Kurt Helin

Adam Silver

NBA, union hold preliminary collective bargaining meeting

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NEW YORK (AP) — Representatives of the NBA and NBA Players Association have met to discuss the Collective Bargaining Agreement, about a year before either side could signal its desire to opt out of it.

NBA Commissioner Adam Silver, NBPA executive director Michele Roberts, and representatives of their staffs took part in Tuesday’s meeting, according to a joint release. The sides said it was a preliminary meeting that included “constructive dialogue” and they agreed to continue their discussions.

Here is the full released statements by both sides:

“Earlier today the NBA and NBPA met to discuss the Collective Bargaining Agreement (“CBA”).  Meeting participants included NBPA Executive Director Michele Roberts, NBA Commissioner Adam Silver and representatives of the NBA Labor Relations Committee and NBPA Executive Committee as well as league and union staff.  It was a preliminary meeting that included constructive dialogue, and we agreed to continue our discussions.”  

The CBA runs through June 30, 2021, but either side could opt out on June 30, 2017. To do so, it would have to notify the other side of its intent by Dec. 15, 2016.

With salaries skyrocketing and loads of money coming into the system next season with the new national TV deals, there has been hope that a work stoppage could be avoided. The current CBA was ratified after a lockout that limited the 2011-12 season to 66 games.

Report: Evan Fournier wanted $10 million a year in extension

Evan Fournier
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If you read that headline and said “no $*#*!@ing way” then two things are clear: You have forgotten how much the salary cap is about to spike, and you haven’t watched Evan Fournier play this season.

The fourth-year Magic shooting guard out of France is averaging 16.3 points per game, shooting 39.1 percent from three, and has pushed Victor Oladipo to the bench in Orlando because Fournier has flat-out been better. When paired with Channing Frye at the four the Magic’s new starters are outscoring opponents by 14.4 points per 100 possessions, he’s a better defender than Oladipo, and Scott Skiles trusts him.

People around the league have noticed Fournier, realize he is a restricted free agent, and the man is about to get PAID. From the brilliant Zach Lowe of ESPN.

Fournier’s agents asked for big money in extension talks — well north of $10 million per season, sources say — but the Magic may end up regretting their decision to let him go into restricted free agency.

 

A solid starter in the new world order of the television money that will flood the NBA market this summer is expected to be closer to $11-$12 million a year. Fournier is a solid starter — and some team with cap space (meaning anyone) may offer to pay him more.

On the latest PBT Podcast Dan Feldman and I had a short discussion of how crazy this summer will be — I think it will be a little crazier than he does. But the kind of guys who are going to benefit from that cash in the system are players such as Fournier.

What costs more: Sixers ticket or beer at arena?

Associated Press
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There are two things that NBA fans from the Moda Center in Portland to the American Airlines Arena can agree on: Jerseys with sleeves suck, and beer at the arena costs too much.

But in Philadelphia, where you can get a ticket to a Sixers game at a single-digit price — how much are you going to pay to see that team? — it raises an interesting question:

What costs more, the ticket or the beer? One fan posted his answer.

beer screenshot

First, notice this guy is not way up at the top of the arena, he got single-digit ticket prices in the lower bowl. Among the things Jerry Colangelo needs to fix

Second, $9 for a Coors Light can may be the norm around the league, but that is highway robbery.

Finally, I went on a couple secondary market ticket sites (Seat Geet and Stubhub) to see how cheaply I could buy a ticket to see the Sixers in Philly, and the answer was $8 to see Detroit, $15 to see New York, $7 to see Memphis, and $8 to see Minnesota.

So yes, a $9 Coors Light costs more than most of those. And if you decide to splurge a little and get a good craft beer, well, you might as well be sitting courtside.

(Hat tip SBNation.com)

Chinese students honor Kobe with portrait on snowy court

Kobe in snow
From Twitter
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This is simply impressive.

We sometimes forget Kobe Bryant is more than just the guy Byron Scott plays more minutes than the young-legged players he is supposed to be developing. He is not just the guy Angelino’s loved and much of the rest of the NBA nation hated but respected. He is a global icon, the first NBA player to really focus on and push into the massive Chinese market (he went there every summer before everyone else, he started his own Chinese-language website and had his own China-based charitable foundation).

Word of Kobe’s retirement had one young artist in China who came up with an amazing tribute on a snow-filled basketball court.

The Los Angeles Times filed a story on it.

Wei Xudong, a sophomore majoring in sculpturing at Beihua University, said he and some classmates were looking for an idea for their next art project when he read the letter from Bryant announcing his retirement.

“I must do something for Kobe,” said Wei. “I always thought he had not decided on retiring from the NBA, maybe he’ll play one more season. Now I know this is the last season I can see him play.”

In a season of what seems to be countless Kobe tributes and outpourings of love, this is unique. Well done, Wei Xudong.

(Hat tip Dan Devine at Ball Don’t Lie)

Paul George on Pacers vs. Warriors Tuesday: “Tonight is a must win for us”

Paul George
Associated Press
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There are no must win NBA games in December.

But if you’ve been a top team that has lost a couple of games in a row and is about to face a major test on national television, it can feel like that. So you can understand Paul George feels tonight’s anticipated showdown between the Pacers vs. Warriors, and he didn’t hold back in expressing that to the Indianapolis Star.

“Tonight is a must win for us,” he said. “We’re hungry for a win, especially losing the last one we lost, a game we should have won.”

PG13, you have been a joy to watch this season, and the resurgent Pacers are a great story. So please don’t take this the wrong way, but…

This is not the game you want to designate as a “must win.” First, you may not want to light a fire under Stephen Curry, who can shoot from the other side of the White River. The Warriors already are going to be focused for this one, as opposed to the slightly coasting, showing little hubris moments we have seen from them of late. Nothing that has jump up and bit them yet, but there could be cracks in the armor. However, focused Golden State is playing on a level higher than anyone else right now.

The Pacers, using Paul George at the four, are a fascinating matchup for the Warriors. On paper one of the few teams that should be able to challenge them a little in the small ball department. As Kevin Garnett once told us, “ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE.”

But must win? Not sure I’d go there.