Pacers deserve applause for doing right by employees through lockout

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That’s right. While the Los Angeles Lakers are shredding staffing during the lockout despite making more money every day from merchandising than most teams in the league probably make in ticket sales in an average day, and the league is torching employees while executives still draw huge paychecks, the little old Indiana Pacers are doing right by their employees. From the Indianapolis Business Journal:

Despite the labor rift between National Basketball Association owners and players, Indiana Pacers President Jim Morris says he doesn’t plan to lay off any of the organization’s 170 employees—at least for now.

“We’ve worked in a steady way over a number of years to get the [operational] team in exact order,” Morris said. “We don’t anticipate any changes to that at this time.”

Despite the lockout that threatens to cancel a good portion, if not the entire, upcoming season, Morris said there is plenty of work to keep staffers busy.

via Pacers: Lockout won’t sting employees, ticket holders | 2011-07-22 | Indianapolis Business Journal | IBJ.com.

So again, a team that many think should be contracted, actually planned for the lockout and won’t have to lay off anyone, despite losing significant revenue. (*Cough* overpaid for Danny Granger and Mike Dunleavy *cough.) The Pacers need to have this recognized by fans and the city of Indianapolis. There’s something to be said for operating your business in a responsible way, instead of just shredding salary to pad your own pockets during a lockout you orchestrated.

Meanwhile, this interesting bit caught my eye as well.

The Pacers face financial challenges of their own.

The team lost a combined $60 million during the 2008-09 and 2009-10 seasons, Morris said. Though he wouldn’t reveal the team’s loss last season, he said it was “significant.”

You’re noticing this quite a bit, particularly in light of the BRI results from last year. Basically, for all the moaning and whining from the BILLIONAIRE owners, their business was up last year. It wasn’t enough to overcome, you know, having to pay Troy Murphy or Dunleavy, or any of the other zillion poor decisions that cost them, but it was enough to limit the damage. But you’re not going to hear those results. You’re just going to hear about all the losses and the nightmares they’ve had to endure during the economic recession.

There’s no question that NBA team business has suffered over the past several years, nor that changes are needed to modify the system. But you’re also going to continue to see this deliberate leveraging of information to fit the narrative they want sold, no matter what the actual data might show.

(HT: IamaGM.com)

One last look back: Best dunks of All-Star Weekend (VIDEO)

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Defense? That’s one thing that rarely makes an appearance All-Star weekend.

Combine that with the game’s best athletes and what you get are three days of insane dunks.

The NBA put this together, the best dunks of All-Star weekend in Charlotte. Enjoy.

Wizards’ Bradley Beal: ‘Recruiting process is really going alright…I’m trying’

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LeBron James went out of his way to say he was not recruiting guys on his free-agent heavy All-Star Team.

Bradley Beal had no such hesitation, he tried to recruit guys, as he told Chase Huges of NBC Sports Washington.

“The recruiting process is really going alright. It’s going alright. I’m trying,” Beal said. “This is new for me. I’m definitely getting some ears and seeing what guys are looking for.”

Beal was too smart to name names — that would have brought a fine from the league — but he said some guys asked if he was happy where he was, while other guys he talked to about the possibilities in Washington.

The problem is while the Wizards will have some cap space after trading Otto Porter and Markieff Morris (and assuming they don’t pick up the option on Jabari Parker) but they will be nowhere near the max cap space needed to land the elite free agents at the All-Star Game (Kevin Durant, Klay Thompson, etc.). Even the second-tier All-Star free agents such as Khris Middleton will get max offers. Same with players who just missed the game, such as Tobias Harris.

If the Wizards renounce free agents they can get to $9 million in cap space, stretch and waive Ian Mahinmi and they can get to $18 million. That’s the top end. Meaning the Wizards will have room to make moves for good rotation players, but with John Wall‘s supermax extension kicking in at $38 million next season flexibility is limited. Genuine upgrades will be hard to come by.

Predicting what Washington GM Ernie Grunfeld will do next summer is a fool’s errand, but Beal is doing his part to try and bring more talent into Washington.

Kevin Garnett says 2000 Olympic team had $1 million bounty to dunk on Yao Ming

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Team USA earned a Gold Medal in the 2000 Olympics in Sydney, led by Vince Carter, Kevin Garnett, and Alonzo Mourning. Lithuania made the Americans work that year, losing by just nine in pool play then by two points in the semi-finals.

That’s not what anyone remembers from those Olympics, they remember Vince Carter doing this to 7-footer Fredric Weiss of France.

Recently Garnett sat down with Dwyane Wade for an interview (which airs on NBA TV today) and he told a fantastic story about that dunk. (Hat tip to Yahoo Sports)

Everything just paused. First of all, people didn’t know, we had a bounty out on Yao Ming. The whole USA team had a bet. We had a million dollar bet on who was going to be the first person to dunk on Yao Ming. None of us did. We all tried to dunk on Yao, but he would block it or we would miss. So, the first thing I thought of when I saw Vince dunk over Frederic was oh s***, you won the million dollars. But then I realized it obviously wasn’t Yao. I pushed Vince, and if you look at the clip, he almost punches me in the face by accident. But my first thought was, oh s***, you won, you got the million.

KG has the best stories.

MSG denies rumor James Dolan looking to sell Knicks

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Rumors that James Dolan is considering selling the Knicks — which elicits a “Hallelujah” chorus from Knicks fans — have been cropping up for a couple of years now. There were rumors he wanted to spin off the Knicks and Rangers into their own company to be sold. That’s just one, there are others — he confirmed he got a feeler $5 billion, but never a firm offer, for the Knicks — and each time he has shot them down.

This is no different.

On his latest Podcast, the Ringer’s Bill Simmons said he had heard that Dolan wanted to focus more on concerts/in-game experiences in Madison Square Garden and that the Knicks were “available.”

The Madison Square Garden Company released this statement (hat tip New York Daily News).

“The story is 100% false. There has been nothing. No discussions. No plans to have discussions – nothing.”

That’s pretty unequivocal.

While Dolan may entertain the idea on some level of selling the Knicks, until he takes concrete steps to do so — not rumors, but actual, documented moves — I’m not buying it. He’s sitting on a gold mine that keeps going up in value, despite how he manages it, so why sell now? Knicks fans that buy this rumor will likely end up like Charlie Brown trying to kick the football.