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.
Apparently, all it takes is a little public discussion of LeBron James‘ “broken” jump shot to get him back on balance and knocking down the three ball — he was 4-of-6 from deep Wednesday.
Then again J.R. Smith was 7-of-13, Kyrie Irving 4-of-5, and as a team the Cavaliers knocked down a record 25 threes — while shooting 55.6 percent — as they wiped the floor with the Hawks in Game 2.
In case you’re curious where the Cavs were hitting from, here’s the team’s shot chart.
The Houston Rockets aren’t in any rush to hire a new head coach, preferring to interview a wide range of candidates to find the right one. Jeff Van Gundy has been widely believed to be at the top of their list, now that Tom Thibodeau and Scott Brooks are off the market, but ESPN.com’s Marc Stein is reporting another name that has entered the mix: Mike D’Antoni, who last held a head coaching job from 2012 to 2014 with the Lakers and currently serves as the Sixers’ lead assistant.
The Pacers, meanwhile, haven’t made a final decision on Frank Vogel’s future with the team, but all signs seem to point to him getting let go in the next few days. And if that happens, Stein reports that Vogel will also be on Houston’s list of candidates.
Given the Rockets’ massive drop-off on the defensive end this season, Vogel would seem to be a better fit than D’Antoni. But it sounds like the Rockets aren’t close to finding a replacement for J.B. Bickerstaff, although it would make sense to have a new coach in place by next month’s draft.
On Monday, the Hawks played the Cavaliers close and even led in the fourth quarter, leading plenty of optimism that Game 2 would be equally competitive, that the Hawks had something to build on.
The Cavs dominated from the start on Wednesday, with a 123-98 final score that was far closer than the game actually was — the Cavs led 74-36 at the half and led by as much as 38 at one point in the second half.
The Cavs also hit 25 three-pointers, which is the all-time record for a single game — regular season or playoffs. J.R. Smith hit seven of them, along with four each from LeBron James and Kyrie Irving and three for Kevin Love.
18 of Cleveland’s threes came in the first half, also a playoff record, and this was all Atlanta could do:
That’s the kind of night it was for the Hawks, who now trail 2-0 in the series as it heads back to Atlanta.
LeBron James has always been an incredible passer. In the midst of the Cavs’ Game 2 beatdown of the Hawks, he zipped this one-handed beauty into the paint to Kyrie Irving, who kicked it out to Kevin Love for a corner three:
The three was just one of the 18 Cleveland hit in the first half, which set an NBA playoff record.