NBA AM: Players And NBA Close To A Deal?
In A Better Place Today: After more than 15 hours on Wednesday and almost eight more yesterday, the NBA and its Players are finally making progress towards a labor deal in the NBA.
Both sides remain cautious about where things stand but according to sources close to the process, things are progressing and a large number of compromises have been made over the last two days that have the process progressing forward at its fastest pace yet.
Here are some of the things we know have been agreed to:
** There will be a Mid-Level salary cap exception, said to be valued at just under $5 million. That exception can be used to sign a contract no longer than three years. The Owners are pushing that teams over the new Luxury tax line would not be able to use exceptions of any kind, something the Players are still fighting to preserve.
** There will be a modified Luxury Tax system designed to curb spending. Sources say the NBA’s multi-layer tax system has been shelved and that the two sides have agreed on a “framework” of a tax system that is slightly more aggressive than the previous system but not nearly the hard punitive ceiling initially proposed by the Owners.
** There had been talk that the “sign-and-trade” concept would be eliminated; however there was a change in course on this issue. It’s believed that “sign and trade” deals will be possible in the new labor deal; however the Owners were pushing for restrictions that would not allow teams over the Luxury Tax to trade for players using this tool.
Both sides are set to reconvene today in New York, with a small laundry list of details to hammer through including the split of basketball related revenues.
Sources close to the Players’ thinking say the BRI issue is not nearly the sticking point it’s made out to be assuming the Players get a salary system they are comfortable with.
With Luxury tax having been basically agreed to, sources close to the process say there are not many hurdles left that need to be overcome and assuming both sides are reasonable, a deal could be reached as soon as today or at the latest on Saturday.
There are a number of “B” list items to be covered today which sources say are basic parts of the deal including what the age limit will be, how the NBA draft will function, drug testing and disciplinary functions.
There is a belief the NBA is pushing for the age limit to be increased from 19 to 20 in the next labor deal, something the Players Association is not adamantly opposing. The Players would like to see a trigger put in place to allow top performing rookies to hit free agency sooner. The Players’ side wants to see players like Derrick Rose that overachieve on their rookie deal have some avenue to hit free agency sooner. If the Owners agree to such a concept, then the age limit in the NBA may jump to 20 years and two years removed from high school which would radically change the outlook of the 2012 NBA Draft.
The NBA Owners had proposed a “bonus pool” concept similar to one the NFL used to reward high performance on rookies that make the All-Rookie team and are named to Rookie of The Year.
Both sides of the talks were cautiously optimistic about where things stand with no one willing to go further than the talks scheduled for today, however it is starting to look like a hand shake deal could be reached soon setting in motion a ratification process between the Players and the Owners that could take up to two weeks.
Sources say that it could take as much as two weeks before free agency could open in the NBA, and that an abbreviated training camp and small exhibition schedule would take place before a regular season starting the last week of November-first week of December would begin.
Both sides remain optimistic that an 82-game regular season could be salvaged, but the NBA side was cautious to say that once a deal was reached they would try and schedule as many games as possible.
Making 82 Games Work: The NBA and its teams have started talking about how an 82-game season could work if the entire month of November is missed.
On average NBA teams will lose roughly 15 games per team if regular season play does not begin until the first week of December.
The Celtics and Lakers initially had 14 games scheduled for November and the Magic had 15 games scheduled for the first month of the season as a sample.
Sources informed about the process say that some games could be made up throughout the season using open practice dates and a more aggressive back to back schedule. That plan could recover a small portion of the missed games without risking undue stress on any one team.
The plan that is in process to recover the rest would have the regular season pushed out in April by as much as two weeks, pushing the end of the regular season from its usual April 15th window to something closer to April 25th.
Combining a tougher back-to-back schedule with as many as 10 to 15 more days available at the end of the season there is a belief the NBA can make up the missed month.
There has also been talk that the first round of the playoffs would be condensed just a bit to create a little more room in the post season so as to allow for the NBA Finals to be complete on or about its target window of mid-June.
Some of the multi-purpose arenas like the Staple Center in L.A. have major events booked for the last week of June, so preserving the June 16 windows deemed the latest possible start of the Finals does affect a number of venues.
There is an obvious advantage to younger teams if a full 82-game condensed schedule is pushed through as older teams like the Lakers, San Antonio Spurs and Boston Celtics would have less off time.
There is also a disadvantage for teams introducing new coaches and new systems as there will be far fewer training camp days and even fewer practice days throughout the season.
Teams that have an established system and pecking order should benefit from a tighter schedule and faster start to the season.
From the fan perspective the pace of the season should be a lot faster.
Nothing has been finalized as scheduling concerns are directly tied to reaching a labor deal, but plans are starting to be formulated which is a good sign on the labor front.
Iverson Wants Another Shot: Allen Iverson’s fall from grace has been abrupt to say the least. In 2010 he was named a starter in the 2010 NBA All-Star game for the 11th time in his career, yet he spent last season playing in Turkey.
Iverson’s problems have been well documented. He abruptly quit on the Memphis Grizzlies after public outbursts about not starting. He was a shell of himself after the Philadelphia 76ers re-signed him after his release from Memphis.
There were rampant rumors of drinking problems and financial concerns despite earning more than $154 million in his NBA career.
Iverson, who has spent the last year trying to get himself healthy, says he is ready to play whatever role a NBA team has for him.
“I’ll play for anybody,” Iverson told Marc J. Spears of Yahoo! Sports.
Iverson admitted that in 2010 he was battling a lot of personal issues including the health of his daughter and the collapse of his marriage.
“That wasn’t me at all,” Iverson said. “Obviously, I was dealing with the situation with my daughter and going through a divorce, and I wasn’t there mentally. In my career those last couple years were so hard for me because I wasn’t there. Mentally, I wasn’t there.
“During those 48 minutes on the basketball court, all I [ever] cared about was that time right there. Nothing else distracted me. But at times, I felt myself standing on the court just thinking about my daughter, thinking about the situation with me and my wife. I wasn’t giving [the teams] everything I had mentally.”
Iverson said his family is again healthy and that while divorce proceeding are still under way he is in a much better place in his life.
“Everything is fine,” Iverson said. [My wife and I] are still going through the process. But it’s not like it was. … I just felt like the right thing – even if it’s not me and her [together] – we got to be friends and cool with each other because we got five kids together. That was the most difficult part. And then once I got to there, as far as that situation, then everything was basically cool. My kids are healthy. I don’t have anything to worry about but basketball.”
Iverson says he tries to ignore the rumors that have surrounded him saying it would take a full day to explain what isn’t true about what’s been said about him.
“There are going to be people out there that say things,” Iverson said. “But it’s the same thing I teach my kids: ‘If it’s not true, why do you worry about it?’ It bothers me at times because I do have a heart, and my kids do have to hear some of those things. But that’s the only time it bothers me. I’m used to people saying a bunch of things about me that are not true.”
Iverson is hosting a two-day event in Las Vegas featuring himself and a number of high profile NBA players. He hopes he can prove to NBA teams that he still has something left to offer.
“Hopefully, one squad will believe in me and we will go from there. That would be a lot better than having to go overseas.”
“I’m not going to let it end like this, and I don’t want it to end like this. My first step is doing everything I have to do to get back to that [NBA] level. But if that’s something that God doesn’t want from me, then that’s that.”
If this is the end of the road for Allen Iverson, he has had an impressive NBA career: an MVP award in 2001, 11 NBA All-Star berths, four NBA scoring titles, three All-NBA first team designations, three All-NBA second team designations and more than 24,000 points scored, good enough for 22nd all-time.
Iverson says he has more to do, the question is will anyone in the NBA take the risk on him again?
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