 games in his career and hasn’t been spectacular, but the Pelicans need a body while their two centers are out. Anthony Davis will spend some time at center, but considering the contracts Asik and Ajinca got this summer, Alvin Gentry clearly plans on playing him at power forward as well, and they need a center to at least fill time before Asik and Ajinca get back.

Kevin Love unsure about opening-night return

Kevin Love
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He’s back in practice with the Cavaliers, but there’s still no clarity on whether Kevin Love will be available for the season opener. Love had shoulder surgery in April after suffering a torn labrum in Game 4 of the Cavs’ first-round series against the Celtics, and doctors initially gave him a timetable of four to six months for a return. The six-month end of that is right around opening night (October 27), but Love still doesn’t know whether he’ll be able to play against the Bulls—although he is hopeful.

Via the Sporting News‘ Sean Deveney:

“I feel pretty good,” Love told Sporting News. “As far as the opener goes, I am not completely sure. I’ll probably get with the doctors and see what they have to say. I know that my six-month post-op is coming up here pretty fast. As far as getting the strength back, getting the range of motion, I feel pretty good, so I am looking forward to getting into some more contact, getting into a rhythm and getting out there as quickly as I can.”

Love has been cleared for 3-on-3 practices, but not yet for 5-on-5. If it were up to him, he’d be back on the court, but he understands he needs to follow the rehab protocol for his injury.

“(Six months is) just a ballpark figure that has generally been thrown out there by anybody who has talked about the rehab process for this kind of an injury,” Love said. “I like to think that I am ahead of the game, but there’s different tests and the due diligence that the doctor will go through and the training staff will go through. So all I can do is go out there every day and attack my rehab and hopefully I will be able to go out there and help these guys as soon as possible.”

At the very least, the Cavs will be without Kyrie Irving (still recovering from knee surgery) and Iman Shumpert (out up to three months with a wrist injury), and probably Tristan Thompson too, unless his contract situation changes unexpectedly. So having Love available would be some much-needed good news. But it’s more important that Love (and everyone else) is healthy for the playoffs. If he’s not ready to play, there’s no need to rush back for an October game.