Friday, October 21, 2011
First Cup: Friday
- Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle: "NBPA President Derek Fisher and executive director Billy Hunter were by then kindling, ready to burn with the slightest match strike. They were angry over the way talks ended and the position of the owners they believed had been intentionally intractable, designed not to reach a common ground agreement, but break the union until it had to accept the owners’ every wish. Then Silver said something about the players being unwilling to continue negotiations if the owners did not come up from their offer to split basketball related income evenly and the kindling caught fire. By the time Fisher Hunter were through with their retort press conference, they left scorched Earth behind. Talks had more than ended with the even the mediator announcing there was no point in continuing. It got personal and ugly. No talks are scheduled. No reason for hope could be found. After a few words in sympathy for fans and communities, Fisher said Silver and Holt were liars. ... Hunter went even further, saying that the whole thing has been an NBA lie. He described negotiations as no more than an act with the real NBA goal to extend the lockout long enough to cancel games until the union gives in. ... As he and Fisher made their charges, one can imagine Stern’s flu-driven temperature rising. But they were not speaking to him. They were not really trying to sway the public. Mostly, they were angry. They were tired and disappointed and frustrated. But more than anything, they were angry. NBA players were no doubt watching, or if not, will hear every charge repeated as word spreads why the union believes negotiations ended on Thursday. They will soon be as angry and determined as Hunter and Fisher. If the league is, as Hunter charged, trying to break the union, that display solidified it."
- Mike Monroe of the San Antonio Express-News: "Hunter was more pointed, naming names, good and bad.Good: James Dolan, Mark Cuban, Mickey Arison and Jerry Buss, big market owners he said wanted to make a deal. Bad: Mostly Dan Gilbert. Hunter said Gilbert, the Cavs owner who behaved like a spoiled brat after LeBron James decided to take his talents to South Beach last summer, wanted his trust. Agree to a 50-50 split, a giveback of roughly $300 million next season, and we’ll make sure there will be a system you can live with. Oh, sure. That Hunter would have revealed this after two days of gag orders issued by Cohen spoke volumes about the nastiness of the emotions, so raw they need to be numbed. How numb will you feel without an entire NBA season? Because that’s where this dispute between billionaires and millionaires is headed."
- Alan Hahn of Newsday: "No, the real fireworks involved an alleged attitude the owners brought into Thursday's meeting in Manhattan after what Silver called a 'robust' Board of Governors meeting in the morning, which involved heated discussions about improving the revenue-sharing plan. 'Something happened in that Board of Governors meeting,' Kessler said. Without Stern in the room -- though he was said to be in constant communication with the owners' side via conference call -- Silver was joined by Spurs owner Peter Holt, chairman of the labor relations committee. But there was a surprise guest, Trail Blazers owner Paul Allen . Said Kessler: 'We were told Paul Allen was here to express the views of the other Board of Governors and that view was, 'It's our way or the highway.' ' Hunter said the union had prepared to present a formal proposal but was halted before it could begin. Holt then allegedly said the owners did not want to discuss other aspects of collective bargaining unless the union agreed on a 50-50 split."
- Howard Beck of The New York Times: "The earlier board of governors meeting was mostly spent discussing a more generous revenue-sharing plan. Silver reiterated that the revenue-sharing pool would be tripled, to at least $150 million per year, and quadrupled in later seasons. Although the details remained confidential, the league’s poorest franchises could receive up to $15 million a year under the new formula, according to a person who has seen the plan. The two biggest payers would be the Los Angeles Lakers, who are expected to contribute $50 million a year, and the Knicks, who are expected to contribute $30 million a year."
- Tom Powers of the Pioneer Press: "The NBA situation is particularly ludicrous. The owners are holding out for the right to tax the hell out of each other. Unable to control their own spending, they want to implement an ultra-hefty 'luxury tax' that penalizes anyone whose payroll exceeds a certain level. This is the equivalent of a serial killer scrawling on the wall of his latest victim: 'Somebody stop me before I do it again.' Meanwhile, the players say they are all about free enterprise and the good old American way. Yet one of their demands is that the owners agree to more revenue sharing as a way of propping up ailing franchises. It doesn't quite seem consistent."
- Mike Tokito of The Oregonian: "Portland Mayor Sam Adams is hoping for a "speedy resolution" to the NBA lockout, his spokesperson, Amy Ruiz said this week. And it isn't just because Adams is a fan. A prolonged lockout and the loss of home Trail Blazers game could put a serious dent in the fund the city uses to pay off debts on its major sports facilities, as well as to maintain and upgrade them. Blazers games provide much of the revenue for the city's spectator fund -- a self-sustaining account that the city started so it would not have to dip into the general fund to pay bills for its sports facilities. The city collects about $77,000 per Blazers game through a 6 percent ticket tax and from parking fees collected at the city-owned parking facilities at the Rose Quarter -- the East and West Garages, and the Benton surface lot."
- Mark Medina of the Los Angeles Times: "Eager to catch a glimpse of Lakers guard Kobe Bryant, hundreds of Loyola Marymount University students Thursday afternoon surrounded the entrance gate toward the Gersten Pavilion. Soon enough, Bryant emerged from the gym, wearing a sweatshirt, Nike shorts and shoes and a black hat while clutching his cellphone. Laker fans shouted his name, but he didn't look up until minutes later when he hung up his phone. He then flashed a smile and waved toward the onlookers before quickly hopping in the passenger seat of a sport utility vehicle with two other unidentified people. Once the entrance gate opened, a few fans caught up to Bryant's passenger window, yelled his name and high-fived each other before the car quickly drove away. Attempts to enter the facility were unsuccessful, and one official said Bryant made specific orders to deny media access. Still, judging on the players exiting the building, it appeared Bryant played an unspecified number of scrimmages from 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. with Laker teammates Metta World Peace and Darius Morris as well as Oklahoma City's James Harden and Toronto's DeMar DeRozan, both L.A. natives."
- Jerry Zgoda of the Star Tribune: "Kevin Love isn't coming, but Michael Beasley added Wolves teammates Anthony Randolph, Wayne Ellington and Lazar Hayward along with Wes Johnson for Friday's game in Osseo. Derrick Williams has been listed all along, too, but he just tweeted back to Tolliver late tonight that he'll be in Arizona and not Minnesota Friday night. Whoever does show to play...this may be the only NBA ball you're going to see for quite awhile longer after owners and players abruptly ended their negotiations in New York City tonight and promptly busted the gag order put forth by the federal mediator. And boy, did they bust it with a pair of separate news conference that included the players, led by Derek Fisher, calling the owners a bunch of liars."
- Marc Berman of the New York Post: "Carmelo Anthony’s plans for his barnstorming all-star game in the New York area keeps getting bigger. During an appearance in Greenwich Village on Thursday, the Knicks forward said he’d like to house the all-star charity event at an 18,000-seat arena, with Izod Center in the Meadowlands being considered. Anthony said the event, which he hopes will include at least nine All-Stars, will take place around Thanksgiving, unless the NBA lockout is settled."
- Josh Robbins of the Orlando Sentinel: "Dwight Howard is asking for your help. Howard is asking for Orlando Magic fans’ input about a possible exhibition game. ... It’s unclear how far along Howard is in his thought process on a possible exhibition game. It’s possible that he was wondering out loud. But it’s also possible that this has been an idea he’s been kicking around for some time. Either way, Howard has been absent from the spate of exhibition games that have taken place during the NBA lockout. As stars such as LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Kevin Durant, as well as many others, have played in charity games across the country, Howard has mostly spent his summer working out on his own, spending time with his new shooting coach or traveling overseas on various adidas tours."
- Michael Lee of The Washington Post: "John Wall has already declared that he’s back to displaying the explosiveness he had before battling injuries as a rookie, and now he might attempt to go after Los Angeles Clippers all-star forward Blake Griffin’s crown as the reigning slam dunk champion. At the launch for his new Reebok Zig Encore shoe and apparel line on Wednesday at a Foot Locker in New York, Wall said he is considering entering the slam dunk contest during All-Star Weekend. 'Yeah I’m thinking about it,' Wall said during a question and answer session hosted by famed DJ and radio host Funkmaster Flex and transcribed by the Web site IamGM.com. 'Maybe this year or next year I’ll probably enter the dunk contest.' Of course, the NBA would have to have a season before it has an All-Star Game, and the labor dispute remains unsolved in the 112th day of the lockout."
- Mike Wells of The Indianapolis Star: "Indiana Pacers forward Danny Granger wants to give back to the Conseco Fieldhouse employees affected financially by the NBA lockout. His idea is to treat fieldhouse employees who get paid by the game to dinner, and possibly donate proceeds from a benefit basketball game to them as well. Granger, who made $11 million last season, has floated the plan on his Twitter account. Fellow Pacers Dahntay Jones, Paul George, Brandon Rush and James Posey want to help Granger put the event together. Details are still being finalized."
- Tony Bizjak of The Sacramento Bee: " Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson said Thursday his effort to build a sports and entertainment complex downtown will move forward despite today's announcement that the National Basketball Association and its players' union have broken off contract talks. The league earlier this month canceled the first two weeks of the season. Further cancellations are expected as a result of today's negotiations breakdown. Johnson issued a statement reiterating his intention to build an arena for sports, concerts and other events, regardless of whether the Sacramento Kings play in it this year, or at any time."
- Staff of the Detroit Free Press: "Pistons great and team president Joe Dumars put his handprints in cement last week as part of the Detroit Legends Plaza project launched by the Detroit Historical Society. Dumars is one of many Detroit celebrities who will have a concrete cement square — which also features a signature — installed in the ground at the plaza in front of the Detroit Historical Museum. The museum is located at the corner of Woodward and Kirby. ... The plaza project is part of the Past>Forward campaign, an effort to raise $20.1?million for the Detroit Historical Society to go to new and expanded exhibits, technology upgrades, educational offerings and enhancements."