Tag:Detroit Pistons
Posted on: December 21, 2011 12:01 pm
Edited on: December 21, 2011 5:53 pm

2011-12 NBA Season: Central Division Preview

Posted by Royce Young

We're less than a week away from the start of the 2011-2012 NBA season. After an interminable lockout and a rushed free agency period, here's a first look division-by-division preview at how the league is shaping up. We continue with the Central Division.

2011 Standings:
Chicago Bulls, 62-20, lost Eastern Conference Finals to Miami Heat
Indiana Pacers, 37-45, lost in first round of Eastern Conference Playoffs to Chicago Bulls
Milwaukee Bucks, 35-47, NBA Draft lottery
Detroit Pistons, 30-52, NBA Draft lottery
Cleveland Cavaliers, 20-62, NBA Draft lottery

Best team: Chicago Bulls

The Central really is left to the Bulls. It's their division for the next number of years and it's really hard to see anyone challenging that strongly. The Pacers are better than the 37-win team they were a season ago, but David West isn't going to make that much of a difference.

It's really more of a question of how much better the Bulls are than everyone else. Meaning, can they have this division locked up by the end of March? February even? And after that happens, it's about playoff seeding and home court advantage. This Bulls team has big goals in mind. They fell short in the Eastern Finals, but they're a year older and Derrick Rose has now tasted the sting of failure. This team will be driven and hungry to avenge last season's shortcomings, but it's just a matter of if they can beat the Heat.

Worst team: Cleveland Cavaliers

The Cavs will be the Central's worst squad again, but not The Worst, like they were last season. They aren't going to set any record losing streaks. They aren't going to flirt with the worst record in basketball history. They probably won't even flirt with the worst record in the Eastern Conference. But this is a group in a total rebuild. The rubble is still smoldering from "The Decision" and the franchise hasn't completely recovered. There are questions: Is Kyrie Irving a franchise player; is Tristan Thompson worth his draft slot; is Anderson Varejao's hair self-aware -- these are the things the Cavs will have to start answering before they begin the climb out of the hole and back into the postseason.

Biggest surprise: Detroit Pistons

I want to just say that the Pistons aren't a playoff team and move on. But here's the thing: This is the Eastern Conference. The conference where teams five games under .500 make the playoffs. The conference where if you win 30 games in this shortened season, it might be enough. The Pacers used this formula to get a postseason series with the Bulls and it feels like the Pistons could be next in line to make a small push. It's not a terrible core in Detroit: Rodney Stuckey, Ben Gordon, Greg Monroe, Austin Daye and Tayshaun Prince. Is that a good team? No, not really. But if 30 wins could be enough for the playoffs in the Eastern Conference, the Pistons might have just enough to claw their way in.

Three Best Players: Derrick Rose, Danny Granger, Joakim Noah

Do I need to explain why Derrick Rose is in this list? No, no I don't. But after him, there's really a lack of talent in the Central. Danny Granger is a good player and a former All-Star, but it feels a bit funny to have him listed as one of the three best players in a division.

It feels really funny to have Noah listed as one. But honestly, who else would you put there? Andrew Bogut, a guy still playing with one arm? Carlos Boozer? Brandon Jennings? Kyrie Irving? There's just not a lot of household names in the Central. Rose is a star among stars, but after him, pickings get slim. Noah is a supreme defender, excellent rebounder and makes a major difference on both sides of the floor because of his energy. When a guy impacts games as much as him, he has to be recognized for being a great player. It's not pretty like a Rose up-and-under or a Granger pull-up jumper, but Noah gets the job done and is an anchor for the league's best defense.

Biggest Question: Will Richard Hamilton really make that much of a difference for Chicago?

The Bulls were hunting a shooting guard. They wanted Jamal Crawford, didn't get him. They wanted J.R. Smith, can't get him. They wanted Arron Afflalo, couldn't afford him. They settled on Richard Hamilton, who was bought out by the Pistons and you know what, they might have gotten a steal in free agency.

Hamilton fills their need of providing a player that can score on his own, take pressure off Rose and add an extra much-needed dimension to the Chicago offense. Luol Deng is a nice third scorer, but he can't carry the weight of being the No. 2 option. Same goes for Carlos Boozer. Last season's playoff success for Chicago depended on two things: 1) Can Rose take over the game and 2) if he can't, can Kyle Korver or someone else make every 3-pointer they shoot? After that it was just about the Bulls trying to survive by dominating the glass or holding a team to 45 points or something. Hamilton will help alleviate some of that pressure. But it's just a question of if it's enough.

2012 Projected Standings:
1. Chicago Bulls
2. Indiana Pacers
3. Milwaukee Bucks
4. Detroit Pistons
5. Cleveland Cavaliers

Posted on: December 17, 2011 2:08 pm

Pistons re-sign Rodney Stuckey

By Matt Moore

The Pistons don't seem to quite know where to go with themselves. They continue to draft young quality players like Greg Monroe, Jonas Jerebko, Austin Daye, and Brandon Knight, who showed a much-improved skill-set on Friday night in a preseason tilt against the Cavaliers. And at the same time they keep giving long-term contracts to veteran players. They re-signed Tayshaun Prince to 4-years, $27 million. And on Saturday, they re-signed Rodney Stuckey to a three-year, $25 million deal via Yahoo Sports

Stuckey posted an 18 PER last season, posting career numbers in multiple categories. He's only 25 and is entering his prime. Then again, he was also part of the tumultous locker room for Detroit last year, siding with Rip Hamilton and the veterans he's played alongside for the duration of his career against John Kuester, according to reports. Kuester was clearly a problem, but Stuckey was part of the drama last year. 

Outside of last season, however, there haven't been reports of trouble with Stuckey being coachable. The bigger concern is the logjam it creates in the backcourt for the Pistons. Brandon Knight looked very much like an actual point guard against the Cavaliers' Kyrie Irving. Will Bynum has been a consistent change-of-pace guard. And Ben Gordon has too much money invested to bury. So where does Stuckey fit in? He can play starting two-guard, but is a ball-handler. 

It's just odd that with a solid core of young players, the Pistons seem intent on simultaneously going forward with veteran talent and building through the draft. The lack of direction in Detroit continues to perplex, but with Lawrence Frank, maybe the results will change.  
Posted on: December 17, 2011 12:03 pm
Edited on: December 21, 2011 6:48 pm

2011 NBA Free Agency Winners and Losers

By Matt Moore

All the big names have landed, and while there are still a handful of guys working out where they'll be playing in 2011-2012, we have a pretty clear image of how free agency worked out this year. So to give you a recap on how teams managed to do, here are your winners and losers for NBA free agency.


New York Knicks: It takes a lot for them to get a winning status when they picked up Mike Bibby and re-signed Jared Jeffries. Tyson Chandler is a lot. Chandler gives them exactly what they need at center, for a reasonable price considering he's coming off winning the Finals as a difference maker starter and compliments Amar'e Stoudemire well. This could wind up as a disaster, but for pursuing defense over offense and size over speed, they get into the winner's circle.

Los Angeles Clippers: Two days ago I would have planted the Clippers in the losers circle with a dunce cap. $24 million for Caron Butler over three years? DeAndre Jordan for a ridiculous price? Are they stoned in Clipperland? Chauncey Billups who may or may not hate the ground you walk on for denying him free agency? But then they landed Chris Paul. And you go "Oooooooh" like you just figured out that they got off the island and it's a flash-forward not a flash-back. Shooters to go with Paul, veteran defenders to go with Paul, and the big man to provide long-term support for Griffin. The Clippers avoided disaster by getting CP3. But funny how that makes everything seem better.

Miami Heat: Eddy Curry already looks like a waste (has had conditioning issues already). Mario Chambers is a divisive point guard, but he's good enough to start for a team with no cap space. Landing Shane Battier, though, genius. Battier is going to miss threes like all Heat spot-up shooters do. But he's going to make their defensive rotations even better, their team chemistry even better, their basketball IQ even higher. He's worth the money and a win for them.

Indiana Pacers: We were all convinced the Pacers were going to splash onto the scene and overpay for a big man in such a way as to cripple the franchise. Instead, they got David West on a low eight-figures, 2-year deal that guarantees if his knees or production go, they have options and are not stuck. They re-signed Jeff Foster to give them another center, and they were prudent with not re-signing Josh McRoberts for more than he was worth. Good upgrade for them.

Phoenix Suns: Shannnon Brown is a great fit for the system, and they managed to convince Grant Hill to return. Brown in the run-and-gun system under Gentry should excel with Aaron Brooks stuck in China. Hill still played brilliantly last season and staying in Phoenix means he stays with that training staff which has extended his career after one filled with injury issues. The Suns didn't make any significant step forward, but in terms of just making good value signings, they did as well as most. 

Mid-level centers: Kwame Brown got one-year, $7 million. DeAndre Jordan made out like a bandit. Marc Gasol walked away with more money than Kendrick Perkins and Nene (though Gasol is arguably the best free agent in this class, just without the name value). It's a league short on legitimate star centers, and while the biggest free agent center names (Chandler, Nene, Greg Oden) did not land monstrous deals, the mid-level centers available rose up to meet in the middle of the band. Good year to get paid. 


Boston Celtics: They had David West stolen out from under them in the midst of the Chris Paul debacle. They re-signed Marquis Daniels which isn't bad but isn't great. They traded Glenn Davis in a sign-and-trade for Brandon Bass which is pretty good but doesn't address most of their concerns. They gave Jeff Green a big one-year deal after which it was discovered he will miss the entire season after surgery when a heart condition was revealed after a stress test. Their bench is unbearably thin with starters that can't log big minutes. No, it was not a good few weeks for the Celtics.

Orlando Magic: Giving Jason Richardson and Glen Davis mid-size contracts is not the way to keep Dwight Howard, I don't care how good a friend he is with them. The Magic sacrificed their future, which is going to become very important to them in the next six months, in order to try and make another run with the same team that didn't succeed last year, plus Davis who is a big who doesn't help their issues in rebounding and has conditioning issues. Re-signing Earl Clark doesn't make a big enough impact to matter.

Detroit Pistons: Re-signing Tayshaun Price at that price makes no sense whatsover, especially not for four years. They need to be looking to the future. I understand the desire to reward Prince for his time and send him off in Detroit white, but this team has questions it has to answer quickly, and Prince gets in the way of development for Austin Daye and Jonas Jerebko. Rodney Stuckey's re-signing gets in the way of Brandon Knight's development and continues his very mixed-results stay in the Motor City. 

Dallas Mavericks: Maybe 2012 will make up for it. But if we're just judging the Mavericks on what they gave up and what they got back, this wasn't a good offseason. Even outside of the trades which brought in a quality player and sent two out, Dallas lost its starting center and part-time starting two-guard in agency, without really bringing in anyone. They're deep enough to survive it but this was a team that would have been considered favorites had they brought back the gang. As it is, there are questions about the Mavericks this season and beyond.

New Orleans Hornets: Setting aside losing Chris Paul in trade and impending free agency, the Hornets re-signed Carl Landry for a high one-year deal and brought back Jason Smith for three years. The deals are cheap. It's not a bad set of deals. But it's still a little perplexing considering the overwhelming need for this team to tank in order to ensure a top five pick to go with  

Arron Afflalo: Afflalo hasn't signed yet, which isn't a problem but the fact that no team was willing to bother with making him an offer knowing the Nuggets would match means he may not sign for as much as he could have. Bear in mind DeAndre Jordan is a less established player than Afflalo and was helped by the Warriors' attempt to free him from Los Angeles. Afflalo could have likely wound up with top dollar as an unrestricted free agent. Denver may wind up as the best thing for his career, though.
Posted on: December 14, 2011 4:38 pm
Edited on: December 14, 2011 10:26 pm

Hamilton clears waivers, signs with the Bulls

Posted by Royce Young

The Bulls have been hunting a shooting guard all offseason and it looks like they finally have one. It's not Jamal Crawford or one of the other bigger name guys, but it is a former champion.

Richard Hamilton has cleared waivers after being bought out by the Pistons last week and will likely join the Bulls Thursday after a two-year, $10 million deal is finalized. The AP reports Hamilton's deal is for three-years, $15 million. I imagine that last season is either a team option or only partially guaranteed.

Hamilton will likely step right into the starting role for Chicago, especially since it appears that Keith Bogans will be cut. (The Bulls have an option on him and he hasn't been in training camp yet this season.)

The Bulls have been searching for added scoring and while Hamilton is 33 (to be 34 in February) and has seen his numbers decline a bit in recent seasons, but he's still one of the best players moving without the ball and knocking down a jumper curling off a screen. And with Joakim Noah setting them and Derrick Rose drawing attention, Hamilton should have a good number of opportunities.

Hamilton shot only 38.2 percent last season and averaged a meager 14.1 points per game, but that honestly could be just about all the Bulls need. They need something next to Rose. They need something to serve as a logical middle man scorer between Rose and Luol Deng. Carlos Boozer is that guy some nights, but the Bulls won last season because of defense.

When it got to the playoffs, that wasn't enough. They needed an extra punch and really, 14 points a game could be just enough. And I don't think Hamilton's done with his production. Last season in Detroit was a different world with the team rebelling against John Kuester and Hamilton finding himself inactive for a lot of games. He wasn't happy. But now in a contending situation with the Bulls, he might find a little new life.

It honestly wouldn't shock me if Hamilton averaged something like 16-18 points a game on solid percentages. He can still play and is a great addition to the Bulls. Is he Jamal Crawford or a big target shooting guard? No, not anymore. But he probably doesn't have to be. 
Posted on: December 9, 2011 5:30 pm
Edited on: December 12, 2011 12:46 pm

Richard Hamilton to bought out by Detroit

Posted by Royce Young

UPDATE: The team made it official Monday via press release.

Said Joe Dumars: "Rip was a champion and a big part of our success."


After Caron Butler went to the Clippers, Grant Hill back to Phoenix and Shane Battier to the Heat, it looked like this free agent class was getting picked over on the wing spot.

Still Vince Carter and Richard Jefferson dangling, but still not a deep lot. Well, add another veteran buyout casualty.

According to the Detroit Free Press, Richard Hamilton will be bought out by the Pistons. Not waived via amnesty -- just bought out.

Hamilton is 33 and had $25 million left on his deal for this year and next. His production declined last season during a wild year in which he was part of a veteran group that kind of rebelled against coach John Kuester.

Last season, Hamilton averaged 14.1 points and 3.1 rebounds per game and appeared in just 55 games. At one point, Hamilton was stuck as inactive and didn't play for an extended stretch.

Hamilton clearly has some decent basketball left in him, but the Pistons are trying to get a bit younger and with last season's issues, it's probably best to move on from Rip.

Potential suitors? The Bulls have to jump to the top of the list who are definitely in the market for a shooting guard. Hamilton's not the longer term scorer like a Jamal Crawford would be, but he is a veteran scorer that will produce. Also look for the Nets and Spurs to throw their names into the mix as they're both in the market for a reliable scorer.
Posted on: December 8, 2011 2:20 pm
Edited on: December 8, 2011 2:30 pm

Pistons lock up Tayshaun Prince for 4 years

Posted by Ben Gollivertayshaun-prince

The Detroit Pistons have found their man. And he's a familiar one.

Yahoo Sports and ESPN.com reports that the Pistons have re-signed free agent forward Tayshaun Prince to a 4-year deal worth $27 million. Prince was drafted by Detroit in 2002 and has played his entire career for the Pistons, helping the team to the 2004 NBA title.

This is a deal the Pistons made with their hearts rather than their heads and it's one they will surely live to regret. Prince's production has been steady for the last seven years at the 14-point 4-rebound, 3-assist level but at 31-years-old he's headed for decline sooner or later. The deal keeps him under contract at far more than Mid-Level money until he's 35 and that's not a spot you want to be with anyone who isn't a star player.

They've used multiple draft picks in recent years to fill out their wings -- Austin Daye, Kyle Singler -- but have so far not bitten the bullet and gone ahead with the full-scale rebuilding movement. Instead, cap killer Charlie Villanueva remains and aging guard Richard Hamilton, who repeatedly clashed with head coach John Kuester last season, hasn't been dealt.

This wasn't quite a panic signing but it wasn't the most thoughtful long-term play either. The Pistons concluded that with Singler preoccupied in Europe after signing with Real Madrid, with free agent wing Tracy McGrady reportedly heading to the Atlanta Hawks and with only a truly few reliable roster pieces in place -- Greg Monroe and guard Ben Gordon -- the idea of losing Prince was worse than the idea of over-paying him. Prince would theoretically retain trade value for contenders looking for a reserve piece as this contract plays out but the salary number is going to give a lot of teams pause when there are younger, better players available at the Mid-Level. Let's not gloss over the fact that Prince wasn't the biggest locker room peach last year, either.

The good news is that Prince, a Motor City mainstay, may very well retire as a Piston. He's sure to have his jersey lofted to the rafters and that's worth something. Still, the Pistons remain in the one place in the NBA you don't want to be: locked in to long-term salary commitments to non-stars while lacking both the talent to win now and a bona-fide future star to build around.

Letting Prince walk and pursuing with a slash-and-burn rebuilding effort would have been the better play.
Posted on: December 6, 2011 10:39 pm
Edited on: December 6, 2011 10:52 pm

2011-2012 NBA schedule: strength analysis

Posted by Ben Golliver

Aside from cutting the 2011-2012 NBA regular season length down from 82 games to 66 games, the lockout had one major impact on this year's schedule: every Western Conference team is no longer able to play a home-and-home series with every Eastern Conference team, and vice versa. Instead, each team gets just 18 non-conference games instead of 30, playing just three non-conference opponents twice.

Is this a big deal? Imagine you're the lowly Cleveland Cavaliers, coming off one of the worst seasons any NBA team has every played. Would you rather play the Los Angeles Lakers, Oklahoma City Thunder and Dallas Mavericks twice each or would you prefer the Minnesota Timberwolves, Sacramento Kings and Houston Rockets? Obviously, your preference would be to stack up as many games as possible against poor teams.

There was no perfect solution for the NBA to balance this aspect of the schedule. Thanks to player movement, back-to-backs, back-to-back-to-backs, and the like, just about every team in the league feels like it's getting a raw deal this year. The distribution of non-conference opponents is sure to be a sore spot for some fanbases and a point of happiness for others.

So who are the first glance winners and losers? Let's take a look using a simple method.

Elite Winners: San Antonio Spurs and Chicago Bulls

There are two clear winners when it comes to this aspect of the schedule and it just so happens that the winners were the league's top-2 teams during the regular season last year. Let's pencil it out using a straightforward win differential based on last season's performance.

The Spurs won 61 games last year and their three repeated non-conference opponents are Cleveland, Orlando and Philadelphia. Those three teams averaged a combined 37 wins last season. 61-37 gives you a differential of +24, the highest of any team in the league.

Chicago, who won 62 games last year, got similarly good luck, facing New Orleans, Memphis and Sacramento, who averaged 39 wins last year, yielding a +23 differential. If the Hornets wind up trading Chris Paul prior to their games with the Bulls, Chicago's advantage here becomes even more pronounced.

Elite Losers: Boston Celtics and Oklahoma City Thunder

Boston, with 57 wins, and Oklahoma City, with 56 wins, both were among the NBA's elite last year. However, both drew exceedingly difficult home-and-home opponents, likely by virtue of their television-friendly teams. 

Boston plays the defending champion Dallas Mavericks, the Los Angeles Lakers and the Thunder twice each. The Thunder is set to play the Celtics, the Miami Heat and the Orlando Magic twice each. If Tyson Chandler and/or Dwight Howard change teams prior to the start of the season that would probably be appreciated in Massachusetts and Oklahoma. 

Both Boston and Oklahoma City, despite being well above .500 last year, have differentials of zero thanks to the tough scheduling.

Marginal Winners: Houston Rockets

The Rockets won just 43 games last year, missing out on the Western Conference playoffs. While they will struggle to climb up the Western Conference playoff table, they'll do it with the help of playing three of the East's weakest sisters: Charlotte, Toronto and Washington. It doesn't get much more cake than that. Houston winds up with a differential of +17 in these home-and-home match-ups, good for third best in the league.

Marginal Losers: New York Knicks

The Knicks are a premier team in the hearts and minds of just about everyone but they still won just 42 games last year. Given their acquisition of new star power and their big-city locale, the NBA has made sure they play plenty of marquee match-ups. Indeed, the Knicks are set to face home-and-homes with the Dallas Mavericks and Los Angeles Lakers, getting a bit of a reprieve with the Sacramento Kings. Still the presence of two 57-win teams from last year gives New York a differential of -4, tied with the Philadelphia 76ers for the worst mark of any 2011 playoff team. 

Terrible Winners: Detroit Pistons

During the offseason, I graded Detroit's roster as the worst in the league and thankfully the schedulers had some mercy, scheduling the Pistons against Memphis, Minnesota and Sacramento, giving Detroit extra games against the two worst teams in the West. Despite winning just 30 games and heading to the lottery once again, the Pistons manage to have a +1 differential in this category, a pretty astounding feat.

Terrible Losers: Cleveland Cavaliers

It's no secret: the Cavaliers were garbage last year, setting an NBA record for consecutive losses and winning just 19 games overall. They didn't get lucky here, drawing home-and-homes with the league-best San Antonio Spurs and two middle-of-the-pack teams in the West: Phoenix and Utah. That's good enough for a league-worst -28 differential. By comparison, the 17-win Timberwolves drew Charlotte, Detroit and Indiana and had a -17 differential.

Remember, this is just one minor elements in the league's overall 2011-2012 adjusted schedule. Still, it's interesting to see the range involved. Here's a chart to help visualize what's happening. Click here for the full-size version.


Here's a complete list of the differentials in 2010-211 win totals between each NBA team and the average of its three repeat non-conference opponents on the 2011-2012 schedule. All numbers rounded.

San Antonio Spurs 24
Chicago Bulls 23
Houston Rockets 17
Portland Trail Blazers 14
Denver Nuggets 14
Utah Jazz 11
Memphis Grizzlies 8
Phoenix Suns 7
Dallas Mavericks 5
Los Angeles Lakers 5
Indiana Pacers 4
Atlanta Hawks 4
Golden State Warriors 2
Los Angeles Clippers 2
New Orleans Hornets 2
Miami Heat 2
Detroit Pistons 1
Boston Celtics 0
Oklahoma City Thunder 0
Charlotte Bobcats -1
Orlando Magic -3
New York Knicks -4
Philadelphia 76ers -4
Milwaukee Bucks -11
New Jersey Nets -12
Minnesota Timberwolves -17
Washington Wizards -18
Sacramento Kings -21
Toronto Raptors -24
Cleveland Cavaliers -28
Posted on: November 10, 2011 6:01 pm
Edited on: November 10, 2011 6:36 pm

Checketts says 'there is a deal'; takes it back

Posted by Ben Golliverdave-checketts

Former New York Knicks executive and current Detroit Pistons consultant Dave Checketts wanted to be the bearer of good news: he believed that a new NBA labor agreement has been reached and will be announced shortly.

Checketts, who also owns Major League Soccer's Real Salt Lake, joined the Bill & Spence show on ESPN Radio 700 AM in Salt Lake City and said that he has heard that the NBA and the National Basketball Players Association have reached a deal on a new collective bargaining agreement.

"The rumblings coming out of both the players side and the owners side are suggesting that there is a deal," Checketts said. "They were together for 11 hours yesterday, they met again this afternoon, I think that they are trying to finish this up.  I think this changed pretty dramatically when the owners set a deadline."

Checketts cited multiple sources for his statement.

"I've received a couple of phone calls from friends who are very close to the process who say, 'We have a deal and it's now a matter of getting everything straightened out.' If that is the case, this will be a very big story." 

Checketts said an announcement of a deal could come shortly.

"I really believe it will be sometime later tonight that you'll hear some positive things," Checketts said. "In an effort to get both sides talking, I sent complimentary gravy bowls from a K.F.C. here in Manhattan. If that doesn't do it, what possibly could?"
Then, as the 20-minute interview wrapped, Checketts walked it all back.

"Saying this publicly has created quite a stir," he admitted. "I'm being told now by some people that there are some difficulties in the negotiation. I was told earlier today that they had reached a deal. Now I'm getting people reaching out to me, one of whom is involved in the process, who is saying that it's not as close as he thought before. So I guess I have to say, I'm a little more unclear than I was when I started this interview 20 minutes ago where people were saying to me that we had a deal and it was just a matter of ironing things out and an announcement could be made any minute. It looks like perhaps they've taken a step back, it's not as close as I thought, such is the matter when it comes to these negotiations, they go back and forth."

Within an hour, roughly a dozen major media outlets issued denials that a deal had been reached, citing sources directly involved in the negotiations.

Last Saturday, NBA commissioner David Stern set a deadline for the NBPA to accept its offer by end of business on Wednesday or the offer would get substantially worse. 

"My sense is that may have gotten people moving," Checketts said. "They may have liked their alternatives, including decertification and everything else, less, and I think this is heading in a positive light. Now this certainly could and has in this negotiation over time crashed into a wall, but I get a different feeling about this. I think both sides have come together and are trying very hard to iron out the details and come out unified."

He also noted that he was somewhat surprised by the apparent progress.

"It's happening sooner than I thought it would," Checketts said. "I've been consistent saying there will not be a season. If on November 10th, they're close to a deal and what I'm hearing is correct, my guess is that the owners are getting what they want or we wouldn't be going down this path."

The reality of the NBA takin a popularity hit due to a work stoppage, Checketts believed, is the impetus for a deal now.

"I think probably the players started to feel that they may lose a real grip on their game and it might become certainly less relevant than it has been. I think cooler heads will prevail and I think there's going to be a deal within the next few hours or days."

Prior to his reversal, Checketts said the NBA's regular season could begin as soon as early-December.
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com