What we know about the deal that ended the lockout so far

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It’s less than eight hours after a bleary-eyed group of executives and attorneys shuffled into a small conference room at a New York office building to deliver the news: a tentative deal is in place. The lockout is over.

Now begins the process of unraveling what happened and how, and determining what the new CBA will take shape as under the new detail. We have the first of those details this morning, via NBA.com’s David Aldridge on NBATV and Chris Sheridan of SheridanHoops.com. The early signs are that the owners made significant concessions to the players (after already winning the feast) in order to get a deal. In short:

  • The players got a concession on Basketball Related Income, which no one saw coming. The owners’ proposal always called for a band of 49-51 for the players, depending upon revenue. (The players would get 51 percent if revenues exceeded expectations, 49 if they fell below, and 50 percent if they met expectations.) But the players were never going to hit 51 without the greatest basketball-economic explosion in history. Instead, the threshold for the players to reach 51 percent has reportedly been lowered to a point where that figure is reachable for the players.
  • In addition, the players got one of the biggest elements they were looking for, as the extend-and-trade ban was lifted. This means that Chris Paul, Dwight Howard, and Deron Williams can all exercise the same kind of leverage to get the extra year on their deals that Carmelo Anthony exerted. It means more player movement.
  • Teams above the cap will have a four-year Mid-Level-Exception granted every year. The owners had wanted it to alternate between four and three-year deals each season.
  • Tax teams will have the sign-and-trade available, though there will be limits, which aren’t known yet.
  • Escrow payments were raised to 10 percent, which the players wanted, against the owners’ desire for 8 percent. They are currently at 10 percent.
  • The deal is a ten-year agreement with an opt-out for either side after six years. See you in six seasons!

The deal represents kind of a “fake” win for the players and a fake series of concessions from the owners. They already chopped off seven percent of BRI, increased penalties for tax teams, got the “repeater tax” put in place for teams that pay the tax year after year, and pretty much everything else they wanted. They set such an extreme position that they were able to concede on the issues they did and still walk away winners. But the concessions were major, especially those regarding player movement. The owners finally caved to get us a season, even if they’d already won the battle.

The owners got what they wanted, the players got to save some face, and the fans get a season. How u.

How a single computer folder and dogged HR official exposed former Kings executive’s $13.4M embezzlement scheme

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Just how close did Jeff David come to getting away with embezzling $13.4 million from the Kings while working for them? He already secured a new job with the Heat and was in the process of moving from Sacramento to Miami.

Kevin Arnovitz of ESPN:

On this Monday, walking through the Davids’ new front door is a dizzying procession of cable guys, utility workers and movers. Amid all of this, Jeff receives a phone call from a former co-worker with the Kings. Her name is Stacy Wegzyn, and she works in HR. Jeff last remembers sitting in her office in Sacramento just months earlier, being told that the Kings were going to eliminate his position. After a few pleasantries, she gets down to business. She tells Jeff she’s been going through his old files, and in doing so she found one labeled “TurboTax” that references an entity called Sacramento Sports Partners.

“I was just curious what that is and if those are documents that should go to somebody else,” Wegzyn says.

It’s a seemingly innocuous inquiry from an HR lifer. But it’s one that will dictate the rest of Jeff David’s life. If he knows that — or senses it — he doesn’t let on.

“No, no, no,” Jeff responds. “That was a … man, this is taking me back. Maybe 2015?”

Wegzyn presses on. She asks Jeff whether the documents contain anything that anyone with the Kings needs to see. Jeff assures her they can trash them because the entity isn’t around anymore. A few minutes after he hangs up, his mother-in-law, Nancy, is standing at the front door when an FBI investigator appears, asking to speak to Jeff.

If you like the NBA or true crime – let alone both – I HIGHLY recommend reading Arnovitz’s full piece. It’s riveting!

Warriors Kevon Looney cleared for on-court basketball work, will return soon

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At least someone on the Warriors is getting healthy.

Big man Kevon Looney, who played opening night and has since been sidelined with a sore hamstring and neuropathy (what the team described as “nerve-related symptoms”), has been cleared to return to on-court basketball activities, the team announced Tuesday. From the official press release:

He will participate in select practice sessions with the Santa Cruz Warriors this week and will re-join the Golden State Warriors over the weekend. We will continue to monitor his progress and will provide another update on his status on Sunday.

Looney has already been officially assigned to Santa Cruz.

This is good news for the Warriors, who have been starting Willie Cauley-Stein but desperately need more shot blocking and depth up front.

Anyone getting healthy is good news for a Warriors team that is 2-12 and has the worst net rating in the NBA (-10.4).

Carmelo Anthony to start first game for Portland, apparently thinks he’s wearing number infinity

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Carmelo Anthony will wear No. 00 with the Trail Blazers.

Why?

Apparently because 00 kind of looks like ∞.

Anthony:

Somewhere, Kyrie Irving is nodding in support.

In terms of numbers that make sense…

Marc J. Spears of ESPN:

That’s a sizable role for a 35-year-old in his first game in more than a year. But Portland needs scoring with Damian Lillard sidelined, and – at last check (though, again, a while ago), Anthony was accustomed to big minutes.

Besides, we all want ample opportunity to see Anthony back on the court after his lengthy absence.

David Fizdale: Knicks owner Jim Dolan gives me ‘vote of confidence’ at every game

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Knicks coach David Fizdale is on thin ice.

New York is 4-10. Knicks president Steve Mills is reportedly laying the groundwork to fire Fizdale. Mills and general manager Scott Perry addressed the media after a recent game and sounded as if they were at least partially blaming Fizdale.

But does Fizdale have a key supporter at the very top of the organization?

Fizdale, via Ian Begley of SNY:

“Every game, every game. Jim Dolan comes in and gives me a vote of confidence, a pat on my back and really has just been incredibly encouraging over the last year and a half or whatever it’s been,” Fizdale said. “All we talk about is just sticking to the process of making these guys better and building for a future of sustainable winning.”

A common synonym for “vote of confidence:” “dreaded vote of confidence.” Just how bad are near-nightly votes of confidence?

This will convince nobody that Fizdale’s job is safe. Someone will likely take the fall if the Knicks’ struggles continue. It might be Fizdale. It might be Mills. But Mills – who preceded and succeeded Phil Jackson in running the front office – knows his way around Madison Square Garden. And even if Mills gets demoted or fired, a new lead executive would likely want his own coach.