The players canceled a meeting Sunday and suspicions began ramping up that there would be a meeting Sunday with Monday’s deadline to avoid canceling regular season games looming. Sunday afternoon the New York Times reports those suspicions are becoming a reality.
Top officials for the N.B.A. and the players union will meet Sunday night in a final, and unexpected, attempt to resolve the lockout before regular-season games are lost, according to a person briefed on the meeting.
The meeting will involve the primary negotiators for each side — Commissioner David Stern and the deputy commissioner Adam Silver for the league, with the union represented by its president, Derek Fisher, and its executive director, Billy Hunter.
This is a Hail Mary attempt to get things done. To let you know what would have to happen:
Either the owners would have to soften on the BRI 50/50 split they demanded before trying to set up a meeting Friday, the union would have to drop to it, or the two sides would have to work on the supporting issues to make the deal good enough for the other to move on BRI.
Then, they’d have to sell their respective deals to their constituents, with the players extremely firm on 53 percent and no lower, and the owners extremely firm on 50 percent and no higher. Plus, both sides are filled with inflammatory parties like Dan Gilbert, Robert Sarver, and Kevin Garnett who don’t want any movement at all.
Then, they’d have to get past all the other issues, get the agents on board, work up the language, and get a new CBA voted on and ratified.
They have four weeks and two days to get this done.
There isn’t hope going into this meeting, from either side. That’s just the reality. But they’re meeting, so at least there’s hope.
Parker is having a dismal season. His defense has been as advertised. He’s shooting a lot and inefficiently and turning the ball over too much.
He’s also earning $20 million this season, which will make matching salary in a trade difficult.
At least Parker is on a de facto expiring contract. (His $20 million team option for next season will surely be declined.) His contract could help facilitate a trade. Maybe the Bulls deal him for an unwanted player with a multi-year guarantee plus sweeteners. Chicago is far enough from winning that punting 2019 cap space for draft picks and young players makes sense.
Parker is just 23 and talented. While his expiring contract is likely to be the central appeal of any trade, his potential is higher than the typical player in such a deal. That only helps his value.
The Bulls won’t get much for Parker. He’s not even good enough to play on their lousy team. But both sides are probably ready to move on, and maybe they can make it happen.
“He knows the city,” Yannick Noah said. “He was born here. It’s not like he’s coming from the countryside and he’s coming to New York City. He lived here for a long time. Of course, it can be dangerous for an athlete. But he knows and he’s so motivated. It’s a great opportunity for him. He’s going to give all he has for the city.”
Noah played terribly, got suspended for taking a banned substance and feuded with his coach. Before this season, the Knicks cut him, preferring to pay him out than have him continue to occupy a roster spot.
Noah, who previously played for the Bulls, signed with the Grizzlies. He’s now addressing what went wrong in New York.
Noah on the Chris Vernon Show:
I could look back on it and say I thought I was ready for New York City, but I wasn’t. And it’s something that I’ve got to live with.
Not just the pressure. I remember after the first game, I probably had, like, 60 people in my house. I’m too lit. I’m too lit to play in New York City. I’m too lit to play in New York City. Memphis is perfect for me.
We were lit in Chicago, but I was young. So, you recover faster, you know? You recover faster.
I respect the honesty. Not many players would have revealed so much about their partying.
But I’m also not convinced a smaller market will fix Noah.
The 33-year-old might just be too worn down to help an NBA team.
DETROIT –Anthony Davis repeatedly entered and exited the visitors’ locker room after the Pelicans win over the Pistons on Sunday. At a time most players go from their locker to the shower and back then leave, Davis was busy. He visited with people in the hall. He breezed back by his locker then left to attend to other matters. He returned again and, before showering, turned to the assembled media.
“Y’all need me?” Davis asked.
Davis is used to getting pulled in every direction and still being needed even more.
The superstar is having another MVP-ballot-caliber season. Yet, New Orleans is just 15-15, 11th in the Western Conference.
It’s for a lack of effort by Davis. He has expanded his game offensively. Playing center regularly, his defensive responsibilities are as great as ever. And he leads the NBA with 37.0 minutes per game.
“You don’t have Secretariat run half the race then step out because it might be too far,” Pelicans coach Alvin Gentry said. “No. You’ve got a great player, you use him the best you can.”
New Orleans has little choice but to lean heavily on Davis. With him on the floor vs. off, the Pelicans score 9.7 more points and allow 6.2 fewer points per 100 possessions.
Put another way: New Orleans plays like a 59-win team with Davis and a 20-win team without him.
Here are the leaders in win-rate difference with off-court on the left, on-court on the right and difference between (minimum: 300 minutes):
It helps Davis plays a large majority of minutes with Jrue Holiday, who actually rates better by this metric. But Davis is clearly driving New Orleans’ success.
Not only does Davis lead the NBA in real plus-minus (+7.11), he does so with an unparalleled two-way efficiency. Nobody nears his combination of offensive (+3.73) and defensive (+3.38) real plus-minus.
Here’s every NBA player by offensive and defensive real plus-minus with the positive outliers’ photos:
Davis is producing in all his usual ways – 28.1 points, 12.4 rebounds, 2.8 blocks and 1.7 steals per game. But he’s also averaging 4.7 assists per game, more than double his previous career high.
The Pelicans increased their pace and passing last year, and the system did wonders for setting up Davis. But they lost key component Rajon Rondo in free agency last summer, and replacement starting point guard Elfrid Payton has missed most of this season due to injury.
So, Davis has stepped up.
He’s done it while continuing to protect the ball, an overlooked but important aspect of his game. His assist-to-turnover ratio is better than 2-to-1, impressive for a big.
Davis faces frequent double-teams and generates many of his assists by passing out of those:
After scoring so well in transition for so long, Davis is now taking advantage of his speed by playmaking in the open court:
Davis has also become adept at flipping short passes to a teammate then walking into a screen ball screen. That threat has sparked more creative options with Davis’ improved distributing abilities:
Davis’ teammates appear invigorated to receive his passes.
They run the court with him on fastbreaks. They cut actively. They re-position themselves around the 3-point arc to create passing angles.
With Davis attracting so much defensive attention, openings abound.
“He just finds me, and it’s an easy look,” said Nikola Mirotic, who’s shooting 70% on 2-pointers and 52% on 3-pointers off passes from Davis.
New Orleans is trying to keep up. The Pelicans are reportedly one of the most active buyers on the trade market, but they lack trade chips beyond their draft picks. Davis is propping up a mediocre supporting cast.
Of course, Davis will be eligible for a super-max extension – which projects to be worth about $240 million over five years – this offseason. That will be the moment of truth for his future in New Orleans.
Coming off just their second home loss of the season, a 127-124 defeat to the visiting Brooklyn Nets on Wednesday, the Philadelphia 76ers now have to deal with the freight train that is the Indiana Pacers at 7:30 p.m. on Friday at Wells Fargo Center.
Indiana has won five straight, including a 16-point win over the Milwaukee Bucks on Wednesday night, the team’s seventh win in nine games. The Pacers have crept up to within a half-game of Philadelphia in the standings at 18-10 (the Sixers are 19-10) by relying on one of the deepest offenses in the league.
On Wednesday in the 113-97 win over the Bucks, Indiana had six players in double-figures (Milwaukee had four) and the Pacers’ reserves outscored the Bucks’ 34-25. Indiana’s backups also stifled a Milwaukee offense that shot 41 percent from the field and 25 percent from 3-point range, with Giannis Antetokounmpo finishing with just 12 points.
“That second unit is back intact and we want to continue to build off of what we are doing and establish ourselves as this team that keeps guys out of the paint and focuses on limiting rotations so that teams are trying to beat us over the top,” head coach Nate McMillan said. “That way we can stay at home with our man, box out and rebound.”
With Victor Oladipo back from a knee injury that sidelined him 11 games, Indiana is back at a full complement of players and climbing in the East.
“Guys stepped up and played huge,” Oladipo said after his first game back. “Myles (Turner), Thad (Young), D.C. (Darren Collison) hit big shots down the stretch. I’m just glad to be back to help.”
Oladipo’s return complicates things for the 76ers, who could be without star Jimmy Butler for the second straight game with a strained groin. Butler’s absence was missed against the Nets on Wednesday as Brooklyn shot 51 percent from the field, with Spencer Dinwiddie contributing a career-high 39 points off the bench.
“When you look at the bench scoring, we got hurt there tonight; I give their bench credit,” Philadelphia coach Brett Brown said. “I give Brooklyn a lot of credit. I think that they are a good team to begin with. I do not feel like their record reflects how good they are, I especially know that no matter what their record said, we struggle with that type of team and we did tonight. It doesn’t discount for me that we do struggle with that type of team.”
Even with Joel Embiid‘s 17 rebounds to go along with 33 points, the Sixers still managed to just tie the Nets in boards at 41 while Brooklyn made it to the free-throw line for an absurd 43 attempts, making an even more impressive 37 of them.
“I think that some of it was bad defense, some of it was let down schematically, some of our good shooters still getting off shots, I think it’s a hybrid of them making some shots, us being a C- at times with our aggression and maybe a C schematically trying to execute a game with their individual players. I would put some blame proportionally all over the place.”