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Friday , Nov , 11 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Magic Johnson: Stern and NBA aren’t racists

”In a telephone interview with The Associated Press, Johnson said Jeffrey Kessler’s assertions were “ridiculous” while praising Stern as a commissioner who has done plenty to further the success of black players in the league.”This league is more diverse than any other league and has more minoritiesin powerful positions than any other league,” Johnson told AP. “That’s all about David Stern and his vision and what he wanted todo. He make sure minorities had high-ranking positions from the league officeall the way down to coaches and front office people.”


HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: The NBA lockout has gotten personal. Target number one: NBA Commissioner David Stern.

It’s not surprising that owners and players have traded barbs, insults, and slights through the media. It is surprising how personal things have become.

For instance, NBA Players Union lawyer Jeffrey Kessler and broadcaster Bryant Gumbel both called Stern and the owners racist, comparing their negotiating tactics to that of a ‘plantation overseer’.

I’m not a visible minority. I don’t live in the United States. I’m the wrong person to comment on this.

However, it’s worth noting that Magic Johnson - an African American, Hall of Fame NBA superstar, and a former minority owner of the Los Angeles Lakers - has come to Stern’s defense.

Johnson thinks you can criticize Stern as commissioner, but can’t criticize him as man, citing the NBA’s track record of hiring minorities.

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Thursday , Nov , 10 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Report: Owners let Stern ‘Tweak’ System Issues

David Stern has enough support from ownership to "tweak" some of the system issues that remains points of contention with the union to get a labor deal agreed upon on Wednesday.


HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: Well, it’s about time.

Reports are filtering in late Wednesday evening that Commissioner David Stern has been given leeway by owners to concede on system issues like the luxury tax and mid-level exception.

Of course, players and owners are currently engaged in a key negotiation. And there are consequences if today’s talks pass without a settlement.

The players will likely decertify their union, forcing months of lawsuits which would kill any chance at season.

Meanwhile, owners have promised to reduce their offer of a 49%- 51% share of Basketball Related Income to 47%, which would also kill any chance at a season.

So the stakes are high. The hope is that owners giving in on system issues will force the players to give in even further on Basketball Related Income.

The alternative isn’t pretty.

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Thursday , Nov , 10 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Video: Kevin Durant’s Lockout Tour Continues

HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: If round the clock CBA negotiations are bothering Kevin Durant, he isn’t showing it.

The Oklahoma City Thunder forward has spent the lockout balling in charity games, promoting his brand, and visiting his former University, Texas, for a football game.

Watch the video below and get at us with thoughts in the comment box below. 

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

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Sunday , Nov , 06 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Rumor: Kobe Bryant okay with 50-50 split of BRI?

Lost in the diabolical din of the recent Derek Fisher report on FoxSports.com was the assertion that Lakers teammate Kobe Bryant is willing to accept a 50-50 deal. Two sources with knowledge of his thinking, meanwhile, told SI.com that Bryant has indeed made it known that he's open to considering the down-the-middle split. Bryant, it is believed, has indicated to union leaders on numerous occasions that -- so long as the system issues were adequately resolved -- the season was not worth sacrificing if the negotiations came down to a couple percentage points on BRI (which, to be clear, are hardly chump change considering they're worth approximately $40 million annually per percentage point).


HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: For the NBA’s best player, the system take priority over Basketball Related Income.

Unlike his peers, Kobe Bryant is more concerned with the owners’ trying to limit player movement through harsh taxes and closing loopholes than a few percentage points of revenue.


Bryant would, in fact, take a 50-50 split of BRI; however, the owners would need to give in other ares so players have leverage when they are free agents.

There’s the key word: give.

Right now, the owners want everything. The split of BRI. The system. It’s total victory or nothing. They aren’t giving the players anything unless it’s a deadline.

Bryant, despite being the game greatest player, has little power to change that.

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Sunday , Oct , 30 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Report: NBA hoping for 78 game season?

Stern proclaimed officially Friday there is no longer a chance of squeezing in an 82-game schedule with a Dec. 1 starting date. However, multiple sources predict a 78-game slate will be staged if the sides compromise on the revenue split by next weekend. The final schedule has to be an even number, sources said.


HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: It wouldn’t be a full season, but it would be close.

If owners and players can quickly bridge the two percent difference on Basketball Related Income, the league would begin a 78 game season in early December.

Sure, it would be a month late and fans would lose four games. 78 games sounds appealing considering there was a strong chance of missing an entire season.

The question is if the two sides can, or will, compromise on the last stages of negotiations before further damage to the league and sport is done.

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Friday , Oct , 28 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Rumor: Players, Owners to sign new CBA on Friday?

I think we’re within reach (on system issues), within striking distance of getting a deal,” Hunter said. There are still big hurdles ahead, ones that could mean negotiations will need to go through the weekend or even into next week.


HoopsVibe's Very Quick Call: Owners and players don't have a new labour deal, but they're close.

Commissioner David Stern and Union Head Billy Hunter were caught joking together at a recent press conference. Such a sight would have been unthinkable a few days ago.

Work is still to be done. For instance, the two sides have yet to discuss the split of Basketball Related Income, deciding to focus on system issues the last few days.

For months, BRI was the elephant in the room. The split of revenue was a point of contention, so perhaps it's overly optimistic to think this sticking point can be resolved in one short day.

However, the two sides have momentum.

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Tuesday , Oct , 25 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Rumor: NBA to cancel season indefinitely?

Pretty widely expected that NBA’s next announcement will be that start of season postponed “indefinitely,” or “until further notice.” Question is, will league and union meet/bargain before that announcement is made? Nothing planned for (Sunday), source says.


HoopsVibe's Very Quick Call: This is about leverage.

If owners cancel an additional two weeks of the NBA season, they'd be aiming to hit players squarely in their bank account.

Players are paid on the 15th and 30th of each month, so they'd miss at least one pay cheque and their second cheque in November would be at risk.

Nothing creates urgency more than losing money. At least, that's what owners are hoping for.

However, the door isn't shut as the league is expected to postpone the start of the season indefinitely rather than a specific number of games.

O. Sandor

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Sunday , Oct , 23 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Rumor: Stern thinks he can deliver ESPN an 82-game season?

While two weeks of the regular season have already been canceled and at least two more are expected to go soon, two sources close to the negotiations said the union believes that Stern assured his ESPN and TNT television partners that, by back-ending the missed games, he can still deliver an 82-game season even if starts in December. Accurate or not, the players’ perception of when their early paychecks will truly be gone for good will determine when they reach for the panic button.


HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: Apparently, there’s still time.

Various publications are reporting that the NBA could still play an 82 game season if players and owners solve their differences and sign off on a new collective bargaining agreement.

It has to happen quickly, though, and this could be the problem.

Even after days of mediation, owners and players are holding firm to their positions on Basketball Related Income and system issues like the luxury tax.

There’s another complication: reports indicate that owners are split into small market Hawks and big market Doves. The Hawks - teams like Charlotte, Milwaukee, Phoenix - are holding firm for major concessions, while the Doves -teams like Chicago, Miami, and New York - are eager to settle.

Hopefully, the two sides meet next week and make progress. The alternative isn’t pretty.


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Wednesday , Oct , 19 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Bryant Gumbel: David Stern is a ‘plantation overseer’

Stern’s version of what’s been going on behind closed doors has, of course, been disputed. But his efforts were typical of a commissioner, who has always seemed eager to be viewed as some kind of modern plantation overseer treating NBA men as if they were his boys. It’s part of Stern’s M.O. Like his past self-serving edicts on dress code or the questioning of officials, his moves are intended to do little more than show how he’s the one keeping the hired hands in their place.


HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: Perspective matters.

Bryant Gumbel is clearly losing perspective on the NBA lockout when he compares Commissioner David Stern to a plantation overseer.

To be fair, Stern is many things: cocky, arrogant, smarmy, confrontational, self-absorbed, militant, egotistical, and difficult.

And he’s been called even worse.

Some fans, especially in Seattle and Vancouver, would say he’s dishonest after their franchises were taken in a conspiracy that would impress filmmaker Oliver Stone.

But a ‘plantation overseer‘? Implying that multimillionaire NBA players are slaves to the owners and Stern?

Clearly, this is unfair even for a dubious character like Stern.


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Wednesday , Oct , 19 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Report: Players, owners hold 15 hour mediation session

NBA labor talks stretched into the wee hours Wednesday morning as players and owners met with a federal mediator, hoping to deliver the progress Commissioner David Stern says is needed to avoid canceling more games. Both sides met for more than 15 hours, their longest negotiating session since owners locked out players when the old collective bargaining agreement expired June 30.


HoopsVibe's Very Quick Call: What conclusions can we draw from players and owners holding a 15 hour mediation session?

Well, not much.

One day won't settle a four month long lockout, especially when the two sides are so far apart with respect to Basketball Related Income and system issues. 

The best we can hope for is progress. Perhaps the players and/or owners step off the ideological lines they drew in the sand so many years ago.

If that happens then today will have been a success.


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Monday , Oct , 17 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

David Stern: season could soon be in jeopardy

HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: And so the media show begins.

David Stern has recently gone on an all out publicity blitz with players and owners stuck at an impasse in negotiations.

For instance, ‘The Commish’ chatted with famed Sports business reporter Darren Rovell about the nearly fourth month old lockout.

Click the clip below, watch the interview with Stern, and get at HoopsVibe news in the comment box below.




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Saturday , Oct , 15 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Union mocks Javale McGee’s comment about ‘folding’

In a news conference later, union President Derek Fisher didn’t appear to be ruffled by what McGee said. “The person that spent the least amount of time in the room can’t make that statement,” Fisher said. “He’s in no position to make that statement on behalf of the group.”


HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: Remember the ribbing JaVale McGee took when his mum smooched with judges at the Slam Dunk Contest?

Or, the criticism he took for fighting Washington Wizards teammate Andray Blatche outside a DC nightclub?

Well, that’s nothing.

The Wizards forward is facing heat for comments he made that some NBA players were prepared to fold, take the owners’ current offer, and end the work stoppage.

His union brethren responded rather viscously, saying McGee was in no position to make such comments.

This brings up an interesting aside: as this dispute drags on certain players, like McGee, will speak out of turn.

Will they face a backlash on-court from their peers when the work dispute is solved? And how will they be received by teammates in their own locker room?

Certainly McGee is being made an example of. The message is clear: keep quiet or face consequences.


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Saturday , Oct , 15 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Billy Hunter on CBA negotiations: ‘we were close’ to a deal

Yet during an interview on WFAN on Wednesday, Billy Hunter indicated that an agreement between the owners and players had been nearing completion. "We thought we could live with the deal we were close to making," Hunter said.


HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: Two people can see the same thing very differently.

Commissioner David Stern said the players and owners were miles apart after the two met last weekend, while union head Billy Hunter apparently believed a deal was there to be made.

As usual, the truth lies in the middle. Somewhere.

Will the players and owners ever find the middle? After all, the two sides are unlikely to find an ideological common ground when it requires them to leave their line in the sand.

Right now, Stern and Hunter can’t even agree on the state of negotiations. So how can they possibly bridge the gap on hundreds of million of dollars, keep the groups they represent happy, and preserve their professional reputations by forging a ‘win’?

It doesn’t look good. A start would be to agree on how exactly to characterize negotiations.


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Tuesday , Oct , 11 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Stern cancels two weeks of season, says ‘too far apart on all issues’

Stern wiped out the first two weeks of the season - exactly 100 games - after more than seven hours of negotiations failed to produce a new labor deal and preserve the Nov. 1 season openers.

The cancellations mark the NBA's first work stoppage since the 1998-99 season was reduced to 50 games.Stern said players and owners were "very far apart on virtually all issues. ... We just have a gulf that separates us.


HoopsVibe's Very Quick Call: They've been playing with fire for too long. And now they could get burned.

NBA players and owners have had little success finding common ground on a new collective bargaining agreement, which would solve the league's three month old lockout.

So the inevitable finally happened.

Today, Commissioner David Stern kyboshed the first two weeks of the season, putting at risk last season's gains and the future health of the league.

Shame on the owners. Shame on the players.

Perhaps the owners' hardline stance during negotiations was unfair. Perhaps they were making up for years of overpaying the league's mediocre middle class.

Either way, both parties are at fault for the current predicament. Something or someone has to give.Or, the cancellations will continue.


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Monday , Oct , 10 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Derek Fisher to launch ‘Let Us Play’ Campaign

Fisher encouraged all players to attend an NBPA meeting in Los Angeles on Monday, and to utilize “our personal social networking channels to show the fans and you all, that we are united and want to get back to work under a fair deal.”

(Per Derek Fisher:) “On Monday, Chris (Paul) and I will tweet and post “LET US PLAY.” This was used by the NFL players and many will be joining us on Monday and retweeting the same message to show their support for our players. I will also be using the hash tag #StandUnited after all my messages until this lockout is over.


HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: Desperate times, desperate measures.

When, not if, the NBA starts cancelling regular seasons games, Union President Derek Fisher wants the players he represents to protest via social media.

Fisher wants the players to show unity by collectively tweeting ‘Let Us Play’. Sadly, this will gain little sympathy with the public.

The players, of course, can play. They just have to make further concessions.

The players can begin training camp on Tuesday by moving off their 53-47 split of Basketball Related Income and accepting the owners’ proposal of an even 50-50 split of BRI.

Everything else would quickly fall into place. The two sides would then sign a new collective bargaining agreement and the players could play.

--O. Sandor.

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Monday , Oct , 10 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Report: Owners, Players holding Hail Mary bargaining session

NBA players and owners still have no deal headed into the deadline day for starting the season on time.

Negotiators for the sides agreed to meet Sunday and then huddled for more than five hours before breaking for the night. They agreed to resume talks Monday afternoon, but union president Derek Fisher of the Los Angeles Lakers acknowledged that the sides are "not necessarily closer" to a deal than they were when talks stalled last week.


HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: It was worth a shot.

Owners and players met Sunday in New York in an effort to make progress on a new collective bargaining agreement, so regular season games would not get cancelled.

The bottom line is, well, the bottom line.

Basketball Related Income, how owners and players split all revenue earned, is the elephant in the room. 

The players are sticking firm to their offer of 53% of BRI. The owners want an even 50-50 split.

Once they reach common ground on BRI, the hard cap, guaranteed contracts, and exceptions and loopholes will fall into place.

The concern is whether they reach an agreement on BRI in time to save the start of the regular season.

The only thing we know is the two sides will talk again Monday.


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Sunday , Oct , 09 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Rumor: Did Eddy Curry kill chances with Heat by skipping charity game?

In addition to (LeBron) James, (Dwyane) Wade and (Chris) Bosh, the Heat were represented at Saturday’s game by free-agent point guard Mario Chalmers, with former Heat player Dorell Wright also among those participating. Heat forward Udonis Haslem, still working his way back from last season’s foot injury, coached James’ team.

Center Eddy Curry, a Heat free-agent target, was a no-show, leaving unanswered questions about his conditioning. Wesley Matthews and Lou Williams also were removed from the rosters, with Harden and Tristan Thompson added.


HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: This wasn’t supposed to happen.

The media had been reporting on the new and improved Eddy Curry, who had lost one hundred pounds to specifically earn a contract with the star-studded Miami Heat when the lockout ends.

Curry’s body wasn’t the only thing that had supposedly changed. His supporters claimed he had matured and wouldn’t be a distraction.

Saturday’s friendly at Florida International University was key. Curry had a chance to suit up with or against potential teammates, while developing a relationship with the Heat’s rabid fans.

That opportunity is gone.

Fans aren’t talking about Curry’s skill or fitness. Instead they’re wondering why a player who wants to join the Heat couldn't bother to turn up.

If he wasn't healthy, why not attend and earn some goodwill?

It’s not a great first impression. The more things supposedly change with Curry, the more they seem to stay the same.


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Sunday , Oct , 09 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Rumor: MIlan says No Thanks to Kobe Bryant?

Q: Have you ever thought about signing Kobe (Bryant)?:

A (Coach Sergio Scariolo): The Olympia has received many calls by the representative of Bryant, because the player was interested in playing in Milan. We, however, from the beginning we had decided not to sign players under lockout, and only one for which we wanted to make an exception was Danilo Gallinari due to human and personal connotations that attach to this team. From the beginning we thought it was the only signing NBA going to do.


HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: Fact or fiction?

It’s hard to know what’s true or false with reports that Kobe Bryant will head overseas for a jaunt in Italy during the NBA work stoppage.

For weeks, Virtus Bologna has been saying they’re close to signing the Los Angeles Lakers superstar to a contract while players and owners bicker over a new collective bargaining agreement. 

Those negotiations have stalled. Executives with Milan are saying they turned down Kobe Bryant’s overtures as they decided not to sign locked out NBA players.

Reports of Bryant heading abroad spring up when players and owners hit a snag in negotiations. It could be a coincidence. Or, it could be a ploy to pressure Jerry Buss, the Lakers owner.

Hopefully, Bryant plays soon in his trademark purple-and-gold. Sadly, a stint in Italy seems more likely.


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Sunday , Oct , 09 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Video: Carmelo says ‘it’s easy’ to support LeBron and D-Wade

HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: The South Florida Classic was exciting, but everyone wanted to know when the NBA games would happen.

Yesterday Dwyane Wade led Team Wade to a 141-140 win over LeBron James’ Team James in a charity match at Florida International University.

A game with several All-Stars is worth watching, however, fans and media were focused on the three month old NBA lockout.

Click the video below, watch Carmelo Anthony discuss his love for the Heat’s Big Three, and Wade, and consider his thoughts on the NBA’s labour impasse.


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Friday , Oct , 07 , 2011 Hoopsvibe

Rumor: Andrea Bargnani considering Virtus Roma?

Virtus Roma owner: "We have been talking with Andrea Bargnani. In my opinion, if he decides to play in Italy, he will sign just with us (Bargnani was born and grew up in Roma).


HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: European clubs are loving the lockout.

The best squads in Greece, Italy, Spain, and Turkey are free to flirt with the best NBA players who are without jobs.

This means free publicity.

For weeks, executives with Virtus Bologna have been ‘negotiating’ with Los Angeles Lakers superstar Kobe Bryant.

These executives have no issue discussing negotiations with the press, while Bryant’s representative, Rob Pelinka, has had little to say.

Now the head suit with Virtus Roma is telling anyone who will listen that in his opinion they’ll land Andrea Bargani.

Perhaps they will. Perhaps they won’t.

The media (myself included) is reporting his opinion, though. So Virtus Romas, like every other European club, might as well get the free publicity while they can.


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