After every National Basketball Players Association meeting of any size, union leadership and players have stood together and preached unity. Often wearing matching T-shirts, because nothing says unity like matching clothing.
But this time the symbolism and words were needed.
With players smacking union leadership publicly and signs of division everywhere, the union’s executive committee stood side-by-side after a meeting Thursday and again preached unity heading into a weekend bargaining session with the league. Union president Derek Fisher and director Billy Hunter again denied that there is any rift between to them.
“We’ve had no problems, and that’s the reality,” Hunter told the Associated Press.
Fisher again denied he spoke with David Stern to set up a side deal, as Ken Berger of CBSSports.com tweeted:
Asked if he promised NBA negotiators he’d be able to deliver a 50-50 deal to players, Fisher said, “No I did not.”
The players, however kept their “we’re nowhere close to a deal” face on. They said it was system and percentage of basketball related income combined, not just one simple thing that keeps the two sides apart.
“Obviously we’re going to have individual members in individual sets of circumstances that want to get back to play. We want to get back to play,” Fisher said. “But we realize the ramifications of agreeing to a bad deal at this moment. … This particular collective bargaining agreement will forever impact the circumstances of NBA basketball players. We can’t rush into a deal we feel is a bad deal just to save this season.”
Hopefully the union did find some unity in the last 24-48 hours, because a fractured union can’t make a labor deal. Maybe they were never as fractured as it appeared. Who knows? We do know the two sides start talking again on Saturday and we’ll see if they can finalize everything and get the season rolling.
Anthony Davis went into this season wanting to be seen as the best player in basketball.
Part of that perception is team success, and while the Pelicans are a good-not-great 8-7 to start the season it’s not because of Anthony isn’t doing all he can. He dropped 43 points and 17 rebounds on the Knicks, helping spark the Pelicans comeback against the Knicks. Check out the video above.
Davis is averaging 26.5 points with a quality 56.4 true shooting percentage, plus 17.1 rebounds a game. His PER of 26.8 is sixth best in the NBA. When Davis gets some help, and the Pelicans play a little defense, this is the kind of team AD might want to stick with.
Carmelo Anthony is in limbo now. He’s not with the Rockets, not suiting up for games or playing, but he’s still on the roster. Houston has yet to waive him because they and his agent have not yet found a landing spot for him — other teams don’t want to get into the Carmelo Anthony business right now. Maybe that changes as injuries come and rosters shift, but right now there are no takers.
It has led Tracy McGrady and others to suggest Anthony retire.
Allen Iverson disagrees, speaking to Shams Charania of The Athletic.
Iverson is right, Anthony needs to be in the right situation. I’m just not sure what that is.
Anthony, like all great athletes, wants to leave the game on his own terms. The challenge is he is no longer a top two or three player on a good team, yet he feels entitled to be put in that role (or, at least, be treated like one of those guys). ‘Melo came off the bench in Houston but didn’t like it. The problem is that’s where his game is at that point — he’s a bench role player who can get some buckets but hurts the team defensively. That limits when he can be put on the court, especially in the playoffs. Can he accept that spot on a team?
Eventually, a team is going to give Anthony a chance, and I hope that works out. I would like ‘Melo to leave the game with us remembering him as the Hall of Fame player and elite scorer that he was, not like this.
Jimmy Butler is in Philadelphia now, but he is not done throwing shade at his former teammates in Minnesota.
Butler had 28 points on 12-of-15 shooting, including the game-clinching layup, as the 76ers beat the Jazz 113-107 Friday night. After the game, he got the walk-off interview with Serena Winters and took a dig at his former Minnesota teammates.
“It’s so fun to win. So much more fun to play with these guys… Everybody wants to win, and when somebody messes up, you talk to them and they do their job.”
Part of Butler’s issues with Karl-Anthony Towns and Andrew Wiggins was he felt they didn’t want to win badly enough, that they didn’t measure up to his level of passion. Butler is still in the honeymoon phase with Joel Embiid, Ben Simmons and the Sixers, but so far he likes the intensity so far and is happy to make a note of the difference.
By the way, they’re happy in Minnesota without him — the Timberwolves are 3-0 since the trade, Karl-Anthony Towns is back to playing like his All-NBA self, and he says the communication is better now and guys are taking responsibility.
NEW ORLEANS (AP) —The New Orleans Pelicans say point guard Elfrid Payton has a fractured finger on his left hand.
Payton injured his finger in the first quarter of his first game back on Friday night after he’d missed New Orleans’ nine previous games with a right ankle sprain.
Soon after, Payton was ruled out for the remainder of the game against the New York Knicks.
Acquired as a free agent this past offseason, Payton has played in six games for New Orleans. He entered Friday night’s games with averages 11.6 points and 6.4 assists through his first five games, but did not have a point or assist in eight minutes against New York before his latest injury.