We’re past the point where saying “at least they’re still talking” makes me feel very good. Yet that’s the only real takeaway from Tuesday’s marathon NBA labor negotiation session.
NBA owners and players met for 16 hours on Tuesday and the best news anybody had to report — all off the record, as there were gag orders — is that federal mediator George Cohen was able to keep the emotion out of it and put in a few potential building blocks. But there was no real progress on the elephant in the room — how to divide up the money, the split of basketball related income. And while the two sides say they are stuck on “system issues” like the luxury tax, know that the luxury tax is another debate about how to divide up the money.
Not good, not good at all. The only winners appear to be midtown New York hotel owners who get to rent out conference rooms for negotiations. They could still be making money for a while.
It’s good that they two sides will meet again Wednesday, and it’s good that David Stern didn’t walk out of the room and cancel more games. But there was no significant breakthrough in a marathon negotiating session Tuesday (and into Wednesday morning). Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo had a good quote on the issue.
Asked if the sides had closed any gaps between them, a source in the meeting told Y! Sports: “On small stuff. Hard to see where this is going.”
A. Sherrod Blakely of CSNNE.com tweeted essentially the same thing, saying the two sides made steps but had a long way to go, according to his sources.
Ken Berger at CBSSports.com had this quote:
“Nothing has been agreed to,” said a person who was briefed on the talks. “There was nothing to say.”
Don’t expect as long a session on Wednesday. In part because guys will get exhausted, and in part because the NBA Board of Governors (the official voting body made up of the owners) is also meeting in New York. NBA Commissioner Stern will need to be in two places at once on Wednesday.
So feel good that they are at least talking, it is better than the alternative. But it’s hard to feel positive right now.
It was rumored this week that the Detroit Pistons and Minnesota Timberwolves were mulling a trade that would send Ricky Rubio to Michigan and Reggie Jackson to Minnesota. Now, Pistons head coach Stan Van Gundy says that isn’t happening.
Nor was it a real offer that was even on the table.
In a video posted to the Detroit Free Press, Van Gundy went off on one of his classic fireside chats — the kind that involves profanity — on how he sees the NBA as it works.
Warning: NSFW language ahead.
While the whole thing is worth watching for the Van Gundyness of it all, here’s the meat you’re looking for:
All these rumors and stuff look I mean know it’s fun for everybody and you’ve got some source somewhere and it’s also all bullshit. Im not denying that discussion — they take place all the time – -that’s a lot different than considerations. Somebody says ‘Hey would you consider Ricky Rubio for Reggie Jackson that discussion might have taken pace. And clearly we didn’t make that move. We wanted to see if they’d go [Michael] Gbinije for LeBron.
Van Gundy said he didn’t know if the specific Jackson-for-Rubio discussion even happened, saying that Pistons president Jeff Bower only brings him trades they are actively considering.
Meanwhile, Van Gundy confirmed that he did text Jackson after his agent made contact with Bower.
“This is the crazy season. We’re not trading you for Ricky Rubio,” said Van Gundy about his text to Jackson.
The NBA league office fined Washington Wizards assistant coach Sidney Lowe $5,000 — and the team an additional $15,000 — for his role in distracting a New York Knicks shooter during a game this last week.
Now, the league has issued a warning to teams: make sure you’re practicing good bench etiquette, or we’re coming for your wallets.
According to ESPN’s Zach Lowe, the NBA sent a memo to all 30 teams on Saturday reminding them to remain on their own bench in accordance with league rules. Obviously that means no stepping onto active basketball courts:
So what are coaches needing to confine themselves to?
Official NBA rules state simply:
The coach’s position may be on or off the bench from the substitution box line (closest to the coach’s bench) to the baseline. A coach is not permitted to cross the midcourt line and violators will be assessed an unsportsmanlike technical foul immediately. All assistants and trainers must remain on the bench. Coaches and trainers are not permitted to go to the scorer’s table, for any reason, except during a dead ball.
Like we see with preseason points of emphasis, it’s possible we see additional fines in the weeks to come. Several coaches enjoy toeing the line (literally) to see what they can get away with and how far out on the court they can stand. Tom Thibodeau immediately springs to mind.
Or, it could go the other direction. Perhaps we see more coaches sitting back, respecting their distance?
Hopefully we just don’t see any more of them trying to close out on opposing shooters.
The NBA got rid of the center position on the All-Star ballot starting in 2013, thanks in part to some positional confusion around former San Antonio Spurs star Tim Duncan. But just a handful of years later, Philadelphia 76ers big man Joel Embiid says it should make a comeback.
Embiid — who finished third in the Eastern Conference for forwards in All-Star fan voting — told CSN Philly that due to the plethora of talented big men in the NBA, the position should return.
Via CSN Philly:
“There’s a lot of talented big men in the league, especially at the center position,” Embiid said. “That’s something the NBA should think about, putting the center back on the All-Star ballot.”
There has been a resurgence of talented and burgeoning centers that have entered the league and are performing at a high level. Embiid is one of them, and so too is DeMarcus Cousins, Karl-Anthony Towns, Nikola Jokic, Hassan Whiteside, Clint Capela, Rudy Gobert, DeAndre Jordan, Andre Drummond, Steven Adams, and Jahlil Okafor.
Adding the center position back might be a tough sell as having it doesn’t reduce eliminations from the roster. It’s much more free-flowing now, and there’s nothing keeping great centers off the All-Star team.
It would also be a little strange if center was added back but there wasn’t a point guard spot, too. ESPN’s Zach Lowe has suggested three categories for the roster in point guard, wing, and frontcourt. That idea is as good as adding the center position, perhaps moreso to many folks in the NBA.
I don’t think adding the center position will make a comeback any time soon. Meanwhile, we’re all just waiting to see if Embiid makes the All-Star reserves.
Is Aaron Gordon a three or a four?
That’s a debate for another day. What we all know he can do is leap out of the building, and he showed off how that can be useful during a game Friday night — Jabari Parker actually defends this fairly well, Gordon can just go over the top of him and get it. With that, we get a highlight.
The Magic upset the Bucks 112-96, behind 20 from a resurgent Elfrid Payton. Parker had 25 for the Bucks.