Fast Break Thoughts

Darius Soriano —  September 30, 2011
  • Kobe’s going to Italy! Wait! No he’s not!! If we’ve learned anything by now about Kobe and his overseas options, it’s that 1). no deal is done until he comes out and says so and 2). it’s not coincidence that rumors of deals seem to occur right as he’s visiting these countries for Nike promotions. I’m treating all the speculation the way that I do trade rumors in February: agendas drive leaks; wake me when a deal is actually done.
  • Mike Brown is the Lakers’ coach but some would have preferred Rick Adelman be the man following Phil Jackson. Instead, Adelman has signed on with the T’Wolves and had this to say about his interest in the LA job and what it would be like trying to fill Phil Jackson’s shoes in a sit down with Sam Amick:

SI.com: So you obviously had interest in the Lakers job, but how did that go down?

Adelman: I think anybody would be interested, and that’s because of the talent they have and the situation they’re in. It’s very intriguing to look at that. It just came down to the fact that we had some discussions about the team, about a lot of things, but they chose to go in a different route [in hiring Mike Brown]. It never really got to the point of, “Are you going to take the job or not?” And frankly, it was very quick after the season ended and I had just moved from Houston back to Portland, so it was kind of a whirlwind thing. But the fact that they decided pretty quickly that they were going to go with Mike, that was kind of it.

SI.com: That’s quite a turnaround mentally to be looking at a championship-or-bust situation one minute and considering a spot like Minnesota the next.

Adelman: Yeah, and that’s how it was going to be, too. Perception is always there, and you just said it, championship or bust. And then you’re following probably the greatest coach in history, record-wise [in Phil Jackson], so there was a lot of stuff there, too. Certainly when you win, it’s better than when you lose, but sometimes even when you win, you lose.

  • Part I in a series of posts on the 1993 NBA draft. Give it a read.
  • Leaks around the CBA negotiations state that an amnesty clause (where each team would have the ability to waive a player to get them off their salary cap) could be part of any agreement. Based off that, here’s a good examination of who each team should release. I can only imagine most of you would agree with the first player mentioned in the Lakers section.
  • Speaking of the lockout, today the negotiations continue in what is universally being called a make or break weekend of meetings. After Wednesdays condensed session, reports surfaced that Stern could announce the cancellation of the season if no progress is made in these talks. And while I view that as little more than a ramp up of the rhetoric as part of a larger negotiating tactic, time is getting short to get a deal done if starting the season on time is a legitimate goal.

On that note, there is some required reading for perspective on where the negotiations are at this point in the process and the main sticking points of the talks:

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As for my two cents, I just want this thing over already (like I’m sure all of you do). That said, I’m looking for compromise from both sides and a willingness to come to the bargaining table with an open mind that a one sided deal won’t work for anyone.

With threats of a cancelled season now becoming part of discussion (even if only to scare a deal out of hardliners on both sides), now isn’t the time to dig in your heals but instead extend the olive branch. If hardliners prevail and cost us games, it will be obvious who to blame. I’m completely worn down by most of this and when I really sit back and think about why it’s happening and who is driving this disagreement, my head starts to hurt and I get incredibly angry.

I look at the finer details of it all and simply want to shake people by the shoulders.

For example, this past year the league made so much in revenues that for the first time the owners had to return the escrow money back to the players to ensure their portion basketball related income was paid out. However, in the Stein article linked above, the owners are said to want salary roll backs. I understand that this is also tied to what percentage of BRI the players would get in a new CBA, but how do salary rollbacks help if 1). Revenues are growing 2). The escrow payment is now not a guarantee to go back to the owners? If rollbacks are meant to cut salary value, why is the BRI so important?

Meanwhile, the players want nothing to change and to walk away with a system as close to the one they have now. But, that system also says that guys like Eddy Curry (who don’t stay in shape and lack the work ethic to compete at a level anywhere close to their salary) get to ride the pine and collect millions. Contracts also go for 5-6 years with no way to get from out of a bad decision on a player, with the only repercussion being eating the contract.

Both sides need to give something up here. And they need to do it now. I want the NBA back on my TV at the start of November. Make it happen already.

Darius Soriano

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12 responses to Fast Break Thoughts

  1. Combine the basketball skillset of a Dennis Rodman, with the attitude and leadership of Larry Bird, put that player on a team of all-stars/near all-stars, and you have Bill Russell.

  2. With the exception of shorter contracts and some sort of an out clause after a set number of years, I see nothing more than what they have already offered the players should have to give up. The owners are the ones who have the hard-on for the players in this round and it is they – the owners – who should take most of the venom if things go haywire.

  3. I strongly dislike Wade….but I absolutely love him for this:

    http://probasketballtalk.nbcsports.com/2011/10/01/report-dwyane-wade-yelled-at-stern-during-labor-talks/

    How many people in this world would love the chance to yell at Stern? And frankly, the owners line on this is pissing me off. I like that Wade took it to them. Beckley Mason and Malcolm Gladwell summed it up perfectly, but an NBA team is more a piece of art than a normal business. If you can’t run your franchise and can’t stomach minor losses, then get the f*** out.

  4. Darius,

    I love your hopeful dreams: almost all of us would like basketball to continue as we’ve known it.

    But basketball has already changed. The NBA successfully raided the rest of the world for great basketball players, but the tide has already turned. Current NBA Players that don’t get the deals they want turn to greener pastures–if you know what I mean.

    There have been outstanding international players that have been lured to the NBA, only to return home to high quality basketball. If all the players on the Spanish team that won the recent European championship could stay together, they would be very competitive in the NBA next year–or wait, maybe the year after.

    Lowering NBA salaries under current circumstances makes overseas opportunities even more attractive–and could easily lead to the formation of further basketball competition here. The NBA has foolishly chosen it’s locations based more on–which suckers might persuade city governments to pony up for a new stadium—than realistic financial support demographics.

    Darius, keep that dream candle burning, but don’t be surprised when NBA owners blow it out–to their own likely regret.

    I’ll be shedding my crocodile tears.

  5. Everyone knows the owners are taking advantage of the players. That’s simply because they have a monopoly. Where else are the players gonna get paid similar money? They won’t get paid their fair share until there is another rival league in another country.

  6. I believe there are significant tax advantages also to working overseas. I am talking about Federal type of taxes, there is a limited number of years, but still it would give the players money that would be completely tax free. But, I do not believe any team outside of the NBA would pay someone like Kobe 30 million dollars a season.

  7. The owners suck…

    Destroying this beautiful league…All for money… @4, you got it right. @6, you got it as well…@5 too…We all know what’s happening…

  8. The list of owners’ wishes that Marc Stein mentioned has me worried.

    To date, none of the owners’ explanations for their demands have made sense. The league is not losing money. The revenue imbalances can be solved by the owners without involving the players. The appeal to “competitive balance” is nonsense because there are only about 25 franchise-level players in the league at any one time. Assuming 6 championship contenders have 2 All-NBAers each and 10-12 good teams have one All-Star each means that 10-12 teams have no chance of contending each season, regardless of the salary restraints.

    But the “devil in the details” says much. Eliminating the bi-level exception will save very little money, as will eliminating the sign-and-trade provisions. Eviscerating the mid-level exception will save teams a few million per year, but it’s hardly game-changing.

    No, what all of these little flea bites add up to are RESTRICTIONS ON PLAYER MOVEMENT.

    Combining a hard-ish salary cap with the elimination of player-friendly cap exceptions means players (other than the superstars) have essentially zero say in where they play and how much they get paid.

    I suspect more of this than we realized is a backlash against the Miami Heat “Big 3″. Owners want to make sure that the financial rules are so strict that no group of players can collude like that again.

    I’m sympathetic to that particular aim, but I strongly object to how they are going about trying to achieve it.

  9. I agree that owners overpaid marquee players in the past. Now that they’re not profitable, they’re complaining and wanted to get the largesse that they agreed to give. Too late, the players think that this is their true values and hard to go back to square one and expect high-priced players to reduce their income.

    How to remedy the situation? IMO, change the commissioner who promulgated this system. Second, can’t do anything with those contracts that were already inked but can influence future contracts by putting a cap on maximum salaries. Thirdly, move on with the games & improve the team standing by being more creative and continue dwelling on positive things rather than engaging in highest bidding of players and coaches. If Memphis and OK can improve their teams at a minimum costs, then other bad teams in past seasons could also do the same.

  10. “Competitive Balance” huh?

    I’m not sure there’s a way to structure the CBA in a way that removes the “slings and arrows of outrageous fortune”, such as high draft picks that don’t pan out due to injury or plain and simple inability of a draftee to take their game to the next level. I’ve heard the league added those stupid ping pong balls to the lottery to keep the Lakers from stockpiling number one picks and dominating the league like they di while winning five titles in the 1980s. Somehow, though the Lakers managed to win another five championships in the past decade, even with those ping pong balls in play …

    Similarly, I doubt it’s possible to write provisions that will keep owners and GMs with bad basketball judgement from making bad decisions. Even savvy professionals make bad decisions (example: Luke Waltons’s contract), but they make fewer of them, by definition.

  11. I honestly hope the players extend a hearty middle finger to the owners, decertify the union, go play overseas, and start their own league in the US.