NBA Sunday: Josh Howard Returns to Dallas
Josh Howard Hosts Charity Game
Washington Wizards free agent Josh Howard is a good example of how poorly-informed the general rank and file of the league has been about the labor negotiations throughout this whole process. Before his recent charity game in Dallas, featuring stars like Kevin Durant, John Wall, and LaMarcus Aldridge, Howard spoke pretty honestly about his feelings on the lockout, and the problem with his comments are that he seemed to have little idea about what, exactly, the players association formerly known as the NBPA had been working on.
“I haven’t seen the newest proposal,” Howard said. “Ultimately, it’s up the player reps to give us that information, and in the meantime we just have to pay attention to the TV and just hope that things work out for the best.”
So, in other words, the player reps did not pass on many details regarding the “last and final” offer from the league. We knew that the players weren’t allowed to vote on this last one because it was deemed so horrible, but to have to watch TV to figure out what was going on? That says a lot about how disorganized this whole thing has been.
The really frustrating thing is that Howard said all this with a smile. As a happy-go-lucky guy in the first place, he wasn’t even thinking to be outraged, but what’s done is done and Howard is left feeling bad not for himself, but for all the arena workers this lockout is affecting.
“A lot of people are missing work because of us as far as the concession stand workers, people who work in parking, stuff like that. So I feel there’s a little more obligation to get those people out here working,” Howard said.
But there truly is nothing he can do at the moment, so in the meantime he’s trying really hard to focus on the positive aspects of the lockout.
“You’ve got to stay positive, and that’s what I’ve been doing throughout this whole process,” he said. “With my knee injury, I’ve had the extra time to get healthy and healthier. I feel good.
“I’ve been working out, taking care of my family, and working on things off the court,” he added. “Nothing major, I’ve just been paying attention to the basketball aspect. There’s a lot of basketball to be played and I just want to get out there.”
Howard’s exhibition has been the latest in a long string of player-hosted exhibitions that have been pretty successful in the absence of NBA ball, and Howard admits that these games have been cathartic for everyone involved.
“We’re doing this thing for the community, giving them some basketball to watch during the NBA lockout, and just coming out here and having a good time with my NBA coworkers,” he said, adding, “It shows that we’re together. Guys come out here and do this just on a whim, so I’m happy for that… It’s a great outlet for the fans to see basketball.”
Of course, the ironic thing is that while events like this show togetherness, the way the former Players Association has handled the lockout hasn’t always. But these exhibitions are great ways to keep the fans in touch with the game, and Howard certainly deserves props for giving us some basketball to watch. We’d all be a lot happier, however, if we could watch some basketball that matters, and watch it on a nightly basis.
China Hot for Tyson Chandler
As soon as labor negotiations officially soured and turned the lockout into what could potentially be a lengthy and arduous legal battle, players who so far had been holding out hope for an NBA season started looking at overseas options a lot more seriously.
Now, Tyson Chandler is getting serious interest from the Zhejiang Guangsha Lions in China, and at this point hardly anybody would hold it against him for accepting an offer.
The potential problem there is that as far as overseas options are concerned, China has thus far been among the least desirable because they don’t offer an out for NBA free agents should the lockout end during the Chinese season. Former Denver Nugget Wilson Chandler accepted this risk when he signed with Zhejiang Guangsha several weeks ago, but there’s no guarantee that Tyson Chandler will feel the same way.
One option for Chandler includes taking a Chinese contract, then latching on with an NBA contender—possibly even returning to Dallas—sometime in March when China’s season is over. However, this would require he waive his Bird rights, and that would also dump him into the free agent class of 2012, which is already pretty competitive with Dwight Howard, Chris Paul, Deron Williams, and Steve Nash all vying for new deals that summer, as well.
None of that would matter if the entire 2011-2012 NBA season were canceled completely, because Chandler would get dumped into the ’12 free agency pool in that scenario, anyway. But if he leaves now and a new labor deal is struck in late December, he’ll find himself in something of a pickle.
Whether or not Zhejiang Guangsha gets Chandler (Tyson, that is—they’ve already got Wilson), Chinese teams are back to making strong pushes for NBA players in the wake of the most recent breakdown in negotiations. Suns guard Aaron Brooks, for example, just signed with Guangdong on Friday. Will Tyson Chandler be the next (and arguably biggest) NBA star to take his talents eastward?
Nobody would blame him if he was.