Statistical Analysis. Humor. Knicks.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

The Undead

I really like zombie movies.

Not so much the new ones – the “28 Days Later School,” if you will – where it isn’t actually the undead, but a semi-logically explained ‘rage’ virus that has turned regular, not-dead people into berserker-type monsters. I prefer the real magilla, mainly because the virus zombies tend to run really, really fast. That’s scary, yo. Too scary. Fast-moving zombies completely shatter my delusion that when (not if, when) the evil horde arrives, I could weave my way through/away from a flock of brain-cravers because they’re staggering around like I used to after a night of pickling myself with vodka. If they’re running a sub 4.4/40-yard dash, I’m lunch.

These days, it seems there plenty of folks out there who share my predilection – given the success of The Walking Dead (Yes, I watch it religiously. If the makers of that fine televisual program read this blog, I’d prefer more zombies and fewer heartfelt conversations, please. Thank you.), all the Romero reboots, and the un-killable (pun intended) Resident Evil franchise. If you’ll allow your humble correspondent to get all sociologically speculative n’ shizznit I think the reason zombies have surpassed vampires as our collective current bête noire, is that no matter how horrible life might be when the zombies overrun the planet, at least it’d be…well…simple.

It wouldn’t matter what your credit score is. It wouldn’t matter if you did or didn’t possess the finest brand-name clothes/car/home/job. It wouldn’t even matter that the woman you’ve been flirtatiously texting for weeks finally agrees to go out with you and in the midst of what seems to be a great date, dropped the, “I think we’re just friends,” deuce right in your lap. All of the maddening inconsistencies and vast shades of grey that make up modern life would be gone in an instant. All that would matter is whether or not you can whack the noggin off the undead creature standing in front of you with a cricket bat before it eats you.

Simple. Back to the true nature of man. Kill or be killed. Survival at its essence.

That’s what makes the zombie apocalypse so appealing. In the name of intellectual honesty, I’m certainly not the first to have/hold this theory. There’s a really sweet (if lengthy) back and forth with more or less the same thesis over at Grantland (though I did think the above thoughts before I read the afore-linked article).

The reason for this possibly overly lengthy, seemingly jejune preamble is because at this hour, the hard-line owners (And it’s oh-so-deliciously ironic that we Knicks fans may find yet another reason to loathe Michael $%@#-ing Jordan) are thiiiiiis close to blowing the whole durned thing to smithereens. And as I check Alan Hahn’s Twitter feed for minute-by-minute updates, I’ve been trying to figure out why (aside from the obvious, “There might be no games,” aspect) this is all so enervating, so profoundly upsetting.

At least for yours truly, it’s because sports, like the aforementioned zombie paradigm, project the illusion there exists a world beyond the realm of money. Now of course, we all know this is patently false. Half the stories one might read about one’s team in any calendar year will inevitably be about free agent X or salary cap room, or (if you like the Mets) how much money your intrepid owners will have to pay Madoff’s victims.

The game, though, is meant to stand alone as pure combat. The Warrior-Poet. Effing Spartacus in the ring. Me v. You. Who’s better? I dunno, let’s play and see. Not, “Let’s go through your 990 return for fiscal year 2011,” and see. Not, “I’m going to impose my arbitrary aesthetic criteria and invalidate your artistic efforts because your entire venture exists outside my narrow, self-propagating definition of what constitutes good work,” and see.

I’ve actually put off writing about this because, over the last two months, I’ve been sent to “cover” a couple of ostensibly basketball-centric events that nearly sent me into a rabid, anti-consumerist frenzy.

Example One: Chris Bosh’s Fashion Week Charity something or another a few months ago. What it was about, I still can’t fathom but basically, crowds at Saks’ Fifth Avenue lined up to shoot Nerf balls at a hastily strung-up hoop with Bosh whilst he was draped in fancy garb. I too tried to “dress up” for the occasion, but as befits my fashion sense (or lack thereof), I looked like an out of work accountant from the Great Depression. But lo, there were hundreds of people, forming a serpentine path through the store, all for thirty seconds of…I don’t know…a chance to be near a star? To take and iPhone photo of someone famous so you could tweet about it and post it as a Facebook status update? Why, dear Lord, why? All I could think about while staring at the huddled masses was the original (and awesome) 1978 Dawn of the Dead – where zombies have overtaken a mall and are riding the escalators, numbly staring at stuff they couldn’t afford in some half-remembered haze,  doomed for all eternity to repeat the pointless, boring, soul-deadening rituals of their former so-called life.

Example Two: about a month later, like a good little member of the fourth estate/zombie, when beckoned by the powers that be, I too, staggered in an undead stupor down to Greenwich Village to report on the unveiling of Carmelo Anthony’s new shoe (MJ’s brand, natch. That bastid’s everywhere!!). I mean, I really almost rediscovered my collegiate, bomb-throwing, Marxist past on this’n. They’d taken over a former gallery and built this monstrous deconstructed basketball court, draped the artistic golem in the new shoes and projected videos of Carmelo discussing his life, game and how his entire ethos is clearly been distilled to a plastic/leather shoe. When the PR guy was showing me around, it took all of my restraint not to ask which sweatshop in China made these items and if Carmelo cared about the deplorable conditions in free trade zones and the worldwide labor struggle in general.

I didn’t.

I did ask if the shoe would improve ‘Melo’s D, to which the PR flack laughed knowingly. I still don’t know if that’s a good or a bad thing.

There I was, staring at this unholy creature/creation and all I could think about was the amount of time and effort and thought and MONEY went into trying to sell me or any other potential consumer this product which is, in the end, a shoe. Just a shoe. In a pique of near-rage I just wanted to scream, “Dear God, what a waste! Look at all the creativity and intelligence on display here and it’s entirely been funneled into selling some thing that you and I don’t really need. Or more specifically, to making you or I feel like our lives are less than meaningful, but if you buy this shoe, well, that will certainly solve all your problems. Get out now! Save yourselves before this beast devours us all!”

Again, I didn’t do that.

I’m an American. Self-indulgent, holier-than-thou rants notwithstanding, I don’t think socialism can work on any large scale. If I’m going to be at all honest here, I have to admit that I like the toys and I want ‘em as much as the next guy and I’ll bust my hump to be able to afford ‘em. More importantly, I was legitimately excited when I found out I was invited to gawk at Melo’s shoe and discuss fashion trends with Chris Bosh. Why? I wanted…something. Fame. Money. Power. Immortality. I don’t know. But in my gut, I instinctively knew I wanted or even craved it — even if I couldn’t begin to articulate what “it” exactly was/is.

Alas, one can only confront uncomfortable realities so much of the time. I was talking with my father about the attendant problems with our escapist passion for basketball and he said, “I’m a realist. I’ve devoted my life to depicting reality.” And I replied (in perhaps, a moment of clarity) “Yeah, but sometimes in order to accurately perceive reality, you need to be able to escape it.”

So here we are. The truth is, you watch a ballgame, and you’re watching the money. There’s no way around that. But another truth is, you watch a ballgame and you’re watching poetry. The pass and fell of these mighty opposites is what makes sport great. It’s events like the Melo/Bosh ones and this protracted ‘negotiation’ process that make one dwell too long on the brutish pole. Or at least it does for me.

It’s five minutes to doomsday. Owners, players, I implore you. Give me my game, warts and all, back.

Please?

114 comments on “The Undead

  1. Brian Cronin (@Brian_Cronin)

    Simmons had a good tweet to note that the following are the teams that want to screw over the players and would be fine with a canceled season if they break the players in the process: Cha, Mil, Ind, Was, Min, Por, OKC, Mem, Sac, Den, Phi, Atl + Utah

  2. Brian Cronin (@Brian_Cronin)

    While you kill time waiting for the results of the meeting, check out my latest LA Times Sports Legend, detailing how Epson printers got their start in the Olympics of all places!

    Read it here.

  3. BigBlueAL

    NBA has a 72 game schedule ready to begin on Dec 15th if the players accept this latest offer by Mon/Tue.

  4. BigBlueAL

    Playoffs and NBA Finals would be pushed back a week according to Adam Silver. This is alot of details. Putting pressure on the players again it looks like with the NBA acting like they are ready for season to start its just all up to the players.

  5. Brian Cronin (@Brian_Cronin)

    Yep, just more horseshit PR nonsense from the NBA. I mean, don’t get me wrong, I admire Stern’s ability to play the public perception of the negotiations like a fiddle, I really do. But it is still horseshit. And now they’re tossing in this patronizing “it is better for you if you don’t get to play for what team you want to play for” nonsense because they know the public hates that players can leave if they want (unless the player is leaving to join their team, of course).

    If this really is the owners’ final offer, screw ‘em, they really should just decertify, because the current offer does not sound much different from the last one.

  6. Jim Cavan (@JPCavan)

    Question now becomes whether missing only one paycheck instead of two entices players to accept what could very well be a bad deal.

    That said, I think the players cave and the deal gets done Wednesday. Whether the “competitive balance” the NBA is ostensibly striving for is (a) actually achieved or (b) attainable at all, remains to be seen.

    As much as I distrust him, Adam Silver brought up the most interesting point of the night: Can you have competitive balance without restricting player movement?

    I could be totally wrong on this, but wouldn’t “longer contracts” (what the players want) mean “restricted player movement” (what the owners want)? You have to think that — because players will often, in fact, often want to go to a “large market” — one of the chief concerns of the small market owners is covering their ass by making sure there’s an appealing amnesty clause. That way they can sever their ties with players early if they get wind that they’re either tanking or holding out for something better.

    Why is it that revenue sharing and competitive balance are parsed so far apart? Players say they equate a stiffer luxury tax with a de facto cap, but that’s assuming that the owners of the Knicks, Lakers, Mavs, etc. aren’t willing to pay a shit ton of extra money to bet on a championship. If they are, and they’re then sharing that money with the rest of the league, that should allow the smaller market teams to be able to offer the long-term contracts necessary to achieve this “competitive balance” that they want at the same time.

    …. Which is going a long way to say the owners have done an incredible job of framing this entire debate. Frightening, really.

  7. BigBlueAL

    I have read some tidbits about this deal that apparently are beneficial to the players, such as a rumored opt-out of the deal after 6 years and the salary floor being raised from 75% to 85% of salary cap number. Also a slightly improved mid-level from the last offer.

    Billy Hunter sure sounded to me though that he didnt exactly hate the deal and is willing to accept it if he has to. Gonna be a very interesting next few days.

  8. Brian Cronin (@Brian_Cronin)

    Instead of $5 million for two years, it is $9 million for three years. Still not a reasonable offer.

    As Jim mentions, the NBA is even conceding that their offer does, indeed, severely hamper free agency for the length of this agreement. They are just confident that fans will say, “Yeah, so what?”

  9. BigBlueAL

    Problem is as writers are speculating now that if this deal isnt accepted and the players most likely decertify the odds of no season becomes really close to 100% unfortunately.

  10. Brian Cronin (@Brian_Cronin)

    I don’t buy that. The last lockout ended on January 7th. It’s November 11th. So how could it even come close to guaranteeing a lost season when there is nearly two months between now and the time the last lockout ended?

    It is sort of like how you’ll hear stuff like “Game 3 is a must-win game.” But it really isn’t. It isn’t “must-win” until you literally must win it or you are eliminated. Similarly, people can say, “If they don’t settle now they can’t have a season,” but so long as there is still time to have a season (which clearly there is, since the last lockout did not end until January 7th), then it isn’t do or die time.

    But yeah, I really was hoping they would have gotten it done tonight. Stupid owners, just give on the system issues! You got a 50/50 split, for crying out loud!

  11. BigBlueAL

    As I tweeted earlier and I know Jim read it I understand this deal probably sucks balls for the players still but all I want is a freaking season. Im not rooting for either side or anything as you know by now. Sure the new rules would hurt a rich team like the Knicks but hell the old rules didnt exactly guarantee them success anyway so whats the difference lol.

  12. BigBlueAL

    Brian Cronin (@Brian_Cronin):
    I don’t buy that. The last lockout ended on January 7th. It’s November 11th. So how could it even come close to guaranteeing a lost season when there is nearly two months between now and the time the last lockout ended?

    It is sort of like how you’ll hear stuff like “Game 3 is a must-win game.” But it really isn’t. It isn’t “must-win” until you literally must win it or you are eliminated. Similarly, people can say, “If they don’t settle now they can’t have a season,” but so long as there is still time to have a season (which clearly there is, since the last lockout did not end until January 7th), then it isn’t do or die time.

    But yeah, I really was hoping they would have gotten it done tonight. Stupid owners, just give on the system issues! You got a 50/50 split, for crying out loud!

    Its not the same as 1999 because there are a shitload more hard-line owners who really have no problem missing the entire season, thats the big difference. Hahn always says to compare this lockout to the NHL one that cost them the entire season not the 1998-99 NBA lockout. Thats what scares me and some writers it seems.

  13. Brian Cronin (@Brian_Cronin)

    Obviously, the hardliners are a problem, but the difference between the NBA now and the NHL back in 2005 is that the NBA system is not broken. I’ll definitely concede that the NHL system was broken back in 2005. They were trying to compete on the same level as the NBA/NFL/MLB and they were clearly not on that level and teams could not afford it. I don’t see that as the same problem here. There are too many teams in the NBA right now where the 50/50 split is more than enough for them to turn a profit. You only need 16 yes votes (and New Orleans’ vote is controlled by the league) and I could definitely see these teams eventually just saying, “Let’s just take the fair offer on the table and get a season in.”

    Of course, I could also see the middle-of-the-pack teams (the non hardliners but also the non-super rich teams) saying, “We lost enough money already, we might as well lose the season and get a really sweetheart deal.”

    So there certainly is risk here. And yes, it is really tough to ask players to stand up for principles that will likely affect future players a lot more than it does them, but if they’re serious about protecting certain rights to free agency, then they can’t take this current deal.

  14. BigBlueAL

    If this deal really was that bad though dont you think Hunter wouldve ripped it more?? He didnt exactly endorse it but he didnt rip it to shreds like he did the previous offer last week.

    I assume he probably realizes this is the best deal they will get offered in the immediate future and he is looking out for himself in terms of the decertifying and all that stuff that could cost him his job. I dunno, I guess Ive accepted from the beginning from everything Ive read that the players were getting screwed with this new deal regardless so its just a matter of how screwed are they going to get.

  15. Brian Cronin (@Brian_Cronin)

    That’s my take, yeah, that he hates the deal but thinks it is the best that they can get and since the only other option is for him to no longer have a job, he’ll likely say “take this deal.”

    And the whole “the players were going to get screwed” thing is something I also have a problem with. I totally agree that yes, they were going to lose big on this deal. But what irks me is that they have lost big on this deal! Contracts are shorter, the mid-level is smaller and, of course, most importantly, they’re going from 57% of the revenue to 50%! So this current deal is screwing them, but the owners want even more than that! They also want good players to essentially not have the ability to sign with a capped out team, and capped out teams are often the only teams who are in the marketplace! It is just such a tremendously onerous limitation that I just can’t see how they can accept it – even if it is possibly loses them the season.

  16. BigBlueAL

    BTW I expect for the union to reject this deal anyway and doubt the season will start soon if at all but Im just trying to remain somewhat hopeful lol

    Just seems like there is alot of unknown in regards to what happens if they reject this deal and decertify.

  17. Brian Cronin (@Brian_Cronin)

    It’s tough. You’re essentially asking your rank and file to risk losing 20% of their career earnings (for whom most of them this will be the only real money that they’ll make their whole life) to proect the rights of a minority of players in the league plus unknown future players. That’s asking a lot of the rank and file.

    Get ready for one of my (in)famous rambling convoluted examples! If you figure a team has fifteen players on it, rank them from #1-15 in order of their greatness. Players #1-3 are likely fine financially with whatever deal. Players #4-8 are the ones who are getting royally screwed by the current offer. But players #9-15 are screwed no matter what deal gets signed (well, not “screwed” so much as they’re not going to make a lot of money no matter what) but they are also screwed the most by missing a season (as a lost season is a bigger chunk of their total lifetime earnings). Add them all up, and the majority of players are the ones who this current deal is likely as good as any other deal, but they’re being asked to fight for the third of the league who this screws over. That’s a lot to ask. Why I think that they’d likely vote against it is because the #9-15 players all think that they could possibly become a #4-8 player in the future, in which case they want the best deal for that group.

    But it’s a tough call to make. And we’ve already seen a #4-8 (Steve Blake) come out in favor of the deal since he already got his money, so it is not an issue for him. I bet you’ll see a lot of that in these coming days – guys who would have hated this deal if it came up before they were a free agent themselves will be okay with it because they’ve already got their money (guys like Blake, Al Harrington, Jermaine O’Neal, etc.)

  18. BigBlueAL

    Read a report on Twitter (I think from Sporting News NBA writer) that the league conceded on the sign-and-trades for tax paying teams. So much conflicted reports, some say proposal is basically the same as before while others note some concessions by the owners like the one above.

    Really who knows at this point.

  19. BigBlueAL

    Saw the players press conference again and Im more confused than ever by their responses to this proposal lol. I dont even think they know what will happen in next few days.

  20. Brian Cronin (@Brian_Cronin)

    I think that’s a very fair assessment, Al. I think we’ll have to wait until Monday to truly get an idea of where the players stand. I bet they go for decertification. It is their only power play left. All they need is to get the owners to move on the capped out team restrictions and they have a deal. I think decertifying is their only shot at getting the owners to move off the current deal. Otherwise, I think it is the current deal or no season. I would not be shocked to see them take the current deal, but I would be somewhat surprised.

  21. Brian Cronin (@Brian_Cronin)

    Jim mentioned it, but I think it really does bear repeating (or more specifically, it bears showing the actual quote). Here is Adam Silver, the fellow who is likely the next NBA Commssioner, on how the league sees free agency.

    “We continue to have a disagreement about what the free-agency market will look like. One of their major points has been freeing up taxpayers to be in the market for free agents. That’s something we don’t want to see.”

    I bolded the most important parts – how bizarre does that sound? You have a luxury tax, NBA!! How do you say, “If you go over the cap, you have to pay a luxury tax” and then say, “But we don’t want teams to be able to do that.” If the rich teams want to pay the poorer teams so that they can add players, what is the problem with that? I don’t get it.

  22. iserp

    I think hollinger nailed it with a series of tweets:

    »
    John Hollinger
    johnhollinger John Hollinger
    Meanwhile, increase in BRI ups costs because of cap rules. Only options are more revenue sharing or hammering players.
    54 minutes ago
    »
    John Hollinger
    johnhollinger John Hollinger
    Lakers huge TV deal increases BRI. But doesn’t change bottom line for other 29 teams at all. So they insist on lower % of BRI for players.
    55 minutes ago
    »
    John Hollinger
    johnhollinger John Hollinger
    Connect all the dots and where you end up, essentially, is that the Lakers TV deal is bringing the league to its knees.

    The NBA only will pay the players what the bottom teams are able to pay; meanwhile, the gross of the income goes through the rich teams. But they don’t want revenue sharing…. (As an example, the 50% of the BRI is like 80% of the income of a poor team, but 20% of the income for a rich team)

  23. Jim Cavan (@JPCavan)

    Brian Cronin (@Brian_Cronin): You have a luxury tax, NBA!! How do you say, “If you go over the cap, you have to pay a luxury tax” and then say, “But we don’t want teams to be able to do that.” If the rich teams want to pay the poorer teams so that they can add players, what is the problem with that? I don’t get it.

    Yeah I don’t get it either, but I think the problem is with the hardliners. Obviously with 30 different teams, you’re going to have 30 very different personalities as far as the owners go. And I think it gets even murkier when you’re talking about the small market teams.

    I could be reading this totally wrong, but it seems as if the small market owners aren’t sure what the luxury tax should look like — even though they agree it should be there in some form or another. They’ve already conceded on a hard cap, so you’d think they’d want the hardest soft cap imaginable — something like 2:1 for every dollar that taxpaying teams go over. In theory, that money would be shared with the non-taxpaying teams. But even if the Knicks or Lakers spend, say, 15 million over the cap, and thus have to pay out $30 million in luxury taxes, even if you spread that out, it’s not as if an extra million (or whatever it is) in Milwaukee’s coffers is going to compel them to chase a big free agent over the luxury tax, thus subjecting themselves to a penalty that would handcuff them a lot more than it would Dolan or Buss.

    Which is exactly why you need more robust revenue sharing beyond whatever there would be with a luxury tax; TV money being the most obvious example. We’ll see what the details of the deal bare out, but I think lost in all the talk about caps and luxury taxes has been a willingness to think outside the box when it comes to revenue sharing — be it with regards to ticket sales, TV money, or whatever.

  24. Brian Cronin (@Brian_Cronin)

    Yes, I believe that’s accurate, iserp. They decided that they’d rather get their money off of the players than off the rich teams. Or, in another way of phrasing it, they decided they would rather just keep the rich teams from spending too much money rather than asking the rich teams to give more money to the poorer teams.

    And yeah, Jim, I’m definitely totally with you with regards to having more robust revenue sharing.

  25. jpsegal

    Isn’t the theory that increased competition means better product means more revenue, therefore players have a smaller share of bigger BRI pie? I was thinking that if players are forced to give up a lot of mobility and bargaining power with new system they should get in return a larger share of BRI as revenues increases as supposedly it will according to “theory” of league.

  26. Brian Cronin (@Brian_Cronin)

    It definitely should be a balancing act, jp. I suppose the owners feel (unfairly, in my opinion) that 50% is giving the players a larger BRI share then they should get, in exchange for the system stuff.

  27. Brian Cronin (@Brian_Cronin)

    Also, I love all these new concessions the NBA is asking for that they’re willing to compromise on. How transparent is “Oh, we also want a bunch of other things that you don’t want, but we’re willing to concede on them. See? We’re willing to concede! Just not on the system issues. At all”? Answer – extremely transparent.

  28. BigBlueAL

    Marc Stein tweeted tonight that David Stern will not have a season of less than 70 games. Says he hated the 1999 regular season and has told the players union that they need to make a deal soon to be able to have at least a 70 game season because if not there will be no season at all. Another bluff/fake ultimatum??

  29. Brian Cronin (@Brian_Cronin)

    Sure sounds like it. A little bit of “don’t think that you can fall back on the 1999 lockout timeline, players!”

  30. Robert Silverman Post author

    Nazr Mohammed’s going back to grad school if the league goes kablooie.

    Loves me some Nazr, but he really doesn’t know what the earning potential of a Master’s degree is v. 1st round draft status.

    NazrMohammed
    If this deal is accepted…I advise guys to stay in school and get ur degree, Master’s if possible. U might be able to make more $ that way than playing in the NBA in ur 1st five years. Being the 1st pick of the draft would mean nothing. #NBALockout
    1 hour ago

    http://twitter.com/#!/NazrMohammed

  31. KnickfaninNJ

    The owners seem to really want a season of some sort. Otherwise they wouldn’t be creating an artificial deadline to try and force an agreement. But they seem likely to shoot themselves in the foot because the players may say no, and then the season may really be gone.

  32. max fisher-cohen

    The raw text of the most recent league CBA offer to the players available here. Be sure to scroll down as the 11/6 offer is at the top of the document. The 11/10 offer is the most recent.

    Just because these are less-talked-about, here are the concessions the league made as compared to the expired CBA:

    1. $2.5 million exception for “room teams”, i.e. teams that are just below the cap who previously didn’t have access to any of the exceptions.

    2. an increase in the traded player exception granted to teams not paying the luxury tax: If you’re over the cap (or will be after the trade) and under the tax threshold, you can take back salaries that total “(i) 150% of salaries of players being traded plus $100,000, or (ii) the salaries of players being traded plus $5M.” (whichever is higher). The old CBA # was 125% flat.

    3. Minimum team salaries will be 90% of the cap, as opposed to 75% of the cap under the old CBA. This may not matter though as it will simply mean teams have less variance in their spending. It won’t affect the BRI split, so overall player money won’t increase.

    4. Teams must respond to offer sheets on restricted free agents within 3 days. It was a week under the old CBA. This will give RFAs more flexibility.

    5. If a player on a rookie contract is deemed a starter (the criteria for which is not established yet) and was picked in the second half of the first round, his qualifying offer will now be higher.

    6. Cap holds are now lower for bird players and first round picks.

    7. 1% BRI will go to retired players.

    One negative I noticed that I haven’t seen reported is that teams will be allowed $3 million cash in trades per year. Pretty sure the old CBA allowed $3 million per trade with no cap on the total per year.

  33. Z

    If a team is below the salary cap, why do they need an exception. Isn’t that just called “cap space”?

    Also, in the Times piece Beck downplays the sign and trade change, saying that the sign-and-trade has only been used 4 times since 2005. Is this true? I can think of three times just off the top of my head (Rashard Lewis, Kevin Garnett, Eddy Curry). Was there really only one other example? That’s weird, considering how often it is talked about.

  34. BigBlueAL

    Z:
    If a team is below the salary cap, why do they need an exception. Isn’t that just called “cap space”?

    Also, in the Times piece Beck downplays the sign and trade change, saying that the sign-and-trade has only been used 4 times since 2005. Is this true? I can think of three times just off the top of my head (Rashard Lewis, Kevin Garnett, Eddy Curry). Was there really only one other example? That’s weird, considering how often it is talked about.

    The sign-and-trade has only been used a few times by tax-paying teams which is what the NBA doesnt want happening anymore. Sign-and-trades will still be allowed to happen just cant be done by tax-paying teams I believe (Shawn Marion to Dallas was the latest time that happened).

  35. Z

    BigBlueAL: The sign-and-trade has only been used a few times by tax-paying teams which is what the NBA doesnt want happening anymore.Sign-and-trades will still be allowed to happen just cant be done by tax-paying teams I believe (Shawn Marion to Dallas was the latest time that happened).

    But the only advantage to a sign-and-trade was that it got the player one extra year and a slightly higher annual increase. The capped out team STILL needed to send out equivalent salary to make the trade legal. That doesn’t really seem like an aspect of the old CBA that was broken.

    An aspect that WAS broken was the Keith Van Horn/Aaron McKie loophole where a team could sign-and-trade their retired players to make salary work.

    Why don’t these guys just fix the actual problems, then maybe they will have a better product. (and better products make more money, right?)

  36. max fisher-cohen

    Z:
    If a team is below the salary cap, why do they need an exception. Isn’t that just called “cap space”?

    Also, in the Times piece Beck downplays the sign and trade change, saying that the sign-and-trade has only been used 4 times since 2005. Is this true? I can think of three times just off the top of my head (Rashard Lewis, Kevin Garnett, Eddy Curry). Was there really only one other example? That’s weird, considering how often it is talked about.

    The problem was if you were a dollar below the cap, you had no exceptions, but if you were a dollar over, you had access to the $6 million (now probably $5 million) MLE.

    As far as the sign and trade thing, that’s gotta be wrong. Maybe there’ve only been four extend and trades. Pretty sure Bosh and James both went to Miami. The knicks signed and traded lee for randolph/turiaf/azubuike.

    I think the reason the league thinks its broken is because it allows teams to stay at high salaries perpetually. You trade your expiring contracts in sign and trades and bring in new blood on new contracts. The NBA prefers that teams only go over the cap to keep their current teams intact, thus the extra dollar tax that gets levied for teams who are over the tax for four out of five years. After those four years, unless you’ve been a total whiz at drafting, you probably need to rebuild, and the NBA doesn’t want big market teams rebuilding on the fly by signing and trading.

  37. BigBlueAL

    The above memo talks about the sign-and-trade thing and alot of other stuff, as did the Beck article above.

  38. Brian Cronin (@Brian_Cronin)

    Not for nothing, but “sign and trades and the mid-level have rarely been used” is not a particularly good argument when you’re the one insisting that they be eliminated, ya know? “It’s not a big deal, but we absolutely must have it.”

  39. Frank

    I kinda think the players should just sign this thing and get it over with. Truth is – it will never get much better than this without a lost season, and if there is a lost season, the players will never get the $ back.

    What they should say is this – “We’ll sign this because of (insert proper PR-speak here re: love of the game blah blah blah). However, we will remember that the owners completely disregarded the old CBA as a starting point for negotiations on this CBA – so when/if we opt out of this deal in year 6, we will similarly disregard this CBA and start with asking for a BRI% of 67% since we think we are responsible for at least 2/3 of the league’s revenue. Meanwhile, since the owners seem to be able to keep their teams regardless of their ability to run a business, we will fight for 10 year guaranteed contracts for every player. We will also be even more prepared for the next lockout than we were for this one – we will withhold x of each player’s salary as a lockout fund and will be prepared to lose 1 or 2 seasons next time should the owners be similarly unfair in their negotiating tactics).”

    Then spend the next 6-7 years laying groundwork for an alternate league.

  40. Frank

    The other thing the NBAP should do is tweak the proposal so that the financial reporting of the teams is much more transparent. That way when the owners make money hand over fist with this CBA, it’ll be obvious they were lying all along to begin with.

  41. Jim Cavan (@JPCavan)

    Frank:
    The other thing the NBAP should do is tweak the proposal so that the financial reporting of the teams is much more transparent.

    Great idea. And as with many great ideas, one that will never in a million years be adopted. Even though it should.

    I’m torn about this. The combative part of me wants the players to tell the owners to cram it, and take it to court. The problem with this is, obviously, manifold: We’d lose the season; be subjected to a truly brutal legal battle; destroy so much good will that both sides would wind up with a significantly smaller pie than they would have otherwise; and, most importantly of course, we wouldn’t get to spend inordinate amounts of time neglecting our families and real world problems talking basketball on this wonderful blog.

    Then again, the pacifist in me wants the players to just take the deal. Not because it’s a fair deal, mind you — it’s absolutely not. But because, in doing so, I think you’d preclude the kind of exodus of attention that a lost season would produce, and salvage enough good will to build on last season’s tremendous momentum, thereby creating — hopefully — a much larger pie.

    If the NBA continues on its upward trend in popularity through the life of the newest CBA, then yes, owners would be making billions of money that they patently never deserved. But I think that only helps the players’ cause during the next negotiations. It’s the nature of these things, I think, to swing like pendulums: The players got the better of owners on the last two agreements, and I think Stern just had it in his mind he wouldn’t let that happen again.

    That said, I couldn’t fault the players for rejecting this deal, if that’s indeed what they decide to do. Say what you will about their lack of organization and unity, they’ve been right to call out the owners on their bogus books.

  42. Frank

    well, if there is any silver lining to this cloud, it’s this — one less season of wear and tear on Amare and Melo before we hopefully get CP3 next year and there is a real chance of making noise. And possibly we get a chance at having a draft pick in this loaded 2012 draft class.

    still feel like this is a bargaining ploy by the NBPA but totally conceivable that owners tell the players to shove it.

    the fact that David Boies (who was on the management side in Brady v NFL) is on the players’ side this time makes this a little more interesting. a guy with his pedigree doesn’t take cases unless he thinks he can win.

  43. The Formerly-Congenial Cock Jowles, #1 Gentleman

    It’s unfathomable to me that the players have not yet thought of starting their own league.

    That said, I don’t have to sit through a 45 win season that ends with another first-round sweep. This will be a productive year.

    Cheer,
    The Jowles

  44. Frank

    Trouble with the owners’ stance — even if they tweaked the system to allow a little more freedom of movement, it was still a HUGE win for them. It’s like playing poker against a horrible player – the win odds might 98%–2% for you, but if they call you and hit the 2%, you are really screwed. and you can’t necessarily count on a bad player to bow out like a good player would. NBA should’ve taken the win and moved on.

  45. Frank

    The Formerly-Congenial Cock Jowles, #1 Gentleman:
    It’s unfathomable to me that the players have not yet thought of starting their own league.

    That said, I don’t have to sit through a 45 win season that ends with another first-round sweep. This will be a productive year.

    Cheer,
    The Jowles

    For once we are in total agreement THCJ!!
    and i’ll get all my season ticket $ back with interest. better than having it in the market.

  46. Jafa

    Why didn’t they do this sooner? Based on what happened with the NFL, if they had done it sooner, maybe they would have resolved this issue before the courts forced them to and we would be watching basketball now.

    And Cock Jowles, I disagree with you on one point. Sure it would have been a 45 win season, but we are Knicks fans. We were rooting for this team when it was a 23 win team, it would not be hard to root for a 45 win team at all. I would gladly sit through that season.

  47. BigBlueAL

    The sad part for me is you guys who read this site no Ive been reading all the labor updates and hoping like hell for a deal to be reached soon but Ive gotten to a point where today’s news was expected and I didnt even care.

    For a die-hard fan like me to have finally gotten tired of all this bullshit says alot. I still hope somehow they reach a deal to save this season but Ive reached the point where I honestly dont even care anymore if the season is lost. Great job NBA and NBPA.

  48. Jafa

    Man this is frustrating. Storylines we would have been following (Knicks related) include:

    How well are Melo and Stat playing together?
    Is Stat fully healed from his back injury?
    Was Melo’s 3 point shooting % for real or was it based on a small sample size?
    Would Billups really be able to push the tempo?
    Did adding Mike Woodson really improve the defense?
    Would Mike D get fired after a slow start? Would he get an extension after a fast start?
    Did we really pick the better player in the draft (between Shumpert & Singleton)?
    Has Billups rubbed off on Toney Douglas?
    Is Laundry Field’s performing so well that we may have to trade him instead of losing him to free agency?
    Is Jared Jeffries still on the team? If so, why? Who does he have picture of? What kind of pictures are these?

    I could go on an on an on. I really miss my Knicks!

  49. Jafa

    When are the calls for David Stern’s job going to start?

    Under his tenure as commissioner we have now had 2 lockouts. If the NBA is a company and David Stern is the CEO (with owners as shareholders/bondholder/stakeholders), wouldn’t David Stern be fired by now for costing the business million of dollars?

  50. BigBlueAL

    Jafa:
    When are the calls for David Stern’s job going to start?

    Under his tenure as commissioner we have now had 2 lockouts.If the NBA is a company and David Stern is the CEO (with owners as shareholders/bondholder/stakeholders), wouldn’t David Stern be fired by now for costing the business million of dollars?

    The problem is apparently there are plenty of owners who would rather lose the season than negotiate a fair deal with the players. Im not sure Stern is to blame for these negotiations. He can be blamed for allowing these new hard-line owners to buy NBA teams but from alot Ive read Stern was handcuffed in these negotiations from the start by all these hard-line owners who have no problems whatsoever missing the entire season.

  51. Brian Cronin (@Brian_Cronin)

    Yeah, as I’ve said a few other times in the past, Stern as commissioner is a lot different than other commissioners in that he is a lot more of a litigator than he is a commissioner. He has his clients (the owners) who give him a goal/mission and he will do whatever he can to achieve that goal. So the owners can’t fault the guy for doing whatever it takes to achieve their goals, ya know? We all can rip on him, of course, for being unfair – but if he is given specific instructions on what they cannot give up (and it appears as though he has), there is not much he can do.

  52. Brian Cronin (@Brian_Cronin)

    By the way, after reading all of the quotes, the situation doesn’t seem nearly as dire as you folks are making it out to be. Look at Stern’s comments:

    “It looks like the 2011-12 season is really in jeopardy. It’s just a big charade. To do it now, the union is ratcheting up I guess to see if they can scare the NBA owners or something. That’s not happening.”

    This is the same guy who gave a 5pm deadline last week and said that the deal on the table then was the best that the players would get…and then improved the deal. So while I certainly would not be surprised if the owners did not bend in the wake of the players’ move, I would not be surprised if they did.

  53. max fisher-cohen

    I don’t see this as a that big of setback. Stern himself called it a “negotiating tactic” and didn’t even cancel any games. The rest was just empty rhetoric. The owners will quietly concede some of the frankly minor differences their offer versus the players’. The union has not decertified yet. They have just started the process but are still free to continue negotiating. My guess is within 10 days there’s a handshake deal and as predicted by many, the season will begin on Christmas. By no coincidence, this is the first ABC game — the first game where the owners will really feel a sting in their wallets.

  54. Jim Cavan (@JPCavan)

    max fisher-cohen:
    I don’t see this as a that big of setback. Stern himself called it a “negotiating tactic” and didn’t even cancel any games. The rest was just empty rhetoric. The owners will quietly concede some of the frankly minor differences their offer versus the players’. The union has not decertified yet. They have just started the process but are still free to continue negotiating. My guess is within 10 days there’s a handshake deal and as predicted by many, the season will begin on Christmas. By no coincidence, this is the first ABC game — the first game where the owners will really feel a sting in their wallets.

    I’ll have what he’s having.

  55. Frank

    watching Stern’s interview on sportscenter – i actually think he’s really upset – knows that his legacy may be kaput.

    Truth is – he keeps asking for the CBA to be put to a vote by all the players — the union could very well say the same thing – we’ll give you a proposal that we will accept and YOU put it to an open vote where everyone can see which owners are up or down.

  56. Brian Cronin (@Brian_Cronin)

    Exactly, Frank. It is like what I mentioned last night. If sign and trades and mid-level exemptions for tax-paying teams is apparently such a non-issue (as Stern tried to argue in his memo) then why does he want it so bad? For the same reason you allude to here – if ideas of “fairness” were entered into the situation then the deal would be a good deal more favorable to the players. But Stern wants to just appear as though he is being fair (partially because of the insulation against possible unfair practice lawesuits) rather than, you know, actually being fair.

  57. steveoh

    I think Stern’s in a tough spot. He’s got a divided group of owners, and he has to come to a compromise within his ranks before he approaches the unified players with a deal. But just negotiating within his own base for something even approaching “appeasable” leaves him with no wiggle room.

    He has to know how ridiculous the owners have been. Has to. So he’s held hostage as much by Robert Sarver and Dan Gilbert as he is by Billy Hunter. And because he’s in a tough spot, what comes across as condescending and hardline can also be read as a bit of begging.

    He just doesn’t appear to have that mandate from the owners anymore.

  58. Brian Cronin (@Brian_Cronin)

    If you’re correct, Steve (and I think there’s a decent chance that you are), then who can help? Dolan and his ilk?

  59. Robert Silverman Post author

    Brian Cronin (@Brian_Cronin):
    If you’re correct, Steve (and I think there’s a decent chance that you are), then who can help? Dolan and his ilk?

    Oh great.

    Now I have to live in a world where Guitar Jimmy Dolan is considered the “sane” one.

    I think I prefer fleeing flesh-eating zombies.

  60. Brian Cronin (@Brian_Cronin)

    Marc Spears had a good bit about the situation over at Yahoo!. He said it was like the owners and the players were playing a game of B-Ball, and the owners were up 40 and all they had to do was run out the clock. Instead, they decided to showboat and it ended up pissing the players off enough that they started a brawl. The owners demolished the players on pretty much every issue and the players were willing to accept it (being up 40 points), but the owners just could not give up the sign and trades and the mid-level exceptions that their own propaganda says does not come into play all that often (the showboating)! Think about that – we would be having a season right now if the NBA would just let tax-paying teams do something that they themselves say is not a frequent occurrence (and okay, maybe also drop the whole “if you pay tax 4 out of 5 years you get super-penalized” rule, too).

    This isn’t counting the so-called “B-List” items. I dunno if they would have been an issue. I doubt the NBDL or the drug stuff would have been that hard to negotiate, but I could be wrong.

  61. Z

    Brian Cronin (@Brian_Cronin):
    …Instead, they decided to showboat and it ended up pissing the players off enough that they started a brawl. The owners demolished the players on pretty much every issue and the players were willing to accept it (being up 40 points), but the owners just could not give up the sign and trades and the mid-level exceptions that their own propaganda says does not come into play all that often (the showboating)!

    Totally. It’s like PJ Brown tossed Charlie Ward into the 2nd row, all over again…

    Seriously, I can’t fathom why the league would care about sign and trades to any extent. If it’s true that there have only been 4 since 2005, why do they want to change it? I’m not sure who the 4 are to be honest, but I assume one is Eddy Curry and one is Rashard Lewis, both of which were easily avoidable by any team that did any due diligence of any kind. Eddy Curry, in fact, was a no-brained to NOT sign and trade for, as evidenced by the fact that no team wanted anything to do with him and no insurance company would write a policy for his faulty body. So why change the rule? Why not just let teams change the way that they utilize the tool so that it doesn’t become detrimental to the league?

  62. Jafa

    I’m sorry guys, but I’m not buying the whole “David Stern is being held hostage to the demands of hardline owners” line. If your argument is correct, it fosters the case for Stern to be replaced.

    Part of his job as commissioner is also to be a consensus builder. If he cant build a consensus with the owners by getting hard line owners and big market owners to come to the middle where negotiations with the union would be made more feasible, then he has no business running the NBA.

    The NFL commissioner was able to build a consensus with 31 of his 32 owners and able to negotiate a good deal that allowed the NFL to have its season. Both the owners and the players gave up some things, and he worked in private with the union leader, only appearing in front of cameras to give a status update on negotiations (with no rhetoric, threats, deadlines, ultimatums, etc.).

    The way Stern has handled these negotiations shows that he has one strategy – be brash, loud and intimidating and hope the other side crumbles and give you what you want. He has tried that several times, and when it has not worked, he tries it again and again (the definition of insanity). He is not even able to switch strategy to obtain his goal.

    Again, millions of dollars are being lost (by owners, players, advertisers, media (TV, radio, web), merchandize retailers, airlines, hotels, sneaker and apparel makers, etc.) all because the NBA has the wrong man at the helm.

  63. Jafa

    All these people seem to agree with me:

    http://basketball.realgm.com/article/216547/A_Giant_Leadership_Failure

    http://www.hoopsworld.com/nba-pm-is-david-stern-to-blame/

    http://sports.yahoo.com/nba/news?slug=aw-wojnarowski_nba_labor_talks_david_stern_100311

    http://blog.chron.com/nba/2011/11/as-nba-enters-its-nuclear-winter-david-stern-cannot-blame-away-his-failure/?replytocom=53198

    Nothing personal, but I think his time as commissioner is over. Its time for new blood. A fresh face would bring the players guard down a bit, maybe enough to get a deal done.

  64. JK47

    In my wildest fantasy the players do something like this:

    Form a 16-team league. Play a 41-game schedule, starting in January. Sign up all your star players. Have teams like the “Miami Humidity” featuring LBJ, Wade and Bosh, the “Boston Leprechauns” with KG, Rondo and Paul Pierce, the “New York Bricks” with Melo, Stat and Chris Paul, the “Los Angeles Fakers” with Kobe, Blake Griffin and Gasol… you get the picture.

    You’d have to find financial backers, a TV deal, arenas to play in… The whole thing would be damn near impossible to pull off, but that would be my dream.

    In the meantime, I will be cheering on my beloved (and loaded) Syracuse Orange more than ever this year. I’ll still be rooting for Melo, it will just be Fab Melo.

  65. Z

    JK47:
    In my wildest fantasy the players do something like this:

    Form a 16-team league.Play a 41-game schedule, starting in January.Sign up all your star players.Have teams like the “Miami Humidity” featuring LBJ, Wade and Bosh, the “Boston Leprechauns” with KG, Rondo and Paul Pierce, the “New York Bricks” with Melo, Stat and Chris Paul, the “Los Angeles Fakers” with Kobe, Blake Griffin and Gasol… you get the picture.

    You’d have to find financial backers, a TV deal, arenas to play in… The whole thing would be damn near impossible to pull off, but that would be my dream.

    I don’t know if it would be impossible. The NBA is a plutocracy, and the relatively few players at the top have shown business savvy. Plus, guys like William Wessley, Leon Rose, and Maverick Carter have already shown themselves to have a ridiculous amount of clout, and have shown a desire to use their power to fundamentally alter the way the league does business. I think if one of the major sports leagues was going to crumble, pro basketball would emerge from the ashes faster and stronger than either baseball, football, or hockey would.

  66. Brian Cronin (@Brian_Cronin)

    I certainly understand your position, Jafa, but note that Bud Selig, for instance, has always been very much an owner’s commissioner, as well. Commissioners tend to be so. Bettmann has always been an owner’s commissioner. Note that both those sports lost seasons because they were not willing to capitulate to the players. And in one of those instances (the NHL), the result was a total demolishment of the players (it says a lot, though, that the totally demolished NHL players union still got a bigger BRI split than the NBA players are going to get).

    And in the case of the NFL, because of the way they split up revenue, there are many many many less “hardliners” (by many I mean many – we’re talking maybe 3 out of 32 as opposed to 13/14 out of 30), so Goodall did not have nearly the problem that Stern has had this time around.

    So I think Stern is in a unique position – he is an owner’s commissioner and there are too many crazy owners for him to do his job properly. If there were not so many crazy hardliners, a deal would have been finished weeks ago.

  67. Brian Cronin (@Brian_Cronin)

    By the way, one particularly BS point I’ve seen out there is the knock on the players for not doing this in July. It is not like they were just twiddling their thumbs. Their entire strategy hinges on them being able to show that they wanted to negotiate but the NBA wouldn’t do so. Filing for decertification in July makes it extremely difficult to argue that they were negotiating in good faith and that it was the NBA who wasn’t. Showing that the NBA wouldn’t talk to them for months and then when they did, started tossing out ultimatums, that is evidence of bad faith negotiations. Maybe not good enough evidence to actually win in court, but good enough evidence that the NBA has to at least be concerned about how they will look in front of a judge. “When I said that they could either take this offer or we would replace it with a dramatically worse offer, that was not an ultimatum, your honor! it was a total coincidence that it worked out that way!”

  68. BigBlueAL

    Mike Breen and Jeff Van Gundy are announcing the Texas-Rhode Island college basketball game right now. How depressing.

  69. Jim Cavan (@JPCavan)

    I agree with many in saying either a deal gets done very soon or we lose the entire season very soon. Until then, I’ll have to hear things like “look at those arms,” and “loaded with athleticism” repeated more times in a night than I care to hear in at least a couple months.

  70. John Kenney

    You forgot to mention Dick Vitale saying “Just play the game baBYY” every time a player dares to smile.

  71. Brian Cronin (@Brian_Cronin)

    It is weird, though, Jim, since we have a lot of time left before the season truly cannot be played (early January, I’d say). Of course, Stern has tried to say that they won’t have a 50 game season again, but I’ll believe that when I see it.

    But yes, it seems hard to believe that they’d miss out on Christmas games and if they do miss them, it seems hard to believe that they’d get a full season (just from the general feel of everything), so they need a deal in the next 10 days to avoid seeing if Stern is really serious about his threats.

  72. max fisher-cohen

    I know the press enjoys framing the “hardliners” as selfish and greedy to the point of being irrational, but I find it entirely likely that this was the plan all along. The hardliners essentially figured, “Let’s wait until we start losing real cash and see what the pressure does to the union.” Well, if that was their thinking, from a financial standpoint they made the right choice. The players threw hundreds of millions their way in the last few weeks, and it likely won’t affect the owners’ bottom line much to miss the early season since, being mostly small market owners, much of their income comes from the national TV contract.

    My point is, there is a not-too-difficult-to-swallow alternative narrative here that says that now that they’ve seen what missing games and checks does to players, they’ll accept the players’ last and very reasonable offer…

    …With some insignificant alterations, agreed upon only so Stern can say, “The players saw the light and, recognizing our wisdom, made concession X,” and as arrogant as he will sound, it will be true as long as you read “wisdom” as a euphemism for “advantage in negotiating position.”

  73. max fisher-cohen

    SOrry for the double post, but I have to vent a bit about Simmons’ latest BS Report.

    Simmons argues that mediocre players are often overpaid and that justifies the NBA’s offer. The first claim is true, but the people who are subsidizing this are the stars, not the owners. The stars get underpaid so the role players can get overpaid. The reason for this is simple: role players outnumber stars and so they have more influence on the union. This motivates the union to negotiate a CBA that overpays role players. It’s hypocritical of the owners to ignore this artificiality of the market when asking role players to take a pay cut.

    As far as the fairness argument goes, teams are all playing under the same system. The organizations that make the best decisions within that system, whether they are big or small market teams, succeed. Yes, you have to overpay for role players, but if you are wise about who you overpay and when you overpay them, you can win the game. This is fair. It has nothing to do with money, because the players’ salaries will continue to be linked to BRI. If there’s some issue with big market teams making tons of cash and distorting the BRI, then that’s something for the owners to resolve among themselves.

  74. Brian Cronin (@Brian_Cronin)

    He’s been making the same weak argument for awhile now, Max. I liked that we at least had Stein and Bucher ripping him to shreds over it.

  75. bobneptune

    From the FWIW file…… Jerome Jordan had the best game of his European career Tuesday night out playing #5 draft choice JONAS VALANCIUNAS handily scoring 20 in 31 minutes going 6-11 from the floor, 8-9 from the line with 8 boards a block and 2 steals and only 2 fouls.

  76. The Formerly-Congenial Cock Jowles, #1 Gentleman

    I don’t mean to belabor my point from several months ago, but I’d rather root for a 23-win team that’s playing young, high-ceiling draft choices than a 45-win team with two overpaid max players and a bunch of scrubs and expirings.

    That said, we’re missing another year of LeBron’s prime. Oh, and that guy on the Clippers who jumps really high. (No, not Chris Kaman. No one will miss him but his parents.)

  77. BigBlueAL

    The Formerly-Congenial Cock Jowles, #1 Gentleman:
    I don’t mean to belabor my point from several months ago, but I’d rather root for a 23-win team that’s playing young, high-ceiling draft choices than a 45-win team with two overpaid max players and a bunch of scrubs and expirings.

    That said, we’re missing another year of LeBron’s prime. Oh, and that guy on the Clippers who jumps really high. (No, not Chris Kaman. No one will miss him but his parents.)

    Root for the Timberwolves then and see how much fun that is.

  78. d-mar

    Right about now on a typical Friday night in Nov. or Dec. I’d be popping open my first cold one and getting ready to settle in for some Knicks NBA action. This lockout truly sucks a big one.

    sigh

  79. Z-man

    d-mar: Right about now on a typical Friday night in Nov. or Dec. I’d be popping open my first cold one and getting ready to settle in for some Knicks NBA action. This lockout truly sucks a big one.sigh

  80. Z-man

    @85, I am actually THRILLED in hindsight that we didn’t get LeBron. I would hate to root for that spineless a-hole, or crybaby Bosh. Blake Griffin, on the other hand, I could tolerate!

    Overpaid or not, I really like our team. Melo is just at the beginning of his prime and can still get better. I am excited about the potential of Fields, Shump, TD and even Jorts and Jordan. We still have cap room to play with over the next couple of years, and CP3 is a possibility. I won’t miss Gallo or Moz all that much, just as I didn’t miss David Lee at all last year. After 10 years of garbage, I’m puzzled by your point of view.

  81. Frank

    @90 – sure does seem like Melo and CP3 are everywhere together. If there’s an NBA season in 2012, I feel pretty good that he is coming.

  82. stratomatic

    BigBlueAL: Root for the Timberwolves then and see how much fun that is.

    I suspect he was referring to a team like the Thunder a couple of years ago, not a team that makes of habit of blowing their picks every year.

    Personally I agree with him.

    I get attached to players that are drafted by the organization. I like watching them development as individuals and as a team. I have no problem adding pieces via FA or trading players that are clearly not working or fitting in, but I’d rather build a team than buy a team. I think building home grown players makes winning way sweeter.

    If it was up to me, we would have resigned David Lee, added Felton, kept Chandler, Mozgov, Gallo, Jordan Hill etc.. and used all the extra draft picks we gave away in trades to get cap space and the extra cap space we would have had because Lee is cheaper than Amare to get a C that fit with Lee. Then I would have watched all those kids and other draft picks develop and made moves from there. It might have taken an extra year to be competitive (but maybe not) and maybe they never would have gotten good enough to win it all, but I don’t think the combination of Melo and Amare at max contracts is going to win either and I’m not going to enjoy trying nearly as much.

  83. Z-man

    @92
    While I somewhat agree, it is something over which we have no control. There are pros and cons to both routes. The Celts are a team that I’m sure their fans had no trouble rooting for, despite bringing in 2 big-time free agents at the expense of some young talent. The Timberwolves are an example of what you get if you try to be the Thunder but mess up. As a diehard Knicks fan, I can easily root for the product of either route. Considering that most on this site never experienced a championship Knicks team, it is amazing that there would be so much concern about whether the players are home grown or not. This team BY FAR the closest thing we have had to a competitive team in a decade. If your homegrown guys are Frazier, Bradley and Reed, that’s one thing. Gallo, Lee, Hill, Chandler and Moz? Seriously?

  84. Brian Cronin (@Brian_Cronin)

    This team BY FAR the closest thing we have had to a competitive team in a decade. If your homegrown guys are Frazier, Bradley and Reed, that’s one thing. Gallo, Lee, Hill, Chandler and Moz? Seriously?

    Far closer? They were 28-26 before the trade and 14-14 after the trade. Not saying that they won’t improve next year (if there is a next year), but “by FAR the closest thing we have had to a competitive team in a decade” is more than a bit of a stretch.

  85. Z-man

    @94
    Considering the roster upheaval in mid-season and the fact that they were above .500 and a playoff team, which team over the last decade came close to what they are right now? Factor in that they still have cap maneuverability and that CP3 is a real possibility, tell me, which capped-out collection of misfits team in the past 10 years had close to the upside that this team has? Even if this team tops out as a second round out, that is way beyond what we’ve been subjected to.

  86. BigBlueAL

    Brian Cronin (@Brian_Cronin): Far closer? They were 28-26 before the trade and 14-14 after the trade. Not saying that they won’t improve next year (if there is a next year), but “by FAR the closest thing we have had to a competitive team in a decade” is more than a bit of a stretch.

    The team that was 28-26 before the trade is not the team Stratomatic was talking about. In his team the Knicks dont sign Amar’e, they re-sign David Lee, still have Jordan Hill and somehow still have a bunch of cap space and apparently a bunch of young kids from the draft picks they didnt trade. Totally different scenarios.

  87. Brian Cronin (@Brian_Cronin)

    Considering the roster upheaval in mid-season and the fact that they were above .500 and a playoff team, which team over the last decade came close to what they are right now? Factor in that they still have cap maneuverability and that CP3 is a real possibility, tell me, which capped-out collection of misfits team in the past 10 years had close to the upside that this team has? Even if this team tops out as a second round out, that is way beyond what we’ve been subjected to.

    So wait, you’re just talking a general “this is the closest they’ve come to have a competitive team” and not a “they are closer to having a competitive team now than had they not made their last year’s worth of moves”? If that’s the case, then yeah, fair enough, you’re absolutely correct. This is definitely the closest they’ve come to having a competitive team.

  88. Brian Cronin (@Brian_Cronin)

    The team that was 28-26 before the trade is not the team Stratomatic was talking about. In his team the Knicks dont sign Amar’e, they re-sign David Lee, still have Jordan Hill and somehow still have a bunch of cap space and apparently a bunch of young kids from the draft picks they didnt trade. Totally different scenarios.

    Fair point, Al, thanks for the head’s up! Honestly, it is interesting. I dunno what kind of team you would have in that scenario, since clearly they’d have signed/acquired someone else, right? With Lee’s cap hold and Felton’s salary, they still would have had roughly $10 million to play with (perhaps a little more – I honestly forget the specifics). So it is hard for me to really judge what the team woudl look like and how much worse off they’d be. By the way, I don’t think the scenario would have allowed for Jordan Hill to still be in the mix, would it? Since he was dealt before they decided to sign Amar’e.

  89. BigBlueAL

    Brian Cronin (@Brian_Cronin): Fair point, Al, thanks for the head’s up! Honestly, it is interesting. I dunno what kind of team you would have in that scenario, since clearly they’d have signed/acquired someone else, right? With Lee’s cap hold and Felton’s salary, they still would have had roughly $10 million to play with (perhaps a little more – I honestly forget the specifics). So it is hard for me to really judge what the team woudl look like and how much worse off they’d be. By the way, I don’t think the scenario would have allowed for Jordan Hill to still be in the mix, would it? Since he was dealt before they decided to sign Amar’e.

    I think in his plan the Knicks wouldnt have been planning solely for the 2010 FA class I guess and they woldve been willing to hold on to Jordan Hill and not make that trade with Houston giving him up plus the draft picks to get rid of Jeffries and open up more cap space. Before that trade they still wouldve had plenty of cap space to sign 1 max player. But w/o that trade all they wouldve been able to do is re-sign Lee and sign someone like Felton so yeah his plan wouldve left the Knicks with a 35 win team last year with no real future cap space or great young players that he is so wanting to cheer for because their 1st round picks in the future w/o some major lottery luck wouldve been barely Top 10 picks or mid-1st round picks from a team barely sneaking into the playoffs. But I guess they wouldve been funner to root for apparently.

  90. Brian Cronin (@Brian_Cronin)

    Okay, let’s play the What If…? game there. The Knicks don’t trade Jonah Hill and Jeffries. They re-sign Lee and they sign Felton (I believe they still would have enough to sign Mozgov). They win 35 games in 2010-11. That gets them, say, Jimmer for the 2011-12 season (the Bucks won 35 games in 2010-11 and they got Jimmer)..

    So the team is:
    Felton/Douglas
    Fields/Jimmer
    Gallo/Chandler
    Chandler/Hill
    Lee/Mozgov

    With Curry and Jeffries’ money coming off of the cap (roughly $16 million) but with Chandler a restricted free agent.

    And with additional draft picks in 2012, 2014 and 2016 (2016 they switch picks with Denver).

    I dunno, that doesn’t sound awful.

    I am not saying that I’d prefer it to what the Knicks currently have, but I don’t think it is a no-brainer in favor of the current set-up.

  91. BigBlueAL

    Honestly I dont even think that team wins 35 games lol

    Sorry but I much prefer the current setup by a mile. You have a much better argument with last year’s team not trading for Melo for sure but this what if scenario to me sucks big time. Only positive couldve been as I said winning less than 35 games and having better odds and maybe getting a much better pick instead of Jimmer but thats it.

    Getting lucky in the lottery is a huge thing especially for teams who suck but suck winning around 30 games a season which is basically what the Knicks had been doing. Of course the 2 times they really sucked and won only 23 games they get the #2 pick but cant use the pick and get real unlucky and pick 6th which turned into Gallo which wasnt that bad but still. Hell winning 33 games and not 28 games the following season cost us Stephen Curry lol

  92. art vandelay

    I think resolution of the endless debate on the merits of the Knicks´ 2-year campaign of clearing cap space at all costs as well as the Melo trade will ultimate hinge on whether Cp3 is acquired or not. Everyone who said the knicks foolishly made the Jeffries-Jordan Hill trade to Houston at deadline 2010 will be vindicated if they strike out next summer, while those who believed all along the ends justified the means (i.e. acquiring STAT and Melo would bring home a 3rd star) will be proven correct if Cp3. I personally think he will join the team one way or another, as he is seen attached at Carmelo´s hip almost on a constant daily basis. I have no doubt that Dolan (and his “informants”), in his private conversations with Melo at last year´s all-star break, was able to cull enough information to be confident throwing the kitchen sink at Denver would eventually pay off. Even Stoudemire before he officially signed I recall stating that he would bring Tony Parker and Melo to NY with him…that they were ready to go. So I think selling cheap draft picks and young talent for big names who can attract other big names will prove to be a winning strategy…if not, they mortgaged their future once again and it was a very poor approach.

    As for rootability, I can only say that I, as a die-hard Knicks fan I will root for them regardless, but I root more fervently for the team that wins….just win, baby! I don´t care if they win with 12 home-grown talents or 12 players acquired via trade and/or Free Agency. Over time, players acquired become woven into the fabric of the franchise and are embraced as one´s own (look at Larry Johnson, whom I now consider more a Knick than a Hornet when I look back on his career…after all the big playoff shots he made for us).

  93. art vandelay

    Finally, I didn´t see Yankees fans too distraught when they won the World Series in ´09 with high-prized acquisitions Tiexiera and Sabathia. Sure, that ´96 world series team has been romanticized because a) it was their first run in years and b) they won it primarily on the back of farm system talents like Jeter, Rivera and Andy Pettitte, but a World Series ring is a WS ring…it doesn´t matter how you got it…and maybe Yankees fans have the right to compare, constrast and rate World Series championships since they have so many of them, but as a team that hasn´t won a ring since ´73 and only has 2 while being a charter member of the league, I really don´t think we can have the privilege of choosing HOW we win it all…if you are a true fan, generally you won´t care how they won it (btw, I am a Mets fan).

  94. Brian Cronin (@Brian_Cronin)

    Oh yeah, I’ve been down with “the trade is a great one if it brings CP3 to the Knicks” right from the get-go. I think that’s a no-brainer. If acquiring Melo and Amar’e gets them one of the best players in the game (and the exact type of player that would make Amar’e a dominant scorer again), then of course it makes sense. Heck, just CP3 and Amar’e is good enough for me, let alone working in one of the best scorers in the game, as well, in Melo. That’s how awesome CP3 is. So yeah, the trade was definitely worth it if that happens. More than worth it.

  95. Z-man

    @104 The bigger point is that without the trades, the POSSIBILITY of getting CP3 doesn’t exist. Effective management involves taking risks. Walsh made trades to clear cap space and signed Amare to try to get LeBron. When that didn’t work out, the Knicks went to plan B, which was to sign Melo and clear enough cap space to bring in another top player, e.g.CP3.

    It is odd that the naysayers hold fast to the promise that we would have been better off without these deals. Even OKC has had some luck. If Portland drafts Durant and they draft Oden, where are they? (PS if I recall, quite a few prominent posters here hated Durant, even into his rookie year) Also, to characterize this team as a capped-out collection of overpaid false superstars and scrubs with no young guys that have upside and no draft picks is just plain wrong. We still have plenty of maneuverability, some picks, and Fields, Shump, TD, Jorts, Jordan, Extra E and Bill Walker (not that all these guys are signed) have varying degrees of upside.

  96. Brian Cronin (@Brian_Cronin)

    The bigger point is that without the trades, the POSSIBILITY of getting CP3 doesn’t exist.

    I don’t see what there is to support that claim besides a general “CP3 will only play with Melo and Amar’e,” which, obviously cannot be true because other than the Knicks there isn’t a team where all three players realistically could play together. So who knows what would have happened. He sure doesn’t seem to want to stay in New Orleans.

    Walsh made trades to clear cap space and signed Amare to try to get LeBron. When that didn’t work out, the Knicks went to plan B, which was to sign Melo and clear enough cap space to bring in another top player, e.g.CP3.

    Plan B was a reasonable decision. I agree that Walsh’s Plan B made sense. Of course, they didn’t actually do Plan B.

    Also, to characterize this team as a capped-out collection of overpaid false superstars and scrubs with no young guys that have upside and no draft picks is just plain wrong. We still have plenty of maneuverability, some picks, and Fields, Shump, TD, Jorts, Jordan, Extra E and Bill Walker (not that all these guys are signed) have varying degrees of upside.

    I agree – they have young guys with upside. But I disagree on manueverability. We shall see what the system looks like when (if?) the CBA gets signed, though.

  97. Z-man

    I meant more generally that CP3 wants to come to a team that he will compete for a title with. Although it is true that he seems to actively want to play with Melo and Amare (as indicated at Melo’s wedding over a year ago.) He may chase the $$ and go elsewhare, but my point is that he probably would not have come to NY to play with the same caliber of players he could have in NO. I would also gues that he knows that the clock is ticking on his knees.

    The new CBA should allow us to sign CP3 with the cap apace freed up by Billups’ expiring and some little things here and there. So in that sense, plan B is very much alive. This is not to say that getting CP3 and his creaky knees, along with Amare’s balky back, would guarantee a championship, or even a finals appearance, not with Miami in the way, but I would like our chances way more than if we had stood pat and not made the trades going back to McGrady.

    If we could somehow defy the odds and land Dwight Howard, that’s a whole other story.

  98. Brian Cronin (@Brian_Cronin)

    The Knicks can’t just use Billups’ salary for Paul because the Knicks are already over the old cap. The new cap is likely going to be smaller (how could it not be? They’re going from 57% of BRI to 50%), so Amar’e and Melo’s $40 million might very well take up 4/5th of the 2011-12 cap just by themselves. An interesting thing would be whether teams are allowed to re-sign players that they use the amnesty clause on. If they are, then the Knicks could use the amnesty clause on Amar’e and re-sign him to a smaller contract (he mentioned back in 2010 that he’d be willing to take less money if it meant getting a Big Three). That’s why sign and trades for capped teams is an important point in the new CBA for the Knicks. It is likely their only realistic way of acquiring Paul (and even that might not be realistic).

  99. Z-man

    Even if that is true, the team as presently constructed is probably as viable a team as it might have been otherwise. Lee, Gallo, Chandler were all going to get paid at some point, and the Feltons and Turiafs of the world are always going to be available. I do recall reading somewhere that the new CBA might actually help the Knick’s chances re: CP3 but I agree that it all depends on the new terms. I haven’t before seen the amnesty clause interpreted like you did above, but that would be an interesting concept. On the other hand, maybe the Heat use the same strategy to sign Howard!

  100. Brian Cronin (@Brian_Cronin)

    As viable compared to what? To the pre-Melo team or the pre-Jeffries trade team? I agree on the latter. I am annoyed that the pre-Jeffries trade is even being discussed, since there’s, like, one dude even arguing that they shouldn’t have done the Jeffries trade. I think we all otherwise agree that the Jeffries trade was worth it. So unless someone else wants to come in and argue it, how about we drop even discussing the pre-Jeffries trade team. Because my only arguments are about what happened after they signed Amar’e and traded Lee. I was quite happy with their plans at that point.

    Now since then, I disagree that they are more viable now than they would be had they not done the Melo trade. Or rather, I don’t think it is clear cut. Before the trade, the Knicks were under the cap. Thus, they could have done a sign and trade for Paul, using some of the pieces they used to get Melo. Or heck, used some of the pieces to get D-Will. Paul/D-Will and Amar’e is a more viable basis for a contender than Melo/Amar’e. And they would take up less cap space, which is important considering the smaller cap.

  101. Z-man

    Your points are fair. I don’t think it is fair to assume that D-Will was available (or that the Knicks offer would have trumped the Nets offer unless the Nets signed Melo). I personally like Melo more than either D-Will or CP3 (only because of his knees) but I won’t fault anyone who thinks otherwise. The bottom line for me is that the Melo deal was doable at the time while everything else was hypothetical and may not have panned out (see: LeBron).

    Ultimately, we are no longer debating what originally led to this exchange, which was @85′s premise. Whether we “maxed out” on the situation is debatable; whether this team is going to be fun to watch or is on the upswing, in my opinion, is not. I am more psyched to watch this version of the Knicks and more optimistic about the future than I have been in a long, long time.

  102. art vandelay

    The salary cap for summer 2012 will not go down from last year’s $58 Million value, barring some kind of renegotiation of the terms of the owner’s “last” proposal/ultimatum to the players. They have agreed that in year’s 1 and 2 of the new CBA that the cap will not be any lower than the $58 Million in summer 2010…it will likely be around $58 Million or possibly be slightly higher, but the new CBA will stipulate it only begin to go down in accordance with the new BRI split as of Year #3 (much like sign-and-trades for luxury tax teams were to remain for years 1 and 2 but disappear in year 3). Of course, all of this is subject to possible modification made as the sides continue to negotiate.

    Given that the players rejected the last proposal and that in order to settle to pending class-action lawsuit the owners will likely be the side that needs to yield, I doubt this condition that the cap remain the the same in the first 2 years is re-negotiated. If anything, it is more likely that owners allow sign and trades to continue throughout the duration of the next CBA, but that, of course, is still up in the air.

  103. Brian Cronin (@Brian_Cronin)

    Your points are fair. I don’t think it is fair to assume that D-Will was available (or that the Knicks offer would have trumped the Nets offer unless the Nets signed Melo). I personally like Melo more than either D-Will or CP3 (only because of his knees) but I won’t fault anyone who thinks otherwise. The bottom line for me is that the Melo deal was doable at the time while everything else was hypothetical and may not have panned out (see: LeBron).

    Ultimately, we are no longer debating what originally led to this exchange, which was @85?s premise. Whether we “maxed out” on the situation is debatable; whether this team is going to be fun to watch or is on the upswing, in my opinion, is not. I am more psyched to watch this version of the Knicks and more optimistic about the future than I have been in a long, long time.

    I think it is fair to note that D-Will was going to be a free agent target in 2012, so he was likely going to be available, but I agree that they could not have expected that the Jazz would have put him on the block that early.

    Anyhow, yeah, don’t get me wrong – I am totally cool with the team as it currently is. I’m pumped for the upcoming season (if we even get it, that is). and yes, it is awesome getting to root for a team that is more likely than not going to make the playoffs. And if things click – they could definitely cause some damage (come on, Chauncey, I have faith in you!).

  104. Brian Cronin (@Brian_Cronin)

    The salary cap for summer 2012 will not go down from last year’s $58 Million value, barring some kind of renegotiation of the terms of the owner’s “last” proposal/ultimatum to the players. They have agreed that in year’s 1 and 2 of the new CBA that the cap will not be any lower than the $58 Million in summer 2010…it will likely be around $58 Million or possibly be slightly higher, but the new CBA will stipulate it only begin to go down in accordance with the new BRI split as of Year #3 (much like sign-and-trades for luxury tax teams were to remain for years 1 and 2 but disappear in year 3). Of course, all of this is subject to possible modification made as the sides continue to negotiate.

    Given that the players rejected the last proposal and that in order to settle to pending class-action lawsuit the owners will likely be the side that needs to yield, I doubt this condition that the cap remain the the same in the first 2 years is re-negotiated. If anything, it is more likely that owners allow sign and trades to continue throughout the duration of the next CBA, but that, of course, is still up in the air.

    I knew the sign and trade would have the two year leeway period and I knew that they would have leeway to get their money down for luxury tax purposes, but I didn’t know that they would slowly bring the cap down, as well. Thanks for the head’s up! Then fair enough, they would, indeed, still have enough money to theoretically sign Paul (if they renounce all their other players and if Paul takes less than max).

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