First Cup: Tuesday

October, 11, 2011
10/11/11
6:36
AM ET
  • Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle: "When negotiations ended after 13 hours spread over two days, with little meaningful progress shown in all these months, the NBA and its players blamed each other. Both sides were right. They are both to blame. They are both horribly wrong, not so much on the issues, but in being so incredibly clueless. It is not just that they have conspired to take a sledgehammer to the momentum built by a phenomenal season of rising attendance, ratings and general buzz. They have clung to their demands and stubborn positions as if they represent some sort of birthright. When two sides oppose one another, the inclination is to cast heroes and villains and choose sides. There is no one to cheer here."
  • Doug Smith of the Toronto Star: "The league moved with alacrity to make its point. Within minutes of Stern’s sidewalk pronouncement, an official news release went out from the league. Within minutes of the games being cancelled, it was as if they never existed as teams’ websites made no reference to the first two weeks of the regular season. If it was a surprise to some that Stern followed through on his threat to cancel games for the first time since 1998, league officials weren’t caught unawares. Neither were union officials."
  • Michael Cunningham of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution: "Why did the league cancel two weeks instead of one? Think it has anything to do with players getting paid every other week during the season and owners wanting to make sure they missed a check? Now we’ll see if the players can maintain solidarity even as they lose money. ... Looking at it from the outside, it seems to me the NBA is trying to do what every other business in America is doing nowadays: minimize its risks, subsidize its losses and privatize its profits. The players seem to accept that this CBA will not be as good as the last one but they are trying to preserve as much of that system as possible. Sadly and frustratingly, it sounds like we could be in for a long wait for NBA basketball."
  • Kevin Ding of The Orange County Register: "So here we are, with another illegitimate season coming. At best. There's still reason for optimism in there being a season considering how much the owners planned to reach this point of game cancellations and how close the two sides have gotten on agreeing to take a 50-50 guaranteed split of basic revenue. Yet with more work to be done, there's no more time to do it. It's a shortened season now, and to put the asterisk into immediate use, it's appropriate to quote Carmelo Anthony's summation via Twitter of this entire situation: This sh** su***."
  • Geoff Calkins of The Commercial-Appeal: "Don't tell me that the owners somehow did this to themselves by handing out silly contracts, either. The system is designed to produce silly contracts. That's why the players and their agents are so desperate to retain it. How can the same people who rip the owners for handing out extravagant deals now rip the owners for deciding, collectively, that they're through with it? But any sympathy I might have for the owners dissipates pretty quickly when I consider the example of the local one, Mike Heisley. After the most successful season in Grizzlies history, a season of triumph for the entire organization, he responded by taking a hard line with his assistant coaches, by laying off a half-dozen employees, and by declining to pick up the contracts of others. Eric Hasseltine, the voice of the Grizzlies, is tending bar. People could lose their houses. And all this saves Heisley, what, a few hundred thousand bucks? This is what the players are up against. This is why it's hard to imagine it ending well."
  • Mike Monroe of the San Antonio Express-News: "Without paychecks, the players’ resolve will be sorely tested. The owners count on nerves to fray as bank accounts dwindle. 'That’s the point of a lockout,” Bonner said. 'Let the players miss paychecks and they’ll cave. But we’ve been preparing for over two years, ready for this moment, ready for right now.' Their very determination, Bonner said, is both heartening and frightening. 'If they’re going to test our resolve, it scares me,' he said, 'because the players really are ready to stick together and see this thing through.' Through a lost season, or more? 'That’s what the owners have been saying all along, that they’re willing to lock us out for one or two seasons to get what they want,' Bonner said. 'I think that’s not very smart, considering everything that is at stake: the future growth of the game and the momentum of the last few years.' "
  • Jenni Carlson of The Oklahoman: "I know that the players agreeing to a 50-50 split would anger some of these guys, but they need to remember the owners have already caved on the issue of the hard salary cap. That was something the owners wanted as much as the players didn't want it. That's a win for the players, so they might have to lose in the revenue split. Besides, would a 50-50 split between the players who made the league what it is and the owners who assume great the financial risk be so bad? The owners give on the hard salary cap. The players give on the revenue split. Do that on this lockout's biggest sticking points, and the season could be saved. In the world of negotiating, each side has to give for a deal to get done. Each side has to lose for both sides to feel like they've won."
  • Filip Bondy of the New York Daily News: "But here's the dirty little secret in our area: From a competitive standpoint, our two local teams, the Nets and Knicks, probably will fare better than a lot of other franchises from an abbreviated season. ... The Nets will never admit this publicly, but they surely want as much of this season as possible to vaporize so they can get to Brooklyn. They would like to fast-forward their way out of Newark, where attendance for the lame-duck home side figures to be abysmal, defeats plentiful and revenues infinitesimal. The fewer games they play this season in Newark, the less demoralized Deron Williams will become and the greater the Nets' chances of re-signing him. The Knicks are a different case, yet they too can benefit from a shorter schedule. One of their two key players, Amar'e Stoudemire, turns 29 next month, and his knees are 43. Stoudemire tired badly last spring, when he was a shell of his former self. He is built these days for the sprint, not the marathon. The Knicks also wouldn't mind shortening the wait in the Chris Paul sweepstakes, putting more pressure on New Orleans to make a deal - assuming the new CBA rules allow the Knicks enough wiggle room to participate."
  • Tom Reed of The Plain Dealer: "Forget the Cavaliers' home opener against Toronto set for Nov. 4. The club's second regular-season game at the Q, scheduled for Nov. 12 versus Boston, also is history. As it stands, the only pro basketball team guaranteed to play on the Cavaliers' home court this year is the Harlem Globetrotters on Dec. 27. Yep, Cleveland fans might see Big Easy Lofton bouncing red, white and blue balls off the foreheads of hand-picked opponents before they catch their first glimpse of No. 1 draft pick Kyrie Irving."
  • Ailene Voisin of The Sacramento Bee: "No question, I am very surprised that the league and its player union failed to reach a tentative agreement after meeting extensively these past few days. As I wrote last week, I told two friends that a deal would get done without the NBA losing any games - and bet them both a couple of beers. Well, at least I was thinking domestic (cheap) beers. This is also why I might be one of few former Las Vegas residents who never spent time at the tables in the casino!"
  • Jerry Zgoda of the Star Tribune: "Somebody asked Wolves player representative Anthony Tolliver if he and his teammates are ready for canceled games and missed paychecks. 'If anybody isn't ready, it's their fault,' Tolliver said by phone from Houston, his offseason home. 'Everybody has been talking about this for a long time. We've all had a ton of meetings and been told to be prepared to miss games if we're going to get a fair deal. Obviously, the owners are playing chicken, thinking we'll give in at the last minute because they have leverage. We're not going to. We feel we have to hold out until we get a fair deal. Unfortunately, that's not happening right now.' ... Wolves rookie Derrick Williams left college last spring after his sophomore season at Arizona knowing that his first NBA season might never be. On Monday night, he suggested via Twitter that he might now seek his first professional paycheck in Europe or Asia until a new labor agreement is reached."
  • Kate Fagan of The Philadelphia Inquirer: "It's impossible to quantify which teams will be affected most, but I think it's safe to say that the Sixers are in the top half of teams that really couldn't afford this hurdle in their maturity process as a franchise. Take Marreese Speights going over to play in Greece, as an example. Do you think that in Greece he'll be learning the defensive system Doug Collins requires? Do you think he'll be focused on staying in shape like he does here (with the assistant coaches looking over his shoulder)? Sure, it was likely that Speights would be traded anyway, but the example still remains."
  • Kurt Kragthorpe of The Salt Lake Tribune: "Until the moment Monday night when the NBA canceled the first two weeks of the 2011-12 season, I kept searching for any sign of hope for a labor resolution in the near future. This news hits home, and it hurts. Maybe there’s some consolation in the theory that in this market, the clear choice is to cheer for the owners, holding out for a deal that will help small-market teams compete and make the Miller family’s franchise viable. The longer this lockout lasts, some would say, the better for the Jazz. All I know is we’ll miss the NBA around here. The last time the Jazz appeared in the playoffs, facing the Lakers in the Western Conference semifinals in May 2010, I looked around a frenzied EnergySolutions Arena and thought: This is why you have an NBA team in your town."
  • K.C. Johnson of the Chicago Tribune: "Though the schedule will be redone now that games have been canceled, the Bulls' website currently shows the team opening with the difficult annual 'circus trip' in Portland. That's as cruel as Monday's events making the 2011-12 season just the second in league history to lose regular-season games to labor woes. In 1998-99, 50 of 82 games were played. 'It's disappointing,' Bulls swingman Kyle Korver said."
  • Michael Lee of The Washington Post: "Wizards forward Andray Blatche considered himself to be one of the more optimistic players when it came to the lockout, believing that the league and the players’ union would soon reach a solution to the work stoppage without missing games. But after David Stern announced on Monday in New York that the NBA would cancel the first two weeks of the regular season because the two sides remain 'very part apart,' Blatche wrote in a text message that he was 'starting to lose hope' and may have to consider going overseas."

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