Posted on: December 11, 2010 5:27 pm
Edited on: December 11, 2010 5:28 pm
With Melo "thinking" about the Nuggets' extension offer, could the CBA pressures of a lockout be forcing Anthony to consider staying in Denver?
Posted by Matt Moore
Ken Berger of CBSSports.com reports that Carmelo Anthony has told told Nuggets management that he's "thinking" about signing their long-term extension which would keep him in Denver for the majority of the remainder of his career. It's a striking change in direction from Melo's behavior and statements over the past six months, all of which has led him away from Denver and towards the bright lights of another, bigger market.
So with that in mind, why the change in heart? Melo maintains that this has been his approach the whole way through, but multiple reports have indicated he was most likely done in Denver. So what has pushed him back towards the shade of the Rockies?
There are multiple options. The struggles of the Miami Heat have to be considered, even as the Heat start to get together. The fact that a deal with New York, his preferred destination, is unlikely even if they manage to get a first rounder in return for Anthony Randolph probably has to dishearten him from the idea of moving. The fact that the New Jersey Nets are locked into Newark, NJ for two years instead of Brooklyn, and that they look so far away from contending has to factor in, as they are the most likely destination for a trade at this point. But the biggest reason is probably relatively simple.
Since this whole bizarre non-standoff-standoff started, the CBA talks have only headed faster towards a lockout brick wall. The owners won't even respond to the Union's latest proposal. A lockout is 99% probably according to Union head Billy Hunter. And considering the drastic changes being presented by the owners' contingent, big changes could be in place before Melo could sign a new deal. With that in mind, Anthony could be thinking he simply needs to go ahead and commit to the deal to get in place.
KB also clued us in recently that the owners are seeking rollbacks to current contracts . That would mean that any deal Melo signs now could be revamped to something lower in total dollar amount. But that's an issue of contention and there's at least a reasonable chance the union could fight off that attempt. So signing the extension now rather than carrying out his threat of not signing without a trade and risking a significant loss in salary.
A source told Berger in October that Melo wasn't afraid to test the new CBA . It could be that the way the talks have gone have Melo convinced the smart play is to at least heavily consider getting his deal locked in now.
But of course, that's conjecture. The facts still remain that Melo has not signed the extension, nor has he given any indication that he intends to, only that he'll think about it. And in the meantime, he's put more pressure on teams interested in him to up the ante on their offers. The disclosure is good news for Denver, but doesn't get them out of the woods. They still have to win games this year, convince Melo they have a plan to win in the future, and get his name on the dotted line.
This thing's far from over, but at least Denver has reason to feel more positive about their odds of avoiding a long-term rebuilding project.
Posted on: December 10, 2010 5:25 pm
Edited on: December 10, 2010 7:10 pm
Posted by Matt Moore
1. Okay, so New Orleans has a few buyers mulling around, the league is all set to take ownership of the team, KC and Louisville are getting their checkbooks out, and meanwhile the Hornets have gone down the drain a bit. If I'm a New Orleans fan on a scale of 1 to 5 with 1 being a Hindu cow and 5 being that Saved by the Bell chick when she got addicted to stimulants, how freaked out should I be?
Ken Berger, CBSSports.com: Well, about what? If it's the Hornets' recent struggles on the court, I'd go Hindu cow. If it's the team's long-term prospects in New Orleans, we better find you some tranquilizers. In the first game after the league purchase was announced, the Hornets grew barely more than 10,000 -- and that's paid attendance, which is easily manipulated. I can't imagine who'll show up for the Sacramento game Wednesday night. If the Hornets don't meet an attendance threshold by Jan. 31 -- and they're on pace to wildly miss the mark -- the team can opt out of its arena lease with the state. The Hornets being the deeply indebted, toxic asset they are, clearly this would enhance the potential value of the franchise in a sale because it would open the floor to more bidders and buyers. Nothing will happen this season, and I doubt any serious conversations will occur until after the lockout. But the future certainly looks grim.
2. You dropped word in the post-ups that the Nuggets are finally ready to deal Melo. Knowing the time crunch the Nugget are in with the deadline two and a half months away, is it possible teams could be applying pressure back on Denver in order to sweeten their deals?
KB: Certainly possible -- and maybe even a reason the Nuggets have quietly conveyed the impression to rival executives that they're inclined not to ride out the season with Melo if he refused to sign the extension before Feb. 24. This is the next, inevitable step in the process. In other words, step right up, folks. Bring your best offers. The landscape changes a bit Dec. 15 -- in five days -- when players who signed this past summer become trade-eligible. So far, sources say the Nuggets haven't received any offers that are better than the Nets' package centered around Derrick Favors and two first-round picks. Could that change? Any potential Melo suitors know the time is now to begin trying.
3. How much longer is the Andre Iguodala trade rumor Groundhog-Day-esque nightmare going to continue?
KB: As long as he has $56.5 million coming to him over the next four years, as long as there's one team possibly willing to absorb it, and as long as the Sixers are no better than a borderline eighth seed with him on the team.
4. You talked about the Knicks' resurgence in your quarterly report. What does New York have to do this season to take the next step, or have they hit their ceiling?
KB: Their run of 11 wins in 12 games is a little deceptive because of the competition they've faced, particularly in terms of defensive competition. But there's no doubting the potency of their offense -- and as you've pointed out, they're not benefiting from some ungodly 3-point shooting percentage that can't be sustained. They still need the same two things they needed and tried to get over the summer -- a rugged interior player to defend the basket and a dynamic wing. If they can get one of those between now and the deadline, they'll be on their way to a sure playoff berth -- maybe even a four or five seed. If they can't get Melo, they just have to make sure they don't jeopardize their future flexibility for sloppy seconds.
5. You wrote about how the Players Union's proposal has been completely ignored by the owners this week with so many non-starters. My question is this: Most of the Players' proposals only really hurt the top three to four teams in the league and would help all the little ones. Why are the smaller market teams not demanding the owners take a harder look at this proposal? Is it simply that damaging across the board or are they being bullied by the established big market teams?
KB: Let's start backwards: It certainly seems that the hard-liners are governing the owners' negotiating tactics, because there has been not a word of pushback from small-market owners to the league negotiators' treatment of the players' proposal -- which has been largely to ignore it. The owners -- at least the vast majority of them -- clearly view the players' plan as tweaks and Band-Aids where major reconstructive surgery is needed. When David Stern and Adam Silver have publicly stated on numerous occasions that they're aiming for massive changes to the sport's economic structure, no one is going to cross them publicly and give the players credit -- which they deserve -- for coming up with a handful of creative solutions.
Those solutions clearly don't go far enough in the eyes of Stern and his staunchest supporters. Plus, here's something else to chew on: The small-market owners, in particular, either believe or have been led to believe that they'll lose less money by shutting down the sport than they will by putting on another 82-game charade under the current system. In a way, Stern has gotten exactly what he wanted: By hitting the players over the head with a guillotine in the form of his draconian initial proposal, he boxed Billy Hunter into a corner. Hunter had no choice but to come back with an equally one-sided proposal, so as not to let the owners sense weakness. If a lockout is what the owners want, a lockout is what they are well on their way to achieving.
You can ask Ken a question for the Friday 5 with KB by emailing email@example.com or hitting us up on Twitter at @CBSSportsNBA .
Posted on: December 8, 2010 1:17 pm
Posted by Royce Young
Other than LeBron James and his Heat buddies, the biggest story of this NBA season starts with an "L" and ends with an "out". It's kind of hanging over everything. Just when we all start having fun and forget about a potential work stoppage, it rears its ugly head again. Bummer.
The basics around where the league and the players are hung up is over the salary cap situation, player salaries and revenue sharing. You know, the usual stuff.
Ken Berger of CBSSports.com dropped a bomb's worth of knowledge Wednesday updating the current situation. Included in all of that information was a small nugget about other things the players are asking for in addition to all the salary and money stuff.
They want the NBA's age-limit requirement returned to 18.
Berger says the players suggested a few non-cap related things that would "improve the game" and "benefit both our players and the league." One of those is a re-examination of the age-limit rule that currently requires players to be at least 19 years old and one year removed from their senior year of high school before they're allowed to enter the draft.
(Along with the age rule, the NBAPA is also adding this Berger says, which I found incredibly interesting: They want to enhance pension benefits for retired players, which would be paid for, in part, by a so-called exit tax on owners who sell their teams and earn capital appreciation far beyond historic levels. So when an owner that bought his team in 1973 for $19.7 million sells it for $400 million, the players want a tax on that money that would pay a pension for retired players. Anyway, just wanted to point that one out too.)
While the players want the rule back at 18 years old, they also threw in that they want to work with the league and NCAA to incentivize players to stay in school longer. I think we all rolled our eyes there together, didn't we? Stay in school kids! Money's not important! Ignore the fact we're willing to go to a lockout over it!
The age rule probably isn't as important to the players as the money related issues, but the fact it's included in their recent proposal is interesting. Feelings on the current rule is sort of split. Most think it's an NCAA rule, but it's not. It's an NBA one. While it helps college basketball in some ways by bringing star power like John Wall, Kevin Durant and Greg Oden to college, it also hurts because everyone knows they're one-and-done. Bobby Knight was one of the biggest detractors about the rule talking about how nobody has to go to class the second semester and that is creates an unfair advanatge to the big name schools and recruiters. And it's easy to see that point.
The idea behind the original creation of the requirement was to help prevent the massive busts that were coming straight from high school, thus ruining potentially solid careers. Kids that has dollar signs in their eyes and skipped a college scholarship because an agent told them they'd make millions in the NBA as a first-round draft pick. But for every DeShawn Stevenson, Jonathan Bender and Kwame Brown, there's a Kobe Bryant, LeBron James and Dwight Howard. It's always worked both ways.
And it's not some guarantee that if you go to school you won't bust. Ed O'Bannon, Robert Traylor, Stromile Swift, Marcus Fizer... lots of names there too. I guess they got an education or at least a few college credit hours out of it, but the rule doesn't guarantee anything.
Players want to be able to make money. And the fact that the NBA is preventing an 18-year-old from having the opportunity to have a job in the NBA obviously bothers the NBAPA.
It's a small issue and probably not one they're worth fighting that much for. But it's in the current proposal. The fact it's on their mind is interesting nonetheless.
But what's so ironic is that a lockout could greatly affect players like Terrence Jones from Kentucky, Harrison Barnes from North Carolina, Jared Sullinger from Ohio State and Kyrie Irving from Duke. Guys that would likely be one-and-done and headed for next June's draft. Except a lockout may make them think twice about it. They may either return to school and let the CBA stuff get settled or head to Europe for a season, especially the ones that have been tanking in their academics because they never thought they'd come back for a sophomore season.
But remember, the NBAPA wants to educate and encourage players to stay in school. And they may be doing exactly that, only by accident.
Posted on: December 4, 2010 1:55 pm
Edited on: December 4, 2010 1:56 pm
Posted by Royce Young
The Hornets are walking down a weird path right now. The franchise may be released from its lease with New Orleans Arena because of attendence issues. But on top of that, reports are that the NBA is very close to purchasing the team after apparent buyer Gary Chouest backed off from purchasing the franchise from George Shinn.
For months, it was believed Chouest would purchase the team. But he unexpectedly backed off leaving people to wonder why. And according to the Times-Picayune, it has a lot to do with the NBA's uncertain state surrounding a potential lockout.
On top of that, the report says Chouest doesn't feel like he has the time available to run an NBA franchise as the sole owner while still operating a very successful private business. Chouest is a billionaire that made his dollars from a global marine service company called Edison Chouest Offshore, but was hit hard by the moratorium on deepwater drilling in the Gulf of Mexico after the BP oil spill.
Reportedly, Chouest was set to purchase the team from Shinn for around $300 million. Currently, he owns a 35 percent stake in the team. Last April, Shinn, who was diagnosed with cancer about a year ago, reached an agreement in principle to sell his majority share of the team to Chouest. But no official deal ever came out, indicating that there was some kind of hang up.
And what that probably is includes the uncertainty surrounding the team's lease, the potential work stoppage, Chris Paul's potential desire to leave and whether or not the franchise actually can be profitable in New Orleans.
Add all of those things up and it's understandable how someone might balk at buying the team. The future of professional basketball could be in jeopardy right now, and it could be the NBA's own situation that is helping cause it. A lockout will hurt players and owners, but it could devastate a franchise as fragile as the Hornets.
Posted on: December 3, 2010 7:57 pm
Edited on: December 3, 2010 8:04 pm
Ratings up significantly for Cavs-Heat, as it becomes second-highest-rated game of the year. Posted by Matt Moore
Wow, that Cavs-Heat game was crazy, huh? Okay, so really it was pretty quiet, and the Heat completely destroyed them. Basically it was just like a public IRS audit only with more profanity (or less, depending on how you take such things). But with all that hoopla, did people really revolt from the over-coverage?
Not so much. What say you, Sports Media Watch?
TNT earned its second-largest NBA overnight of the season with Thursday night's Heat/Cavaliers game. Miami's 28-point win drew a 5.0 overnight rating on TNT Thursday night, up 257% from last year's comparable game (BOS/SA: 1.4), and the second-highest overnight of the season for any NBA game.via Sports Media Watch: TNT Has 257% Rise In Overnights For Heat Blowout.
Turns out Cavs-Heat outdid the NFL game Thursday night. Granted, that was on the NFL Network, which is still harder to get for most of America than decent healthcare. But it's still indicative of the trending era of this season as one of the most successful in NBA history, right on the verge of a lockout.
Posted on: November 12, 2010 1:35 pm
Edited on: November 12, 2010 1:40 pm
Posted by Matt Moore
1. Kevin Garnett is not exactly the most popular guy in the world right now. Garnett seems to be the kind of guy who is loved by his friends and close circle and is abrasive to everyone else. Do you have any thoughts on his evolving legacy from lovable lunatic lose to hated psychotic champion?
Ken Berger: I think your evaluation of KG is spot on. He is like the crazy uncle that everyone is wary of and constantly nervous about what he might say or do next. But he's family, so you tolerate him. You know, the old, "He's a jerk, but he's our jerk." At this point, Garnett could care less what people think about him or what his legacy is. He's perfectly content to continue yapping and thumping his chest and winning another championship. And I don't see anything wrong with that, as long as he doesn't care that he'll never be named man of the year or Mr. Congeniality. To me, the funniest aspect of this whole episode recently was Joakim Noah calling Garnett ugly. Hey, Jo, I don't think GQ is putting you on the cover any time soon.
2. Not exactly a banner week for the Heat. Scale of 1 to 5. How much should fans (if there are any) be pushing the panic button?
KB: I'd say 3.5. On one hand, some of this could have and should have been expected, given that basketball is a team game and you can't just plug talent into the equation like in baseball and automatically win 70 percent of your games and waltz to the championship. I know that you know that in basketball, how the pieces fit together are every bit as important -- if not more so -- than the talent itself. Eventually, the talent will shine through, and LeBron and Wade will become as deadly a combination as we thought they'd be. But there are several areas of concern that need to be watched closely: The misuse of LeBron's and Wade's best attributes when they are on the floor with a point guard, meaning neither one has the ball in his hands for too many possessions. This can (and should) be solved when Mike Miller comes back. Instead of a point guard, you put Miller on the floor with LeBron and Wade acting as interchangeable wings who take turns initiating the offense. In my mind, LeBron fits this role best. Two, the lack of size is becoming a major issue. Erick Dampier, please pick up the white courtesy phone. Three, Erik Spoelstra struck a chord when he lectured the team at halftime Thursday night about ego. It has been a real wakeup call for these three free-agent darlings who came together so effortlessly. Winning in May and June is going to prove a lot more difficult than winning in July.
3. In the Post-Ups you alluded to the improving situation in New Orleans. Now that the team looks like it's ready to compete in the playoffs again (though it's still early), is it time to start looking for what can get them to the next level, and what is that?
KB: I think it's a positive sign that the Hornets are trying to get someone CP3 would consider to be a top-tier running mate. But they're a little stuck in that regard, and here's why: Peja Stojakovic and his $14.3 million expiring contract could be easily deal to a team trying to get off a lot of future money, and if one of those pieces coming back is an elite 3-point shooter, New Orleans is better in the short run. But they future money they'd have to take back in such a deal would hamper their ability to make moves next summer -- or whenever the lockout ends and under whatever new rules exist. The most valuable asset on the NBA market right now is cap flexibility heading into the uncertainty of a new CBA, especially for low-revenue markets. So the Hornets can't allow themselves to be tempted by the prospect of getting better in the short term at the expense of hampering their flexibility heading into a new deal.
4. You also wrote in the Post-Ups that Kevin Love is garnering offers. Why is it that the Wolves are so reticent to trade him if they won't play the man?
KB: Ah, this is a question that goes straight to the heart of the most mysterious figure in the NBA, David Kahn. I'm told in recent days that Love isn't the only player who wants out of Minnesota. Corey Brewer does, too -- but Brewer isn't making any noise publicly, or even privately. Love is doing both. Right now, the Wolves like Love's talent but are disenchanted with his attitude. I think if the right deal came along, they'd move him. Because that locker room is too fragile right now to risk keeping a malcontent on board. Maybe Kahn can trade Love for a few more point guards.
5. BRI up 3 to 3.5%, record ratings across the board. Selling the NBA store for $300 million. The league is booming. Are owners really going to walk away from the most prosperous time in recent history to prove a point? Really?
KB: Yes sir-ee-bob. A hearty contingent of owners see this as a once-in-a -lifetime opportunity to change the economics of the sport in their favor. They also know the vast majority of people will side with them, because of their inherent biases against "greedy millionaire players." This is silly, of course, but it's just the way things are. There are a couple of reasons to be encouraged: 1) sources tell me numerous owners were impressed with the players' presentation of their proposal at a recent CBA meeting, realizing that the union was offering some creative ideas as how to make the business better for everyone; and 2) there's still a lot of time. The next key time-marker in this battle is All-Star weekend, when both sides concede significant progress will need to have been made. But as in all negotiations, the real progress doesn't happen until the 11th hour. Will there be a lockout? Yes, in my opinion. Are the owners and players short-sighted enough to let it wipe out an entire season, or even as much of the season as the '98-'99 lockout did? I don't think so. Both sides realize there's too much at stake.
Posted on: October 26, 2010 1:14 pm
Posted by Royce Young
If you're an NBA observer watching the current labor issues and CBA negotiations, you don't know what to believe. The players' union says the league is making tons of money. The league says its losing tons of money. The fans don't care. We just don't want to lose basketball games.
But in an interview with CNN.com, former Suns general manager and current TNT analyst Steve Kerr agrees with the league's financial position.
Kerr attributes the financial troubles to rising player costs in a bad economy. We've heard that story. But he also mentions how owners are equally to blame because previously bought teams 30 years ago for $20 million just waiting for the value of their franchise to skyrocket, so they were fine with losing some money. Now, Kerr says, owners buy teams for $300-400 million and can't afford to watch the money fly out the door because there's not a big payoff in the future.
And then of course the issue of reducing player salary. Here's Kerr's thoughts:
Stern definitely knows what he wants. And he knows the league and the owners have the upper hand. It's all a matter of how hard and how long the players are willing to fight. Kerr said a lockout is very possible and that this situation is "more severe" than in 1999, the last time there were negotiations.
Stern says this might be the best NBA season ever. Let's hope it is, because we might have to savor it for a little while if things don't start looking up.
Posted on: July 30, 2010 8:45 pm
Posted by Matt Moore
Ken Berger's column today touches on the future of the league through the ever-narrowing window of the upcoming CBA talks. The column itself specifically touches on the viability and reception of an NFL-style franchise tag in the NBA. But a salient point might get lost in the column, one that belies another level of complexity in the talks that will occur over the next 12+ months.
From KB's piece :
“The league would love to have [a franchise tag] in place to maintain competitive balance,” said Gabe Feldman, director of the Sports Law Program at Tulane University. “The small-market owners would love it, but the big-market owners wouldn’t. It’s not just a struggle between the owners and the players. It’s a struggle between the owners and the other owners.”
The point belies something lost in the offer-counter-offer-counter-counter
The league will first and foremost side with the owners. They have a responsibility to ownership to protect their interests. But the league is also torn on the interests of the big-market teams versus the small-market teams, who have competing interests within the owners contingent.
For example, a franchise tag as Berger outlines would have helped Cleveland keep LeBron for another year, buying time to make another run at a title, provided the Cavs targeted an “exclusive” tag for James. Even a non-exclusive tag would have prevented the Big 3 from forming by demanding two first round picks in exchange for James, making the sign-and-trade for Chris Bosh that much harder, especially if Toronto also oped for a franchise tag on Bosh.
And that's great for Toronto and Cleveland, but the teams that have led the labor negotiations have been the very teams that would hate a franchise tag, those teams that were in contention for LeBron this summer. New York. Chicago. New Jersey/Brooklyn. LA Clippers. And the Miami Heat. It's those owners, along with those in Boston and LA who have the most to lose from restructuring, that could prevent change at this level.
But the franchise tag is a concept. There's a very real battle that will be fought during these negotiations, one that could drive a wedge of confusion into the owners' obtuse fortress.
Revenue sharing is a players union issue. At least that's how the union sees it, and it has been pushing for changes to the revenue sharing system aggressively. David Stern said at the All-Star game that revenue sharing was a priority for the league, but also made it clear that it would be a separately negotiated process internally with the owners, not something the league would allow the players to negotiate during the CBA talks.
This is likely to be a major issue of contention, to the point where the union may have to employ labor law in order to force the issue onto the table. But the owners may not just be having to fend off this push from the union. Forces within the owners group may have a rising contingent of newer owners who are unhappy with the current model, which essentially gives the big market teams significant advantages at every turn, trapping small-market teams at the bottom in a rich-get-richer, poor-get-poorer model. There are obvious exceptions in San Antonio, Oklahoma City, and Orlando, but both the Spurs and Magic have spent a considerable amount of money in order to overcome that gap, and the Magic have yet to claim a title while the Thunder are merely projected towards success.
As a few examples, in the NFL, which is clearly the most successful sports league in America, television revenue is split among all the teams while in the NBA, the home team negotiates its own television deal. The NFL home team splits the gate 60/40 with the away team, while the NBA home team keeps all its revenue.
An adjustment like this may seem indicative of a move towards welfare ownership that could lead to bad ownership allowing to float, but it's hard to argue that's a worse arrangement than the massive gap between the small market teams and the big markets. Newer ownership, though, has made noise about wanting to move away from the status quo.
Meanwhile, as the owners are trying to shore up their own front, they are likely to tailor their proposals to the union to benefit the non-superstar players while restricting the top percentage of players. Appealing to these players with concessions could help them with their overall goal of capping exorbitant spending (on non-Darko players, of course). This sets up a scenario of there being five separate entities in the CBA talks. The superstar players, the role players, the big-market owners and the small-market owners, with the league trying to keep tabs on everyone in the hopes of getting a resolution (that obviously favors their constituents, the owners).
Things are going to get a heck of a lot messier before they get better.