For a couple days now, we’ve been waiting for the NBA to officially wipe out games through the end of November. There were even reports that the ax would drop Tuesday.
Now, as it moves past 5 p.m. Tuesday in New York (where the NBA offices are located), no games have been called off yet.
Which means … nothing. Not one thing.
The official announcement will come when it best suits the league’s negotiating tactics. Not before, not after.
But it will come. Know that right now all the games in November are toast. It’s going to take roughly 30 days from the time the owners and players get their act together and solve this labor dispute to when games start. It’s Oct. 25 and there are no formal meeting scheduled. There will be no deal before Halloween, which means no games before Dec. 1. Christmas Day games are not yet toast, but they are being brought to the gallows soon enough.
The big sticking point in talks remains the owners’ demand for a 50/50 split of basketball-related income — the players got 57 percent in the old deal and have offered to lower it to 52.5 percent now. That is a $180 million give back for next season. The owners want not only a larger slice of that pie but also to put in a new, harsher luxury tax to limit big-spending teams as well as reductions of contract lengths and other steps that help them get out of bad deals. The players have given in some on the percentage of income, trying to get the owners to give on the tax, but the owners remain steadfast that they need both. Basically, they aren’t negotiating, the owners are going for the massive, 50-point win and will not call off the full-court press.
Meanwhile, it’s the fans and the game that lose.
Minnesota is going to be entertaining to watch this season. A healthy Ricky Rubio (hopefully) dishing at the point, Karl-Anthony Towns is already a high-IQ passer, and bench players such as Shabazz Muhammad and Adreian Payne have shown some skills.
Then there’s Andrew Wiggins. The reigning Rookie of the Year developed quickly last season — particularly his jump shot — and he should make a big leap this season. He’s going to dunk on people and end up in a lot of highlight packages while putting up a lot of points.
Enough to set the Minnesota Timberwolves single game scoring record, currently held at 52 by Mo Williams? That’s the question for this PBT Extra with Jenna Corrado.
The Bulls have said Derrick Rose is about a week away from returning after suffering a facial fracture this preseason.
The start of the NBA season is two weeks from today (Oct. 27).
So Rose will be ready to go when the Bulls start their season that first night against Cleveland, right? Don’t bet on it, says Vincent Goodwill of CSNChicago.com, quoting coach Fred Hoiberg.
The opening night projection for a Derrick Rose return is a bit murky at this point, as the Bulls are taking a cautious approach to his recovery with Fred Hoiberg essentially ruling him out for the rest of the preseason.
“Most likely (out for the preseason),” Hoiberg said….
In fact, it wouldn’t be surprising to see Rose sit out the first handful of games, as the Bulls start the season with a three-game in four-night stretch starting Oct. 27 against the Cleveland Cavaliers, which is in two weeks.
“That will be in consideration, sure,” Hoiberg said. “We gotta make sure, he really hasn’t done anything and that will be a good two or three weeks where he has total inactivity, so just to throw him back out there going 100 percent with his speed and everything, you just don’t want to take any risks, chances, where it could be a lingering issue.”
Just what TNT and the NBA hoped for with an opening night Bulls vs. Cavaliers showcase: Kirk Hinrich vs. Mo Williams. (Don’t forget Kyrie Irving will miss the start of the season recovering from his knee surgery.)
Of course, this is the smart play for the Bulls who need to be thinking about getting Rose fully healthy and focusing on what condition he will be come April 27, not Oct. 27.
And of course, a lot of Bulls fans who are down on Rose will slam him for this. Even though the injury was a freak accident and the team is right to be patient.
Rose could play opening night, if he gets back to practice next week and can get closer to basketball shape. But I wouldn’t bet on it.