Tag Archives: CBA

Stern’s Tarnished Legacy

I’ve never been a big fan of David Stern, and the recent lockout just gave me more reasons to dislike the man who fixes games, covers up referee scandals, and fines/suspends players for dumb reasons. Did he expand the game globally? Yes, in a ton of ways he did, but if there’s a good prospect somewhere, teams will find said player one way or another in the ever shrinking youtube filled world. Why should I care if a bunch of people in Europe or Asia are watching NBA games? Truth is, I don’t give a rats ass! What has Stern done for me as an American NBA fan? Looking back, not a whole lot. Did he give us Jordan, Bird, or Magic? Nope, those guys would’ve been around whether he held his position or not. Did he ever fix the referee problem? No, he still has the same 90-year-old dudes out there calling a game that is faster than a video game. Did he over-expand the league? Yes. Did he allow crappy human beings to buy the teams when other possible owners would have been better for the league? Yes. Has he had two work stoppages during the past 15 years? Yes, and for the record even baseball hasn’t seen that happen. I guess we’ll see if the NBA has a finals or not, but this could be more damaging than the MLB’s 94-95 missed WS…

Over 10 years in the league and Kahn still looks confused.

Stern became the commish in 1984, then four short years later expanded the league by adding the Charlotte Hornets and Miami Heat. A year later he added the Minnesota Timberwolves and Orlando Magic. Then in a stroke of genius, six years later (95′) he added the Vancouver Grizzlies and Toronto Raptors in a meager attempt to get Canadians to like hoops like they love hockey. That’s like getting Europeans to watch the NFL over soccer, just won’t ever happen. Then last but not least, he added the Bobcats in 2004. Two teams in Charlotte sin’t a typo, it’s a reality that he doesn’t know where a worthy place to start a franchise is. What do all these teams have in common? Two distinct things. One, they nearly all are run by the “hardline” owners we keep hearing about in our current stalemate of a CBA negotiation. Two, all these teams were put in cities that have little means of supporting a team when that said team sucks. Lets be real, if any of these teams are run like the Clippers or Knicks were over the last decade there’s noway they would turn a profit in the cities they’re currently in. Which is the point, don’t we want owners to be motivated to make their teams better? I suffered through years of Chris Cohan leading the Warriors to losing seasons, and because we were in a big market that still filled the building, nothing dramatically changed within the organization, because Cohan was still making money. Wouldn’t it be better for the league if owners like Kahn and Jordan actually had to try and build a good team to get fans in their arena? They talk about competitive balance all the time, but why don’t they ever talk about teams that don’t even attempt to be competitive? I feel like there should be some kind of push for contraction of teams that have a losing record for more than a decade. How much more excitement would that season bring having a team on the brink of contraction? Remember the save our Sonics season? That sure got a lot of fans in the building, for different reasons, but still. Bringing in these teams has done nothing to help the league “grow”. Miami isn’t even a “true” big market, yet they are one of the only teams that has done well financially. Maybe it was having two of the best players in the league playing half their games there. Even with that, they can’t even fill the building regularly, and sell out more of their road games than their home games.

Which brings us to the lockouts on Sterns’ watch.  The good ol’ asterisk season of 98-99. We got 50 games due to a lockout shortened season, and saw a lot of fat out of shape players. Maybe if they got a deal done before January, those guys wouldn’t have been so out of shape after getting their holiday grub on. Either way, I see it as a major failure that Stern couldn’t find a way to get the owners and players on the same page. They saw the popularity of the NBA dramatically decline in ticket sales, and viewers, how is that a good thing for owners? Sure, this last season was stronger than any season in recent memory with a plethora of young stars on the rise, but that all means nothing if they lose a season. Even my grandpa was into it last year, and he hated basketball for the longest time! I have a hard time seeing him coming back to basketball if the lockout makes for a missed full season.

What are you the commissioner of if you don’t actually have a league? Now, were in our second lockout under Sterns watch as a commissioner, and I’ve yet to see how he’s helped out with getting the games going again in any fashion. Instead Stern is passing the time by throwing out threats, and trying to pull one over on the players while he treats them like kids. Am I on the players side? Not so much, but I’m not into what Stern did with his ultimatums and consistently undercutting the players, which may have pushed them to not accept a deal when they were really close to agreeing to it. It’s no secret the players don’t like Stern, but he isn’t helping the players desire to accept a deal. I get it, he’s there for the owners, but at some point you have to try to show the owners that the players have some rights too, and instead of giving ultimatums and threats give them a sense of what is in the deal, and why it’s good for them. In any negotiation, nobody wants to get told what to do. Maybe we need Rodger Goodell to be the NFL and NBA commissioner. At least he can make it so both sides feel like they get a win. All along Stern knew they were going to miss games, all along he never really tried to get a decent deal for the players. All along I’ve despised every move Stern he’s made, and yesterday was just another sad example of a guy who doesn’t seem to have the agenda of the best interests of the league. Stern isn’t the only one to blame in all of this, but I feel if they (Stern and owners) showed the urgency they had over the last month by sending numerous proposals to the players during the summer we wouldn’t be in the “nuclear winter” state. Stern and the owners played the waiting game, and now he is paying for it with another HUGE black mark on his record as commissioner. When we got to see how swift and competent the NFL was in their lockout this summer, you can’t help but wonder, what the hell was the commish thinking!?!

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Here’s to Hoping For a Lockout!

I can’t say I totally understand what is going on with the NFL and NFLPA duking it out for the $9 billion pot. I know there are plenty of gripes on both sides as there are in any type of labor dispute. All the percentages and retirement funds make my head spin, and honestly I could really care less what ends up happening between the two sides when it’s all said and done. There are two things that I want to see come out of this. The first is that they get a team in Los Angeles. Not because I live here or would go to their games unless I got free tickets, but it makes sense. I’ve never been one that enjoys seeing the rich get richer, but as Charlie Sheen would say you win here you win there, WINNING! Putting a team in LA would be winning for both sides, because it’s a huge market that the players and league would all benefit from. Second, the retired players health. I couldn’t be more on the players side for this one, as the NFL really does need to have some kind of medical plan for the guys that bashed their brains in for the sport that made the owners more rich than they already were. It’s amazing to me how bad they treat their former employees. Almost all of the owners are really old, so you’d think they’d understand these types of problems that come with age. As Simmons points out in his article today, they just love money.

The real reason I wrote this was because I actually want to see this lockout happen. I know I’m in the minority with this view. Apparently today they’ve extended talks for another 7 days, but I don’t see much happening in that week. I’m not saying I would enjoy a fall without football (because I wouldn’t), but if these two sides can’t see that they are winning in nearly every phase, then I hope they lockout. My main reason is I’d love to see them lose some fans. We are the ones that fill their pockets by overspending on game tickets that you can barely even see the field from for $100 each, and while they do give us an amazing product that I thoroughly enjoy, they don’t really care about us, they just want to know how much they can make off us raising prices on everything (tickets, merchandise, parking, concessions, etc) in a national recession. Do they care that we buy licensed NFL products for hundreds of dollars when it cost them one dollar to make in China? No, and I do understand the capitalist point of view on it, but can’t fathom how there’s never enough. Every league is geared for the fans, but I feel like the NFL takes advantage of them a lot more than others, so by all means lockout and lose some of your fans!

That being said if there is a lockout the second football comes back on I’m positive I’ll be watching. I’d love to see a lockout that knocks the NFL down to the #2 or #3 sport in our country in the same way that baseball died after their strike. I’m thinking if it kills a fantasy season that will ultimately take some people away from the game. Would those fantasy players return to being fans of the league without that season? Hopefully not, and I can’t stand being at a bar listening to some guy talk about how his receiver needing 10 yards to take the lead in his matchup. That my friends is something I won’t miss. I can’t say I don’t fall into that trap from time to time, but I know I’d do just fine watching without fantasy sports around. I no longer like the casual fan that doesn’t really root for a team, and I feel like a lockout would kill some of them off. In an era where everything major going on is an open book in the media, I’d love to see them lockout. The league/owners would be crucified in public (rightfully so), and would see a decline in the sports popularity on some level. I wish we could go back to the days when most owners cared more about winning. That’s why I’ll never fault Al Davis for any of the moves he makes no matter how ridiculous they can be. He does them because he thinks it will make them win. You can’t say the same for many teams out there.

 


NBA Has Many Issues, But This is a Big One

Carmelo (or the media) made it known that he will not be keeping his talents in Denver past this season. He was offered the max three year extension adding about $65M onto his contract to stay with the Nuggets, but all the reports I can find seem to think that since he hasn’t signed it, he isn’t going to. Could be true, could be rumors, but either way it doesn’t sound like Melo is all that into repping the mile high city anymore. Since he has until July of 2011 to sign the extension, I’m not sure why everyone is so sure he will pass up the money. I mean, what if they happen to catch lightning in a bottle and come to terms on a CBA way ahead of schedule? What if Melo finds out he would only be able to make around $10M per year unless he signs his extension before the old CBA expires? Would that make Melo sign his extension and stay since he knows he’d never get the same type of guaranteed money again? I have no idea, nor should I speculate since I’m not an agent or a player that gets to make that kind of decision. All I know is the landscape for the NBA has forever changed in the wake of Lebron’s ill advised decision. The league is already top heavy. Just looking back at the last few decades, the league was either ruled by the Celtics, Lakers, Bulls or Spurs (it feels weird putting the Spurs in there with the other three, but no denying what they did in the Duncan era). The NBA tries hard to preach that there is parody, and I felt that we were getting some parody after the Shaq/Kobe three-peat with new teams winning each year eliminating repeats for a little bit there, but now the landscape feels a lot more clear on who the favorites are again after the Lakers just went back to back. Now, once again isn’t much parody, and it will continue to go that way if superstars keep leaving their teams to join multiple superstars in another uniform. The hostage style takeovers of these teams during contract extensions and free agency is getting a little ridiculous. I feel like the players have all of the power, and while it’s hard to argue that they shouldn’t have the power since they are drawing the crowds, but I think we’ve fallen too far that way. I can’t believe I’m saying this, but give franchises that have the top flight players more power to be able to keep them there or at least make it much tougher for them to decide to leave. Continue reading


Rumors, Signings, and the Upcoming Lockout

Didn’t pay much attention to the NBA free agency bonanza over the three day weekend (or sports for that matter), but caught up the last couple days on the rumor mill, and it sounds like all the rumors that were swirling on Friday, sound just about the same as they do today. Maybe there’s a little more of the I think so and so is leaning towards staying/going here, but nobody’s opinion is truly relevant, since nobody knows what factors are in play for these guys in making their final decisions so rumors will continue. There was one big commitment over the weekend with Amare Stoudemire agreeing to a five year $100M contract with the Knicks. I think it’s good for the guy, he wasn’t going to get a max deal in Phoenix, so why not go where someone that is willing to dish out the cash! He might not be exactly what they were hoping for, and as MCeezy said, they still aren’t relevant without another big player, but he is as worthy as anyone for a max offer. He’ll probably hold his fantasy value rejoining the anti-defensive D’antoni coached team. They might actually come out of this free agency period a winner depending on what else they get. I’m not going to say I think this was the greatest signing, but it’s far from a bad one as some would have you believe. If he somehow recruits another superstar, then he would be an all-time Knicks without even stepping on the court. It was much better than signing Joe Johnson or Rudy Gay to the “max” deals. I’m starting to wonder where Boozer will land since there are really no rumors about him. I do like the ring of Boozer’s Vodka if he ends up on the Nets. D-Wade and Chris Bosh are going to team up in Miami, just as I predicted. It’s tough to tell how much of a supporting cast they can have with only four players (Chalmers and Beasley) on the roster, but if they really don’t care about the money that much, maybe they’ll be able to bring in another big name.

I found the rumor of Carmelo waiting it out until next year’s free agency to go join Amare in New York as a laughable scenario. Does Melo even really have a choice on waiting it out with the lockout scheduled for next year? He could’ve been part of this free agent frenzy, but chose to take the extra year and some extra cash instead of opening up his 2010 summer. The Baltimore native has lived the rough life, so I don’t see him passing up any guaranteed money. Could he really pass on an extension that would guarantee him close to $20M per year for the next three? I’ll say no. The way money is flying around this summer is going to get even crazier after Lebron makes his choice tomorrow. You may think it already has with contracts like Amir Johnson (5 years $34M), Darko Milicic (4 years $20M), Drew Gooden (4 years $39M), but this summer there will be even more of those unfathomable numbers for guys that are at best bench players, especially if all these big free agents end up staying put. There’s a lot of teams waaay under the cap that were hoping to lure a Lebron or Wade to their city, but all these potential suitors forgot one thing, what if they don’t want to leave and want the extra $20-30M guaranteed that these guys can have tacked onto the last year of their contract in their current cities. So in essence, some teams will be overpaying for guys this summer that aren’t going to change a franchise into an instant contender. I’m thinking Richard Jefferson, Luis Scola, Raymond Felton, and Ray Allen will all eventually get some ridiculous money thrown their way from teams that are desperate to make a splash. They are good, but should only be additions to an already good team not THE addition that makes them a team. Continue reading


Russell’s Iced Out Necklace is in Jeopardy

Our favorite Raiders quarterback of all-time is being sued/had a grievance filed against him by the Raiders for $9 million of the $39 million they wasted on him today. It’s a rough break for Russell, now he might have to return some of that ice he layered himself with. I think he might lose a little resale value on anything he put himself on, like this awesome diamond encrusted Jamarcus jersey. Before you know it he will be back to wearing his hippy cloak, and be on the huge list of athletes who have gone broke. It’s okay though, I hear McDonald’s doesn’t mind if you have a lazy work ethic, and occasionally fumble things in to the deep fryers. Too bad Al can’t devise some kind of lawsuit that would take back a million for every game he lost for them (7-18). I’d say he lost at least 15 of them. If you want to know about his highlights as a Raider yous can check out this post. For some reason I find this comical, because Al stood by the marshmellow man for so long, firing Kiffin, and making Cable play him, but now, Al decides to sue his ass! I’m sure there’s some warrant to the lawsuit or Al wouldn’t waste his time. This is one of the main reasons the NFL needs to change up the rookie pay scale for the first round draft picks. Maybe the new CBA will bring that for us. Anyways, one thing Al has been bad at lately is winning, except when it comes to court cases. He will drag them out, and whether the lawsuit is against a city or the NFL, or a player, he usually wins. My advice to Jamarcus, just give  it back or you’re going to spend more fighting to get it back, and have to pay Al at the end of the day anyways! Actually, maybe he doesn’t even have $9 million to give back…


Washed Up or Blackballed?

Kevin Mawae held down two jobs in the NFL last season, and it’s looking more and more like he will only be retaining one of those jobs for this upcoming season. At least he has one, that’s better than a lot of people out there right now, but he probably should have two still. The 39 year old center helped pave the way for Chris Johnson to break the 2,000 yard rushing last season for the Titans. He also doubles as the president of the players association, and is expecting the CBA argument to halt the on-field play for a portion of 2011. He stated last week that both sides are about 80 yards apart in negotiations, and won’t be anywhere close on agreeing to terms anytime soon, especially since they haven’t even met to discuss a new CBA in over two months.

It could be that NFL teams don’t want to pick up Mawae since he is pretty old, but given that he was the most highly touted linemen on the free agent market earlier this year it’s puzzling to say the least. He along with many others are speculating why no teams have submitted offers or really even contacted him for his services. What makes it even more peculiar is the fact that teams haven’t even called during this strange uncapped season. There’s obviously a need for him as not every team can be 100% sold on their center, and the Hall of Famer to be, was in the Pro Bowl last year, so he’s obviously productive. Even more strange is that he hasn’t even been invited to a single training camp to actually see what he has left in the tank. Was it his comment that the owners are trying to cut the player salaries by 20%? Not too many front offices took kindly to that statement. Some think that owners are shying away from him because he will be busy with negotiating the new CBA, but I’d call that BS.

I can’t tell you if he has lost a step or isn’t a good center anymore, because I’m not a scout or talent evaluator. The conspiracy theorist in me says teams are blackballing him. Even if some team’s excuses are about the tape from last season saying that he’s a “functional player at the back end of his career”. Didn’t he just help CJ to a record season? Last time I checked the center has something to do with that kind of running success. I’m sure blocking for the mobile Vince Young is no picnic either. If he’s functional, then why wouldn’t someone like him to fill out your roster? Especially for young linemen, they could draw from his amazing experience in the league. I feel for the guy if he’s truly being blackballed. I’m thinking a few injuries will happen, and a team will sign him on to fill in at some point this season, unless owners are trying to send him some kind of message. Here’s what he had to say on the whole matter.

Mawae pointed to one of his friends (and a fellow Bartelstein client), new Jets guard, Alan Fanaca, being released earlier this week and signing a deal with the Arizona Cardinals within two days.

“Not to take anything away from him … but something tells me there is something going on beside me just being 39 years old. I’ve said in the past that I hope our management and the owners look past the fact that I am president of the PA. But right now it’s not looking that way. I’m looking for a job. I’ve made no secrets about wanting to be back in Tennessee and I’ve yet to receive a call from anybody.”