Posts Tagged ‘Paola Boivin’

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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Turkoglu Key For (Rising) Suns!

HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS – With all the changes that have gone on in Phoenix since the summer began, the one constant remains and that’s Steve Nash.

It’s Nash’s team, Nash’s town and Nash’s will that will guide the Suns in the post-Amar’e Stoudemire era.

But just like it was the last five years, the key to the Suns’ ultimate success is going to be on someone other than Nash. Stoudemire was that someone else the last half decade. He has since turned that responsibility over to Hedo Turkoglu, who pushed hard for a move to Phoenix after buckling under the pressure in Toronto last season.

Turkoglu wanted this move, this pressure. Now he’s got it and we’re going to see if he’s up to the challenge. (Stoudemire always gave a valiant effort but often came up short against the Western Conference elite.)

Turkoglu has already promised that this season will be better than his last, when his production dipped dramatically (11.3 points and 4.6 rebounds and 4.1 assists) after three straight banner seasons in Orlando as Dwight Howard‘s sidekick.

Still, it makes you wonder, as Paola Boivin of the Arizona Republic points out, which Turkoglu should we expect to see this season?

Much of what the Suns will become in the post-Amar’e Stoudemire era will hinge on who Turkoglu decides to be:

The NBA’s Most Improved Player in 2007-08 who helped Orlando to the 2009 Finals? Or the one who was considered a bust in Toronto last season because of sub-par production and a dispassionate air?

It’s up to him, really. At 31, he still has game-changing skills. The spot-up shooting. The slashing through the lane. The ability to create mismatches thanks to a 6-foot-10 frame.

But he has to buy into the Suns’ system, which is really the only way the machine works in Phoenix. It’s an insiders team. You’re in or you’re out. You have to accept the reality that you might not come off the floor one night and barely get on it the next.

Coach Alvin Gentry is not afraid to buck convention. He is less about formulas and more about feel. If the bench has the hot hand, they’re staying in.

“I understand that,” Turkoglu said. “The reason (it works) here is that there’s really good chemistry and those guys accept those roles. For me, I just have to be one of them, just be the guy whenever they need me. I’m going be out there and every single night I’m trying to do my best.”

Turkoglu’s best has to be better than it was in Toronto and on par with his performance at the end of his tenure in Orlando. And even then his best might not be good enough to satisfy expectations in The Valley of the Sun(s).

Turkoglu will have some pressure relievers in place — namely a coach like Gentry, the ageless Nash and a deep and talented roster capable of handling things with or without a monster night from the NBA’s first Turkish-born player.

But make no mistake, Turkoglu’s play this season is absolutely crucial for the Suns.

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