It’s too early in the process to get to the “just lock them in a room together until they figure it out” stage of negotiations on a new NBA Collective Bargaining Agreement. But as both sides continue to posture, I am all for moving up that deadline just to stop the tit-for-tat.
The latest salvo came from Maurice Evans, the veteran guard and VP of the NBA Players Association. He told the Associated Press the players are not buying what David Stern is selling about the massive financial losses of owners ($750 million or more) and the need to roll back salaries.
“We definitely don’t agree with those numbers,” Evans said. “We feel like the game is really at a great place.”
But Evans also spoke the truth — a lockout would be a disaster.
“If we have a lockout, it’s just going to set us back,” Evans said while distributing 1,000 Thanksgiving turkeys to Atlanta-area families in a program sponsored by the NBPA and the Boys & Girls Clubs of America. “With the state the economy is in, fans are not going to want to keep getting slapped in the face with players and NBA teams, as fortunate as we are financially to even be playing a game for a living, to keep throwing it in people’s face that we’re not making enough money, whether it be the league or whether it be the players.”
Missing a few days in July, or missing Summer League and postponing free agency is one thing. Missing actual games in the fall is another entirely. That would be a huge setback for the league that would take five years or more to overcome.
Right now, Evans is saying the right thing about a lockout. So is David Stern. But like their rhetoric on the new CBA, it’s meaningless without action. But right now it’s just rhetoric, posturing. When push comes to shove, will they fear a lockout as much as they should?
LeBron James is already the NBA’s all-time leading playoff scorer, having passed Michael Jordan last postseason.
However, LeBron racked up his buckets in the era of the three-point shot (as did Jordan, to a lesser extent), so Kareem Abdul-Jabbar was the all-time leader in field goals made in the postseason. A lot of them beautiful skyhooks that still give Celtics fans nightmares.
Monday night, LeBron made history passing Abdul-Jabar for the top spot in NBA playoff made field goals.
Just add that to the already insane resume.
Not sure what part of this was better.
Was it Kevin Love‘s length-of-the-court outlet touchdown pass that was right on the money, where only the receiver could get it?
Or was it LeBron James, with a catch in a crowd that would make Julio Jones’ draw drop?
Either way, this first quarter bucket from the Cavaliers may well be the play of the game.
Is this the wave of the future?
Since then newly-minted owner Jerry Buss started the Laker Girls’ in 1979, all-female dance teams have become standard around the NBA. However, with how things are now viewed through the prism of the #metoo movement, and reports on how NFL cheerleaders were treated in places such as Washington and Miami, a lot of professional sports teams are re-thinking the concept of female dance teams.
The Spurs are apparently doing away with theirs, to be replaced by a 35-person co-ed “hype team.”
The Spurs have not said officially that this is the end of the Silver Dancers. “Lack of interest” is an odd reason to give — is there suddenly less interest now than there was five years ago? A number of teams have both female dance teams and co-ed “spirit” or “hype” teams.
Far more likely, this is about perception in what is a conservative state and marketplace.
The question is will this become a trend, both around the NBA and professional sports. As the teams try to evolve and make more dynamic their in-arena experiences, are the dance teams going to fade from view?
Just something to keep and eye on going forward.
It’s everyone’s favorite parlor game around the NBA: Where will Kawhi Leonard play next season? Philadelphia? Los Angeles? Somewhere else? Fans of 29 teams are posting their trade scenarios online, while GMs of 29 teams privately have tried to come up with offers that could tempt San Antonio.
The most likely answer: San Antonio.
While the relationship between Leonard and the Spurs is frayed — and with the people close to Leonard and in his ear seemingly trying to push him out the door — the Spurs would rather keep one of the five best players in the NBA (when healthy) in-house. From Tom Osbourne of the San Antonio Express-News.
Still, the Spurs hope to meet with Leonard and his representatives soon in a bid to mend fences and pave the way for Leonard to come to terms on a five-year $219 million supermax contract that he will be eligible to receive starting July 1. If attempts to patch up the relationship fail, the Spurs will be forced to explore trading a player coach Gregg Popovich once labeled “the future face of the franchise.”
The timing of that meeting has been slowed in part because of the death of Popovich’s wife and everyone involved understandably giving him all the space wants. It will happen.
Can the relationship be salvaged? Maybe, $219 million can mend a lot of fences. There are things the Spurs can and would be willing to do to promote Leonard more (although that all starts with him getting out of his comfort zone and building his brand, starting with speaking more in public). Also, Gregg Popovich was able to sooth LaMarcus Aldridge‘s ego when the big man demanded a trade, and not only did the player stay he had an All-NBA level season. Popovich and Leonard still have a strong relationship.
Is that enough? Time will tell, but people around the league think at best it’s a coin flip. Things are not good right now. However, the Spurs will get the first crack at fixing this before they are forced to consider a trade.