NBA AM: Carmelo Undergoes Surgery?
Melo’s Injuries? There was some basketball to be watched yesterday in between NFL games, a charity game dubbed The Battle of 1-95 featuring a team representing the city of Philadelphia taking on Carmelo Anthony’s squad representing Baltimore.
The game was played at The Palestra in Philadelphia in front of a capacity crowd and featured more than a dozen NBA players.
Team Philly beat Melo’s stars of Baltimore 131-122 despite having NBA mega-stars LeBron James, Carmelo Anthony and Chris Paul all on the same team.
Knicks’ forward Carmelo Anthony talked with reporters after the game and revealed he had two surgical procedures done over the summer including arthroscopic surgery on his left knee and an elbow procedure to clear up his chronic bursitis.
“Can’t tell, can you?” Melo joked with Marc Berman of the New York Post.
“I did both of them,” Anthony said. “They were bothering me seven years.”
Melo said the surgeries this summer were the first surgeries he has undergone, but he feels as good as he’s felt in a long time and is just waiting for the labor situation to get resolved.
“I feel good mentally and physically,” explained Carmelo. “My mindset is about starting next week. That’s where my mindset is at and body is at. Games are fun for charity, but at the same time we want to get something out of it.”
Carmelo, like most of the major NBA stars, has stayed out of the limelight regarding the labor fight between the Players and the Owners, but says he is supportive of his Union.
“We don’t know how powerful we are right now,” Anthony said of the union. “We support Billy (Hunter) 100 percent. We got to stick together as players. In the meantime, we’ll keep doing stuff like this, keep having basketball games, keep playing and giving fans what they want. It’s not everything they want. They want a season.”
Given the box office success of these charity/exhibition games there are a number of additional games in the works as well as a possible second installment of Impact Basketball’s Competitive Training Series in Las Vegas.
So while it’s not NBA basketball, there has been some competitive basketball to watch, check out some of the highlights from yesterday below.
A Little Labor Talk: The NBA’s Lockout of its player enters its 87th day today and unfortunately there does not seem to be an end in sight.
Last week the NBA postponed the start of training camp and cancelled some 43 planned exhibition games with plans to reevaluate where things stand the first week of October, when the balance of the pre-season is likely to be scrubbed.
So where do we stand?
Here are some questions and answers on where the labor process sits today:
When Will They Talk Next?
The NBA and the Players’ Association do not have any talks scheduled this week, but sources close to the process say there is almost constant dialogue either through e-mails or phone conversations.
Both sides were trying to organize another face-to-face bargaining session this week, but schedule conflicts and the upcoming Jewish holidays are making that improbable this week.
Both sides are expected to meet early next week. The two sides seem overly guarded and pessimistic that progress will be achieved next week, simply because the gap between what the Players view as reasonable is so radically different than what the Owners are seeking.
The common complaint of this process is the gap between meetings, however as sources close to the process constantly point out – why meet if you do not agree on anything?
Sources point out the meetings that do take place are sometimes heated and adding meeting after meeting to argue only exacerbates the situation.
Both sides remain committed to meetings; however the pace of the meeting is slow because there is so little progression taking place. Sources say when both sides are meeting daily, that’s when you can assume real progress is being made and a deal is possible.
Are Teams Talking To Each Other?
NBA teams and team personnel are allowed to talk to each other, they just are not allowed to talk to the players or their agents and representatives.
Some teams are using this down time to really evaluate their roster. Some are actively scouting and some are planning and developing for the season.
While team sources are not allowed to talk about the labor situation, there has been some scuttle regarding trades and transactions once the lockout is lifted.
The common theme from virtually everyone is that constructing a trade or a deal is almost impossible because no one knows what the cap or trade rules will be so beyond very high level conceptual discussion getting into the meat of a deal is nearly impossible. Teams have been talking, so once a labor deal is reached there are a number of transactions on the table that would just need to worked out mechanically.
Where Does The Decertification Talk Stand?
The talk of decertifying the Players’ Association is still very real, however there is nothing in place to suggest the Players’ Association is going to proceed in that direction.
There would need to a petition by a large group of players – 30% is required – in order to force a vote on the topic. After the petition is filed the Players’ Association would have at least 45 days to hold the vote, so forcing decertification is a time-consuming process.
The Players are awaiting a ruling on their National Labor Relation Board complaint, which may get ruled upon in the coming weeks.
The idea here is if the NLRB rules in the Players’ favor, that the NBA is not negotiating in good faith, the NLRB could seek a Federal court injunction of the current Lockout. If the courts grant the NLRB’s request for an injunction it would allow the Players to return to work while the legal process plays out.
The NBA could always appeal such an injunction as the NFL did in their labor fight a few months ago.
The NLRB ruling is not expected to end the fight, but it could be a good legal maneuver to force talks to progress while the legal process plays out without the Players’ Association having to decertify.
The decertified NFL Players lost a number of their legal challenges in Federal court, so it seems the NBA Players’ Association is trying to avoid repeating those same mistakes, hence why they have tabled decertification for the time being.
The Players’ Association is not avoiding a deal while they await a ruling, but it is clear that the Players are awaiting a ruling before they actively look at decertification, mainly because a favorable ruling with the NLRB could get them many of the same benefits as decertification.
What’s With the Renewed Amnesty Talk?
There has been renewed discussion in the media about the idea of an Amnesty roster cut being included in the next collective bargaining agreement. Such a provision would allow a team to cut a contract or group of contracts without that contract counting against the salary cap.
Sources familiar with the talks in the room say that any talk of agreed hard mechanical actions is wildly premature, as there hasn’t been any agreement on mechanical parts of a labor deal.
The Players have been fairly steadfast that they want the existing system to be retained while the owners are pushing for harsher changes.
There is some truth to the idea that a large number of owners want some type of reorganization of their roster to be allowed under the new deal, mainly because the salary numbers will be coming down by virtue of a reduced revenue split.
This is something of a trivial concept for the players mainly because a cut player would receive 100% of his salary and hit free agency with that new check in his pocket.
It’s not hard to believe if Amnesty is something the owners want that the Players would not object, but in this process everything is a chip to be traded and the Players have not traded anything yet.
Sources close to the process warn we are not even close to that level of a discussion, and nothing mechanically has been agreed to, mainly because the mechanical changes come after a revenue split is calculated and that has not be done yet.
When Will This End?
That is the $4.1 billion question.
Here is the timeline of events from 1998…
In 1998, the NBA cancelled the balance of the NBA Preseason on October 5th.
On October 13th they cancelled the first two weeks of the regular season.
On November 23rd all the games through the Christmas day games were cancelled and on December 1st all games through the first of the year were cancelled.
On December 8th the NBA cancelled the NBA All-Star game.
In 1998, NBA Commissioner David Stern labeled January 7th, 1999 as the drop dead date for a season. Both sides reached a hand shake deal on January 6th.
The abbreviated 1998-1999 NBA season got underway on February 5th.
So at any point in the process one of those dates is a trigger point with the week of January 7th being absolute D-Day for the season.
If you are a betting man, take the under on January 7th as the Players lose completely if an entire season is lost.
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