David Stern set the deadline — if there is no handshake deal between NBA owners and players by Monday, the league will cancel the first two weeks of the regular season.
The two sides are playing a game of chicken. But if the season is to be saved, it has to happen Sunday.
After talks broke of on Tuesday the sides did not meet Wednesday and there are no meetings scheduled for Thursday. That makes it a tight timeline, explains Chris Broussard at ESPN.
Meanwhile, there are no talks planned for Thursday, and several of the principals are expected to observe the Jewish holiday of Yom Kippur Friday and Saturday. That means Sunday could be the only day left to save the Nov. 1 start of the regular season…
The talks could go into Monday, but they would almost certainly have to start before then.
As we noted before, in terms of pure numbers the two sides are pretty close (well, if you consider $80 million a season and more than $500 million over the course of the deal “close”). The owners informally proposed the “concept” of a 50/50 split of revenue, the players informally said no lower than 52 percent (they got 57 percent in the last labor deal).
They could split the difference, but challenge is for Stern and union head Billy Hunter to convince the hard liners on both sides to give a little more to get a deal done. Then they have to attach the economic numbers to a salary cap system that both sides can live with. It’s a lot to do and not a lot of time to do it.
Still, they are close; Hunter described them as being on the three yard line. But any coach will tell you those last three yards are the hardest to get on the entire field.
As of tomorrow, training camps around the league open, and all the focus goes to the 2016-17 season.
For fun, let’s look back one more time at last season — the 50 top circus shots of last season.
Stephen Curry driving the lane and throwing up prayers once he draws contact (and hitting them), there is Russell Westbrook throwing the inbounds pass off an opponent’s back, and so much more. Enjoy. Then let’s get on with next season.
Kevin Garnett intimidates people. In the machismo-fueled world of professional sports nobody comfortably admits they were intimidated, but in the wake of Garnett announcing his retirement, a number of players stepped forward to say exactly that. And that KG trashed talked them fearlessly.
Oklahoma City’s Steven Adams found a way to avoid that — tell KG he didn’t speak English.
Adams was lucky, KG had a reputation for going harder at foreign-born players with his trash talk and intimidation. Then again Adams is not the kind of guy prone to be intimidated.
Athletes are injecting themselves into the needed national conversation about race, violence, and policing in this nation. That has taken some very public forms, including LeBron James, Chris Paul, Dwyane Wade and Carmelo Anthony speaking at the ESPYs, and Colin Kaepernick taking a knee during the national anthem and leading others to do so. Some NBA players likely will follow Kaepernick’s lead.
Pistons coach/GM Stan Van Gundy likes seeing players speak out.
A couple of his Detroit players — Reggie Jackson and Marcus Morris — said they backed the 49ers quarterback. Here is what the never shy Van Gundy said about all of it, via Vincent Ellis of the Detroit Free Press.
“I’m encouraged by the fact of what some of those guys stood up and did at the ESPYs and had a conversation,” Van Gundy said. “I’m really proud of the fact that we have guys that not only see the problem, but want to try to do something about it…
“To me, in some ways, (police brutality is) just the most visible to focus on and it goes to deeper inequities in our criminal justice system, our education system so there’s so much to focus on,” Van Gundy said. “I think it’s great that we have players that want to be part of that conversation, and a lot of players that want to go beyond the conversation and be part of the solution.”
Van Gundy has been telling his players part of that solution is to vote.
The players union and NBA sent out a release saying they wanted to work together to create positive change, but details are still vague on what that might be. The only thing we know for sure as we head into the NBA season — with as divided a nation and election as anyone can remember as a backdrop — is that some NBA players are going to try and keep the conversation going.
It was the last game of the group stage of the 2000 Olympic basketball tournament at the Sydney Olympics, the USA was taking on France, another USA win on its way to another gold medal.
But what we all remember is this one play — Vince Carter dunking over the 7’2″ French center Frederic Weis.
Best. Dunk. Ever.
Weis was never the same.
In an impressive career — two-time All-NBA, eight-time All-Star, hours and hours of crazy highlights — this is always going to be the highlight at the top of the list. So we will use the anniversary of this dunk to look at it one more time.
Hat tip to nitramy at NBA Reddit.