After labor negotiations ended late Saturday/early Sunday morning in New York, David Stern told reporters in a press conference that federal mediator George Cohen had suggested six elements of what Stern called “what-if” compromises. Stern said the league accepted five of them and put them into a formal proposal. Included was a 49-51 band of BRI, wherein based off of aggressive revenues, the players would get 51, and under underwhelming-to-standard rates, the league would get 51. Other elements included a modified mid-level exception.
Then Stern lowered the boom.
The offer, Stern says, is on the table until Wednesday at the close of business. At that time, the offer expires and the owners will respond with a new offer of 47 percent across the board for the players and a return to the flex cap the union balked at right before the lockout was enacted. It is the ultimate power play, set up under the pretenses of compromise through acceptance of Cohen’s suggestions, and levied with the biggest fear from analysts, that the deals would only get worse from here on out.
Stern painted the collapse of a deal Saturday night on union attorney Jeffrey Kessler, who Stern said rejected nearly all of the elements in the proposal. In doing so, Stern has provided the union with a bad guy to pin it on. The 51 high-end offer on the band gives them something to save face with, even as members of the NBPA have sworn not to go lower than 52 percent (and this offer from the union is very precisely geared to go beneath that), and the structure of the advanced luxury tax and restrictions on teams in the luxury tax (a $2.5 million mid-level exception for tax payers, along with no sign-and-trades) are preferable to the flex-cap and more aggressive maneuvers. It’s a total victory wrapped in a blanket of compromise. It’s strategy at Stern’s most brilliant.
The countdown is on. The question is whether the players believe their position will not become stronger, if they believe decertification is a viable option, or if they believe this is enough for them to swallow and the best they will get. A season may hinge on it.
Clock’s ticking, and Stern just put the union in check.
When Stephen Curry lost a golf bet to his father, Dell, at the American Century Championships over the weekend in Lake Tahoe, Curry jumped in the lake. Literally.
So did his caddy.
That caddy is no run-of-the-mill duffer, that is Bryant Barr — Curry’s roommate and teammate from Davidson. The two (and their wives) are still close friends.
And Curry still owes Barr a dinner from a game of H-O-R-S-E game back in college.
Barr explained it all to the NBC Golf team that covered the event over the weekend. Check out the great video above.
By the way, Ray Allen came in tied for third at the championship.
After the Warriors won the championship, David West said they dealt with internal issues so shocking, people would trip if they learned the details.
Golden State head coach Steve Kerr and assistant coach Ron Adams didn’t go along with that narrative. Now, another Warriors assistant is explaining more clearly just what the heck West was talking about.
Mike Brown on The Full 48 podcast, as transcribed by Drew Shiller of NBC Sports Bay Area:
“There’s no deep, dark secret,” the Warriors assistant coach said. “We had our ups and downs throughout the course of the year, just like any other team. We were able to get through them.
“Steve (Kerr) asked David or talked to David about it, and David was like, ‘I was joking (laughter). I just wanted to stir the pot a little bit.’ And he sure enough did. There’s nothing to it.”
That settles it.
Unless that’s what they want us to believe…
The Spurs were running low on small forwards. Kawhi Leonard remains in limbo, and San Antonio let Kyle Anderson leave for the Grizzlies.
Enter Dante Cunningham.
Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN:
This is probably a minimum contract. The Spurs still have whatever of the mid-level exception they didn’t give Marco Belinelli or the bi-annual exception. But that’s not way more than the minimum ($2,176,260) for Cunningham, who has nine years experience – and probably couldn’t command more, anyway.
Unlike Rudy Gay, Belinelli, Davis Bertans and Bryn Forbes, Cunningham is San Antonio’s first free-agent signing this summer who didn’t previously play for the team. He’s a combo forward who will likely be needed more at small forward. He can handle larger small forwards, and Belinelli can play the three against smaller opposing small forwards in a platoon.
Cunningham is a solid defender in the right matchup, and he holds his own as a 3-point shooter. The Spurs should use him well.
Of course, the Spurs must first determine what to do about Leonard before fitting in more pliable pieces like Cunningham.
The Lakers reportedly believe someone in Lonzo Ball‘s camp leaked his knee injury to depress his trade value and keep him in Los Angeles.
So, of course, speculation turned to his media-savvy father who has a major financial interest in maintaining footing in the Los Angeles market.
LaVar Ball, via TMZ:
“I don’t leak nothing. I always say what’s on my mind, so you don’t never see me saying, ‘I think I should say this now and let it leak.’ I don’t do that.”
It would be more in-character for LaVar just to announce Lonzo’s knee injury or – especially now that the Lakers are publicly acknowledging Lonzo’s need for surgery – brag now about his maneuvering. So, maybe he wasn’t behind this.
But it still could have been someone else in Lonzo’s camp, with or without LaVar’s knowledge.
The Balls don’t need to apologize if they disclosed Lonzo’s injury. It’s his knee. He can say what he wants about it, however it affects the Lakers.
But these accusations and subsequent denials certainly don’t signal a strong relationship between the team and player.