Posts Tagged ‘Dan Fegan’

Arenas Ready For The Comeback?





HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS — We asked a last week if it was time for the Los Angeles Lakers to consider signing Gilbert Arenas to help shore up their point guard deficiencies and the response was overwhelmingly (84 percent) in favor of the Lakers doing exactly that.

But other than the reports that Arenas was in Los Angeles for a workout that was attended by Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchack, among others, we had no idea what the full scope of a potential comeback attempt by Arenas entailed.

We have a much better idea now after reading this detailed interview with Arenas, courtesy of our main man Sam Amick of SI.com, who delves deep into the psyche of the man formerly known as Agent Zero.

Arenas goes places in the interview that he hasn’t publicly in the past, delving into his time in Washington and later Orlando, and also detailing some of the issues that led to his infamous beard and explores the factors that contributed to his fall from grace. He also talked plenty of basketball and whether or not he’s ready for a reunion with the NBA game.

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Who Goes First, Dwight Or CP3?

– For the latest updates check out: NBA.com’s Free Agent Tracker

HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS — It’s no longer appears to be a matter of if Dwight Howard and Chris Paul will have new uniforms before long, it’s just a matter of when, where and who goes first?

It would take too long to run through all of the potential scenarios of when these moves will finally go down and where they could end up, so we’re trying to get a good fix on whose deal goes down first.

Their respective situations remain fluid as we roll into the second day of free agency and training camp, with rumblings that both of these superstars remain in play for potential blockbuster deals.

As far as the latest on Paul, our very own David Aldridge dropped this on us in the wee hours:

A source directly involved in the negotiations told TNT’s David Aldridge Friday that progress had been made in a potential trade of Chris Paul from the New Orleans Hornets to the Los Angeles Lakers. However, the trade was not expected to be completed Friday and could have several more incarnations before being completed, if it is completed at all.

The trade may or may not ultimately involve the Houston Rockets, who were part of the initial version of the three-team deal, which was vetoed by NBA Commissioner David Stern Thursday night. In that version, the Hornets would send Paul, a four-time All-Star, to the Lakers. The Lakers would send forward Pau Gasol to Houston, and send forward Lamar Odom to New Orleans. The Hornets would receive forward Luis Scola, guards Kevin Martin and Goran Dragic and a 2012 first-round pick from Houston. But now, the deal could involve more or different teams that can provide the Hornets with the combination of young players and additional Draft picks that the league is seeking for Paul.

Howard’s situation heated up overnight, too, when his agent, Dan Fegan, addressed and dismissed reports of tampering charges, among other things. It turns out, Fegan has permission to seek a trade for his client, and might actually have had it before all the tampering talk began. More from Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports:

The Orlando Magic have given Dwight Howard’s representatives permission to speak with the New Jersey Nets, Los Angeles Lakers and Dallas Mavericks about a possible trade for the All-Star Center, his agent told Yahoo! Sports.

The Nets have a chance to close on a four-year, $60 million-plus deal for Denver Nuggets free-agent center Nene this weekend, but are working relentlessly to make a deal with Orlando for Howard, league sources said. Howard has been waffling between wanting a deal to the Lakers and Hollywood, and wanting to join point guard Deron Williams with the Nets and be the cornerstone of the franchise’s move to a new Brooklyn arena in 2012-13, sources told Y! Sports.

Howard’s agent, Dan Fegan, denied reports Howard met with Nets officials on Thursday night – a possible violation of the NBA’s tampering rules if the Magic did not permit the meeting. Howard and Nets general manager Billy King also had previously denied meeting together.

Fegan said he met with King this week to discuss a deal for Nene, another client.

“Tampering is a non-issue,” Fegan told Yahoo! Sports by phone Friday night.

Howard, Williams and Nene adds three more big names to the six players involved in the Paul deal, making for a particularly spicy free agent gumbo this weekend.

With the tampering issues put to rest and the revival of the Paul talks by the Hornets, we’ll pose the question again before everyone get’s going this morning:

As Superman Turns …

NBA.com staff reports

Want to know how we got where we are with Dwight Howard and his future? Just turn the calendar back two days …

It all started with reports of a meeting between Howard, his associates and Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov and GM Billy King in Miami on Thursday night. ESPN.com reported the meeting and if such a discussion did take place, it was a clear violation of NBA tampering rules.

By lunchtime on the East coast (and well before teams opened training camp doors), news had already come out (courtesy of our own tireless David Aldridge) that the Magic might file tampering charges against two unnamed teams for illegally talking with its star big man. By the end of the night on free-agency’s first full day, Howard’s status in Orlando (or elsewhere for that matter) remained squarely in the crosshairs.

ESPN.com reported earlier Friday that Howard would soon request a trade to New Jersey. Later that same day, Howard’s agent, Dan Fegan, denied that his client had illegal contact with teams in an interview with ESPN The Magazine. Worth noting, too, is that Magic GM Otis Smith said he granted Fegan permission to speak to the Nets about a deal involving Howard. Fegan didn’t deny that he and Howard had spoken over the phone with the Nets, but did deny any face-to-face meetings. We’ll let Fegan speak for himself, as he did to The Magazine and other media outlets:

“I read reports today of a meeting between Dwight Howard, his representatives and the New Jersey Nets which claimed, according to the story’s anonymous sources, that such a meeting violated the NBA’s tampering policies. This story is clearly inaccurate with respect to tampering claims and other facts. Tampering doesn’t apply once a team grants permission for a player and/or his representatives to make contact with another team. The Magic have given us permission to have contact with several teams in order for Dwight to explore his options. I most definitely had contact with the teams I was granted permission to speak with. Since we had permission to have contact with several teams the report of possible tampering is undeniably false.

“In addition, the report that Dwight was supposed to be traded today is also inaccurate. In fact, so many of the facts reported in today’s story are inaccurate, it is difficult to separate the facts from fiction, so I’m not even going to bother to address the other inaccuracies.”

King, for his part, denied the meeting with Howard.

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Labor Talks: Time To Make A Move

— For labor updates, follow: @daldridgetnt | @AschNBA

HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS — Don’t beat yourself up if you’re having a hard time keeping up. Most of us are in the same spot, trying to figure out who is for what as the clock ticks down to the league’s 5 p.m. ET Wednesday deadline for the players to either take or dismiss the league’s 50-50 proposal.

Some players are all for making a deal, as Kobe Bryant told Yahoo! Sports:

“We need for the two sides to get together again before Wednesday, because we’re too close to getting a deal done,” Bryant told Yahoo! Sports. “We need to iron out the last system items and save this from spiraling into a nuclear winter.”

Some others are not. Some of the owners are for it and apparently, per ESPN.com‘s sources, some others are not. It’s high time someone made a move, the right move to get the 2011-12 season up and running.

But when the sides can’t come to a consensus within their own caucuses, it’s tough to see some sort of breakthrough if and when the sides come together again to try and hash out the final details of a new collective bargaining agreement.

With the union representatives from all 30 teams set to meet today in New York, in advance of Wednesday’s end-of-business deadline, plenty of observers are a little nervous about what type of movement could emerge from the gathering. The players have limited options at this point. They can take a vote on the proposal and decide to take the deal, bowing to the league’s “ultimatum,” as union president Derek Fisher called it over the weekend, and breathe life into a season and the NBA fan base. Or they can refuse to even consider it, as Fisher insisted in the immediate aftermath of Saturday’s bargaining session, and push this affair into an even darker corner.

Fair or not, the players will own the next 36 hours of this mess.

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Labor Talks: Here We Go Again

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HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS — Did you wake up this morning wondering what the first weekend of November has in store for you, NBA fans?

Let us help.

How about another round of “talks,” perhaps even another round of hollow smiles and more posturing about deadlines that move at the whim of the men on both sides of the league’s labor dispute and even a scare tactic or two that threatens to cost us the entire 2011-12 season?

We completely understand if lockout fatigue syndrome is full-blown in your household. It’s choking the life out of things here at the hideout, where every breaking news blast is met with a raised eyebrow and questions about who might be pulling the strings on this latest stunt (the dissolution of the union is coming back to the forefront now).

(SI.com and NBA TV’s legal analyst Michael McCann details all of the particulars for you!)

They’ve met in small groups, larger groups and committees. There have been conference calls, secret ones and not-so-secret alike, news conferences and now threats of the union decertifying and still no sign of the one thing we need … a new collective bargaining agreement!

Substantive talks are one thing and we’d welcome anything in that neighborhood going on this weekend.

But showing up to a Manhattan hotel and sticking around just long enough to tell each other that nothing has changed is not what we’d consider progress.

And we’re not the only ones exhausted by the process …

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Bob Ryan of the Boston Globe captures the mood of many with his column that places the current state of affairs in the proper historical context:

It is very annoying for those of us who still love the sport of professional basketball to see what its custodians are currently doing to harm it. I wish it were as easy to decipher as the NFL madness. It was pretty easy to outfit the combatants in that one.

White Hats: Players

Black Hats: Owners

The NFL lockout was about very rich guys, all making a profit from their teams, wanting more. The players asked for nothing. Status quo was fine with them. There was a $9 billion pie, and there was ample opportunity for everyone to get a nice slice.

The NBA pie is worth “only’’ approximately $4 billion, and, unlike the NFL, not everyone makes a profit. That is clear. But just who is losing what remains unclear, because history teaches us that in these matters, professional sports teams make statements concerning their finances that, while perhaps not outright lies, are, shall we say, substantial stretches of the truth. Make that enormous, stupendous, astonishing stretches of the truth.

Labor Talks: Tick Tock, Tick Tock …

HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS — We’ve all known for a while now that the first week of October would serve as a crucial week in these NBA labor talks.

No progress before then and the opening days of this month could be a make-or-break time for both sides, not to mention the millions of us around the world biting our nails hoping that our first love (the NBA) would come back to us … and soon.

It’s hard to categorize the things that have gone on in recent days as true progress. Sure, there have been meetings. Ideas have been exchanged. But no one is talking in a way that suggests that even the loose framework of a deal is under way.

And now comes this crossroads moment, a “very huge day,” according to the words used by union president Derek Fisher in characterizing today’s session.

We won’t know exactly what that means until the sides emerge from that meeting room in New York and explain themselves after yet another day of exhausting conversation about how to close the gap between what the owners want and the players are willing to give.

But if the developments of the past 24 hours are any indication, everyone seems to be digging in and the clock continues to tick …

Agents Urge Players To Stay Strong

Sam Amick of Sports Illustrated: In a letter to their clients, Arn Tellem (Wasserman Media Group), Bill Duffy (BDA Sports), Dan Fegan (Lagardère Unlimited), Jeff Schwartz (Excel Sports Management), Leon Rose and Henry Thomas (Creative Artists Agency) and Mark Bartelstein (Priority Sports and Entertainment), outlined what is deemed acceptable and unacceptable going into the biggest day of negotiating yet.

Here are some of the notable demands in the letter, which was obtained by SI.com from a player: (Click here for the full letter in PDF):

• With the National Basketball Players’ Association having already offered to drop the players’ portion of basketball-related income from 57 percent to 52 percent, the agents implore players to insist on “no further reduction of the BRI received by the players. A source close to the union told SI.com recently that any agreed-upon deal in which the players received 51 percent could possibly be ratified but would likely lead to the ousting of Billy Hunter as the NBPA’s executive director, so this is in line with those parameters.

• A system in which the current structure of the Bird and mid-level exceptions remains the same.

• No reduction in salary from existing levels for maximum contract players.

• No changes in unrestricted free agency and improvements on restricted free agency.

• “Refuse any deal that excludes players from the explosive growth of the NBA.” Owners’ proposals that have started with players receiving 46 percent of the BRI have included drastic declines in their percentage of the pie in the later years of the agreement.

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Labor: Where Do We Go From Here?

HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS — Stunning is the only way to describe the mood shift here at the hideout in the past 24 hours.

From giddy anticipation for potential progress that could come from the first full bargaining session since the lockout began to the depths of despair in the aftermath of said meeting producing nothing of the sort. I tried to warn folks. No deal would be struck. The two sides were probably not going to move off of their initial positions. They did not.

The owners and players (and their representatives) are as far apart right now as they were when this entire ordeal began. It’s as if the calendar hasn’t moved one bit since July 1.

NBA commissioner David Stern and union executive director Billy Hunter might even agree on that. There is no next bargaining session scheduled. Not even a brief get together for coffee. Nothing.

The labor talks have “Hit a wall,” as our very own Steve Aschburner points out, but he is not the only one shining a light on the hard cap vs. soft cap debate that seems be at the center of the impasse (this week).

You can choose sides all you want, but as far as these eyes can see the only real losers in this entire affair are those of us who love the game and want to see it played as soon as possible.

Still, we have to gauge the reactions from all sides and examine the fine points of each and every argument. More importantly, we have to sort through the rubble now and figure out exactly where we go from here. Because optimism is no longer a part of this equation …

The Union’s Next Test … Decertification

Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports: When [Hunter] goes to Las Vegas on Wednesday for the most important players meeting of his tenure as executive director, does he find a coup awaiting him?

“Now Billy has to go to Las Vegas with nothing to bring the players,” a prominent agent told Yahoo! Sports on Tuesday night.

“He’s chosen a particular path, and there hasn’t been any progress on that path. There was all this false optimism in the last week about how the league was going to come with a new proposal that he could take back to the players, and they came with nothing. Stern wants to stall, and stall until the players start missing paychecks.

“Billy was hoping that he could keep the players engaged, excited that a deal was coming. There was all that rhetoric of good feelings, and today was the day that Stern was going to come with a proposal. He was relying on the fact that Stern would negotiate in good faith with him, that he didn’t want to lose games. He thought that Stern would blink, start to negotiate. He was relying on the fact Stern didn’t want to hurt the game, and he was wrong.”

Yes, there had to be a pit in Hunter’s stomach. Three hours waiting for the owners to debate among themselves, big markets wanting to cut a deal, and small markets willing to lose games – lose the season – to get guaranteed profits and maybe a better chance to chase championships.

There’s a big labor meeting in Las Vegas on Thursday, and Hunter is competing for the hearts and minds of his rank-and-file players. He’s already lost the top agents, who are laying the groundwork for a coup, sources told Yahoo! Sports. The decision to make a move on Hunter could come as soon as this week, agents privately said.

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Magic Fan Fighting For Dwight

PORTLAND — Ryan Totka is an entrepreneur, celebrity booking agent and perhaps most important for our purposes here at the hideout, an unabashed Orlando Magic fan.

So he owes us no apologies for advocating for his favorite team’s best player, that would be three-time Defensive Player of the Year Dwight Howard, to fight the growing trend and stick around when free agency hits after next season.

Totka has already debuted a website, StayDwight.com, T-shirts and a digital billboard in Orlando to kick off the campaign. Whether it works or not remains to be seen. Howard has a long time to go before he makes a decision on his future.

All that does is give Totka more time to intensify his efforts, which he clearly plans on doing, based on an email conversation we had with him as he awaited Friday night’s Game 3 of the Magic-Hawks playoff series.

We asked Totka if “The Decision,” last summer’s LeBron James free agent-palooza on ESPN, had anything to do with his campaign. We figured it was a logical conclusion considering the similarities in the dilemma facing both young stars, choosing between the city and franchise that sheltered you as you grew from a potential star into a full-blown megastar.

“I think LeBron’s decision stunned his hometown people the most, the one’s who see his face on a daily basis, driving to work seeing his face on signs and billboards around the city,” Totka said. “In Cleveland, he was the first person people talk about with their family and at work from the moment they wake up. Dwight is Orlando’s LeBron, the same way the city brands him around the town.”

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