Tag: NBA preseason


Expect just two preseason games per team in shortened camp


I will warn you now — those marquee Christmas Day NBA opening day games are going to be sloppy.

Same with the likely dozen games to follow the next day and a lot of the games over the next month or so.

Teams are going to have a 16-day training camp and just two preseason games, reports John Schuhmann at NBA.com. The dates and games are not yet know, but if you are wondering who your team will play in those couple exhibition games, pull out a map and see what teams are nearest and you pretty much have your answer.

Early on expect veteran teams that have not seen a lot of turnover — Spurs, Celtics — to get off to fast starts because they should be smoother early. However, how the legs of those veteran teams will hold up as a condensed schedule drags on for months remains to be seen.

We’re just saying, it’s not going to be a year for a lot of pretty basketball, and that will start on opening day.

NBA owners may be willing to sacrifice preseason

Suns preseason

When the threat of the NFL’s missing preseason games due to the lockout hit, it put real pressure on that league’s owners. The NFL plays its preseason games in the same stadiums it does its regular season (mostly) and if you buy NFL season tickets, you have pay full game price for those preseason games. The NFL and its owners make a killing on those games.

The NBA? Not so much.

Which could factor into negotiations — NBA owners may be willing to sacrifice the preseason. It’s an interesting point made by Sean Deveney at The Sporting News (hat tip to Ball Don’t Lie).

Stern pointed out on Wednesday that, to save the season, “We have three weeks.” Training camp is supposed to start in less than a month. When the NFL was in a lockout, there was an emphasis on saving training camp, but according to a league source, that’s not necessarily as important for the NBA. First of all, pro football is a lot more complicated to coach and requires more thorough conditioning. Second, the source said, “Financially, the NFL makes a killing off the preseason. The NBA doesn’t. We play in some pretty far-off spots. And our preseason games aren’t televised much.”

NBA teams often play half their preseason games in areas where one team is trying to pick up fans. So the Suns do an outdoor preseason game at the tennis facility at Indian Wells, the Celtics play a game in Hartford, the Knicks head up to Albany. Those aren’t money makers, it’s just trying to grow a fan base. If those games are lost, the owners and players do not weep.

The owners may not be interested in the preseason but there are some deadlines coming up where both sides would feel a pinch. For one, when the European leagues start at the end of the month, the players union may think it has leverage and the negotiations may slow.

But a complicating factor to bear in mind is this: Many players have already committed to playing overseas, and most of those are scheduled to start with their new teams by the end of the month. Most of those contracts have out-clauses allowing players to return to the NBA should the lockout end, but the feeling among both general managers and agents is that, once the international leagues begin play, the pace of negotiations will slow, and probably impinge on the season. “It will be hard to have players go overseas and join a team in late September,” one agent told SN, “only to have them turn around and come back in a couple of weeks.”

The future date that would hit the players is Nov. 15 — the day they would miss their first paycheck. There are some owners that want the players to suffer a little, they want to use that leverage to get a better deal. They want the players to miss some paychecks.

But right now that attitude does not seem to be winning the day, which is really why there is an upswing of optimism as we follow a few days of negotiations between the owners and players. It’s not that the two sides have made a breakthrough but rather that they are talking regularly and have stopped the public sniping at each other. They have gotten serious about negotiating. We’ll see if that’s enough to get a deal done, but the serious tone makes things feel like there is momentum.

However, if the owners lose some preseason games to get a deal, they’re not going to lose sleep or money over that.

Exercise in futility: NBA releases preseason schedule

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The NBA’s preseason will start Oct. 9.

And if you believe that you’ve probably helped out that poor Nigerian prince who keeps emailing you with his money woes.

The NBA officially released its preseason schedule today, complete with a press release sent out to the media. The first games would be Oct. 9 and there would be 114 preseason games total, including Israel’s Maccabi Haifa playing a friendly against the Magic in Orlando on Oct. 23.

None of this is going to happen. The lockout will strangle it all.

Even if you believed that the league will salvage its full season (and you are pretty much alone in that room, by the way) the idea that the two sides still have an entire deal hammered out in time for camps to open as scheduled at the end of September is basically impossible. The two sides are not meeting and remain miles apart on the core issue of how to split Basketball Related Income, or even how to define it. Let alone issues like the hard cap and if the cap should be tied to league revenue.

Even releasing the schedule is really a negotiating tactic — get the fans excited for the season so there is pressure on the players to capitulate and end the lockout.

Let me save you the time, don’t get your hopes up. But if you want to see the schedule it’s up at NBA.com.

LeBron leaves game in third quarter with leg cramps; will sit Wednesday


That noise you heard around 9:30 tonight was just the sigh of relief coming from Miami.

James left the Heat’s game against CSKA Moscow with 3:21 left in the third quarter showing a pronounced limp. He went back to the locker room and word spread that it was a hamstring injury (the same thing that has Dwyane Wade in civilian clothes right now, really expensive civilian clothes at that).

But the Heat later reported that it was nothing more than cramps and LeBron James is fine, something supported by a tweet from our man Ira Winderman of the Sun Sentinel. Despite it being nothing, LeBron will rest tomorrow night when the Heat take on the Hornets.

LeBron said after the game that he could be ready tomorrow. However, since this is preseason, what is the point? He will travel with the team (don’t think that’s just to see his buddy Chris Paul, nope, that’s not it at all).

James had 22 points in 26 minutes to start the game. Right now, with Wade resting and the ball more in LeBron’s hands, the Heat resemble more of last year’s Cavaliers offensively than whatever the team will become with Wade in the lineup.

Wade remains sidelined with his hamstring injury. Although he is doing well the Heat are taking no chances, it will likely be late next week before we see him back in a game.

The Heat may be giving their key players more run than other contenders such as the Lakers or Celtics, but that is because the Heat need to build up the chemistry those teams already have. However, they may have to consider pulling back.

CSKA Moscow — a traditional EuroLeague power — led most of the first half and it wasn’t until the final minutes until the Heat pulled away for the win. Former Duke star Trajan Langdon led Moscow with 20 points.

NBA may take preseason games to Brazil in next couple years

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brazil.jpgBrazil already has the World Cup and Olympics coming to its shores, and David Stern wants the NBA to be part of the wave, too.

The NBA preseason tour may go to Brazil in the coming years, David Stern said before today’s Knicks and Timberwolves and Paris, according to the Associated Press. He said the goal was to get there before the 2014 World Cup.

“My backup position is prior to the Olympics,” Stern said of the 2016 Games in Rio de Janeiro. “We are well aware of the World Cup and Olympic expectations. And we expect to be following up on that opportunity relatively shortly.”

The NBA also plans to open an office in Brazil, Stern said.

Last season there were three Brazilian players in the NBA — Anderson Varejao, Leandro Barbosa and Nene. There have been eight players for the country overall to put on an NBA uniform.

I’m putting in my request now to my bosses at NBC — it is vital that I cover any game in Brazil in person. No, it has nothing to do with the crowd there being better looking than the ones this week in Paris and Milan. Nor the great beaches in Brazil. Nothing at all. Why would you think that?