Smack / Oct 5, 2011 / 12:07 am

NBA Lockout Talks Reach A Breaking Point; Andrei Kirilenko Is Going Home

Paul Pierce

There’s nothing else to say at this point, other than if they don’t get this deal done by Monday, David Stern and the rest of the NBA will start canceling games. The two sides met for four hours yesterday for what was deemed an enormously important negotiation day by pretty much everyone involved, and yet they came out of it still very much apart. The meetings basically ended when the owners low-balled the players with an offer of 47 percent of the basketball related income, down from the 57 percent in the previous CBA, and still much lower than the player’s offer of 53 percent … While it was Dwyane Wade blowing smoke at Stern for treating him like a child last Friday, his spot might’ve been taken by Kevin Garnett, who would probably do this if Stern pointed a finger at him. The minute KG showed up, reporters joked all chances of having rational conversations went out the window with the fire-breathing dragon coming to kill everything in his path. Also in the house yesterday for the meetings: Ben Gordon, Paul Pierce and Kobe Bryant, amongst the regulars … But wait, are we going to criticize the players for going out and having a good time? Turns out after many of the NBA’s best came to New York on Friday for the meetings, some of them went out and were having a great time before bouncing on Saturday without attending more meetings. These dudes aren’t machines. Fans may look at this through a fantasy prism. To them, the NBA isn’t a job. It’s entertainment. It’s a fantasy league. It’s a night out at Buffalo Wild Wings. But to the players, it is a job, and right now, they have time off from their job. If you received time off and you had enough money where you weren’t concerned about bills, what would you do? Go out…have fun…take a vacation…hang out with your friends and family…have a life. These are the only viable responses. Would it be amazing if all the stars cared so much that they were at every meeting, every day and stayed for every minute? Sure. We wish they could all be Paul Pierce, who has been singled out multiple times for his input in these meetings, or even Derek Fisher. Would it be awesome if they were working around the clock to get the NBA back on so all those folks working in the league have their jobs back? Of course. But that just isn’t reality. In a sense, it shouldn’t be either. Would you do the same with your job? Probably. You might even relish the time off. We can hope for an end to this disappointing lockout, but we shouldn’t expect players to be unselfish saints spending their lives working to save the jobs of other people because that’s just not realistic … Bryant’s presence was noted yesterday, and Stern wished him luck if he is able to find a deal to play overseas. But just as it seemed a formality last week, talks have now slowed. Plus, there’s this from a source close to Bryant’s camp: If he does go over, he will probably play “fairly carefully.” No way those words originally came from Bryant’s mouth. They don’t compute with him. That’s a perfect way to get hurt anyways – go over there and hold yourself back or act like you’re above the competition … At the NBA 2K12 launch party we hit up last week, Robert Horry spoke on the lockout and actually said the player who reminds him most of himself is Rudy Gay. Do you see it? Horry did admit Gay was better, but he should’ve said a lot better. At his best, Horry was an average-to-decent starter who somehow jumped about five plateaus in crunch time. Gay is a near All-Star, and someone who’s actually one of the better end-of-the-game finishers in the league. Still, it speaks to both player’s versatility to hear that comparison … The Andrew Bogut-to-Australia deal that has been in limbo pretty much all summer is now officially being put on hold because of an insurance problem. Without an appropriate insurance, Bogut won’t play over there … While Bogut is having his problems, Andrei Kirilenko is having none. The forward signed a three-year deal to play for CSKA Moscow. It does include an opt-out if the lockout ends, but who knows what AK-47 will do? He’s from Russia and grew up in that system before he came over to the NBA. This is literally like going home, and he shouldn’t have a problem fitting in at all … How many hours did you spend playing NBA 2K12 yesterday? We had to set limits here in the office so people could actually get some work done. But we love the suggestion Dime poster sweetv0mit had in Smack yesterday: 2K tournament for 7 hours owners vs players. Loser loses the lockout … And someone needs to put a muzzle on Metta World Peace‘s Twitter account. Seriously … We’re out like AK-47.

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  • Big Island

    I have a wedding to go to on Saturday, and I went to the mall to tighten up the shoe game a little bit. Well I went into gamestop with the gf, she had to buy some games for the kids, and a dude came in with his Larry Bird jersey on. In a scooter, with a cane, and he apparently goes in all of the time because the dude behind the counter, in his Amare NY jersey, kept handing him the wrong cover. “I said Larry dude, come on!” “Oh, did I give you the wrong one? My bad!” It was awesome and made me wish I played video games.

    And Dime, I love you guys, but in no way, shape, or form if you are trying to keep your job, do you go to a meeting, go out, and then not show back up. So Wade comes in, yells, and never shows back up? If I were the owners, I would offer 30% and say fuck off.

  • K Dizzle

    I feel Big Shot on the Rudy comparison. He shoulda been specific on the timeframe tho. Horry fresh outta Bama was pretty comparable to Rudy. Extra long small forward who ran the floor n dunked with abandon, hit the occasional jumper with open looks all day with Dream in the post.

  • hmm

    How come no one says anything about Dirk or steve nash being there? just a question

  • Promoman

    KG won’t act up at all. He’s a pussy with a fugazi switch.

  • beiber newz

    i am actually to the point where i myself will have no problem to sacrifce a season just so these owners realize who brings in the bacon (the players). but i digress because i have a heart for those on the verge of retirement and those are the players who can’t afford a minus year. j kidd, ben wallace, marcus camby etc. those guys are counting the months they have left to play professionally. it’s a sucky situation and i am glad i am not the one who has to sit through 7 hour meetings and plan further long meetings just to get nowhere. i had a hard enuff time listening to 55 minute professors’ lectures in college.

  • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A7Er5TsQrGg alf (from melmak)

    “The minute KG showed up, reporters joked all chances of having rational conversations went out the window with the fire-breathing dragon coming to kill anything that was small, white or European. Also in the house yesterday for the meetings: Ben Gordon, Paul Pierce and Kobe Bryant, amongst the regulars.”

    — Geez, can you guys just avoid the race color stuff? I know you said “reporters joked” but do you have to repeat it? And include Ben Gordon, who is Brit in the next sentence?

    Then you guys go: “These dues aren’t machines.” Err, I guess you meant “dudes”.

    Oh and one last thing Dime, you are correct when you said being an NBA player is a “job”. Suppose you guys in the Dime office have a CBA problem (Which I highly doubt because I can possibly count your staff with my 10 fingers.), would you you guys still go out and have fun instead of fixing the situation? We are supposed to adhere to a high level of commitment to whichever job we do and to the company that employs us.

    If that was a blog or a personal opinion, I am fine with it. But if you guys want to be considered as journalists, there are certain standards that you should conform.

    My meal allowance says Dime must be regretting the day Austin Burton walked out, resigned, or whatever term you might want to call it.

  • Fish

    Horry was talented as hell, his game just wasn’t focused on numbers. He always understood his role and put all his energies into that. He may have been a bit too “business” about basketball, but I never doubted how good a player he was.

  • yoda

    @ Alf

    in KG’s case, it is correct to say he will breath fire if he’s against short ones, europeans or white dudes. because for some reason he thinks they won’t pull anthony peeler on him. Stern should call Calderon as his bodyguard.
    But i agree with you concerning the meetings and their work. Its hard to take players seriously when they are out there on the beach, instead in room with oweners, trying to get their stuff done. Wade came, acted as a 12 year old, then went out and never came back? And players think someone will take them seriously if they go to play overseas? If just one of superstars signed no opt out contract, players would have more leverage. This way, its just an empty threat.

  • First & Foremost

    @Yoda – Thank you, Great minds don’t think alike, they just use common sense.

    @Alf – Correction: You have 8 fingers.

    @Beiber – Do you really have pity on a 35+/- year old man who realized his dream of playing in the NBA? The end of the road is coming and you’d hate to see guys retire like this but they had full careers. If Ben Wallace can get around that DUI charge from last week, he’ll realize his other goal of becoming a defense lawyer. This is basketball, you get to see players grow up, get old, and then get replaced.

    @Hmm – Good question…

  • Jzsmoove

    Isn’t a decent starter Horry = near allstar Gay? Except Horry was one helluva smart and notches up when it’s crunch time . He knew and embraced his role to last in the league. I don’t doubt he could have been a franchise player if given the chance. No dis to Gay, he is a heck of a package but still needs to put it all together.

  • Cha-Ching

    Half of Smack today was on how the NBA is on that bull. The other half didn’t even matter. Ready to focus on college ball. Here in Chicago, probably will get more in tune with the preps also.


  • danocasa

    I feel like I can fully blame the players if what they are really doing is coming to a meeting, acting like petulant children, and then leaving to go party with the season in the balance. What kind of maturity is that? What kind of responsbility is that? Look, this is a lock out and not a strike, so it is on the owners, but come on. If there is no season, not only the fans, owners, and players suffer, but so do the concession stand guys, the scouts, the video coordinators, the assistant coaches, the training staffs, the maintenance guys, the ball boys, etc.
    I am absolutely on the players side on this legally and financially, but to come in to the talks (especially dressed the way Baron was), act a fool, talk down to the man who is BY FAR the most powerful and respected commissioner in American sports, and then leave without at least setting up another meeting before regular season games get cancelled is selfish and short-sighted.
    Keep in mind that it’s a bunch of athletes (and Billy Hunter) litigaing against David Stern, his Columbia law degree, and his army of master lawyers who are being paid by 30 of the wealthiest men in the country/world (except for the Maloofs).
    If the players think they can flex their muscles to try and get out of this without it blowing up in their faces is complete bravado. Wade should shut the fuck up and let Fish and Hunter do all the talking.
    The owners can/will cave, they backed off the hard cap, and they will come up to the 47/53 split of revenue that the players have already conceded to. But if they try and have a dick swinging contest with Stern, they will lose.
    Yoda also has it right that as long as all these overseas contracts have opt-out clauses, the mass exile of superstars to foreign countries is an empty threat.

  • Bballeducator

    I might have missed this some where along the way and maybe one of ya’ll can help me out, but has Dime had an article breaking down the lockout. I mean the numbers, the major hang-ups, and whats going on now.

    I know they touch on different aspects here and there in different articles but I just figured a publication devoted to nothing but the NBA would do a major article on the ONE story that is happening in the L.

    if they have then I apologize but if they havent, doesnt that come off a little lazy as journalist to not devote a serious effort in covering the situation….just a thought

  • Big Island

    All it would take is one player to say fuck it, I’m not going to be friendly. It would have to be a big name though. Like Lebron:

    (To the press) Hey guys. Look, we know that there need to be a couple of changes. Listen, the owners can’t even get on the same page. That guy in Phoenix, he bought the team at it’s peak, ton of good guys, scared the crap out of the West, and then screwed it up, team lost value, and he’s screaming that the system is broken. I wanted to stay in Cleveland. I tried to stay in Cleveland. It’s my hometown, great fans, great community. But the owner doesn’t know what he’s doing. And he hires guys who don’t know what they’re doing. I gave it a few years, it was getting worse, so I had to leave my hometown to go play someplace where I have a chance to win. You know where my first choice was? LA Clippers. LA. Big market, great young core, and we have a couple of years left with Kobe. Me vs Kobe. West vs East with the Knicks, the Heat, everyone wins. But the owner is a racist so I couldn’t do it. A racist owner has a financially successful team in the NBA, but other guys can’t do it? The NBA, where a racist owns a team in the second largest media market. I tried. Imagine Blake, DeAndre, Eric Gordon and myself on the floor. You think Wade gets dunks now? Watch me play PG with a guy to kick it out to if I don’t throw a lob to Blake or DeAndre, or just cram on someone myself.

    I appreciate you coming over and talking to me. Yeah, we need to tweak the system a little bit. We understand it isn’t the same as it was a few years back. But until the owners realize that they have some bad apples in their group, and come up with a real proposal, there really isn’t anything to negotiate. OKC has done a great job. Portland has done a great job. Those aren’t big markets. Those are smart teams. And they are being screwed by other owners who aren’t as smart, or by teams that just can’t make money because the city doesn’t have the economy to support a team. Look, a harder cap, shorter contracts, a different split of the revenue, all of these things are necessary. We get that. But we as players can’t agree to a deal with a group that isn’t very stable. We like to play basketball. We like to win. We need to be paid fairly for what we bring to the table.

  • First & Foremost

    Whoa Whoa Whoa – Yoda might have been the first today to express that point of view but it has been floating around for a bit.

    You can ignore the wife-bedroom analogy. But if Dwight decides to play in China with no opt out clause. How does that affect Orlando? Would his contract simply come off the books? Could it be traded? Would the NBA contract be voided? Would Nelson have a Mo Williams-like reaction?

    How does the union decertifying help the player’s cause? Or is it a ploy for the agents to get a foot in the door? So many questions…

  • First & Foremost

    @Big Island – I’m not sure if Lebron has that kind of personality to call his own press conference wherever he wants to be broadcasted by a major network on primetime just to air out his personal feelings on a particular subject that changes the NBA landscape as we know it. For some reason he comes off as the guy who will keep it low key like a midget’s doorknob.

    I figured you’d pick a Kurt Thomas kind of guy. Maybe even Ricky Davis, he’s been popping up on the interwebs nowadays. But Lebron?!?!? C’mon Son! Just because you have red hair doesn’t mean you have a bright ideas.

    [I’m just playin’]

  • beiber newz

    first and foremost

    i feel sorry for the older vets because i have a heart. i know they had career, log ones, especially the kidd’s and nash’s of the league. but if you were them, wouldn’t you like to go out the league in the RIGHT way? wouldn’t you like to retire with your teammates in the locker room? hugging it out with your coaches? speaking to the fans in press rooms? but no. this lockout may force certain players to retire behind the scenes. with NO locker room embraces or tears or hugs or anything. those are the ones who may have to take to online media to announce retirement if the nba never gets back on. they will be at home eating cheerios and decide to quit. after having a long dignified career, would you like to leave the game in that fashion?

  • First & Foremost

    The onwers don’t have any restrictions barring contact with former NBA players. You can still get a handshake. With today’s media you could hold your own press conference anywhere. Call a flash mob to see you sit like a statue. Nash could even turn his retirement into a Toyota commercial. Plenty of players ride off in the sunset unannounced. If the players you mentioned where to retire ESPN would do a quick segment, that organization would do something. Besides, you named some low key guys who wouldn’t want to world to stop just because they retired from entertainment.

    However, I feel you on the “Right” way and wrong circumstances. Who wants their retirement overshadowed by a lockout?

  • beiber newz

    lol i named low key guys cuz i was too lazy to think of the ones that i would actually hate to see leave the game. if you think of some lemme know..maybe a ray allen type? but he’s in good shape. don’t see him retiring for another 3 seasons. at most…

  • Mt. Pleasant

    I have been going back and forth on who I blame for the lockout and I still am not sure. There’s probably blame on both sides.

    I know I don’t agree with the people that say the players are the ones who play and people go to see so they should get the majority of the money and the owners should just shut up.

    That’s not how the capitalism works. In any other business, the owner, who has all of the risk makes the most money.

    For example, I work for a small, fairly successful company. I feel that I am the best employee and make the company the most money and I am paid pretty well. Even though I feel like I am a big part of the money made, I recognize that I didn’t take any of the risks, or get the company to the point where it is making the money it is now.

    As for who to feel sorry for, not the owners, not the players, the fans a little bit, but mostly the people in marketing, concession etc. who need a season to make rent.

  • http://www.zwani.com/graphics/funny_pictures/images/88funny-pictures128.jpg JAY

    ^ Blame it on the rain… yeah… yeah…

  • http://www.zwani.com/graphics/funny_pictures/images/88funny-pictures128.jpg JAY

    ^ Blame it on the stars that shine at night

  • beiber newz

    breaking news.

    players and owners are now just 80 million dollars apart.
    great news. better than a billion. 80 million is like an all star player’s contract. my optimism has shot up. i’m already looking forward to nba tv.

  • beiber newz

    also…word has it that a deal could be struck as soon as SUNDAY !!!! cross your muthaluvin fingers my friends.

  • http://www.zwani.com/graphics/funny_pictures/images/88funny-pictures128.jpg JAY

    Just a thought…. how uncomfortable do you guys think Pierce was when he took the photo?? I mean, the corner of the banister is up his ass.

  • Big Island

    JAY – He loved it. The photgrapher said he should just sit on the step, but Pierce said no way. I want a bannister up my ass. True story, I was there.

    F&F – I didn’t want to use Lebron for that reason. He is an ass. But he is as big a star as there is in the league, and he just switched teams. And because I have red hair, everything that is communicated is exactly 24.2% less intelligent than when it is in my brain. Us redheads are idiots. Famous redheads: Bill Walton (crippled), David Caruso (screwed up his career), Conan OBrien (ditto), Blake Griffin (naked in ESPN Body Issue), Shaun White (hippie). Me (borderline retard).

  • http://www.nbadunks.org/nba-lockout-–-the-latest-news-october-5-2011/ NBA Lockout
  • http://www.zwani.com/graphics/funny_pictures/images/88funny-pictures128.jpg JAY

    LMAO!!! @ Big I “True story, I was there.” HAHA!