It looks like Turkish side Besiktas has found its NBA big man — and it turns out to be Deron Williams’ teammate.
Brook Lopez is near a deal with the Istanbul-based team to join them for the remainder of the lockout, reports Kartal Basketball )via Sportando). The deal is in place and just needs to be finalized, according to the report.
Brook’s brother Robin — the Suns center — would join him there, but just as a practice player, according to Sportando.
Brook is D-Will’s teammate with the Nets and them developing some on-court chemistry can only be good for the team and help the odds of the Nets re-signing Williams so he can lead the team into Brooklyn.
Besiktas had reached out to a variety of NBA big men — Dwight Howard, Carlos Boozer, Luol Deng, Lamar Odom — before landing Lopez. This is the same side that had Allen Iverson last season and made a run at Kobe Bryant.
Lopez does have an NBA out in his deal, so he will be back with New Jersey when the lockout ends. So with any luck, this will be one of the shortest trips to Istanbul ever.
Yes, there are some owners willing to miss the season to crush the union.
But there also are motivations for other owners to get a deal done.
Take the Orlando Magic, for instance. While they would love tools in the new deal to make it more likely they can keep Dwight Howard, they also have some motivations to make sure there is a season — $2.8 million reasons, according to the Orlando Sentinel.
City government officials emphasize that the Magic are obligated to pay the city $2.8 million even if the entire season is canceled, so the city has some degree of protection from the effects of work stoppage, especially as it incurs some expenses in running the building.
“It was one of our lead negotiating points in the contract when we did the negotiations with the Magic,” the executive director of the city’s venues, Allen Johnson, told me in September. “We never anticipated a [lockout]. We never wanted one.”
The city would get more revenue if there are games, but that’s a nice little insurance policy for a municipality that, like every other city in the nation, is facing fiscal challenges.
But it also would be a challenge for the Magic ownership, which will have no revenue coming in but will have to cut checks to cities, sponsors, ticket holders and more. They will be writing checks they don’t want to write. And nobody will be happy.
Better to settle now and be playing by Christmas.
The first thought when I heard the NBA owners and players were talking again and had been since Tuesday? Good. They can’t reach a deal without talking. And the fact there have been fewer media leaks out of these talks than any previous is a good sign.
The second thought? What are the starting points for the two sides? Where they left off or did they pull back at all?
We don’t know how the talks went — Yahoo reports there was little progress — but we know the two sides met for two days and, after taking the Thanksgiving holiday off, will resume on Friday. If the goal is to save Christmas Day games (kicking off a 66-game season) they will have to have the framework of a deal in place by early next week.
But we do know the answer to the second question — the two sides pretty much picked up where they left off, according to Howard Beck of the New York Times.
The parties essentially picked up where they left off Nov. 10, discussing a proposal that includes a 50-50 split of revenue, shorter contracts and tougher spending restrictions. The players rejected that deal, but on the basis of a half-dozen mechanical issues which, in the grander scheme, are fairly minor. They have already conditionally agreed to the 50-50 split and most of the new payroll restrictions.
Neither side has tried to put any new issues on the table, or backed away from previously negotiated points, according to those informed on the talks. That gives the parties hope that a deal not only can be achieved, but can be consummated quickly.
“Both sides could fairly say that it’s crazy to blow the deal up over these remaining issues,” one person close to the talks said Wednesday.
Well, the sides have been fairly crazy up to now, so….
If, as reported, David Stern polled the owners to see if they would allow a full mid-level exceptions for all teams (even those over the luxury tax) it is a sign the sides are serious and trying to make a deal.
Whether they can or not remains to be seen.