Posts Tagged ‘New York Times’

Reading The Labor Tea Leaves

HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS – Good luck trying to figure out which way the wind is blowing in the NBA’s ongoing labor impasse.

One minute all seems lost, with voices from both sides (players and owners) dispensing ominous soundbites about their fear that any sort of peaceful accord is anywhere in sight. And then the next, we hear that progress, however slight, is being made and that perhaps there is a chance that common ground is in the distance.

And then comes the announcement, Friday morning, that the league is wiping out the first week of camps and preseason games.

It’s a wicked game being played by those trapped inside of the labor dispute matrix. And we’re forced to do our best to read the tea leaves every day to see if we can decipher fact from fiction.

Good luck:

There Is Still Hope

Ken Berger of CBSSports.com: After more than two years of negotiations, it’s finally time to negotiate.

Following a series of small compromises by both sides, it was the owners’ turn to move the needle in a significant way. And they did: According to a person briefed on the negotiations, the league put forth a new number on the split of revenues, or basketball-related income, on Thursday, a step that could help propel the talks forward even as the start of training camps were set to be delayed and preseason games canceled — with such gloomy but fully expected and insignificant announcements expected Friday.

“It’s moving,” said another person with knowledge of the talks. “Not as fast as some people would want, but it’s moving.”

According to one of the people familiar with the bargaining, here is some of what transpired Thursday: After signaling last week that the players’ offer to move lower than the 54.3 percent share of BRI was a starting point that could lead to a deal on economics, league negotiators came back with their own number. Unsurprisingly, the number was lower than what the players had last proposed, though multiple people involved in the talks refused to specify by how much.

The owners’ proposed BRI split was made without specific system details tied to it, and the number itself was “unacceptable” to the union leadership, one of the sources said. Thus, the faces of both sides emerged from the Manhattan hotel after five hours of bargaining and delivered the same vague non-answers with strikingly similar flatlined demeanors and monotone voices.

“I’m sorry, but the most important thing is to see whether we can’t have negotiations conducive to ultimately getting a deal, which is what our committee and our board will like,” commissioner David Stern said on his 69th birthday. “And having these conversations with you doesn’t add anything to that. And that’s the dilemma.”

Cancellation Of Camp Could Send More Overseas

Mike Monroe of the Express-News: The decision could move some key Spurs to join the growing list of players signing on with teams overseas.

Before departing Argentina, where he helped Brazil qualify for next summer’s Olympic tournament, center Tiago Splitter told the Express-News he would sign on with Flamengo, a Brazilian club where former Suns guard Leandro Barbosa currently plays, if training camps were postponed or canceled.

“I do not want to be waiting for something to happen,” Splitter said. “I want to be playing, so if our (Spurs) camp will not start on time then I think I will sign with Flamengo.

“Of course, I will make sure I will be able to join the Spurs when the lockout ends, but I want to be playing and working on my game.”

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Taking Their Talents To Turkey?

HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS – There are plenty of risks and seemingly just as many rewards awaiting the player, or perhaps more appropriately the players, willing to take their talents to Turkey if the lockout continues into the fall.

By now you’ve read the ESPN.com reports about Nets All-Star point guard Deron Williams agreeing in principal to a deal to sign with Besiktas, the same team that signed Allen Iverson last season. Hawks center Zaza Pachulia, who has a Turkish passport, is reportedly close to agreeing to a similar deal.

While the pay for a potentially short-term gig in the Turkish league would be grand for players without contracts, there are those risks we mentioned. What if Williams or Pachulia were injured while playing overseas? (That’s a double whammy effecting both the player and his NBA team.) And what must Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov be thinking with the face of the franchise — acquired in trade that the Nets’ future is dependent on working out in favor of the team headed to Brooklyn — possibly headed to play elsewhere with free agency (2012) looming?

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Dissecting The Knicks’ Problems

HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS – In the midst of the Knicks’ current malaise, any and everyone with an opinion and an outlet has weighed in on what is wrong with this team.

Knicks coach Mike D’Antoni had a simple explanation for their surprising offensive woes, telling Jonathan Abrams of the New York Times:

“The ball is not moving, it’s sticking. We’ve played a lot of games. I don’t want to give excuses, but at the same time it’s the fourth game in five nights. They get into you … We’ve got to make quicker decisions. The ball’s got to go. And especially in the fourth quarter we bogged down.”

They better not get bogged down again with the Orlando Magic in town tonight (8 p.m. ET, ESPN) for yet another major test of the Knicks’ mettle.

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