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Tag:Ken Berger
Posted on: December 23, 2011 1:32 pm
Edited on: December 23, 2011 9:46 pm
 

2011-12 official NBA season predictions

Posted by Eye on Basketball



The season is finally, mercifully, just around the corner. In two days the 2011-2012 season kicks off. For all the lockout, legality, and lost games, there will be basketball. But we find a dramatically different NBA than we left. The Lakers are in disarray, the Celtics are fading, the Clippers are a potential powerhouse, and the Raptors... okay, the Raptors are still terrible.

So how is this all going to work out? We bring you our predictions for the 2011-2012 season, along with some random predictions on how things will go according to our crystal ball. (Note: We got our crystal ball at a flea market in southern Missouri. It also says "Get 'Er Done" on it.)

Three Random Predictions from Eye on Basketball

Royce Young:
1. Monta Ellis will be the biggest name traded this season. You can probably read between the lines there. That means Dwight Howard isn't getting dealt. The Magic are going to spend the first two months of the season trying to convince Howard to go to free agency, mainly because there isn't a suitable package on the market at this point. The Warriors though have been dangling Ellis on the market for a while, coming close to trading him for Andre Iguodala last season. They want to turn the backcourt over to Stephen Curry entirely and moving Ellis is what needs to happen to both Curry and the organization's development.

2. Flip Saunders will be the first coach fired. The Wizards are sort of a mess. John Wall has a ton of talent and young guys like Nick Young, JaVale McGee and Jordan Crawford have potential. But they don't appear to be moving forward as a team. Saunders is a really good coach and him being fired wouldn't be an indictment on his ability to coach. Sometimes young players just need a new direction, a new voice to listen to. You can't risk stunting development with young players and if the Wizards start slow and more importantly, sloppy, Saunders will get the axe.

3. Kevin Durant will win a third straight scoring title. Only six players in NBA history have ever won three consecutive scoring titles (Michael Jordan, George Gervin, Bob McAdoo, Wilt Chamberlain, Neil Johnston, George Mikan). So it's not some small task. I could see Durant's scoring decrease a bit because of James Harden’s emergence as a legit third scorer. That doesn’t mean Durant won’t average 27 or 28 a game, but I don’t see him bursting into 33 or 34 points per game range. He’ll take another scoring title simply because he just can’t help it. Dude could score 27 a game if he was in a full body cast.

Ben Golliver:
1. The Lakers will land Dwight Howard. The Lakers have dealt from a position of power for as long as anyone can remember, but the last month's insanity has now pushed them into desperation mode. This group, even if perfectly healthy, can't win a title this year and there are so many dead weight contracts a handful of amnesty clauses still wouldn't be enough. Put that together with Kobe Bryant's increasing age and the Lakers have no choice but to swing for the fences and deal every last tradable asset for Dwight Howard. Magic GM Otis Smith has been taking his time, as he should, but there's so much writing on this wall it looks like a New York City subway car covered in graffiti. Gasol, Bynum and whatever else L.A. can muster will head East.

2. We'll have a tank-off for the ages. Given the weirdness of the shortened season and the absolutely loaded 2012 NBA Draft, there's never been a better time for below-average teams to write off a season in hopes of landing a top draft pick. The Charlotte Bobcats, Toronto Raptors and Cleveland Cavaliers are your top-3 contenders for tankapalooza, but the Washington Wizards, New Orleans Hornets, Detroit Pistons and New Jersey Nets are one injury away from being in combustion mode too. The smart money is on the Bobcats but brace yourself for some truly hideous basketball.

3. Erik Spoelstra will win Coach of the Year. Miami enters the season on what feels like a perfect storm: they key players are in shape, healthy, motivated, focused and extremely, extremely talented. Importantly, they bring with them a mindset of "We've been through the worst of it and we know what to expect now" and also realize that the only team that stood between them and the 2011 championship, the Dallas Mavericks, lost its most important defensive player in Tyson Chandler. Add up all of those factors and we're looking at the possibility of Miami making a mockery of the regular season, running off lengthy winning streaks and only slowing down if they get to the point where homecourt advantage is already wrapped up. A 50-win season is well within reach and, if that benchmark is met, look for Spoelstra, who dealt with rumors about his job last season, getting tapped for Coach of the Year honors.

Matt Moore:
1. The Lakers will figure something out. This franchise does not rebuild. It reloads. And with the assets they have and under the urgent leadership of the younger Buss, something will go down. Maybe it's Dwight Howard, maybe it's a solution we can't see yet that comes out of nowhere. But the Lakers have been a dominant franchise since the inception of the league. They will not go down quietly, not with Kobe Bryant facing the end of his career. Something will shake out for the Purple and Gold.

2. One of the superteams will self-destruct. It's not that superteams are inherently flawed. On the contrary, they have an obscenely high probability of success. But they are not 100 percent proof. And the very problems that can help more complete team efforts topple the superteams (chemistry, selfless play, ball movement, defense) will spell a blowup of one of the juggernauts. Maybe it's the Heat who simply find that they can win a ton of games but never be truly great with the 1-2-3 of LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, and Chris Bosh. Maybe it's the Knicks who find that they truly do need a creator to run an offense geared around front-court scoring. Maybe it's the Clippers and Lob City turns out to be the Wizards' Oz. Or maybe it will be the Nets who find that Deron Williams and Dwight Howard aren't enough with the horrible roster they have around them should they land Howard. But one team will find that their experiment with overwhelming firepower was a mistake.

3. Josh Smith or Andre Iguodala will be with new teams by year's end. I'm a believer that situations that reveal themselves as untenable will not hold. And both of those players have been on the trade block for far too long. Smith has wanted off the Hawks, the Sixers have wanted to move Iguodala for a scoring punch for multiple seasons. It's simply unlikely that both teams will elect to stay put the whole year through, especially since both teams are in direct competition for the mid-to-late playoff spots in the East. Where those two end up could have significant impacts on the playoffs.

2011-12 NBA Season Predictions
Prediction Ken Berger
Matt Moore

Ben Golliver

Royce Young
Atlantic Division Winner
Central Division Winner
Southeast Division Winner
Southwest Division Winner
Northwest Division Winner
Pacific Division Winner
Eastern Conference Winners
Bulls over Heat

Heat over Bulls

Heat over Bulls

Heat over Bulls
Western Conference Winners
Thunder over Mavericks

Thunder over Lakers

Thunder over Clippers

Thunder over Grizzlies
Finals Winner
Most Valuable Player
Dwyane Wade
Heat, SG

Kevin Durant
Thunder, SF

LeBron James
Heat, SF

Blake Griffin
Clippers, PF
Rookie of the Year
Kyrie Irving
Cavaliers, PG

Ricky Rubio
Timberwolves, PG

Ricky Rubio
Timberwolves, PG

Derrick Williams
Timberwolves, PF


Predictions: 2011-12 Eastern Conference Playoff Teams
Seed Ken Berger
Matt Moore

Ben Golliver

Royce Young
No. 1
No. 2
No. 3
No. 4
No. 5
No. 6
No. 7
No. 8


Predictions: 2011-12 Western Conference Playoff Teams
Seed Ken Berger
Matt Moore

Ben Golliver

Royce Young
No. 1
No. 2
No. 3
No. 4
No. 5
No. 6
No. 7
No. 8
Posted on: December 13, 2011 10:33 pm
Edited on: December 14, 2011 6:36 am
 

Lakers talking Pau Gasol for Chris Paul trade?

Posted by Ben Gollivercp3-kobe

It's Los Angeles vs. Los Angeles in the Chris Paul sweepstakes.

CBSSports.com's Ken Berger reports that the Clippers continue to be a possible trade partner, should the New Orleans Hornets finally relinquish Paul, their All-Star point guard, after days of rumored trade talks.

ESPN.com reported on Tuesday night that the Lakers, a team that twice had potential three-team deals for Paul struck down by NBA commissioner David Stern last weekend, are back in the thick of it.
The Los Angeles Lakers, however, continue to loom as a potential destination, sources said, despite their apparent exit from the Paul sweepstakes on Saturday. The Lakers walked away from the table after multiple attempts to complete a three-team trade with the Hornets and Houston Rockets for Paul, and then agreed to trade New Orleans-bound Lamar Odom to the Dallas Mavericks instead.

ESPN.com learned Tuesday that a Lakers' deal for Paul has not yet been ruled out, contingent on the fact that they can recruit at least one other team to supply some of the young pieces that the league is demanding. But the Lakers do still have Gasol as a centerpiece, who could either replace Paul as the Hornets' franchise player or give New Orleans a top-20 player to be dangled in subsequent deals.

"The Lakers are definitely still in this," said one source close to the talks.
NBA.com confirms that both the Clippers and the Lakers are "both in play" for Paul's services.
 
Gasol was the best player not named Paul in the earlier three-team framework with Houston, so it was a bit unusual that he was not originally headed back to the team that stood to lose the best player involved. But that was the nature of the Lakers' dilemma, as they simply did not have enough young pieces and/or draft picks to make an enticing offer that would have helped New Orleans rebuild in the wake of the loss of their franchise player. 

Since those talks fell apart, former Hornets All-Star forward David West signed a two-year deal with the Indiana Pacers and Lakers forward Lamar Odom, who would have been sent to New Orleans, was instead traded to the Mavericks. In other words, New Orleans' frontline is now incredibly thin and the prospect of acquiring Gasol could be more palatable than the idea of making do by re-signing free agent forward Carl Landry.

Such a trade would leave Los Angeles with newly-acquired forward Josh McRoberts and center Andrew Bynum up front, pending any other moving pieces. That's not a ton of depth, especially given Bynum's propensity for injury and knuckle-headed behavior. Lakers forward Derrick Caracter suffered a knee injury during training camp on Tuesday, further compromising the Lakers' frontcourt.
Posted on: December 8, 2011 9:19 pm
Edited on: December 8, 2011 10:17 pm
 

NBA 'pulled plug' on Chris Paul to Lakers trade

Posted by Ben Golliverchris-paul-lakers

On the same day that reports indicated that the New Orleans Hornets had engineered a 3-team trade that would have sent All-Star point guard Chris Paul to the Los Angeles Lakers, the trade, which also was to include the Houston Rockets, will not take place as expected.

Yahoo Sports reports that the NBA, which owns the Hornets and has veto power over all personnel moves, stepped in after prompting from unnamed NBA owners at Thursday's Board of Governors meeting.  
The NBA has killed the proposed deal to send Chris Paul to the Los Angeles Lakers, league sources tell Yahoo! Sports. The NBA has caved to pressure from owners that the appearance of this deal, on heels of lockout, had to be stopped, sources tell Y! Sports. "The deal is off," a source involved in the talks tells Y! Sports. "It's dead." 
Ken Berger of CBSSports.com confirmed that the blockbuster deal is now "dead" and that the NBA "pulled the plug" on the trade.

As word of the deal's rejection spread, Paul posted a one-word message on Twitter: "Wow."

ESPN.com reported that Paul was "fuming" about the blocked deal and "exploring [his] legal options" to protest the NBA's decision with the help of National Basketball Players Association executive director Billy Hunter. 

NBA.com reported later Thursday that NBA spokesman Tim Frank issued the following statement: "Not true that owners killed the deal...League office declined to make the trade for basketball reasons."
Posted on: December 1, 2011 5:14 pm
Edited on: December 1, 2011 6:06 pm
 

Players union re-forms; to ratify CBA next

Posted by Ben Golliverbilly-hunter-small

Back like they never left!

The National Basketball Players Association announced in a statement on Thursday that it has received the necessary signatures authorizing it to re-form as a union after it was dissolved on Nov. 14 so that it could pursue antitrust litigation against the NBA.
The National Basketball Players Association (“NBPA”) announced today it has been informed by the American Arbitration Association (“AAA”) that a majority of NBA players have authorized the National Basketball Players Association (NBPA) to serve as their collective bargaining representative. In less than forty eight hours more than 300 players submitted authorization cards to the AAA, which has been collecting and verifying the cards.  Pursuant to this authorization and recognition from the NBA, the NBPA and NBA can now move forward towards the completion of negotiations for a new a collective bargaining agreement, with players expected to hold an in-person vote on whether to ratify the agreement by the end of next week.

On behalf of the NBPA, we thank fans worldwide for their patience as we work quickly to get professional basketball back on the court.

Now that the union is put back together, the players are able to vote to approve the tentative collective bargaining agreement taht was reached with the league early Saturda morning.

NBPA executive director Billy Hunter sent a letter on Monday, obtained by SI.com, in which he recommended the deal: "We support this settlement of the antitrust case. We appreciate your trust and solidarity and look forward to working through the process described above in the very near future so we can get back to doing what we all want to do: play basketball."

NBA training camp and preseason are scheduled to open on Dec. 9 and the 2011-2012 regular season is scheduled to begin on Dec. 25, assuming both sides formally approve the deal, which is expected next week, according to Ken Berger of CBSSports.com.
Posted on: November 10, 2011 11:00 pm
Edited on: November 11, 2011 12:57 am
 

NBPA says NBA's revised offer is not good enough

Posted by Ben Gollivernba-lockout

The NBA and the National Basketball Players Association met for nearly eight hours on Thursday in New York City, emerging at 11 p.m. Thursday evening to inform the assembled media that they still have not yet reached a deal on a new collective bargaining agreement.

The day's major news, though, came when NBA commissioner David Stern met with the NBA's labor relations committee and was authorized to make the NBPA a revised offer. Ken Berger of CBSSports.com reported that the new offer is not the significantly worse offer featuring a 47 percent BRI share for the NBPA and a flex cap system threatened by Stern last Saturday, but instead is a new, slightly improved proposal based on the last two days of negotiations.

NBPA president Derek Fisher said after the meeting adjourned that the league's revised offer was not good enough for the players to accept immediately.

"We have a revised proposal from the NBA," Fisher said. "It does not meet us entirely on the system issues that we felt were extremely important to close this deal out."

Fisher said that the union would confer with its player representatives to determine their next course of action and is hoping to continue negotiations after that process takes place.

"At this point we've decided to end things for now, take a step back," Fisher said. "We'll go back as an executive committee, as a board, and confer with our player reps and additional players over the next few days and then we'll make decisions about what our next steps will be at that point. Obviously, we still would like to continue negotiating and find a way to get a deal done but right now is not that time."

Fisher called it "another long day" of negotiations and admitted that "a litany of issues" still remain unresolved. However, he did acknowledge that the NBA's revised offer was an improvement from its previous offer.

"On a couple of the issues there was some revision, some change since the last proposal that we saw," Fisher said, "but at this time it's not enough to entice us to try to finish this out tonight."

NBPA executive director Billy Hunter said the player representatives would meet on "Monday [or] Tuesday at the latest," but he made it clear that there is still plenty of ground to be covered between the two sides.

"It's not the greatest proposal in the world," Hunter said. "But I owe that, I have an obligation to at least present it to membership."

In addition to the six major economic and system issues -- including the mid-level exception and luxury tax structure -- that have been discussed this week, Hunter said, "another 30 or 40 issues" remain unresolved, including the age limit, player discipline issues, days off for players, and others. 

While Fisher and Hunter didn't get into too many specifics of the league's new offer, Berger reports that it includes a 50/50 split of BRI, as expected, but does not include significant concessions on system issues. The owners did improve their luxury tax mid-level exception offer by increasing its value $500,000 and extending its length for one year. These are generally considered minor adjustments.

Stern's account of the current situation was virtually identical to that presented by the NBPA, although he provided additional logistical specifics.

"We've had another couple of intense days," Stern said. "We made a revised proposal to the union which attempted to meet their concerns as best as we and the labor relations committee could. We did that in the context of the possibility that we could have a 72-game season starting on December 15."

Stern confirmed the NBPA's stated timeline for the next steps in these talks, saying that he was extending his previous deadline of Wednesday through to next Tuesday.

NBA Labor

"We understand that the revised proposal will be presented to the board of the union on Monday, or if travel is difficult, no later than Tuesday," Stern said. "Just as the clock had stopped on Wednesday as we negotiated through to today, it would remain stopped through [Hunter's] meeting with his board. Then, at that time, if we don't get a positive response the revised offer starting at 47 percent and based upon a flex cap would be our revised negotiating position."

He then struck somewhat of a conciliatory tone, thanking the union's executive staff for their efforts and attempting to paint the league's current offer as a compromise between the desired outcomes from both sides. 

"We don't expect them to like every aspect of our revised proposal," Stern said of the players. "I would say that there are many teams that don't like every aspect of our revised proposal. But I did tell Billy that that proposal has the support of the chairman of the labor relations committee, Adam, me and the labor relations comittee itself."

The talks between the two sides would be suspended until after the NBPA meets next week, Stern said, because talks would not be fruitful until the players have time to consider the merits of the offer in full.

"It doesn't make any sense to keep going here [because] we have made our revised proposal and we are not planning to make another one," Stern said.

The commissioner, when asked directly, refused to offer a prediction on whether the NBPA would approve of the offer.

"I would not presume to project or predict what the union will do. I can hope, and my hope is that the events of next week will lead us to a 72-game schedule, starting on December 15."

NBA deputy commissioner Adam Silver said that the 72-game schedule would be made possible by pushing the NBA playoffs back one week.

Thursday's talks began at noon and marked the second consecutive day of negotiations between the two sides. The chatter throughout the day was minimal, except for a brief moment of optimism caused when former New York Knicks executive Dave Checketts told a Salt Lake City radio station that he heard an agreement had been reached, before later back-tracking.

The ongoing NBA lockout has now lasted for 133 days.
Posted on: November 2, 2011 5:58 pm
Edited on: November 2, 2011 7:51 pm
 

NBA wastes day in court; NBPA to meet Thursday

Posted by Ben Gollivernba-lockout

The NBA and the National Basketball Players Association met on Wednesday in Brooklyn. The only problem: they met in a courtroom rather than in a negotiating conference room.

Ken Berger of CBSSports.com reports that the NBA and the NBPA were in court to give oral arguments in the NBPA's motion to dismiss the NBA's lawsuit. The NBA originally filed suited because the NBPA allegedly threatened to decertify.
Court spokeswoman confirms U.S. District Judge Paul Gardephe did not rule on The NBPA's motion to dismiss NBA's lawsuit Wednesday. Per spokeswoman, Gardephe will ask parties to brief him in writing on additional issues before ruling. Timing of ruling uncertain. Union asking judge to dismiss lawsuit, in which the NBA seeks declaratory judgment on legality of potential decertification by The NBPA.

According to The NBPA, lawsuit has no merit because union hasn't disclaimed interest in representing players and has never done so before. Lawyers for The NBPA characterized lawsuit as "forum shopping," an attempt to beat players to venue for possible antitrust action. 

Lawyers for NBA contend union officials have frequently threatened to disclaim, which warrants a ruling from judge on legality.

There's little significance to today's court proceedings. Both sides recognize best shot at a deal is to agree to one at bargaining table.
So, if the courtroom drama is all pretty much irrelevant, when will they head back to the negotiating room?

Berger reports that there are still no new negotiating sessions scheduled after talks blew up last Friday, although he writes that NBPA leadership officials "will convene Thursday for strategy session" but it's "unclear how many players will attend."

What's holding up the talks? 

Berger writes that the difference of opinion over the revenue split remains the key issue separating the two sides, and that it's now the primary reason no new talks have yet been scheduled.
No point to more bargaining until each side decides how much -- if at all - it intends to move on BRI. Most other issues resolved. NBA negotiators have talked with labor committee members and other owners this week, source says. Players also have to decide next move.
Earlier Wednesday, there were indications that the obvious compromise on the revenue issue might still be possible.
Category: NBA
Posted on: November 2, 2011 12:10 am
Edited on: November 2, 2011 12:16 am
 

Derek Fisher lawyers up, demands retraction

Posted by Ben Gollivernba-lockout

The only thing missing here is a reference to Scott Templeton.

National Basketball Players Association president Derek Fisher issued a statement on Tuesday night taking direct aim at multiple articles posted on FoxSports.com, formally demanding a retraction and acusing the site of defaming him.

Here's the full statement sent out by Jamie Wior, Fisher's publicist, and obtained by Ken Berger of CBSSports.com. 
"The statements made in recent articles on the Fox Sports website are inexcusable.  Among the many baseless accusations, to allege that I am working with the league for my personal gain is unequivocally false.  The implication that I am doing anything but working in the best interests of the players is disgusting, defamatory and a flat out lie.  I have issued a letter through my attorneys demanding a retraction for the libelous and defamatory stories the site and reporter have continued to publish.

Regardless of the media reports, the Players Association, our staff, Executive Director and Executive Committee are unified and working side by side to serve our players.

There should be no more distractions.  We must continue to negotiate a fair deal for our players."      
The articles that Fisher objects to call out both Fisher and Wior by name. They accuse Fisher of being co-opted by Stern during labor negotiations, assert that there is a rift between Fisher and NBPA executive director Billy Hunter, and suggest that the NBPA confronted Fisher about his stances on the all-important revenue split issue. They also call into question the aptitude of both Fisher and Wior. 

Earlier Tuesday, NBA commissioner David Stern issued a denial that he secretly met with Fisher. Also on Tuesday, Hunter sent a letter to the NBPA saying that he had no beef with Fisher. On Monday, Fisher sent a letter to the NBPA denying a rift with Hunter.
Posted on: October 19, 2011 6:55 pm
Edited on: October 19, 2011 7:35 pm
 

Federal Mediator: NBA talks to continue Thursday

Posted by Ben Golliver

After leading 16 hours of NBA labor talks on Tuesday and more than eight hours of talks on Wednesday, federal mediator George Cohen issued his first -- albeit brief -- public comments to media members assembled in New York City.

Ken Berger of CBSSports.com reports that Cohen "shed no new light on the status of talks. He emphasized importance of confidentiality."

Representatives for the league and its players did not comment on Wednesday but will meet again on Thursday, according to Cohen, with talks scheduled to begin at 2 p.m.

Here's video of Cohen's brief remarks.



NBA.com reported
that Cohen called the participants in the meeting "extremely focused on the issues" and that the talks have been "direct and constructive."

Yahoo! Sports reported that "progress was made on the BRI revenue split" according to two sources involved in the negotiations.

Berger reports that NBA commissioner David Stern left Wednesday's mediated session before its conclusion to attend to other league business. The NBA's owners are assembled in New York for Board of Governors meetings on Wednesday and Thursday.

Cohen met with both the National Basketball Association and the National Basketball Players Association on Monday in advance of Tuesday's mediation. Representatives for both sides refused to comment following Tuesday's negotiating session, which went into the wee hours of Wednesday morning.

The NBA and the NBPA have made little formal progress towards a new collective bargaining agreement since the league's owners locked out its players on July 1.
 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com