After 15 hours of meetings, “some progress” in NBA labor talks

4 Comments

I’ve got to say this for the owners and players, when they sit down to talk they don’t get up.

NBA owners and players union representatives met for more than 15 hours in New York Wednesday — going until 3:20 a.m. Thursday morning. The two sides will get back at it on Thursday at 2 p.m. (with David Stern saying he would have a conference call with the owners Labor Relations Committee prior that).

Out of all that we have a glimmer of hope.

“The energy in the room has been good, the back and forth has been good,” NBA Commissioner David Stern said

Through the day Thursday there were multiple reports that the two sides made progress discussing “system issues” — things such as the luxury tax and length of contracts. Both sides confirmed that.

“We were able to work through a number of different issues today regarding our system,” union president Derek Fisher said. “We can’t say that major progress was made in any way but there was some progress on some of our system issues.”

That leaves the big issue — the split of revenue, or basketball related income (BRI) — untouched. BRI was not discussed at all on Wednesday, both sides confirmed.

“I think we’ll turn to the split when we finish with the system…” Stern said. “Right now it has been profitable to turn to the system.”

In the old system the players got 57 percent of BRI, they have offered to come down to 52.5 percent, but the owners have not budged off 50 percent. The system issues the two sides discussed would impact salaries and BRI, but at the end of the day the split is the key issue.

However, some in the negotiations believe that if they can solve the system issues the BRI will become easier and almost fall into place.

Maybe. Maybe not. What is undeniable is this bargaining session left a general sense of optimism that things might be moving forward again.

Remember, however, that this has been the pattern in the past. When it is a small group led by Stern and Hunter progress is made, but when that progress is presented to larger groups of players or owners that is when things blow up. That is when the hardliners step in.

Still, “some progress” will lead to some hope we will see NBA basketball soon.

“I can’t describe (the progress made) other than to say it’s better than not making any progress at all,” Stern said.

Brandon Jennings no fan of the NBA’s new Awards Ceremony event

Leave a comment

Come June 26, Drake will be on stage in New York City, handing out the NBA’s awards — Most Valuable Player, Defensive Player of the Year, Coach of the Year, and so on. (We need to set an under/over on the number of players Drake hugs that night.)

The NFL does it. The NHL does it. And the NBA has decided to follow suit with a broadcast awards ceremony where everything — except the All-NBA Team — will be announced that night. It’s happening because the broadcast partners want it.

Brandon Jennings is not a fan. Here is what the Wizards’ point guard Tweeted:

Jennings took down a Tweet that said if he had won the award he would have wanted to get it with the organization and his teammates around him. (And no, he knows he’s not winning the award. If you were going to put that in the comments be more creative.)

There’s something to what Jennings is saying. The NBA award roll out was awkward at times in previous years, but it gave the fans a chance to celebrate the awards with their favorite player. Now, everyone will watch it unfold on television from a ballroom in NYC. That feels a little colder. Also, we will get to see the reaction of those who don’t win (particularly this season, where several players can make a strong case for MVP).

It will be interesting to see how this first year goes, and how the league tweaks it going forward. The more than two month gap between the end of the regular season and the awards could feel a bit awkward. But we’re not going to knock the idea until we’ve seen it in action.

Portland GM makes it official, Festus Ezeli will not be back with team next season

ezeli
Leave a comment

This season the Portland Trail Blazers found their center of the future (and the present) in Jusuf Nurkic.

Which makes the next step fairly obvious: Portland will not pick up the option on Festus Ezeli for next season, GM Neil Olshay confirmed at the team exit meetings Tuesday.

Portland signed Ezeli on what they thought was a great contract (one-year, $7.4 million, with a team option for the second year) because he was coming off knee surgery last summer. However, Ezeli was never healthy, needed a second surgery, and never got on the court. After taking it slow over last summer he practiced with the team twice in mid-October, there was more swelling, so he pulled back.

This summer Ezeli will not draw any guaranteed money from teams, but some teams may take a look at him. Athletic bigs get a lot of chances in the NBA.

Gordon Hayward will play for Jazz in Game 5 without minutes restriction

Getty Images
Leave a comment

Gordon Hayward has averaged 20.5 points a game in these playoffs — and that includes a 40 point outburst in Game 3 — but what has been more impressive is he has done it efficiently, with a true shooting percentage of 61.1. While Joe Johnson and others have stepped up, Utah will need Hayward’s shot creation if they are going to win this series.

They will have it Tuesday night in Game 5.

After missing the second half of Game 4 due to food poisoning (he tried to play but was ineffective in the first half), he is back and ready to go this time around.

So is Rudy Gobert. The Jazz will be at full health, while the Clippers remain without Blake Griffin for the remainder of the playoffs.

Having those two back is a boost for the Jazz, they need to score more consistently against the Clippers, but the bigger key will be defensively trying to deal with Chris Paul on the pick-and-roll. He has been masterful this series, and the Jazz need to keep him in check to give their offense a chance.

When NBA switches to Nike uniforms next season, Hornets will move to Jordan Brand

Leave a comment

There are not going to be dramatic changes to the look of the NBA when Nike takes over the apparel contract for next season, replacing Adidas. Instead of the Adidas logo, there will be a swoosh, sleeved jerseys will fade away, and some teams will modify their alternate jerseys, but the league is not getting a total uniform makeover next season. Things will look basically the same.

Except in Charlotte — they will not have a swoosh, they will have the Jordan Jumpman logo.

The why is obvious — Michael Jordan is the primary owner of the Hornets and, obviously, the guy the Jordan brand was named after. The Jordan Brand is part of Nike. The Hornets made the announcement this week buried in a press release about moving the fan shop at the arena, hat tip to Sole Collector for finding this. Here is what the release says:

The re-opening of the Hornets Fan Shop will coincide with the launch of the team’s new Jordan Brand uniforms as Nike becomes the NBA’s uniform provider beginning this season.  The Hornets will be the only team in the NBA wearing Jordan Brand uniforms, and with the agreement taking effect, the Hornets Fan Shop will have even more of the popular Jordan Brand Hornets merchandise than it has had previously.

While it’s not like the Lakers or Celtics are going to be changing up their traditional uniforms, even teams like the Hornets will keep a similar look under Nike.

What should be interesting to see is what the Christmas Day and All-Star uniforms look like under a Nike touch.