Wednesday, October 12, 2011
First Cup: Wednesday
- Marc Berman of the New York Post: "Amar'e Stoudemire said last night if the NBA lockout wipes out the season, he believes the players will form their own league instead of trying to catch on in Europe. 'If we don't go to Europe, we're going to start our own league, that's how I see it,' the Knicks forward said. 'It's very serious. It's a matter of us strategically coming up with a plan, a blueprint and putting it together. So we'll see how this lockout goes. If it goes one or two years, we've got to start our own league.' Stoudemire, who spoke at the 34th street Foot Locker where he debuted his new Nike Air Max shoe, declined to say if there's financial backing in place."
- Ira Winderman of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel: "Tuesday, on his Twitter account, LeBron James posted a query to ESPN NFL analyst John Clayton, 'When is the deadline for a team to sign a free agent?' Clayton responded on his Twitter account, 'LeBron, sorry to get back to you so late. Trade deadline next Tuesday 4 p.m. Free agency goes until last team is eliminated. Game on.' Clayton followed with two more posts. First, 'LeBron, because you have some time and you were a WR, the 49ers just signed Brett Swain. You might check with Buffalo.' And then, 'LeBron, don't look at the Philadelphia Eagles. You're already on a Dream Team.' James' Twitter post came a week after he worked out in full pads but without contact with the St. Vincent-St. Mary football team in Akron, Ohio, where he had starred as a prep football and basketball standout."
- Mike Bresnahan of the Los Angeles Times: "On Monday the first two weeks of the season were canceled, and more games could be killed soon, making this an abbreviated season at best. A shorter season might actually help the Lakers. Why wouldn't they want it for Derek Fisher (37 years old), Kobe Bryant (33), Pau Gasol (31), Steve Blake (31), Matt Barnes (31) and Luke Walton (31)? Oh, and Odom will be 32 in a few weeks, followed a week later by Metta World Peace's first birthday after the first 31 were celebrated by Ron Artest. Rest during the lockout should be embraced by the Lakers the same way dancing lessons should be bought in bulk by World Peace, who somehow fared worse on 'Dancing With the Stars' than his team had on the basketball stage a few months earlier. Regardless, there's a slim line between a shortened season and an uncomfortably truncated one. The Lakers don't want the lockout to drag on too long."
- Ronald Tillery of The Commercial-Appeal: "The growing anti-player sentiment among fans doesn't sit well with Grizzlies guard Tony Allen, who unleashed his grit and grind Tuesday afternoon with a defensive rant on Twitter. 'If I see 1 more person on my timeline thinkn! The players want more money -im gone go crazy!!' Allen wrote, using his handle, @aa000G9. Allen pointed out that the owners are 'the 1s who locked us out for more (bri_) please know the facts we play the game fans love 2 watch so why do they want 2 cut us short!!' ... Allen appeared to take offense to his Twitter followers who are against the players. 'So for now on don't @ me! About the players locking out cause it aint me and my crew!! S/o 2 the grizzlies!! On that amazing season! We had!' Allen wrote. Allen cautioned fans not to panic because the situation boils down to negotiations. 'So there is no hate!! Its just unfortunate! That the fans get left out of the loop!!' Allen wrote."
- Lynn Zinser of The New York Times: "This being a brand-awareness age, the players are obviously conscious of being tagged greedy millionaires depriving fans of professional basketball. Their very large, and largely guaranteed, contracts make that a tougher sell than N.F.L. players had in their lockout. But the interesting part is, they are clearly aware they need to do the selling and social media gives them an outlet. But, as the public image specialist Mike Paul warns, the longer the lockout goes, the more likely that polished social media front will crack. ... Paul said he believes both the players and teams would help themselves by doing more than just managing their messages. He said he would counsel them to reach out actively to fans, create events they can attend and engender some goodwill while the lockout costs them games. 'I think they are missing a huge opportunity,' Paul said."
- Steve Bulpett of the Boston Herald: "Speaking with agents yesterday, there is the belief that the NBA has in its possession a 50-game template it can unveil if it takes a couple of more months to achieve labor peace. Also, league sources have confided now and in the past that it becomes critical to have the NBA up and running when the NFL regular season wanes. Last season was an anomaly of sorts when, after the Summer of LeBron, there was real pro basketball interest in the months of November and December, and it was reflected in the television ratings. Now, with college football and the NFL bleeding all over the weeknight lineup, the NBA won’t mind waiting until it has a less crowded stage. Particularly when it means getting the deal it wants."
- Ryan Wolstat of the Toronto Sun: "Sometime down the line the owners are going to win. We just don’t know by how much. Still, will they really be victors? With the goodwill of a Dallas Mavericks win over hated — but eyeball-grabbing Miami — a faded memory? With a distracting NCAA season for the ages set to tip? With many former fans having abandoned ship due to anger, or, even worse, apathy? And what about in Toronto, a city where home attendance dropped from ninth in the league in 2008 (19,435 per game) and 10th in 2009 to 14th in 2010 and just 19th (16,566 per) last season? Sitting through a 60-loss campaign was tough for Raptors fans last season, but at least they got to know the young core. The longer they go without being reminded that DeMar DeRozan, Ed Davis, Jerryd Bayless, Andrea Bargnani and the rest still exist, the harder it will be to fill the stands whenever NBA ball resumes. That’s the risk. But David Stern et al don’t seem too worried. Maybe they should be."
- Tom Reed of The Plain Dealer: "Anthony Parker can play small forward, shooting guard, and, in a pinch, point guard. These days, the Cavaliers' veteran finds himself in an unfamiliar position – stay-at-home dad. ... 'These are not good financial times,' Parker said. 'There are a lot of families hurting and there are lot of families that depend on the industry of the NBA: ushers, parking garage attendants, people who work in restaurants near the arenas. This is not lost on us.' It's believed the Cavaliers have not laid off or furloughed any of their employees during a lockout that began on July 1. Cavaliers guard Baron Davis apologized to fans Tuesday for the work stoppage. Parker and Davis are two team members who have attended union meetings. Davis also was involved in a negotiating session two weeks ago with the league in New York. 'The issues are complex, everyone wants a deal that is fair for them,' Davis told The Plain Dealer via email. 'We as players are united in our belief that we have to do what is best for the long term, not just for the short term of the league and its players.' "
- Vince Ellis of the Detroit Free Press: "Ben Gordon wasn't surprised when NBA commissioner David Stern announced Monday that the league was canceling the first two weeks of the season because of the ongoing lockout of players. ... 'I think there will be more games missed,' Gordon said when reached by phone as he was driving to Chicago. 'I expect it might be a year or two. I realized that when I was listening to both sides during the negotiations. I think there will be a lot of games missed and more money is going to go down the drain. I'm preparing for the worst, but hoping for the best.' ... 'It just seemed scripted, and they were going through the motions,' said Gordon, calling it a valuable learning experience. 'Sitting there in front of them you could tell they weren't focused on getting a deal. I still don't know the purpose of those meetings.' "
- Jeff Schultz of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution: "Front office employees of the Hawks have yet to hear from either impending new owner Alex Meruelo or impending lame duck majority owners from the Atlanta Spirit about whether there will be a payroll reduction — be it in the form of layoffs, furloughs or salary cuts. But at the very least, about 300-plus game-day employees — concessionaires, ushers, ticket-takers, stat crew members, security, etc. — are out of jobs. Restaurants at CNN Center and around Philips Arena already took a hit when the Thrashers were sold and moved to Winnipeg. This lockout will last as long as it takes for players to cave. The owners created this mess by giving out stupid contracts. But the economics of this league can’t support the current CBA and the players need to realize that. Until then, regular people with regular jobs will take the hit."
- Brian T. Smith of The Salt Lake Tribune: "For now, the work stoppage will continue. As will the $4-billion chess match. And the feeling that, now that owners and players have shown their willingness to miss regular-season games to achieve their goals, the road is wide open and the ultimate destination of the 2011 lockout is totally unknown."
- Fred Kerber of the New York Post: "As Nets coach Avery Johnson said during several appearances in the past month, coaches around the league pretty much are in review mode. 'I'm watching video. Everything for me is about last year, what happened in games, what happened in practice, how did we have shootarounds,' Johnson said recently. 'You just continue to grind and grind about how to make what we do travel-wise, practice-wise, shootaround-wise, game-wise much more efficient, even not knowing parts.' Assuming there is a season, getting those parts in place will be as hectic as 1999, when the last lockout ended. In a normal year, there is a moratorium when teams can speak to free agents. Team execs doubt there will be any such period if a deal is reached. 'If there's a new CBA,' another team GM said, 'it'll take two weeks to write it up so the guidelines are set. There won't be a moratorium after that.' One of the other execs summed it up, saying, 'No matter what, you're going to have a lesser time to sign so there will be a priority on getting things done in a really short period. Some teams only have five, six guys under contract. They are going to be in a rough way. But that's down the road. I'm really concerned because of the systemic issues. It seemed like they were getting close, then ..."
- Darnell Mayberry of The Oklahoman: "Oklahoma City Thunder forward Kevin Durant is making good on his promise to put on a charity exhibition game featuring his fellow NBA superstars. Details of the event are expected to be announced at a news conference Wednesday afternoon. According to numerous sources with knowledge of the event, the game will pit two star-studded squads against each other, with one side being Durant's team and the other being former Oklahoma star Blake Griffin's team. Miami Heat star LeBron James is one of several players who have been confirmed for the event. New Orleans guard Chris Paul and Heat guard Dwyane Wade also are expected to show. The game is tentatively scheduled to be played Thursday, Oct. 27, inside the Cox Convention Center, which holds just shy of 14,000 for basketball."
- Bob Finnan of The News-Herald: "The Cavaliers dipped into the Division I college ranks on Tuesday when they hired Alex Jensen to be Canton's coach in the National Basketball Association Development League. Jensen, 35, was an assistant coach at St. Louis University under Rick Majerus. 'Alex is a great fit for our team and organization and what we want to develop and accomplish in Canton,' Canton general manager Wes Wilcox said in a prepared statement. ... Jensen will be introduced at a news conference next week in Canton. The Canton team, which has yet to be named, will open its D-League season on Nov. 25 vs. Iowa."