Nazr Mohammed was doing so well, too

5 Comments

For starters, it should be noted that at least the players are willing to talk about these things. They’re brave enough to go on Twitter, to talk to reporters, to have conversations about the state of the lockout and the potential end of the season. Their position is obviously as biased as it can be, but while they’re taking to social media and media outlets, the owners are hiding behind limousine windows. The response to that is “They’ll get fined!” but that belies what we’ve seen and heard, which is that David Stern is beholden to the owners. So which is it? He’s helpless against their insatiable desires or he rules them with the iron fist?

But I digress.

Nazr Mohammed was discussing the owners’ latest offer on Twitter and doing a pretty decent job. He won’t speak to specifics but continues to rail against the owners and explaining why the players will likely opt for decertification over a vote on Monday. But then, well, he went too far.

 

If this deal is accepted…I advise guys to stay in school and get ur degree, Master’s if possible. U might be able to make more $ that…Sat Nov 12 18:53:57 via Twitter for iPhone

…way than playing in the NBA in ur 1st five years. Being the 1st pick of the draft would mean nothing. #NBALockoutSat Nov 12 18:55:51 via Twitter for iPhone

 

That… was NOT what you wanted to say.

OK, so here’s what he’s talking about.

Everyone freaked out yesterday about a single 140-character tweet from Ric Bucher yesterday about a proposal element that would give teams the right to send a player to the D-League for the first five years of their career and pro-rate them at $75,000 while they’re down there. Now, I can tell you having covered the D-League for the past four years, the goal of the league is not to serve as some sort of Siberian prison camp for players to punish them. If that proposal did make it in, it would be used only for players who clearly weren’t ready. When they were, they would come up. If you draft a top draft pick, you’re not sending him to the D-League for five years to keep costs down. You want him up. The guys this would impact would likely not be part of the union long-term anyway. And we don’t know any of the surrounding details of the proposal. Oh, and what’s that? One more thing? Oh, yeah.

It’s not in the proposal anymore. It’s gone. It’s dead. It’s over. But players are still reacting to it.

NBPA COMMUNICATION = FAIL.

But just for kicks, let’s say that Mohammed’s right. That this could happen.

Via Wikipedia, the average salary for a graduate of a Master’s program several years ago, prior to the recession, was $63,000. Now subtract student loans. Now consider that most MA’s aren’t going to be in fields that yield significantly higher than that. Now consider how many MA’s you know who are working in service-industry jobs right now because of the economy. Now consider the per-hour rate of most MA’s vs. NBA players (who work very, very hard, make no mistake).

Yeah, that was not the best thing.

What’s worse is that this is the kind of thing the players don’t need right now. Even though winning the PR war will do nothing for negotiations, the players just don’t need something similar to Patrick Ewing’s famous “We spend a lot, too” comment. The players don’t necessarily have to have a high awareness of the job market outside the NBA. In a lot of ways many NBA members have a greater awareness of the poverty conditions in this country than most. But they don’t need to be talking about any NBA player being put in a bad situation. They’ll be put in a worse situation than they were under in the last CBA. But their lives overall will still be pretty great.

 

Little change in TV ratings for new-look NBA All-Star Game

Getty Images
Leave a comment

NEW YORK (AP) — A new format for the NBA All-Star Game had a negligible impact on television ratings.

Total viewership for the game was down slightly compared to last year, although it improved over 2014, the previous time the league’s midseason showcase faced competition from the Winter Olympics.

Turner Sports announced on Monday that the game drew an average of 7.7 million viewers Sunday night on TNT. Last year’s game attracted an average of 7.8 million viewers. In 2014 during the Sochi Olympics, an average of 7.5 million people watched the NBA’s best at the All-Star Game.

This year’s game abandoned the traditional East-vs.-West format in favor of teams selected by superstars LeBron James and Stephen Curry. James’ team won 148-145 in an uncommonly competitive matchup that featured better effort on defense.

Turner said the ratings improved among key demographics, including people between ages 18 and 34, and that video views on social media channels were up 37 percent compared to 2017.

Fergie says she “tried my best” after national anthem blowback

Getty Images
5 Comments

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Fergie is apologizing after trying something different with the national anthem at the NBA All-Star Game.

“I’ve always been honored and proud to perform the national anthem and last night I wanted to try something special for the NBA,” the Grammy-winning singer said in a statement Monday. “I’m a risk taker artistically, but clearly this rendition didn’t strike the intended tone. I love this country and honestly tried my best.”

Fergie’s slow, bluesy rendition of “The Star-Spangled Banner” on Sunday night wasn’t particularly well received at Staples Center or on social media before the 67th edition of the NBA’s annual showcase.

A low chuckle rumbled through the sold-out arena after she finished the first line of the song with a throaty growl on “the dawn’s early light.”

Fans throughout the star-studded crowd reacted with varying levels of bemusement and enthusiasm while her languid, 2 +-minute version of the song continued. Although Fergie was on pitch, her tempo, musical accompaniment and sexy delivery were not exactly typical for a sporting event or a patriotic song.

Golden State All-Star Draymond Green captured Sunday’s mood – and became an instant GIF – when he was shown open-mouthed on the scoreboard and the television broadcast in apparent confusion over the unique vocal stylings. Green then chuckled to himself after realizing he was on TV.

After a forceful finish, Fergie finally got big cheers when she shouted, “Let’s play some basketball!”

The Black Eyed Peas singer, born Stacy Ann Ferguson, is from nearby Hacienda Heights, California.

Famed basketball commentator Charles Barkley joked that he “needed a cigarette” after Fergie’s performance during the TNT halftime show.

Former Lakers star Shaquille O’Neal leaped to Fergie’s defense, saying: “Fergie, I love you. It was different. It was sexy. I liked it. Leave her alone.”

Others on social media weren’t as kind, with criticism of the performance outpacing the positive reviews.

 

Did Lakers help keep LeBron James in Cleveland with trade?

Associated Press
13 Comments

When the trade went down between the Lakers and Cavaliers before the deadline — sending Jordan Clarkson and Larry Nance Jr. to Cleveland in exchange for Isaiah Thomas and Channing Frye plus Cleveland’s 2018 first-round draft pick (top-five protected) — it caught the NBA by surprise.

The first reaction for a lot of people to the deal? This opens up as much as $70 million in cap space for the Lakers this summer (depending on other moves with players such as Julius Randle). Los Angeles could sign two max players — LeBron James and Paul George. Why would Cleveland help Los Angeles open up room to steal LeBron.

The Cavaliers didn’t see it that way — they knew they had to make a major shakeup or LeBron was gone. At that point, does it matter where? So in a series of moves, Cleveland GM Koby Altman radically remade the roster around LeBron. The goal was to energize them back into being the team to beat in the East, and from there make it hard for him to leave as a free agent. Since the trades, the Cavaliers are 2-0 and LeBron has clearly been reinvigorated, plus they will add Kevin Love back in a few weeks.

Altman’s plan seems to be working, one executive told Mark Spears of ESPN’s The Undefeated.

“I wouldn’t be surprised if he stays in Cleveland now,” one high-ranking Eastern Conference team executive said. “The Cavaliers put a really good team around him. The Cavaliers have made it really tough for him to decide to leave Cleveland again. The Lakers might have helped them keep LeBron.”

I had heard from sources for a while LeBron to the Lakers was not likely (Paul George is another story, that door remains open). As Spears notes, the Lakers did not have an All-Star in Sunday’s game. Even if LeBron and PG13 went to Los Angeles, that team was third or fourth best in the West next season. LeBron is in full on legacy mode and wants to win rings. Los Angeles is not the place to do it.

Houston is interesting (and it’s still a team I hear some execs think has a real shot), but the gutting or role players on that roster to make it work would be a concern. Maybe a dark horse such as Philadelphia can emerge. However, if LeBron can lead this newly-energized Cavaliers team to the Finals again (his eighth consecutive trip there), they get a high draft pick with the Brooklyn pick, then LeBron gets a commitment from Altman and owner Dan Gilbert to keep spending and being aggressive, where is he going to be closer to a title than at home?

Lou Williams trolls Jimmy Butler for resting during All-Star Game

Getty Images
9 Comments

Jimmy Butler was in Los Angeles and enjoying his well-earned All-Star slot on Team Stephen.

Well, except for the actual playing basketball part. Butler did not set foot on the court during the All-Star Game at his own request.

“Rest,” Butler said when asked why he didn’t play. “I have to rest. I have to rest my body up. This Timberwolves season is very, very important to me. I’ve got to make sure I’m ready to roll when I get back there.”

Lou Williams, the Clippers’ guard who likely would have been near the front of the line for an open All-Star roster spot in the West (likely second in the queue behind Chris Paul), but instead took part in the Saturday Skills Competition then had Sunday off, trolled Butler for it on Twitter.

This seems more good natured than genuinely bitter.

Williams will roll with it, but his point’s a valid one — if you’re an All-Star, at least play a little and give the people what they want. Get out there for five minutes or whatever. LaMarcus Aldridge only played four minutes, no big deal.

If you’re not going to use the roster spot, give it up to someone who will.