UPDATE (7:24 PM): Per Howard Beck of the New York Times, George Cohen will not be coming back to the collective bargaining sessions after all. Plus, there remains no scheduled time or date for the resumption of talks. Delightful news all around.
2:18 PM: The negotiations to end the NBA lockout are not ongoing — in fact, at present, anything but going. Representatives of the league and the NBPA aren’t camped out in a room for marathon sessions, nor are such sessions even planned. Everything is quiet, and yet the revenue split between the two parties hangs in the air. The 2.5 percentage points of basketball-related income (BRI) that separate the NBA and the union nudge actual basketball just out of reach, and for the moment there aren’t even discussions on how best to deal with that gap.
Yet the leadership on both sides of the negotiations know that more talks are the only way to produce an agreement, even if there’s currently a bit of a stalemate. More meetings are an inevitability; we may not know precisely when the gang will get back together again, but we can say with confidence that they will.
And this time around, they may have another appearance from a recurring guest. According to Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports, George Cohen, the federal mediator who guided talks between the NBA and NBPA two weeks ago, may be brought back to facilitate further negotiations. Considering how quickly previous discussions seemed to implode once the subject of BRI was breached, I’d say some mediation — of the federal, or just about any other variety — is precisely what these negotiations need. Both sides have claimed a hard line, but waiting for the other party to break isn’t a negotiation at all. The NBA and NBPA obviously want a deal that’s financially sound from their perspective, but one has to believe that there is some middle ground that can be reached without one side or another “winning” the lockout negotiation outright by way of the other finally breaking.
Cohen isn’t likely to arrive to any negotiation with that solution in his pocket, but he could bring a new tone to a negotiation process that failed to capitalize on last week’s incredible momentum.
Philadelphia 76ers star big man Joel Embiid is known for his excellent sense of humor and his light-heartedness.
But could he be headed for a heel turn?
That’s the question you could ask yourself after Embiid appeared to flop on a play late in the fourth quarter against the Detroit Pistons on Tuesday that earned Andre Drummond his second technical and an ejection.
I will let you decide how you feel about this interaction.
To me that’s a pretty blatant flop by Embiid, and a bad look.
The worst version of the Sixers this year is a disappointing finish in the Eastern Conference and Embiid turning into the big man version of James Harden.
Joel, if you’re reading this: don’t do this, my dude.
It will be curious to see how the league responds tomorrow. I suspect Drummond’s technical and ejection might be rescinded, and Embiid could be sent a warning or worse for exaggeration.
Blake Griffin did just fine without Drummond in the game, scoring 50 points — a career high — and leading the Pistons to an overtime win against the Sixers.
The 2018-19 NBA season has started off a little wild. We have already seen several overtime games, with things sloppy but close as teams run down to the wire.
On Tuesday night, we got another overtime matchup.
As the Detroit Pistons and Philadelphia to the floor in Michigan, it ended up being one of the best nights of Blake Griffin‘s career.
Griffin scored 50 points and hit what effectively became the game-winner in overtime.
The 50-point effort was the best of Griffin’s career. His prior high-water mark was 47 points in a game against the Indiana Pacers in 2011.
It was just in time, too. Griffin’s frontcourt teammate Andre Drummond was a ejected after a flop by Sixers big man Joel Embiid late in regulation.
Detroit took home the win, 133-132, moving to 3-0 on the season. The Sixers are now 2-2.
Trade talks for Minnesota Timberwolves guard Jimmy Butler have apparently gone dormant. Things fell through with the most likely deal between the Wolves and the Miami Heat earlier in October, and now we are in sort of a weird limbo state where Butler is still playing for Minnesota.
The season has started, the Timberwolves have new jerseys, but everyone knows what is coming.
It certainly doesn’t mean that interest in Butler’s services have waned. According to ESPN’s Brian Windhorst, four teams still have adding Butler at the top of their list.
Windhorst appeared on Alex Kennedy’s podcast this weekend and said that the Heat, Los Angeles Clippers, Dallas Mavericks, and Houston Rockets are still gunning for Butler.
Windhorst gave a caveat for both Dallas and the Clippers, who have the ability to sign Butler this offseason through free agency. That makes a trade between the Timberwolves and those teams less likely, especially because Minnesota’s asking price for Butler apparently keeps going up (rather than down) as time goes on.
No doubt this saga will continue for some time until Butler eventually gets traded to somewhere strange, like the Milwaukee Bucks.
Much like the Kawhi Leonard situation last season in San Antonio, we could be waiting all season for something to happen on the Butler front.
Things aren’t pretty with the Minnesota Timberwolves right now. The team is still trying to figure out what to do with Jimmy Butler, and a willing trade partner doesn’t seem available at the moment.
But that doesn’t mean that the Timberwolves can’t still look good.
On Tuesday, some of Minnesota’s alternate uniforms for this season leaked on Reddit. They of course made their way to Twitter, and they have a very specific theme: “Purple Rain”.
The jerseys are of course based on Prince’s iconic 1984 album/film combo. Prince, a Minneapolis native, passed away in 2016.
Meanwhile the Wolves may be bad, but at least their uniforms will rock.