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Tag:NBA Lockout
Posted on: March 6, 2012 5:33 pm
Edited on: March 6, 2012 5:45 pm
 

Podcast: Kevin Harlan on Wolves and March Madness

Kevin Harlan of CBS Sports and TNT discusses the Timberwolves' resurgence. (Getty Images)


By Matt Moore

Kevin Harlan is a staple of NBA life for fans. He's been calling NBA games for 23 years. So his perspective on ridiculous condensed season is pretty insightful given how connected he is to the league and its players. So we talked to him on the CBSSports.com NBA podcast. We also touch on the Timberwolves who he was play-by-play for for many years, and about Kevin Love being "the best power forward in the NBA" in Harlan's eyes, and we look forward to March Madness, which you can see on CBS and the Turner Sports family of networks this month. 

You can download the podcast here, and it's available on iTunes as well, so be sure to subscribe. Click here to pop out the podcastinto its own window and continue surfing the information superhighway.  

Posted on: February 17, 2012 11:12 am
Edited on: February 17, 2012 2:13 pm
 

Report: Wilson Chandler to return next week

Wilson Chandler is reportedly headed back to the United States next week from China. (Getty Images)
By Matt Moore 

With Kenyon Martin and J.R. Smith back in the states and signed with new teams, Wilson Chandler and Aaron Brooks remain the last two NBA players to head to China during the lockout still yet to return to the league. But that could be changing quickly as ESPN reports that Chandler could return as soon as next week thanks to an agreement with his Chinese team to leave before his team's playoff run is over in the Chinese Basketball Association:  
Denver Nuggets restricted free agent Wilson Chandler is scheduled to return to the United States from China sooner than expected, according to sources close to the situation, with next week as his target.

It remains unclear, though, how quickly Chandler will be allowed to follow through on his stated intention to re-sign with the Nuggets even if he does leave China in the next few days.

Chandler's Zhejiang Lions team starts a five-game playoff series next Thursday, but sources told ESPN.com that Chandler received the blessing of Lions management to come back to the NBA as soon as he helped the team clinch a playoff spot.
via Sources -- Wilson Chandler set to return from China sooner than expected - ESPN.

Chandler is widely expected to return to the Nuggets as a restricted free agent, whether on a long-term deal or just to finish the remainder of this season and enter unrestricted free agncy.

The Nuggets desperately need Chandler on roster as soon as possible, with a banged up club missing Danilo Gallinari with an ankle chip fracture and Nene among others missing time with injury. The wear and tear on Chandler from playing in the CBA is yet to be seen as is how he'll respond under this compacted schedule.

Denver is struggling right now, but with Chandler back and eventually Gallo, they should be able to gain some momentum headed into the playoffs as one of the deepest teams in the league.

Chandler still has to get FIBA clearance in order to play in the NBA, and that will only come once Chandler's CBA team notfies FIBA to do so. That could complicate when Chandler is eligibile to play, even if he's back in the states.
Posted on: February 9, 2012 8:52 am
 

Wilson Chandler wants to re-sign with Denver

Wilson Chandler's agent says he wants to re-sign with Denver when he returns from China. (Getty Images)
By Matt Moore 

Wilson Chandler has been in China, after choosing to bail during the lockout assuming the season would wind up more protracted than it is. As a result of a Chinese Basketball Association rule enacted this summer, he is unable to get out of his deal until his team's season is over. Which will be shortly. Chandler is a restricted free agent for the Nuggets, and there was talk Denver might not re-sign him or that he would prefer a return to New York. But Yahoo Sports reports that Chandler's preference is to re-join the Nuggets for their playoff push: 
Chandler is drawing “significant interest” from other NBA teams, Chandler’s agent, Chris Luchey said, but he wants to re-sign with the Nuggets for either the rest or the season or a longer-term deal.

Nuggets general manager Masai Ujiri acknowledged the team’s interest in re-signing Chandler. The Nuggets have the right to match any offer Chandler receives from another NBA team.

“Wilson likes their direction and the stabilization of their roster in Denver with the young talent,” Luchey said in a phone interview from China. “He wants to see how they develop as a team. It’s a unique situation. The ball is in their court. If Wilson is comfortable, he will be a part of their core group.”
via Wilson Chandler intends to sign with Nuggets - NBA - Yahoo! Sports.

Chandler joining the Nuggets would just be adding more depth to arguably the deepest team in the league, when healthy. He's a versatile scorer that would join a 2-3 rotation of Arron Afflalo, Danilo Gallinari, Rudy Fernandez, and Corey Brewer, providing a five-man rotation entirely made of athletic wings that can get out in transition and hit from the perimeter. Chandler has the ability to fill up the scoreboard in any game, and is an underrated defender.

It'll be key to see what kind of condition Chandler has been playing in in China (his numbers suggest pretty great), and if there's a struggle to adapt to NBA speed. But as the Nuggets gear up for a late-season playoff run, getting Chandler will only make a good depth situation better for Denver.

With all their injuries, they just have to survive until then.
Posted on: February 8, 2012 12:37 pm
Edited on: February 8, 2012 1:21 pm
 

So what if the NBA play is bad this year?

Turns out people care more about stars than quality of play as league popularity soars. (Getty Images)


By Matt Moore
 

Oh, the agony.

The torture.

The basketball.

We've become accustomed to a certain level of play in the NBA. What's worse, NBA scribes, bloggers, and hardcore fans are constantly comparing everything to prior moments and finding fault. There were some last year who found the playoffs disappointing because there were no truly great teams. You know, despite it being arguably the most entertaining playoffs of all time. Some would prefer the era of Jordan's dominance, even when that meant that the playoffs were about as unpredictable as a Fresh Prince of Bel Air episode.

The point is, we're ready as fans of the game to find fault with it at every turn. This season? Not hard to locate. Ken Berger of CBSSports.com points out all the agonizing ways this season's play has been reduced to rubble. Shooting percentages are in the basement. Scoring totals are in the basement. It's sloppy. There are injuries. It's gotten so bad that the age-old debate of whether a great college team, in this case, Kentucky, can beat an NBA team missing its best player, in this case, the Raptors without Andrea Bargnani, has returned to haunt us. And we all know it's insane. Size and strength matters, and the kiddos would be beaten to a pulp. What's more, it doesn't take much time to notice the gap between baseline jumpers at the college and pro level.

But the bigger point is that the game has been irreparably harmed. David Stern and his League of Extra-Stingy Gentlemen have forced this 66-game schedule down the fan's throats and the result is that they have turned away fans forever.

One problem.

They haven't.

Attendance is up, considerably. Ratings on TNT for games and NBA on TNT are up double-digit percentage points. NBA TV is through the roof, when for years most people haven't known the channel exists. Teams are raising ticket prices. Fans are paying. The reality is that the game is becoming more popular headed towards its annual zenith of the playoffs. But how can this be, with the play this bad? With turnovers and bad conditioning and injuries and clang after clang after clang?

Simple.

The hardcore fans are going to watch anyway. And the casual fans, the golden goose for any sports league? They don't care about how the play is.

They care about storylines. LeBron failing in the clutch. Derrick Rose trying to will his way past Miami(and missing free throws in the clutch). Kobe Bryant's last stand. The Celtics trying to prove they're not dead yet. The Orlando drama. The Knicks disaster with Carmelo Anthony and Amar'e Stoudemire. Linsanity. The Denver Nuggets flourishing (until the last six games) without Melo. Lob City. The Mavericks put themselves back on the map. The Chris Paul veto and its various effects. Kyrie Irving. Ricky Rubio.

The 76ers! ... OK, still no one cares about the 76ers, sadly.

The Thunder, destroying everything in their path as the new favorites. Blake Griffin over Perkins.

And again, as always, LeBron.

And what's more, the game is actually pulling in more viewers, even with terrible play. Know why?

No one can hold a lead.

The conditioning and schedule has created absolute chaos in the second half of games. Teams are racing out to 15-20-25 point leads and then blowing them, consistently, because they lack the energy and personnel to keep the foot to the pedal. The Magic blowing a 28-point lead, at home, to the team that has tortured them the past two seasons? Fascinating, like a train wreck. The Heat blowing leads to Golden State and the Clippers on back-to-back nights? Must-watch!

No lead is safe in this new, worse, NBA, and that makes it all the more watchable. It's part, oddly, of what makes college fun. Their players aren't good enough to close the door and so huge leads evaporate. Now the same thing is happening at the NBA level with teams burning themselves out in the first half and then trying desperately just to get back to the hotel and go to bed.

So yeah, the play is terrible. No one can shoot. Everyone's injured. The players are exhausted, already slightly miserable, and unable to give us the grace and precision that makes the NBA the best basketball product in the world.

And people haven't liked it this much in years.

Part of the issue is that there are always injuries. There are always terrible teams. For years we've heard the argument that there are so many bad teams. That's a product of there being great teams. Not everyone's going to go four-games-under-.500 or better. Yeah, the shooting's bad, but no one seems to focus on that when Blake Griffin is dunking the ball down Kendrick Perkins' throat and Monta Ellis is scoring 48 points.

Turns out you can lock out the fans, lock out the players, compact the schedule, shorten the season, torture the percentages, burn out the talent, and still have a product that sells.

Because drama? Drama transcends buckets.
Category: NBA
Posted on: December 21, 2011 12:17 pm
Edited on: December 21, 2011 12:19 pm
 

Kenyon Martin reaches buyout with Chinese team

Posted by Royce Young

Kenyon Martin was one of a handful of NBA players that decided to sign in China, despite the Chinese Basketball Association installing a rule that didn't allow NBA opt-out clauses.

Players like Martin, J.R. Smith, Aaron Brooks and Wilson Chandler seem to be trapped in China until their season ends sometime in February or March.

Martin however, reached a buyout with his team Xinjiang, according to Yahoo! Sports. There's a catch though: As part of the agreement, Martin must honor the Chinese Basketball Association's rules and wait for the end of his team's season to return to the NBA. The CBA's regular season ends in February, but it's likely his team will play in the postseason, so it could be March.

Martin's deal with Xinjiang was worth a record $3 million.

This is massively important for Brooks, Smith and Chandler's situations as this has set the precedent for how their buyouts will be handled. I'd expect them to seek similar buyouts with their teams, but they won't be given clearance to return to the NBA until the end of their CBA season, meaning they done messed up by signing in China despite knowing the no opt-out clause.

There was an expection that Smith and Chandler would be released by their teams, but that doesn't appear to be happening.

Most players seemed to think that getting out of their Chinese contracts would work. Earl Clark did it, citing personal reasons to leave. But he did this while the lockout was still in place. The players wanting to leave now are leaving for the obvious reason to return to the NBA.

Why reach a buyout now and not just play out the season? Injury, obviously. Martin doesn't want to risk anything playing in China when he can become a free agent in March. He wants to get healthy and get ready to join a team, hopefully in time for a postseason run.
Posted on: December 7, 2011 5:13 pm
Edited on: December 7, 2011 5:32 pm
 

New CBA 'b-list' issues leak

Posted by Royce Young

The final steps of finalizing a new collective bargaining agreement for the NBA was resolving a long list of so-called "b-list" issues which included things like the age limit, D-League assignments and drug testing.

The league and players have finished that off with a vote open to the players Wednesday afternoon coming in their email and the owners voting on Thursday to officially put the NBA back in business in time for free agency and training camps to start Dec. 9.

Most of those b-list details have found their way out, obtained by Ken Berger of CBSSports.com. Here's what we know:
  • No HGH testing in NBA agreement. The NBA and players agree to "study" the issue.
  • NBA players must wear microphone for one nationally televised game per month and one local game per month. Also, they'll have wear one for up to two playoff games per round. Important note: No NBA player can be disciplined for something caught by the microphone.
  • No NBA player can be disciplined solely based upon an arrest.
  • Player per diem: $120.
  • The agreement calls for a "neutral review of commissioner's financial discipline for on-court conduct."
  • Players get a minimum of 16 days off during the 2012-13 season.
  • The minimum fee for promotional appearance made on behalf of a commercial sponsor: $3,000. If player has already made eight appearances that number goes up to $4,000.
  • The age limit hasn't been decided upon. It'll stay at one year for now, with more discussion to come later.
  • Players with less than three years of NBA service may be assigned to D-League. No limit on number of assignments. More than three years can't be assigned. That's essentially the same rule as last time, except for the limit on assignments.
  • Interest twist to that rule though: A player rehabbing an injury can go to the D-League if he and the union agree to, even if he has been in the league for more than three years.
  • Offseason drug testing starts in 2012-13 with a maximum of two tests for steroids and PEDs.
  • Players can't be drug tested at the arena on a game night.
  • If a player gets traded, they get a housing reimbursement for $4,500 for three months following the deal.
  • Players will get paid more than last time for All-Star participation. The amount wasn't given.
  • Training camp compensation is $2,000 per week beginning next season.
  • Player salaries will be pro-rated for the lockout. Basically, they get 66/82 of their normal compensation.
  • Teams must spent 80 percent of the salary cap this season, then 85 percent and 90 percent.
  • Beginning 2012 players have "option to directly defer salary to annuity plan with 'favorable interest rates.'"
  • The luxury tax remains dollar-for-dollar for this season and the next.
Category: NBA
Posted on: December 7, 2011 1:12 pm
Edited on: December 7, 2011 2:50 pm
 

Robert Sarver complains about shortened schedule

Posted by Royce Young

Robert Sarver, also known as the Phoenix Suns' owners, also known as one of the league's hardline owners that helped push the lockout deep into November, isn't happy about the new schedule. Oh, the irony.

Via the Arizona Republic:
“I was disappointed for our fans,” Suns Managing Partner Robert Sarver said. “When the preliminary schedule came out, I asked the league to reconsider and they didn’t. You’ve got to factor in all the arenas and timelines, and they weren’t able to move dates around.”

[...]

"For the most part, the schedule is computer-generated by a consulting firm that does schedules for the NHL and NBA," Sarver said. "Unfortunately for us, given the short schedule, we're not going to see some of the elite teams in the East."
You hear that? Disappointed for the fans. What a guy. Forget that the reason we're having this ridiculous shortened season was largely in part of guys like Sarver that tried to use competitive balance as a red herring to make a cash grab, but whatever. Sarver and other small market owners like him helped stall negotiations and drag this whole thing out. As PBT put it, he made his bed and now he has to sleep in it.

Sarver dos have a point though. The Suns miss out on hosting the Celtics, Bulls, Heat, Magic and Knicks, which as you know, are five of the biggest draws in the league with their stars and market size. But because the season was chopped to 66 games, not every team was able to visist every city.

Which means instead of having a guaranteed sellout with the Heat coming to town, Sarver and the Suns will get the Bucks and Bobcats instead. So when he says he's "disappointed for our fans," what he really means is, "Crap, there goes five sellouts."

It also means that his Suns have to play all those beasts on the road. Which isn't fair at all and to a small market owner that was one pushing for competitive balance, he has to be a bit miffed at that pretend idea.
Posted on: December 7, 2011 12:45 pm
Edited on: December 7, 2011 1:24 pm
 

Negotiators have 'closed the deal' on b-list

Posted by Royce Young

According to Ken Berger of CBSSports.com, the league and players union have pretty much "closed the deal" on the number of so-called "b-list" issues holding up a final collective bargaining agreement.

Players will beging electronic voting on a new CBA Wednesday at 6 p.m. ET and finish at 4 p.m. Thursday. Owners will vote at their Board of Governors meeting Thursday. All of this needs to be done in time for free agency and training camps to officially begind Dec. 9 as scheduled.

Three interesting points in the resolved b-list items, via Berger:
  • Players will be subject to offseason testing, but only for steroids, a source says. Prior random tests were only from Oct. 1-June 30.
  • Unlimited D-League assignments for three years. Veterans can go, but only with consent. League had wanted five-year program.
  • All indications remain that draft eligibility age will stay the same until there is time for further discussion. Which means this year's superstar class won't be affected.

Once the new CBA is ratified, the league will be fully open for business once again. With not much time between now and camps, there really wasn't the opportunity to haggle over some of these smaller issues, which is a good thing. If we've learned anything about these negotiations, the two sides love to haggle.

Category: NBA
 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com