Dallas Mavericks v Miami Heat - Game Six

What stands in way of deal? Issues around high-spending teams.


We’re on the cusp of an NBA labor deal and games, but we’re not all the way there.

What stands in the way comes down to this — the Dallas Mavericks won the NBA title last season with the third highest payroll in the league, and the Lakers the two titles before that with payroll at the top of the league. Small market owners see that, see what LeBron James and Carmelo Anthony did — leaving smaller markets to play in bigger ones with more stars — and freaked out.

Small market owners want to tie the hands of big market owners to just spend. The players want those big market owners to have the means to spend if they want.

Multiple reports say basically that is where we are stuck. Ken Berger of CBSSports.com summed it up well.

Union president Derek Fisher had made clear that, in return for that willingness to negotiate further on the economics, it was expected that the league relax its position on several system-related deal points — chiefly dealing with additional penalties for repeat offenders above the luxury tax, a prohibition of sign-and-trade transactions for tax teams, and the size, length and frequency of mid-level signings for tax teams.

The owners have said from the start — and Deputy Commissioner Adam Silver emphasized again last night — that they see the financial and system items as totally separate. You can’t trade one for the other in their eyes, even though that is essentially what they are doing.

The players want teams paying the luxury tax to be able to use the full mid-level exception at $5 million, the owners proposal calls for a mini mid-level of $2.5 million for tax paying teams they can only use every other year. Basically, the owners want to make it very hard for the Miami Heat to bring in good role players every year. The players think that if teams are willing to pay the tax to spend, they should be able to.

That is where it stands. The two sides will sit down in a room again at noon and try to clear those last hurdles.

Kings’ Karl admits mistakes in DeMarcus Cousins trade controversey

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In the NBA, elite players have the leverage. It is just simple supply and demand.

DeMarcus Cousins is an elite player — and a favorite of owner Vivek Ranadive. He is not going anywhere.

Which made this summer’s “George Karl wants trade Cousins” a battle the coach couldn’t ultimately win — the owner wasn’t going to sign off on it, and the fans are going to side with Boogie. Remember Karl said he never had a player that was untradable, and that spiraled into reports Karl probed trade options with other teams, much to the frustration of management and Cousins himself.

Karl owned up to some of his mistakes in an interview on Comcast Bay Area, as reported by James Ham at CSNBayArea.com.

“To be honest with you, I apologized to DeMarcus for making the trade comment that I’ve never coached a player that’s untradeable,” Karl told Christensen. “That was wrong for me to say, because you all (the media) took it and blew it up into crazy.”

“But it’s my responsibility to be smart enough to not say things like that,” Karl continued. “So I did apologize because I thought that was the only thing, maybe some other things, but really the only thing that got us separated was that comment that then everybody wrote the we’re going to trade [Cousins].”

The relationship between Cousins and Karl — not to mention Rajon Rondo and other veterans — is the biggest key to the Kings’ season. Karl and Cousins say their relationship is solid now, but what happens when that is put under stress at some point during the season?

In talking to people around the team, the Kings players seemed to have formed a tight bond — even if part of the glue of that bond is a distrust of Karl that can work for them. This is a team that has the talent to compete for the bottom couple playoff seeds in the Western Conference, but everybody needs to be pulling on the rope in the same direction. We will see pretty quickly if the Kings can do that.

Pistons reveal “Detroit Chrome” alternate uniform


I’m a fan of the Pistons’ alternate uniforms in general — their “Motor City” ones may be may favorite alternates around the league.

Now they have a new one — Detroit Chrome.

The Pistons will break these out for seven home games this season. From the official release:

The inspiration for the Detroit Chrome jerseys came about as a way to honor our coolest cars from the past and the cars of the future. Detroit is universally known as the auto capital of the world, where chrome leaves an indelible mark on the cars we create. The uniforms feature a matte chrome base color with clean simple lines inspired by the classic muscle cars that have roared up and down Woodward Avenue for decades. The navy trim and Detroit emblazoned across the chest represent the blue collar work ethic that the auto industry and region was built on.

Clean, simple, cool — I like it.

That would look good in the first round of the playoffs, too. (I’m predicting they get the eight seed.)