NBA AM: More Game Cancellations On Deck
According to multiple sources close to the situation the NBA and NBPA have yet to schedule any future meetings or conference calls to secure a new collective bargaining agreement (CBA) in the ongoing labor dispute.
Talks between the two parties broke off last week after over 30 hours of negotiations during a marathon of mediation sessions which were seemingly making significant progress on reaching a new deal.
The league imposed lockout, which began on July 1, has now reached the 116 day mark with training camps already postponed and the first 100 games of the 2012 regular season cancelled earlier this month.
Based on the latest news, or lack thereof, it should come as no surprise a report by the New York Daily News is projecting another round of cancellations to be announced by the league today.
Although NBA commissioner David Stern had been hinting that games could potentially be cancelled through Christmas if significant progress wasn’t made last week, the latest round of cuts are only expected to be through November 28 – totaling just over 100 contests.
The two sides still have significant gaps to close on how to split Basketball Related Income (BRI) and agreeing on the structure of the salary cap system.
But for now it seems as though each party has drawn their own lines in the sand and are awaiting their counterparts to make more concessions.
“We’ve indicated that we’re ready to sit down and negotiate with [the owners] on a minute’s notice,” players’ association executive director Billy Hunter told ESPN on Monday. “We’ve indicated that we’re prepared to negotiate and continue negotiations but for the fact that the owners told us [their latest offer] was take it or leave it and only unless we agree to the 50-50. But we can’t agree to the 50-50 if we don’t have a system in place.”
Players were due to receive their first checks on November 15 and for every month of missed action they stand to lose more than $350 million in salaries.
The owners were projected to lose close to $100 million in ticket revenues alone from the initial round of cancellations announced two weeks ago. That figure didn’t include the revenues generated by selling team merchandise, food and beverages and arena parking fees.
High Profile Games Scheduled To Be Cancelled (Through November 28)
Dallas Mavericks vs. Memphis Grizzlies (November 16)
Boston Celtics vs. Miami HEAT (November 16)
New York Knicks vs. Los Angeles Lakers (November 17)
Oklahoma City Thunder vs. San Antonio Spurs (November 21)
Los Angeles Lakers vs. Oklahoma City Thunder (November 23)
Portland Trail Blazers vs. Dallas Mavericks (November 28)
Mike Brown Won’t Rock Lakers’ Boat: The Los Angeles Lakers are at a bit of a cross roads. Armed with the still prolific but aging guard Kobe Bryant and All-Star forward Pau Gasol the team will likely enter the 2012 season (when it begins) as a legitimate title contender.
However the memory of last season’s embarrassing second round playoff elimination sweep at the hands of the eventual champion Dallas Mavericks has many questioning if the current core still has what it takes to compete at the highest level – together.
New Lakers head coach Mike Brown has been working diligently on fine tuning his system during the course of the lockout with assistant coach Chuck Person. But the veteran coach is promising he’s not looking to totally reshape the team’s identity or culture.
“I don’t know if you need to change the identity too much,” Brown told Elliot Teaford of the Los Angeles Daily News. “I don’t know if you need to change the culture too much because this was already, obviously, a winning culture. So, I think it’s a win-win.
“The exciting thing about coming into this team is I don’t have to say anything,” Brown continued. “These guys were embarrassed last year (after their second-round playoff sweep), and they’re all winners. Been there, done that. I’m not going to get in the way of that.”
The Lakers’ core of Bryant, Gasol and center Andrew Bynum stack up well against any other trio in the league as currently constructed, but Brown will have his hands full with trying to get the most out of the role players surrounding his workhorses.
Veteran point guard Derek Fisher still performs admirably in big moments but is clearly losing a step, one-time defensive force Metta World Peace (Ron Artest) is coming off the worst season of his twelve year career and point guard Steve Blake struggled mightily in his first season in Los Angeles.
Brown will likely abandon the triangle offense and plans on bringing over parts of the offensive system he utilized as head coach of the Cleveland Cavaliers.
But he also stated that most of the playbook from those times has been scrapped.
“Some of these plays (from Cleveland) will be good with this team, but most of them won’t,” Brown said. “So, that’s what changed. We basically went page by page, putting this (playbook) together, typing it up, so we had a new bible offensively for this team.”
In five seasons as a head coach Brown has compiled a 272-138 regular season mark (66 percent win rate) and 42-29 record in the postseason. He led the Cavaliers to the Finals in 2007 and won the 2009 NBA coach of the year award.
Shane Battier Wants ‘Partnership’ Between Owners and Players: While most of the rhetoric has revolved around which side in the ongoing lockout “wins” their respective stance, the term partnership in sharing and maximizing a $4 billion revenue machine has remained ominously missing.
Unrestricted free agent Shane Battier, who finished last season with the Memphis Grizzlies, believes the league should embrace evening the playing field for smaller market franchises through revenue sharing and feels that owners and players should be working together in a united partnership to grow the game to new heights.
“Teams like Memphis, Milwaukee, Sacramento, they’re at a disadvantage because of the economics of their cities,” Battier told Marlon Morgan of the Commercial Appeal. “I would like to see us have a true partnership in every sense of the word. Let’s all share. This is an unbelievable game. This is an unbelievable opportunity for both owners and players. Let’s be partners. I think that extends to revenue sharing.”
The veteran forward, known for his long range accuracy and defensive prowess, is projected to be a coveted free agent for teams on the verge of title contention once a new CBA is reached.
But for now with the labor uncertainty clouding the landscape Battier isn’t giving much thought to where he’ll be lacing up the high tops during the 2012 season.
“Are there going to be midlevel exceptions?” Battier said in response to his impeding free agency plans. “Are there going to be Bird rights? Is there going to be a soft cap? Is there going to be a hard cap? Will there be amnesty? There are so many issues that will impact my decision-making, it’s not even worth trying to worry about or figure out at this point. Once the new deal is signed, I’ll be able to sit down with my agent and figure out a good course of action.”
Battier, a ten year veteran, has career averages of 9.6 points and 4.7 rebounds on 39 percent shooting from three-point range. He is a two-time All-Defensive team selection (2008, 2009).
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