The NBA announced on Sunday night they would take questions from people on Twitter and David Stern and Adam Silver would answer them. What followed was a series of refutations from players and repetition of talking points they’ve been spewing for months. It was neither productive, insightful, nor revealing. It did not harness the power of social media, and only served to push the one-sided agenda they’ve been pursuant to for months.
So, no, it didn’t go great.
- They started out by saying contraction had been discussed but that it wasn’t a “complete solution,” a nice way of keeping it on the table to scare some fans.
- They did point out that the stretch exception can’t be used on contracts signed before the new CBA. Hedo Turkoglu signs a sigh of relief as Magic fans burn copies of the proposal.
- They got into a brief spat with Spencer Hawes, with both sides saying “Nuh-uh, season starts if you agree to the deal!”
- They backed off of calling the players greedy, instead just saying the system is “broken.” Instead, they’re just calling the agents greedy.
- They joined the massive chorus of people shooting down the D-League proposal report.
- They responded to a question about the players giving up 7% of BRI and the system changes with this: “We want a system where all 30 teams regardless of market size can compete for a championship.” That’s like me saying, “I turned off the power to my house and blew up my car because I wanted a unicorn.”
- The argument was made that the MLE is about competitive balance, not money. So a player salary level is not about money.
- Someone asked about replacement players. The league responded the “goal” is for a season with current players. Note how they don’t rule it out. Vague threats are the best!
- They had the gall to argue that competitive balance and spending are related, despite all of the comprehensive assaults on that line of thinking over the past three months by media outlets. Specifically, they argued it by saying “is so,” essentially.
- Pulling out the big guns, the league said that if the players decertified, their contracts would become null. That’s a big gun to waive (the league would have to pursue it through the courts for it to be binding). Just something to put a pause in the star players’ thought process.
- Their one productive message on the night was to say that all the executives for the NBA had taken a paycut. Doesn’t help the 300 people they laid off, but it’s something.
And that was it.
It was a noble idea. Reach the fans directly, communicate the league’s position, leverage social media. It just came across as more baseless rhetoric, more noise in a white sea of context-less nonsense. The league could have elaborated more on the specifics of the deal, shown how it isn’t as bad as the players have made it out to be. Instead they just said “No, it’s not!” and that was all.
The rhetoric continues as tomorrow’s doomsday clock ticks shorter.
The Spurs have been the Spurs this season, going 19-8 with an elite defense and offense that’s good enough to get them wins, thanks to LaMarcus Aldridge playing at an All-Star level.
Starting Tuesday, they add Kawhi Leonard back to the mix.
He will return to the lineup against Dallas, but will be on a minutes restriction, coach Gregg Popovich said on Tuesday. He would not say how many minutes, although around 20 seems a logical starting spot.
Leonard is one of the five best players in the NBA (and that may be selling him short). He averaged a career-high 25.5 points a game last season, he’s arguably the best perimeter defender in the NBA, and he finished third in the MVP voting last season.
However, there are going to be adjustments. LaMarcus Aldridge has been the focal point of the offense, but he could see fewer touches, particularly in crunch time. Kyle Anderson could see fewer minutes, and Rudy Gay may as well because Popovich liked some small-ball lineups last season with Leonard at the four. A lot of players will see their rotations change.
That said, it’s the Spurs. Do we really expect them to be anything but an incredibly good regular season team? One that is about to get better?
The injuries just keep hitting the Pelicans. Guys like Solomon Hill and Alexis Ajinca are out for extended periods of time. Anthony Davis has missed four of the team’s last six games and is questionable for Wednesday night due to a left adductor injury.
Now comes the news that reserve guard Tony Allen will be out three to four weeks due to a nondisplaced left proximal fibula fracture, the team announced Tuesday. This is the part of the bone near the ankle.
Allen has played a limited role for New Orleans off the bench this season, averaging 12.4 minutes a game, and averaging 4.7 points. His reputation is that of a defensive stopper, and when he is on the court this season the Pelicans’ defense has been 5.6 points per 100 possessions better. However, father time has started to catch up with him and he is not the defender he once was.
Expect the minutes to bump up for Jrue Holiday and E'Twaun Moore with this injury, which is not a bad thing as they have played well (they were knocking down threes against the Rockets Monday like they were named Curry), plus Ian Clark could get a little more run.
Kawhi Leonard, enabled by the Spurs’ no-nonsense culture, is probably the NBA’s most boring superstar.
He’s widely recognized as the league’s best defender, and he has worked himself into an elite offensive threat. He has already won a Finals MVP, and regular-season MVP could eventually be in the cards.
But Leonard is notoriously reserved. For someone who has been on this stage for so long, we know little about him.
Except we now know he apparently likes karate.
Gonna chop y’all up. Look at all of us. Karate styyyle.
If “karate styyyle” doesn’t become Leonard’s catchphrase, I don’t even know what we’re doing.
Leonard will finally have the chance to chop up an NBA opponent tonight, when he makes his return from injury.
Michael C. Wright of ESPN:
Kevin Durant has become a villain to many.
Clearly not to this Warriors fan, though.