Players union to host meeting in Los Angeles Friday

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The NBA players union cannot win the public relations war — the fans will side with the owners, especially after the blunder-filled “let us play” twitter campaign Monday — and their only hope of salvaging what they have of the last labor deal is to stay unified.

So far that has gone well — with the NBA’s stars leading the way the union is not breaking ranks. Kobe Bryant and Kevin Garnett have made pleas with the players to stay unified, and the NBA rank-and-file loved Dwyane Wade snapping back at David Stern in a meeting a couple weeks back.

To keep that going, there will be a players meeting in Los Angeles on Friday, with union head Billy Hunter and union president Derek Fisher flying out, according to Chris Broussard at ESPN.

The union had originally scheduled this meeting for Monday, but Hunter postponed it to stay and negotiate with David Stern and the owners.

The players have handled this lockout pretty well, keeping their heads down. They are holding firm saying they want 53 percent of basketball related income. They are in a tough spot because the players never win in the minds of the public, whether they are in the right or not (and I think they are). We don’t relate to their salary, we don’t understand why you don’t show up for work when you make that much money.

But Monday when the players started tweeting “let us play” they came off as having a “woe is me” attitude. It fell flat. You can’t do that when you make millions and many Americans are worried about how to pay their health insurance bill. If it really was about the basketball and not the money, you could take the owners last offer and still make more money than 99 percent of Americans. It’s about the money. Own that.

So long as the union can stay together, they can get more money. But they may have to go to the brink of losing a full season to do it.

Kyrie Irving: ‘I see you. I see everyone. More than just your physical presence, I see your energy. I feel it. I know it’

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Kyrie Irving has done good lately.

Not just during Celtics games. He gave his jersey and shoes to military members in the crowd, and he recently shared a Thanksgiving dinner with Boston families.

Irving also addressed the event.

Irving, via Nicole Yang of Boston.com:

“I see you,” he said. “I see everyone. More than just your physical presence, I see your energy. I feel it. I know it.”

“I think that the most important thing that I strive to live by is extremely by truth and by consistently giving others the truth, without any judgement, without constraints, without anything extra except the understanding that I see you,” he said. “I have family members who come from knowing energy, and it was passed along to me.”

I can’t get enough of all this stuff.

Report: Derrick Rose away from Cavaliers, evaluating his future in basketball

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When Derrick Rose went AWOL from the Knicks last season for what he called a family issue, rumors swirled that he was contemplating retirement. Rose denied it, but those whispers are reemerging.

Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN:

Rose has been out with what seemed like a relative minor, for him at least, ankle injury. The 29-year-old could stick in the league for a while thanks to his reputation and ability to attack the rim to create shots for himself. But the guard is a shell of peak form after years of more serious injuries. This isn’t the career anyone expected for him when he was named the youngest MVP ever in 2011.

Before the season, Rose was talking about getting a raise on his next contract. He seemed happy to join a contender and have LeBron James in his corner.

But something is amiss. Hopefully, Rose can find contentment – whether that’s continuing his NBA career or walking away.

Ryan McDonough: Suns want to sign two-way Mike James to standard contract

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Brandon Knight got hurt. Eric Bledsoe got traded.

The Suns made Mike James – a 27-year-old rookie on a two-way contract – their starting point guard.

Though he eventually ceded the role to Tyler Ulis, James – the only player on a two-way contract to start an NBA game – is still a rotation regular. He’s an aggressive defender and possesses plenty of offensive moves.

The problem: Unless demoted to Phoenix’s minor-league affiliate before then, he’ll max out the 45 allowable NBA days for a two-way player Dec. 6.

Suns general manager Ryan McDonough, via Scott Bordow of azcentral:

We’d still like to get him on the 15-man roster and we’re looking at different ways to do that.

The Suns can unilaterally convert James’ two-contract into a standard one-year minimum deal. Both sides could also negotiate a longer contract.

The bigger issue is clearing a roster spot.

Phoenix has the maximum 15 players with standard contracts with no obvious cuts. Derrick Jones Jr. doesn’t play much, but the 20-year-old’s athleticism creates intriguing upside. Second-rounder Davon Reed is hurt, though teams rarely cut bait so quickly.

So, a trade is possible. Greg Monroe never seemed long for Phoenix. Or anyone else could be moved.

If it comes to it, the Suns could send James to the minors to bide time. But they want to play competitive basketball, and he helps. So, expect something else to give within the next couple weeks.

Joel Embiid upgrades himself from 69% to 81%: ‘Shoutout to Jalen Rose’

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A story in three parts:

1. After posting 46-15-7-7 in a win over the Lakers, frequently injured 76ers center Joe Embiid declared himself to be 69%:

2. ESPN analyst Jalen Rose called that joke “unprofessional:”

3. Embiid upgraded his status to 81% with a “shoutout to Jalen Rose:”

In case you didn’t get the joke.