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Saturday , Oct , 01 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Dwyane Wade Warned ‘David’ Stern: ‘Don’t Point At Me’

Dwyane Wade "stood up for himself," a person with knowledge of the meeting said when he confronted David Stern, who was behaving with a tone and gestures the players took exception to. According to two people familiar with the incident, Wade warned Stern not to point his finger and made reference to not being a child. After the confrontation, union chief Billy Hunter and Stern met privately, seeking a way to calm nerves and preserve the rest of the negotiations.

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: In the players’ corner, we have Dwyane Wade. In the owners’ corner, we have ‘David’ Stern.

Unfortunately, the New York hotel hosting NBA labour negotiations didn’t have a UFC style octagon, boxing ring, or sketchy Blood Sport style basement for Wade and Stern to duke it out. 

The biggest news from Friday’s negotiations between players and owners was a tiff between the Miami Heat’s superstar and the commissioner.

Apparently, Wade became incensed when Stern pointed his finger at him, essentially telling the veteran commissioner he was an adult and deserved to be treated as such.

Fair enough. Then he returned the favour.

Wade reminded Stern he had children and repeatedly addressed him as ‘David’ instead of calling him Commissioner Stern.

Cooler heads did prevail and Stern twice tried to apologize to Wade.

Oh, the drama. Hopefully, these professionals turned their attention to the hard cap and the split of Basketball Related Income.

There is, after all, a season to be saved.

--Oly Sandor.

Got thoughts? Well, get at HoopsVibe News in the comment box below.

 

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Friday , Sep , 09 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

David Stern: Time to see if there will be a deal

Following another long meeting on Thursday, the owners and players have agreed to bring full committees to the negotiating table on Tuesday. David Stern said there is nothing formal to present to larger committees. Time was right to see if there will "be a deal or shouldn't be a deal."The two sides met on both Wednesday and Thursday this week."We think it's getting to be an important time and it was a good idea to have larger committees," said Stern.

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: There appears to be momentum in talks between owners and players.

The sides have met for two days straight and feel comfortable enough by the progress to invite full committees to the negotiating table early next week.

Hopefully, there’s a deal to be had. Hopefully, the season can be salvaged.

Got thoughts? Well, get at HoopsVibe News in the comment box below.
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Wednesday , Aug , 31 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Stern,Silver, Holt, Hunter, and Fisher having urgent meeting on Wednesday

Commissioner David Stern, deputy commissioner Adam Silver, and San Antonio Spurs owner Peter Holt, who leads the labor relations committee, will take part, as will players’ association executive director Billy Hunter, union president Derek Fisher of the Lakers and union counsel Ron Klempner, two people told the Associated Press yesterday on condition of anonymity.

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: Peter Holt, Adam Silver, David Stern, Billy Hunter, and Derek Fisher will be at Wednesday’s meeting between owners and the union.

Five people at the sit-down of all sit-downs. Five people to negotiate the fate of the NBA season.

If Wednesday’s bargaining session goes well then there will be basketball, and the season may even start on time around Halloween.

However, if Wednesday’s bargaining session goes as most expect, poorly, the season will be delayed for months and maybe cancelled.

Hopefully, it doesn’t come to this and these five individuals map out a solution.

The stakes are indeed high at the sit-down of all sit-downs.
 
--Oly Sandor.

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Sunday , Aug , 28 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Durant, LeBron, and CP3 confirmed for game between Melo All-Stars and Goodman League

After the Goodman League defeated the Drew League last weekend, they were soon being dubbed the best summer league in the country. However, many other regions that didn’t get a chance to compete disagreed with that sentiment and wanted their shot against Goodman’s finest.

On August 30, one such league will have that opportunity. The Melo League is located in Baltimore and has had many NBA players in their gym throughout the course of the summer. They’ve been one of the more competitive pro-am leagues in the nation over the last few years and want to see if their All-Stars can take down the group from D.C.

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: It’s Tyson vs. Douglas. It’s Ali vs. Frazier. It’s Celtics vs. Lakers. And it’s Silva vs. GSP.

Forgive the hyperbole, but the August 30th game between the Goodman League and Melo’s All-Star squad may be the only basketball fans see for a while.

Thankfully, Wednesday’s tilt will be a star-studded affair. The Goodman squad features Kevin Durant, Brandon Jennings, and John Wall, while Melo’s All-Stars will be represented by Carmelo Anthony, LeBron James, and Chris Paul.

Hopefully, Commissioner Stern and union boss Billy Hunter’s bargaining session, also on Wednesday, is fruitful, and fans get an NBA season to follow this interesting friendly.

--Oly Sandor.

Got thoughts? Well, get at HoopsVibe News in the comment box below.

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Friday , Aug , 26 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

David Stern to union: ‘I’ll see you J.J. Barea and raise you Eddy Curry’

Finally, NBA Commissioner David Stern could not take it anymore. “All right, you want to go tit for tat, I’ll go tit for tat,” Stern said, according to the participants. “I’ll see you J.J. Barea and raise you Eddy Curry.” A shot to the gut, just like that.

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HoopsVibe`s Very Quick Call: Touché David Stern.

Players and owners met last June during the Finals to discuss the state of the NBA’s finances, and the two sides, as expected, argued over the amount owners were paying players.

Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban complained that a former player, Tariq Abdul-Wahad, didn’t do much of anything after signing a multi-year deal for $40 million.

The players countered by saying Cuban was getting a deal by paying combo guard J.J. Barea a relatively low annual salary of $1 million.

Then Commissioner Stern ended the conversation by mentioning Eddy Curry, who earned an appalling $33 million for playing in 31 games over the last three years.

He's right. NBA players are overpaid, specifically the very well-to-do middle class. And the list of players stealing money is in the dozens.

Here’s the question: is this the players fault?

Last I checked the owners signed the checks. Last I checked the owners hired general managers, who were supposed to have the ability to pass on bad contracts.

For instance, nobody forced Abe Pollin and the Washington Wizards to bid against themselves and sign Gilbert Arenas to a six-year, $111 million contract.

Arenas was coming off several knee surgeries. No team was willing to give the combo guard anything close to $111 million. Except, of course, Pollin.

Since signing his mega-deal, Arenas has been suspended for bringing guns into the team’s locker room and was shipped to Orlando, where he rarely played. And the Wizards haven’t been the same since.

So Stern is right. Players earn too much. He should look, in part, to the owners he represents, and not just the players.

However, we doubt Stern will will raise this point when owners and players finally meet next week to start negotiating the new collective bargaining agreement.

--Oly Sandor.

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Wednesday , Aug , 17 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Kevin Love: ‘We’re going to miss games’

"We all know we'll have to sacrifice but something has to be done," Love told ESPN.com Tuesday night. "It has to be sooner than later. We have to get the ball rolling. We can't wait around until October or November and then nothing gets done. The owners will keep stalling and obviously they have more means than us to lock us out."

"I want to play basketball," Love said. "I want us -- the players -- to sign a great deal. I want us to make a compromise with the owners but not sign what they're proposing. We'll play hardball if we have to. I want there to be an NBA season but it's also apparent that we're going to miss games."

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HoopsVibe's Very Quick Call: The NBA would have a new Collective Bargaining Agreement if more people had Kevin Love's attitude.

Love recognizes that both sides must compromise. And the compromising, known as collective bargaining, must begin as soon as possible. 

The longer the posturing, pointing, and blaming continues, the less likely there's a season.

Love's view supports an interesting idea proposed by Stephen Brotherston of Hoopsworld.com. Brotherston believes the players should make a highly competitive offer to the owners. And they should do it now.

Think about it: the owners know the players will eventually return to the bargaining table. But when?

It might be September. It might be November. Or it might be January. They will return, though. They have to.

Whenever they do return, the owners will dictate the terms of the new CBA. The process won't be easy for the players, as Stern and the owners will extract everything they possibly can from the players. They'll 're-set' the league's financial system and then some.

So why not undercut the owners' leverage by making those concessions today and doing it in the most public manner possible?

Suppose the players gave the owners a 52-48 split of Basketball Related Income. Suppose they found a happy medium between the owners' flex cap and the current luxury tax system. Suppose they agreed to significant salary rollbacks and, say, eliminated the Mid Level Exception and other costly loop holes.

Here's the key: suppose they informed every print/net reporter, radio broadcaster, TV host, and blogger of such concessions. The ball would be in the owners' court; the players would be 'the good guys'.

Something would get done. And that something would be far better for the players than a wait-and-see approach.

--Oly Sandor.

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Monday , Aug , 15 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Commissioner Stern: Players, Owners open to contraction

"The players actually have been heard to suggest that as well, which was interesting because that means they are suggesting that we eliminate 30 jobs, or the potential for 30 jobs. So we've said to the players, you know, 'Give us the right to contract, let's agree upon what the basis will be. Let's make this deal and then let's continue to look at that subject.'"

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: Interesting times.

In recent interviews, Commissioner David Stern has mentioned that owners and players have discussed the forbidden topic of contraction.

A lockout was always on the horizon, however, the fact that owners and players aren’t opposed to eliminating franchises is surprising.

Let’s be real: the league should axe a couple of the weaker franchises. Even with a new Collective Bargaining Agreement, certain markets can’t support the NBA.

However, contraction would be costly. The owners would have to pool their money, buy the team(s), and then give the franchise(s) the axe.

Each team would cost a minimum of $250 million. Plus, there’d be complications like lease deals. As Stern mentioned, the toughest part would be identifying the  franchises to cut.

The players would lose 12-15 jobs per each team. And two teams would mean a loss of 24-30 high-paying jobs.

It’s far more likely franchises are moved. Seattle, if they get a new arena, is a hoops-hotbed. Kansas City already has a shiny, state-of-the-art facility. All they need is a team.

It’s a sign of how far the once-mighty NBA has fallen that players, owners, and even Commissioner Stern are talking contraction.

--Oly Sandor.

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Saturday , Aug , 13 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Stern: Labour Day Weekend is Key Deadline

"If Labor Day comes and goes without us ready to huddle in and kiss off our Labor Day weekend to make this deal, then we may be headed to a bad place," Stern said.

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: Find a calendar and jiffy marker. Now circle Labour Day weekend.

NBA Commissioner David Stern identified the September holiday as a key date for owners and players to make progress on a new Collective Bargaining Agreement.

Stern also told ESPN’s Bill Simmons things would get ugly if there was no headway by September because owners would reduce their offer to compensate for lost revenue from cancelled exhibition matches.

Say what you like about Stern's comments. At least there’s now urgency to negotiations.

Players and owners have spent the previous 43 days (the lockout began July 1st) posturing, blaming, and doing nothing.

One way or another, we’ll know if the lockout has any chance of getting resolved.

--Oly Sandor.

Got thoughts? Well, get at HoopsVibe News in the comment box below.

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Friday , Aug , 12 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

David Stern: I expect we’ll have a 2012 NBA season

“I expect that we’ll make a deal because the alternative is very destructive,” he said. “It’s destructive of $2 billion worth of player salaries and it’s destructive most important to our fans of the game. And if it spirals badly everyone gets hurt. But in some ways I worry because the players have more to lose, especially those in the later stages of their career. So we’re going to do everything we can when the rhetoric slows down to get this thing back on track.”

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: Ah David, if you want to save the season you must meet the other side to, you know, negotiate.

Recently Commissioner David Stern declared that the 2012 NBA season wouldn’t get cancelled and that players and owners would agree on a new Collective Bargaining Agreement.

This seems wishful. Especially since players and owners are blaming each other for cancelling the bargaining sessions to negotiate that new CBA.

The time to save the season is now, as they've spent 45 days posturing since the lockout began on July 1st. 

Meanwhile, the United States has been through a ‘credit crisis’ and the world economy has been on a rollercoaster ride that impacts every person.

Meanwhile, millionaire players and billionaire owners look awful arguing about their share of revenue from a game. Insincere statements from commissioners also ring hollow with the public.

At some point, players and owners will agree on a CBA. We’ll eventually get basketball. However, the damage will be done.

--Oly Sandor.

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Tuesday , Aug , 09 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

LeBron: ‘I’m optimistic that we will have a season’

“I'm optimistic that we will have a season this year,” James said. “Very optimistic.” A little anxious, too. He's working out twice a day, trying to erase some of the sting that's still there after the Heat lost to the Dallas Mavericks in the NBA finals.

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: Does LeBron James know something the rest of us do not? Secret talks? A covert deal? Has he chatted with Union Boss Billy Hunter?

I appreciate LeBron James’ optimism that owners and players will somehow strike a hail-Mary deal, however, the facts are tough to overlook.

Right now, there’s no negotiating and/or bargaining between owners and players. Both are holding firm and refusing to compromise on a new financial system.

The owners want salary rollbacks, a hard cap, and a greater share of the Basketball Related Income, while players want to stick with the current system -even if it’s out of whack with the post 2008 economy.

Yet James remains optimistic. Fair enough. Always look at the bright side, I guess.

Still, the negative is tough to overlook. Alex Meruelo recently dropped $300 million on a mediocre franchise, the Hawks, in a mediocre sports town, Atlanta, because Commissioner David Stern surely promised a hard cap and a better split of the BRI.

And to get those concessions the owners will likely have to blow-up the entire season. That’s right: no basketball for 2011-12.

So James can stay optimistic. I’ll stay optimistic he knows something the rest of us do not.

--Oly Sandor.

Got thoughts? Well, get at HoopsVibe News in the comment box below.

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Saturday , Aug , 06 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Rumor: No $2 million per month Chinese offer for Dwyane Wade?

“Dwyane Wade’s agent said Friday his client has received no offers nor has had any discussions with professional teams from China, but he wouldn’t rule out the possibility of that scenario changing. ‘If offers are made down the road, will they be looked at? Absolutely,’ agent Henry Thomas told ESPN.com on Friday. The Chengdu Daily reported that Zhejiang Guangsha was offering Wade $2 million per month to play next season in the Chinese Basketball Association, a report that was later denied by a team official.

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: China makes the most sense for a temporarily out-of-work NBA superstar.

After all, China is flush with cash because of their strong economy. And with a billion people, it would provide opportunities to spread the superstar’s brand.

However, the greatest reason may be timing. The season doesn’t start in China until December, which would allow the superstar an extended break, while hedging his bets on when the NBA season starts.

Conversely, Europe is broke, the branding opportunities are limited, and training camp for the long season will soon be opening.

So Dwyane Wade, like most big-ticket American stars, will play in China or rest until the owners and union can find common ground on a new Collective Bargaining Agreement.

Forget the $2 million per month salary, Wade has yet to receive a formal offer of any kind from a Chinese side.

That doesn't mean it isn't coming, though.

These clubs need to identify sponsors to help finance big-ticket offers and are waiting to see what happens with negotiations between Commissioner David Stern and Union Boss Billy Hunter.  

--Oly Sandor.

Will Wade stay or go? Well, get at HoopsVibe News with thoughts in the comment box below.

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Wednesday , Aug , 03 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

David Stern and Billy Hunter: Masters of Posturing

NBA commissioner David Stern will not collect on his eight-figure salary during the ongoing lockout, according to sources with knowledge of Stern's pay status.

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: August isn't the time to blink. Not when the owners haven’t written a cheque. And not when the players haven’t missed a cheque.

So Commissioner Stern and the owners have gone to court and accused the union of negotiating in bad faith. And Union Head Billy Hunter has responded by saying the owners are negotiating in bad faith.

Now The Commish is refusing to take a salary while the league is locked-out, which is quite the 'sacrifice' given the amount he’s earned over his career. 

It’s all posturing for what is to follow. Games will be at risk if the next set of negotiations fail. But that’s in a month or so.

The charade can continue in early August. The owners and players have sufficient time to stand, point, and blame. And the only people smiling are, of course, the lawyers.

--Oly Sandor.

Got thoughts? Well, get at HoopsVibe News in the comment box below.

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Tuesday , Aug , 02 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Stern, owners take legal action against NBA players

The NBA has filed an unfair labour practice charge and a federal lawsuit against the NBA Players Association, accusing the players of failing to bargain “in good faith” and of “impermissible pressure tactics” in labour talks.

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: The he-said, she-said just got uglier.

This morning the gloves came off when Stern and the owners filed an unfair labour practice charge against the Players Union for failing to negotiate ‘in good faith’.

Apparently, the owners didn’t like the players threatening to dissolve their union like the NFL and are hoping a federal court will make sure the lockout doesn’t break anti-trust laws.

I’m not a lawyer. Neither are you. I do know this lockout is getting nasty. A resolution, and the playing of basketball, does not seem on the horizon.

--Oly Sandor.


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Tuesday , Aug , 02 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

David Stern, Billy Hunter, Derek Fisher, NBA must step out The Bubble

“I don’t feel optimistic about the players’ willingness to engage in a serious way,” Stern said.

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: They came. They talked. They accomplished nothing.

Yesterday Commissioner David Stern and the owners met with Player Union Head Billy Hunter and Derek Fisher to - cough, cough - negotiate a new Collective Bargaining Agreement.

There was little negotiating. There was even less bargaining. And both sides emerged restating their ideology about how the NBA’s financial system should function.

Ironically, at the exact same time the American government was putting the final touches on the debt crisis bill. Say what you like about the politics but Republicans and Democrats found a compromise.

And for all the posturing both parties seem to finally have some awareness of the hardship the average American is currently facing.

Not the NBA, though. The billionaire owners want a guaranteed profit and filed a lawsuit against the union. The millionaire players want to maintain their average salary of $5 million per annum.

Living in such a bubble must be nice.

--Oly Sandor

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Saturday , Jul , 30 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Derek Fisher: Players not focusing on Basketball Related Income

“We have agreed in some ways to maybe table the economic issues, if possible, and really focus on some of the system issues and some non-economic items that are still extremely important to rounding out a collective bargaining agreement,” Fisher said.

Fisher said NBA owners have so far viewed the negotiations differently, caring more about the bottom line than the system: “They want to get a number set, and then they’re not as concerned about the way the system looks if they get the right number. But we don’t think that’s the best way to approach it.

“We want to make sure we keep a fair system in place for all players now and coming in later. And I think the numbers will kind of take care of themselves.”

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: Player Union President Derek Fisher saying the money doesn’t matter is like an NBA player saying winning or losing doesn’t matter.

This entire lockout is about money, specifically how owners and players divvy up the Basketball Related Income (BRI).

Everything else comes second. The salary cap, guaranteed contracts, revenue sharing, and league parity can’t be tackled until owners and players agree on the split of BRI.

So Fisher should cut the BS. Same with Commissioner David Stern and the cronies he represents, who have created this remarkably well-to-do middle class for the players.

The Players Union and owners need to address the money at Monday`s meeting. They need to make progress on the BRI and then focus on systemic issues.

--Oly Sandor.

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Thursday , Jul , 28 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Rumor: Is Marcin Gortat vs. Robin Lopez a problem for Suns?

Marcin said that on his first day in Phoenix he asked Robin if practice started on the court or with a video session. Robin told Marcin that he didn't know so Gortat went to the gym while Lopez went to watch video. According to Gortat, a coach came to get him and asked why he was late and Marcin said that he had asked Robin and was told he didn't know where practice was starting. The coach said everyone knew where they were supposed to be. Marcin took that as a sign of where things stood between himself and Lopez.

Gortat went on to talk about the opportunity that Lopez had to earn and keep the starting job.

"This guy (Lopez) had such a big chance, such a big opportunity, to play in the best league. When I was Orlando, playing behind Dwight (Howard), I was praying to get a chance to play and he (Lopez) has had this chance for two years and he didn't take.

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: Sport is competitive.

Every night teams compete, and every night teammates compete for playing time, touches, and shots, which determines the zeros on their contracts.

The tiff between Phoenix Suns teammates Marcin Gortat and Robin Lopez is about as surprising as the current pissing match between Commissioner David Stern and Union Head Billy Hunter.

The Suns weren’t winning, so Lopez and Gortat focused on the starting center position. And it got petty -fast.

Gortat publicly accused Lopez of sabotaging his first day with the Suns by intentionally telling him practice began in the video room when it began on-court.

However, the Polish post was just warming up. He then mocked Lopez for not taking advantage of the opportunity given to him by the Suns.

On the one hand, Gortat is about as wrong as you can get. He can’t call Lopez out to the media for what`s likely a miscommunication.

On the other hand, Gortat is right: Lopez, for whatever reason, hasn’t seized the moment and performed near expectations.

Of course, Gortat vs. Lopez isn’t going anywhere. Both want to start. Both are intense. Neither will back down. 

When the season begins, Coach Alvin Gentry should encourage competition, but can’t let his centers become a distraction like Brenadan Haywood and Etan Thomas with the Washington Wizards.

--Oly Sandor.

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Thursday , Jul , 28 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Billy Hunter on Lockout: ‘It’s all about greed’

I’ve said the same thing: They’re not negotiating in good faith; they have no desire or intentions of getting a deal without a lockout because if they think they can threaten us or lock us out for a year or whatever, that the players will cave and they’ll get everything they want. … In this instance, as far as I’m concerned, it’s calculated. It’s all about greed,” Hunter said. “It ain’t about nothing else.”

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: Just when you had hope -this happens.

NBA players and owners will meet next week to discuss the lockout. Yes, Commissioner David Stern and Union Head Billy Hunter will be in the same room, however, little, if anything, will get done.

This is about appearances, and nothing more.

After all, Hunter just called the owners greedy. Individuals who are serious about negotiating - especially when they feel a resolution is near - avoid these statements.

Expect the lockout to be extended for weeks, months, or maybe an entire season.

--Oly Sandor.

Got thoughts? Well, get at HoopsVibe News in the comment box below.

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Wednesday , Jul , 27 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Kevin Love on NBA.com and lockout: ‘it’s silly’

"They took everything off," Love told The Post. "I laughed, but it's not funny. You take everyone off? You go on our website and it's the dancers and Crutch our mascot. I think it's cool for the charity events, but not using any of the players, it's silly. Let's get this thing resolved and play basketball. It's disheartening to fans and to us. Let's get it figured out.''

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: Last year Kevin Love looked like the second-coming of Charles Barkley with his work on the backboard.

This summer Love sounds like the second-coming of ‘Chuck’ with his candour and tell-it-like-it-is nature.

The Minnesota Timberwolves power forward recently told the New York Post the NBA looks ridiculous for pulling players off league and team websites, and urged the parties to solve the lockout.

Love is right: NBA.com is comical. Commissioner David Stern and the owners look petty for only having cheerleaders/mascots on-line, and their negotiating ploys have often been unreasonable.

Here’s my question for the players: what took so long? Why is a promising 22-year old playing in tiny Minnesota left to tell Stern and union boss Billy Hunter to find solutions?

Where are the crème de la crème of the league like Kobe Bryant, LeBron James, Dirk Nowitzki, Dwyane Wade and others?  Well, they're flirting with teams in Europe. Or pulling in six-figure appearance fees for a night in Asia.

Right now, there’s little chance the NBA opens in November -especially if Love, a promising player in a backwater market, is left to pressure the disputing factions.

Hopefully, others follow Love’s lead.

--Oly Sandor.

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Tuesday , Jul , 19 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Lockout Be Damned: Stern and Fisher MUST attend Yao’s retirement

Yao Ming is likely to make it official on Wednesday, announcing what is expected to be his retirement from the NBA and a sport that made him a household name in China.The 7-foot-6 center for the Houston Rockets played eight seasons in the NBA, but has missed 250 regular-season games over the past six years.

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HoopsVibe's Very Quick Call: Yao Ming will officially retire from the NBA on Wednesday. Few from the NBA will attend.

SImply put, this is criminal; a travesty, in fact.

Yao opened the lucrative Chinese market for owners. He put billions in their pockets, but won't get so much as a pat on the back, handshake, or $2 'Thank You Card' from Commissioner David Stern.

Yao also won't receive his due from the players –even though those contracts Chinese clubs are currently floating don't exist without the 7-7 center playing his trade in Houston.

The reason is simple: the lockout.

Stern has instituted a code of silence that would put the Sicilian policy of Omerta to shame. Owners can't speak speak publicly. GMs can't comment on personnel matters.

Failure to comply with Godfather Stern will result in the NBA equivalent of sleeping with the fishes: a $1,000,000.00 fine.

Leslie Alexander, the owner of the Houston Rockets, and Daryl Morey, the club's GM, have no desire to meet the fate of Luca Brasi. So they've been mum on Yao cashing his 501k plan. 

However, Stern and his cronies at league head office should push aside their considerable egos; forget about their quest for a flex cap, non-guaranteed contracts, and reduced terms; and let Alexander and Morey catch a flight to China to show Yao love.

If the league can waive their lockout policy for the Dallas Mavericks and Mark Cuban to celebrate at the contrived ESPY Awards (ESPN is a league partner), they can do the same for Yao.

Of course, the Players' Union is not off the hook, either. Yao's international popularity increased league revenues, which, according to the Collective Bargaining Agreement, must be split with the players.

Derek Fisher can take a break from his role as Union Head and get to China. He's already playing a series of exhibition matches in the Philippines. A flight to China is no big deal; not for Yao.

The lockout is unfortunate. It shouldn't prevent NBA owners and players from honouring Yao's considerable contributions on-and-off court.

--Oly Sandor.

Got thoughts? Well, get at HoopsVibe News in the comment box below.


 
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Monday , Jul , 18 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Rumor: Kobe Bryant bluffing about Europe or China?

“The one thing about basketball is it’s a global sport now, so you can play anywhere you want to.

“As far as myself, I just train. I just train and be prepared for anybody that calls, whether the NBA starts again or a team in Europe or a team here in China decides to call, then I’ll be ready…. (Kobe Bryant).

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HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: They both have their bluffs.

Right now, the NBA is locked-out, which means owners and players are doing anything and everything to gain leverage when negotiations begin.

Take the owners. They’re crying poor and claiming incredible losses. And they’re threatening to shut-down the season unless the players accept some form of a hard cap.

Will 30 billionaires really shut-down the NBA for 2011-12? Will they kill the momentum the league gained in 2010-11?

Well, this is the owners’ bluff. This is the card Commissioner Stern, Mark Cuban, and Michael Jordan have. Of course, the players have their bluff, too.

NBA superstars, like Kobe Bryant, are threatening to take their talent abroad. Possible destinations: Europe and China. Will Bryant, who is used to first-class treatment, really ride busses, stay in second-rate hotels, and deal with mediocre facilities just to prove a point?

Well, this is the players' bluff. Bryant and his brethren are making sure the owners know they have options. Even if those options don't appear especially attractive.

--Oly Sandor

Got thoughts? Well, get at HoopsVibe News in the comment box below.