The pattern continues. First the NBA owners and players have an intense few days of negotiation. Then they break up with one side making an emotional outburst to the media. Then they cool off for a few days. Then they sit down at the table again and talk. And make incremental progress. Lather. Rinse. Repeat.
NBA labor relations talks broke off last Thursday abruptly, despite the presence of a federal mediator, but the two sides will be back at the negotiating table on Wednesday, reports the New York Daily News.
The two sides are scheduled to meet in a midtown Manhattan hotel, according to league sources.
The resumption of talks is the reason the league held off on the cancellation of at least two more weeks of the regular season.
Not that it really matters if they cancel those games or not. Even if the two sides reached a deal this week — and with the gap of more than $1 billion over the course of the deal that is about as likely as Vin Diesel winning the Best Actor Oscar — they would have a hard time starting the season by Dec. 1. However, both sides see Christmas day games as a goal, a day that is usually almost a second opening day for the league, complete with marquee matchups on national broadcast networks.
When the two sides broke off talks last Thursday, they were miles apart on a new deal. The key gulf remains the owners demand for a 50/50 split of “basketball related income” — the players got 57 percent in the old deal and think they have made a major concession coming down to 52.5 percent. The owners want not only a larger slice of that pie but also to put in a new, harsher luxury tax to limit big spending teams as well as reductions of contract lengths and other steps that help them get out of bad deals. The players balk at giving up both percentage points and allowing a change in system.
But hey, they are talking again. So, if you want to be optimistic go ahead. Just be careful, they’ve burned us all before.
Lonzo Ball, Kyle Kuzma trolling now in ad for Wish shopping app
For three seasons, Briante Weber has bounced around the fringes of the NBA. The defensive-minded point guard has played in short stints (often 10-day contracts) for the Grizzlies, Heat, Warriors, Hornets, and last season he got in 13 games for the Rockets (plus five in Memphis). He’s spent most of his career in the G-League, working for his chance to get in the door.
Miami is bringing him into training camp, reports Shams Charania of The Vertical at Yahoo Sports.
Guard Briante Weber has agreed to a partially guaranteed deal to return to the Miami Heat, league sources tell Yahoo.
There is roster space in Miami if Webber blows them away. Miami has 12 fully guaranteed roster spots and, with Webber, two partially-guaranteed deals (Malik Newman, who was undrafted out of Kansas, is the other).
Rather than a potential rebuild — or another “Russell Westbrook vs. The World” season — the Oklahoma City Thunder were one of the big winners of the off-season when Paul George agreed to re-sign with the team. They also moved on from Carmelo Anthony, will get Andre Roberson back from injury, and added Dennis Schroder to give them a shot creator off the bench.
“I’m very, very excited. Paul has been an unbelievable teammate, obviously a great friend. I’m very, very excited that he is back and we’re ready to make some noise. We are just going to take it one day at a time. I think our team has a lot of great, young talent. We have one goal now and that is winning a championship.”
While it’s hard to envision the Thunder reaching that goal (as constructed), the Thunder could well be the three or four seed in the West and have home court in the first round of the playoffs. While the margin for error in the West will be minuscule (with 12 teams having a shot at the eight playoff spots), with the Thunder’s strong top-10 defense and two stars who can take over games nightly, they should be one of the more consistent regular season teams in the West.
Either way, the Thunder are a lot more interesting with George than without. It’s going to be a good season for the Thunder.
PBT Extra: Carmelo Anthony officially a Houston Rocket now — this can work
Did the Houston Rockets get better this summer? The conventional wisdom is no, they will miss the switchable defense and versatility of Trevor Ariza and Luc Mbah a Moute against the NBA’s other elite teams.
But with Carmelo Anthony officially signing with the Rockets on Monday, don’t expect a big step back, something I cover in this latest PBT Extra.
The Rockets had the second-best offense in the NBA last season (almost tied with the Warriors) and ‘Melo can enhance that — he can still punish switches in the post, he has a catch-and-shoot game, and while he may not be as efficient as he once was, the man can get buckets. Whether he starts or comes off the bench, expect Mike D’Antoni to find him minutes while Chris Paul and James Harden rest where he can be an offensive focal point.