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Author Topic: ¶ NBA Basketball: Tournaments, Events & Free Comments • Baloncesto NBA: Competencias, Eventos & Comentarios Libres  (Read 729880 times)
greek_ball
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« Reply #29 on: Dec 01, 2011, 05:56:41 PM »

NBA Basketball  & Free Comments •  Baloncesto NBA & Comentarios Libres

Pride put aside

Thank goodness cooler heads have prevailed.

The different factions that were blocking the NBA negotiations finally realized how ridiculous they looked to the rest of the world.

They finally realized how much money they were wasting and how many people and communities they were hurting in a time of economic dire straits.

The hardline owners - mostly from small market money-losing non-playoff teams - finally gave the players, who felt backed into a corner and disrespected, a chance to save face and get back to playing the game they love.

These owners paved the way by finally loosening up their position on system issues and player movement.

It was time for the owners to make some concessions after the players agreed to compensate for the teams' $300 million dollar losses last season by accepting a smaller piece of the pie.

If, in the end, this deal permits more teams to compete for a title through increased parity and more teams to become profitable financially, all the better.

I'll leave it to other math experts to explain the details of the agreement that got it done because I am too happy to be able to start writing about games, players, stats, tactics, signings and styles of play and not about Basketball Related Income (BRI), Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA), luxury taxes and mid-level exceptions!

I care more about the NBA than the CBA!

All this talk about indecent sums of money leaves me cold because I haven't been caught up (it's a generational thing) in the modern craze of fantasy leagues where everyone becomes a general manager-horse trader dealing with millions.

David Stern saved his legacy and Billy Hunter his reputation because they finally did what they were paid to do - negotiate a deal.

Of course, there is plenty of criticism to go around after a painful, drawn-out proceedure where Stern seemed to symbolize the owners' arrogance and intransigeance dealing from a position of force all along and Hunter seemed wishy washy about letting the players decide their own fate and was too late in choosing to disclaim the union, a move that ended up accelerating the process towards a deal.

I am convinced that a large majority of players would have voted for a deal long ago if they had the chance.

The last few concessions by the owners permits Hunter to defend his own tactics.

Stern and Hunter were inextricably linked in this historic bargaining process because if they had failed and the season was cancelled, that might have signalled the death of the NBA as we had known it and tarnished their reputations forever!

There are still, without doubt, some players and owners who will vote against the agreement out of spite, personal interest and an us versus them macho, competitive mentality that almost put the NBA on its knees but this is understandable when you look at who is involved.

By that I mean elite level, mega-rich and ultra-competitive basketball players and businessmen who finally had a lot more in common than they realized. Let's just say that they were definitely in the one percent group while the rest of us lockout collateral damage victims or fans were from the 99 percent group.




I'd like to finish by paraphrasing Ian Thomsen, SI.com's excellent analyst who drew an interesting parallel between the lockout resolution and recent major world problems by pointing out that our leaders' fundamental role is to negotiate and compromise for the greater good even when it doesn't necessarily fall in line with the vested interest and desires of their constituency.

This is definitely food for thought!

George Eddy from FIBA



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NBA-Lockero
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« Reply #28 on: Nov 18, 2011, 07:24:44 PM »

NBA Basketball  & Free Comments •  Baloncesto NBA & Comentarios Libres

Stern, Magic, Shaq and Kareem

Four icons of NBA basketball have been in the news and it turns out that I have been lucky enough over the years to have known them personally so I thought I would give you my take on what they have said and done lately.

When David Stern was on a fact-finding tour of Europe in 1988, we met several times to project into the future what the NBA might become in terms of international marketing, TV rights and merchandising sales. I was commentating NBA games on TV, serving as a consultant for Spalding and had opened the first NBA-themed sporting goods store in France so we had a lot to exchange.

Stern's trip finished with us attending the first Final Four format of the Cup of Champions won in Gent, Belgium, by Bob Macadoo's and Mike D'Antoni's Milano team. That was a long time ago and when you see how far the NBA has come internationally since then, you can take your hat off to Stern and his men.

When I saw the ugly comments comparing David to a plantation owner as the lockout got more heated, it was a pleasure to read the response of another old aquaintance, Magic Johnson, who valiantly defended Stern's impeccable record on creating opportunities for minorities in roles of power within the NBA.

Magic said that you can disagree with Stern on lockout issues as he plays a thankless role defending the owners' position, but you can't forget what he has done relentlessly in favor of minorities and what he represents as a man (notably as a big Obama supporter).

In fact, who better to represent the success of minorities in American sports and business than Magic as we also celebrate the 20th anniversary of his historically groundbreaking announcement about having HIV.

Former Phoenix Suns owner and USA Basketball visionary Jerry Colangelo said recently in the New York Times that he is sure that this whole lockout marathon is eating away at David inside. He points out how the landscape of NBA owners has changed, how agents control a lot of the players' thinking and how the brave new world of internet and satellite communications and technology will drastically effect the way people consume the NBA in the coming decade.

At the age of 69, Stern is trying to be a bridge between a long period of intense success for the NBA and an upcoming period of greater uncertainty before handing over the reins of power. Despite his outside facade as "Easy Dave", the slick lawyer, I am convinced, is deeply saddened by the bitterness of the negotiations, the intransigence of certain hard-line owners and especially by all the painful collateral damage the lockout has caused to the global NBA family!

On a lighter note, my old buddy Shaquille O'Neal is leaking some juicy passages from his upcoming tell-all book written with the help of the excellent journalist Jackie Macmullan.

In the last 20 years, I have often been Shaq's - or Michael Jordan's for that matter - guide, interviewer or translator on his visits to France and it's true that he loves to speak his mind and take potshots at other well-known personalities.

I remember emceeing Shaq's rap concert in Paris and playing pick-up ball with him and his bodyguard uncles as well as an hour-long talk show interview at the Atlanta Olympics in 1996 accompagnied by Yannick Noah and his 11 year-old son, Joakim. Great memories!

It was no surprise to me to read that the exuberant Shaq never hit it off with the shy and taciturn all-time NBA leading scorer Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, who was our guest of honor for the 10-year anniversary of the French Canal Plus TV channel in 1994.

Apparently, the eternally outgoing Shaq would have appreciated some advice from the legendary but ultra-sensitive Jabbar, who got the impression that Shaq and his entourage considered his sky hook advice unnecessary because O'Neal was doing just fine dunking on everybody!

It's ironic that Shaq was thirsty for Kareem's consultation when it's common knowledge that he was deplorably reticent to listen to advice (including mine) on his terrible free-throw shooting just as the great Wilt Chamberlain was.




Shaq is great company and easy to approach whereas Jabbar is much more profound and reflective about subjects like religion and African-American culture and history.

Both men are definitely worth knowing. Bill Russell should invite them over for tea and discussion because I'm sure they would all have plenty of things to share with each other!

George Eddy from FIBA



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CChambo 212
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« Reply #27 on: Oct 05, 2011, 03:41:09 AM »

NBA Basketball  & Free Comments •  Baloncesto NBA & Comentarios Libres

50-50 start

The one thing that you and I both know is that we hope this is my LAST article concerning the never-ending and eternally boring NBA lockout situation!

The one positive aspect about the lockout is that it has pushed me to become better informed about the economics of the NBA and pro sports in general.

I've learned that in reality the NBA has eight to 10 teams from the big market cities that make good profits thanks to the increased potential for local TV revenues and corporate sponsorship or luxury box income, while 10 to 15 teams hover around the break-even point and five to seven teams are bleeding big money in small markets without much hope in their future.

This breakdown means that the 30 teams which make up the NBA don't have the same priorities and outlook for the future.

The latest proposals filtering out of the behind-closed-doors talks try to address this fact like the increased severity of the luxury tax rule in order to redistribute more money from the rich teams to the poorer teams.

This is probably a good way to permit rich teams like the Los Angeles Lakers or Miami Heat to keep intact their trio of high-paid superstars which is important because the fans want to go to the arenas and watch the home team try and beat these high-profile franchises who are also big ratings draws on television.

The problem in applying a strict hard salary cap to all teams is that it would oblige the Lakers, for example, to break up their roster to get under the cap and render the NBA, in general, more balanced but probably more mediocre too, dragging the top teams down to level of the weaker teams!

The NBA wants to help the poorer teams improve themselves but not necessarily weaken or disarm the stronger franchises for the sake of parity.

Parity and equal distribution of all TV revenues has been a cornerstone of the NFL's success but the NBA is more star-driven with highly-recognisable faces for the fans and the rich franchises are less apt (for the time being) to share their local revenues.

This brings us to the key issue of sharing BRI (Basketball Related Income) also known as one big delicious PIE!

The more recent owners who paid high prices and heavily leveraged their aquisition in order to own an NBA franchise (which might even have lost some value in the last few years) would like to inverse the 57%-43% split that was in favor of the players in the previous agreement and it seems that the magic number for the owners right now is 48% for the players and 52% for the owners to get a deal done.

Excuse me, but a six-year-old child dividing up candy in a schoolyard would clearly see that the final solution is 50% for you and 50% for me and let's play ball on November 1st!

This would flatter the players' egos to be considered an equal partner in the global NBA business picture and this seems perfectly justified to me because the players ARE the business!

If the negotiators could just agree on this basic principle, then all the other issues like salary cap exceptions, length of guaranteed contracts etc... would fall rapidly into place and a lot of the collateral damage that the lockout is producing could be reduced or avoided because no regular season games would be missed.

Apparently, the meeting this Tuesday afternoon could be an opportunity to really make some progress in good faith after months of tactical positionning and doomsday announcements by both sides in an effort to get an edge.




My one hope is that the owners' hidden agenda is NOT to wait until regular season games are cancelled and the players start losing real paychecks in order to be able to negotiate from a position of force because the players have their financial backs to the wall!

Only time will tell.

George Eddy from FIBA



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Gasol Fan
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« Reply #26 on: Jun 29, 2011, 09:34:56 AM »

NBA Basketball  & Free Comments •  Baloncesto NBA & Comentarios Libres

Draft and lockout

It was supposed to be an historically weak draft and only time will tell which teams made horrible decisions with high draft picks and which teams found diamonds in the rough with lower picks as San Antonio has become famous for over the years.

For American fans, the big question is whether NCAA superstar Jimmer Fredette can do better than Orlando's JJ Redick or Charlotte's bust Adam Morrison who had about the same profile coming out of college with reputations as big scorers. From an international standpoint, Fredette's case is of little interest since many non-American basketball specialists consider the NCAA basketball level of play extremely overrated!

On the other hand, the international community did notice that seven of the first 25 players chosen in the draft were non-Americans and more importantly four of the top 10! This can be explained by the weakening of the US talent pool over the years - the best players only stay in school for one year - as well as increased respect for the way international clubs develop players around the world.

There is also a permanent research for quality tall players from Europe or Africa, notably, which explains a lot of the high draft picks for international players.

Let's give a special mention to Lithuania, a country like Montenegro in the women's Eurobasket tournament, which squeezes the utmost talent out of a very small population! This, though, was not a good draft for France which had been a big producer of young talent for the NBA over the last decade.

Let's move on to the lockout situation which has the whole NBA planet sitting on pins and needles out of fear of losing a season or games or salaries once the CBA (Collective Bargaining Agreement) runs out at the end of June.

Let me try and simplify for you a complex negotiation process. In the end, the owners need a deal that will permit all teams to make some kind of a profit by reducing the percentage of revenues dedicated to players' salaries but also by better sharing local TV revenues between big market and small market teams to make for a more level playing field.

There will certainly be a reduction in the length of guaranteed contracts with more optional years non-guaranteed to avoid the costly contract mistakes teams have made in the last decade and a gradual move over the coming years towards a hard salary cap with less exceptions compared to today's CBA.

I doubt the players union will accept a 10-year deal. In this rapidly changing world economic context, a five-year deal seems more likely. The owners could reduce fines and increase pension payments to players to lessen the impact of the bitter pill the players will eventually be required to swallow. I think a 20 percent rollback in players' salaries will probably be close to the final compromise.

An essential point will be a change in mentality where the players will negotiate from a stronger position as future partners of the owners in a global NBA enterprise instead of the conflictual owner-employee relationship of the present.

An interesting parallel can be drawn with the situation concerning labor relations in Germany where an intelligent  partnership between companies and unions has permitted that country to turn its economy around faster than its European neighbors.

For the NBA, we will get a better feel for the outcome of these negotiations at several signpost dates starting with the expiration of the current CBA.




If a deal is not hammered out, the next important date will be the start of the season at the end of October when players concretely start losing paychecks and teams are blocked by forced inactivity!

Since I love covering the NBA, my fingers are crossed that we won't have to reach that extreme which everyone agrees would be detrimental to the image of the league and its players!

George Eddy from FIBA



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per_de_dos
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« Reply #25 on: Jun 15, 2011, 04:36:53 AM »

NBA Basketball  & Free Comments •  Baloncesto NBA & Comentarios Libres

Old School Dallas Victory

Wow! The 2011 NBA Finals were ultra close and hard-fought battles from start to finish, full of comebacks, runs, emotions and diverse story lines!

After five games, just FOUR points separated these two teams that couldn't be more different.

Coach Rick Carlisle of the winning Dallas Mavericks finally let out a sigh and a big smile as he described the victory as a win for old school basketball and teamwork over individual brilliance.

Dallas played close to the floor with old veterans desperate to taste a title and willing to sacrifice and watch each other's backs after years of frustration and criticism (think Dirk Nowitzki), whereas Miami was more of a permanent, airborne, reality TV show caravan starring young divas of a newer generation who teamed up to try and find a shortcut to a championship.

For me, the shared experience and roster continuity over the last few years gave Dallas a decisive edge on the biggest stage during the biggest moments. Their ability to spread the floor, penetrate the Miami Heat defense and hit big shots was crucial.

Carlisle rightly added: "Miami will have their time but this OUR time and it had to be now" because every Mavs player's biological clock was ticking!

As Nowitzki knows better than most, anything worth having is worth waiting for so you have to pay your dues which guys like Jason Kidd, Shawn Marion, Jason Terry, Tyson Chandler, DeShawn Stevenson and J.J. Barea have certainly done, in spades!

Nowitzki, the hard-working and quiet humble leader of this special group shared his Finals MVP spotlight with all his team-mates, pointing out the key contributions of even the most modest role players.

What an irony that Dirk struggled mightily in the first half of the decisive Game 6, shooting one of 12, as Terry, Stevenson and Barea stepped up big time just like in Game 5 and Dallas miraculously led by two at halftime.

It was Dirk's worst half, by far, of the playoffs but the NBA's best bench this season once again showed its resilience to hold the fort until Dirk got himself together in the second half.

Dirk said: "They carried me in the first half when I couldn't find my rhythm".

Some of the other keys for Dallas in the series were: Marion's all-around play and defense on LeBron James; Chandler's energy on the glass, on defense and in the locker room; Kidd's leadership, defense on all comers plus timely shot-making, which is a Dallas trademark along with their ability to play 48 minutes, never say die and always find a way to make a comeback when they are in dire straits.

Dirk pointed out that coming back and winning Game 2 in Miami was the turning point of the series and I will add that that was the starting point for LeBron's gradual meltdown in the last four games (Dallas won four of the last five).

James was heavily criticised for holding the ball to much in the money time of Game 2 and this seemed to provoke hesitation and doubt that became progressively worse as the games became more intense and important.

Dallas' confusing mix of man and zone defense always helping out on LeBron's and Dwyane Wade's penetration was efficient at making James question his own decision-making and threw his outside shot off. Do I pass or do I drive or do I shoot? The look of perplexity on LeBron's face was painful to watch for a heroic Wade who played almost as stratospherically as in 2006.

In fact, the scenario for these Finals was 2006 backwards with Miami seeming to dominate early in the series winning two of the first three games and then letting it slip away after a major turning point which made the confidence level change sides, whereas in 2006 it was Dallas in the bad role after letting Miami come back to win Game 3.

Rumours circulated about problems in LeBron's private life and the 2,000 media members spent more time trying to figure out what was wrong with James rather than talking about what was right with Dallas! This only fueled Dallas' colossal motivation and mental toughness even more.

Dallas had more resourcefulness, unity and experience starting with the head coach and going all the way down the bench to the 12th man.

This result was also satisfying revenge for Mark Cuban, their owner, who put all the pieces together, built around Dirk and who stayed surprisingly and wisely silent during the last two weeks.




This unique series produced a unique, perseverant champion that basketball fans everywhere can appreciate. This beautifully intense sports spectacle also makes our desire even more powerful to see the NBA avoid a destructive lockout in the summer of 2011!

George Eddy from FIBA



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