Kurt Helin

Beyond Sport United 2015

Adam Silver: NBA, union talk CBA “on a staff level”

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There is a growing optimistic camp around the NBA that a new CBA will get done without a lockout in 2017. At the very least without the loss of any games. The arguments as to why are a bit nuanced but boil down to this: There is so much money on the table now for players and owners nobody is going jeopardize it.

If you’re looking for another reason to be optimistic, there is the fact union executive director Michelle Roberts said the NBA and players’ union are already talking about the new CBA. NBA Commissioner Adam Silver confirmed that, speaking with the Boston Globe, although he said these talks are in early stages.

“Since the day Michele took the job, we’ve been talking on a regular basis,” commissioner Adam Silver told the Globe. “I think we’ve both been clear that our jobs are to bring stability to the league and to continue and build on the success we’ve had. We’re looking forward to engaging with the union. We have a labor relations committee formed. She has her executive committee. We hope to get together this fall and continue the discussions we’ve been having on a staff level.”

These early groundwork talks are not something that has happened before, at least not this early and not this substantively, and that is a good reason for optimism. The sides are likely discussing a lot of potential issues in the CBA, from the age limit to the rookie salary scale.

However, ultimately only one issue matters — the split of basketball-related income (BRI). Under the previous CBA the players got 57 percent of it, under the current deal it’s more of a 50/50 split (it’s a sliding scale of 49-to-51 percent). If one side or the other were willing to give up a couple of percentage points of BRI, they could own every other issue. Money talks. If Silver could talk the owners into letting the players have 53 percent of the BRI, those owners could get the age limit up to 20, even shorter contracts with outs, increased drug testing, and nearly everything else their hearts desired.

Why I don’t have both feet in camp optimism — human greed. For some, enough is never enough (and that’s how a lot of owners got to be billionaires). There are still owners that want a couple more percentage points of the BRI and would like to stick it to the players in the process. There are players willing to dig in their heels — that may not be the majority, it’s not the middle class — and if they get their way this could get ugly.

But there’s real hope that will not be the path, that cooler and wiser heads will prevail. I’m knocking on wood.

Report: Warriors offer Barnes 4-years, $64 million

Harrison Barnes, Damian Lillard

Harrison Barnes is now in the position so many NBA players have found themselves in the past three months: Take the security of a large deal now on a team he likes, or bet on himself that the market will offer more next summer and chase more dollars?

The Golden State Warriors have wanted to sign Barnes to an extension of his rookie deal, and they have put a healthy offer on the table, reports Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports.

The Golden State Warriors delivered forward Harrison Barnes an initial four-year, $64 million contract extension proposal, league sources told Yahoo Sports.

The $16 million annual offer wasn’t accepted, but appears to be a starting point in talks that could last until the Oct. 31 deadline for rookie extensions.

The Warriors are trying to walk a fine line of keeping their core together and leaving themselves flexibility for future moves. Golden State already has five players making eight digits in salary for the 2016-17 season (Klay Thompson, Draymond Green, Andre Iguodala, Andrew Bogut and Stephen Curry). They are going to be bumping up against the new cap, but this deal meets all their needs, as former Nets executive Bobby Marks explained on twitter.

The question is will Barnes go for it?

According to Wojnarowski this offer was on the table a while ago, before Barnes changed agents (he is now represented by Jeff Schwartz of Excel Sports). It’s comparable to what Green is making from Golden State, but with two-thirds of the teams in the league likely to have space for a max salary next summer, does Barnes think he can do better? The fact this report came out now seems like someone is trying to pressure Barnes to take a deal that the public and Warriors fans will see as good.

While he has an important role for the NBA champions (averaging an efficient 10.1 points and 5.5 rebounds a game), does he want to go to a squad that would give him more touches and a larger role? What is his priority?

The two sides have until Oct. 31 to reach a deal. If not, Barnes becomes a resticted free agent next summer.

Pau Gasol commits to Spanish team for Rio Olympics

Pau Gasol Spain
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Pau Gasol says he plans to vacation next August in Brazil.

Well, maybe more of a working vacation. Spain won EuroBasket, and just reaching the Finals had qualified for the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio, where they will be one of the few teams given any hope of beating the United States. But to have any chance, they need to have all their stars on hand.

Count Pau Gasol in.

He said this after Spain’s win Sunday, via Sportando.

“I will play at the Olympic Games trying to win a medal” Gasol said.

Did you expect any other answer? He’s been very loyal to Spain over the years. Obviously, the health of the then 36-year-old Gasol will factor in, but with new Bulls coach Fred Hoiberg under orders to reduce the minutes on all the Bulls’ stars, the odds are better he will be able to go.

To medal again, Spain also will need Pau’s his brother Marc Gasol to play, as well as Serge Ibaka (he plays internationally for Spain), and Ricky Rubio, all of whom sat out EuroBasket. Spain is on the older end of the age curve with the Gasol generation, but this is the team that won the Silver medal the last two Olympics, and in what ultimately becomes a one-and-done tournament they are dangerous.

Spain beats Lithuania 80-63 to take Eurobasket title

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LILLE, France (AP) — Pau Gasol had a double-double and Spain cruised past Lithuania 80-63 Sunday to regain the European basketball championship title.

Spain earned its third title in the last four tournaments, having also won in 2009 and 2011. Spain had to settle for bronze two years ago, when Lithuania lost the final against France.

Earlier, France pulled away in the third quarter to beat Serbia 81-68 for the bronze medal.

Spain opened a 13-point lead in the first quarter and was never really threatened. Lithuania never led in the one-sided final.

Gasol finished with 25 points, 12 rebounds, four assists, three blocked shots, one steal and no turnovers.

NBA great Moses Malone’s kindness remembered at funeral

Philadelphia 76ers v New York Knicks
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HOUSTON (AP) Moses Malone has been remembered not only for his rebounds and three MVP trophies, but for making people smile.

In a service marked by laughter from many of his NBA peers and hundreds of others at Houston’s Lakewood Church, the Hall of Famer on Saturday was lauded as a kind and helpful man.

The 60-year-old Malone died a week ago. In 1974 he became the first player to jump from high school to the pros and wound up a 12-time All-Star.

Hall of Famer Charles Barkley delivered the eulogy. He referred to Malone as “Dad” and recalled that when he asked Malone for advice as he struggled in his rookie season with the Philadelphia 76ers, Malone told him he was fat and lazy.

Malone is the NBA’s career leader in offensive rebounds. He led the 76ers to the 1983 NBA championship. In 1979 and 1982, he was the MVP while with the Houston Rockets.