Friday, September 30, 2011
I know I have readers who need their cheerleader fix. Lockout or not, there is a new 2011-2012 Orlando Magic Dancers squad. Although they may be on the decline from say our '09 Finals team, they're still our girls. They've invaded the Philippines with the usual blue and white flare we've come to expect, and it's all apart of NBA Madness 2011.
Currently we're at a critical point in owner-player negotiations. If no progress is made this weekend, David Stern supposedly will threaten the loss of the entire '11-'12 season. By far the most intriguing quote comes from the anonymous NBA executive that said not to expect a 50-game season. Whoops. Seeing a doubtful Russ Granik is never a good sign.
Darrell Armstrong was calling David Stern's bluff, just as I'm sure many current players and writers are this week. Interesting that Darrell's reasoning was that the television networks would apply tons of pressure on the league offices. Tough to deny that's not occurring at this time either. Armstrong also brought up how it took an outstanding home run race to rescue baseball from the backlash they faced caused from their strike. Salute to Tim Povtak once again.
The NBA, trying to put some urgency into labor negotiations with its players union, will consider canceling the 1998-99 season if a new collective bargaining agreement isn't reached soon.
With the start of the regular season (Nov. 3) almost certainly to be postponed and negotiations going nowhere, the league is debating where it will draw the line in canceling the season.
``There is a point where a season loses its credibility. Where that is, hasn't been determined yet,'' said one NBA executive, who wished not to be identified. ``But we won't do what hockey did one year - play an abbreviated season. There won't be a 50-game season in the NBA. We don't feel that would be worth starting at all.''
The NBA and its players' union are not scheduled to negotiate face-to-face again until Oct. 8, and the two sides remain polarized by the issue of a salary cap.
Billy Hunter, executive director of the National Basketball Players Association, said he never would accept the hard salary cap the owners want. Russ Granik, NBA deputy commissioner, said there won't be an agreement without a hard salary cap to give owners some cost certainty.
The NBA generated $1.7 billion in revenue last season with almost $1 billion going to players in salary and benefits. The owners want assurances in the new CBA that will make it a 50/50 split.
Granik, Hunter, NBA Commissioner David Stern and Patrick Ewing, president of the players' union, met briefly Monday in New York, but little was accomplished, according to both sides.
The players are content to wait on the ruling, scheduled to come by Oct. 19, by an independent arbitrator on whether players with guaranteed contracts must be paid if the current lockout extends into the regular season. The owners are counting upon the threat of players missing their paychecks (beginning Nov. 15) to give them an edge in negotiations.
``I never really believed that you could lose a whole season, but now I'm starting to believe that's possible,'' Granik said earlier this week.
Although he said it was premature to talk about canceling the season, Granik admitted it had been discussed. For players, who make an average of $2.6 million, the cancellation would be devastating.
Although owners would lose considerable revenue from ticket sales and sponsorship packages, their four-year, $2.6 billion television package is guaranteed whether there is a season or not.
``I don't think David Stern would take a chance and do that [cancel the season],'' Magic free-agent guard Darrell Armstrong said from Atlanta on Wednesday. ``Even though NBC [and Turner network] paid the owners a lot of money, they gave them that money with the idea of seeing us play. So everybody loses during a lockout.
``You also have to look what it did to baseball a couple of years ago. It took the home-run race with [Sammy] Sosa and [Mark] McGwire for the fans to really come back to the game of baseball this year. In the NBA, we don't know if we're going to have anything like that to draw the fans back, especially if Michael [Jordan] retires.''
Both sides say it will take an estimated four weeks from the time a deal is signed before the regular season could start. There are more than 200 free agents to be signed, trades to be made, and training camps to be held.
The league already has announced an indefinite postponement of training camps that were supposed to begin Oct. 6 and the cancellation of 25 exhibition games. The league is expected to cancel the rest of the preseason games early next week.
``The players are taking a strong stance, and the owners are taking a strong stance,'' Armstrong said. ``It looks like they're going to start talking again soon. So, we're just going to have to wait and see what happens.''
Thursday, September 29, 2011
Here's a 20-minute local Orlando interview involving Dwight Howard from Wednesday night, September 28th. I have to give a respectful nod to the guys at SBK Live on Real Radio 104.1 FM for a surprisingly very solid interview. They didn't hound the Magic superstar like some other local shows and programs I know of, and they were fairly successful in getting Dwight to open up a bit (once he shook off his tiredness).
It starts off with a quick mention of Superman's dogs, but immediately at the 2:30 mark is where Orlando Magic fans really need to pay attention. Dwight really did appreciate SBK's little thank you speech. From there we got into Dwight's worldwide tour, some details with Adidas commercials, cars, local spots, movies, and video games. Funny that Dwight doesn't like basketball video games considering he was on the cover of NBA Live 10.
Howard also mentioned that he wasn't planning on competing in any more charity basketball exhibitions for the remainder of the work stoppage. Dwight would only participate if it was more of a 'goofing around' affair since he's taking his personal training so seriously. Dwight also shows his displeasure with the Orlando Sentinel and some of his Twitter followers.
You can tell 'D12' has been wanting to clarify some of his statements made about the Amway Center crowds, and really appears to be a misunderstood individual. Howard talked briefly about the 'Fat Guy' and 'Sweater Vest Guy', which all of us diehards appreciate listening to. This entire sound bite is arguably the most important one coming from Dwight's mouth since the playoffs ended. Push aside the big man's summer frustrations, and you see a franchise beast who is still in love with the City Beautiful. Let's hope we see him on the court this '11-'12 season, whenever that may be.
Maybe the most impressive 2-hour NBA-dedicated masterpiece I've ever seen. It's from 1996 and it's a celebration of 50 strong National Basketball Association years. Denzel Washington is the host, so you know the money and extra production crews were whipped out for this clip. I'll let the highlights and interviews take it from here. It's a history lesson for sure.
Wednesday, September 28, 2011
This isn't a coincidence. I'm telling you folks, David Stern has that '98-'99 calendar on his desk with notable news snippets. On Tuesday, the NBA owners appeared to be budging on their hard cap demands. We now shift to 13 years ago, and the players' union put its foot down and continued to vehemently refuse a hard salary cap in the CBA negotiations. Danny Schayes made his bimonthly Magic player representative appearance in the Sentinel sports section.
Russ Granik, again, was holding strong for the owners. Both sides were at least making some progress as you'll see at the bottom of the article. Also, I'm sure Marcus Camby wasn't too happy about marijuana being on the banned substance list.
``Under no circumstances would the players accept a hard cap, but that's been our position all along,'' Schayes said Monday from his home in Denver. ``We're sensitive to the owners' position - and we'll consider almost anything - but not a hard cap. I think we're unanimous that it won't work. We'll sit and wait for as long as it takes.''
Schayes was in New York on Friday at a Players Association meeting when the owners made their latest proposal, which included a hard salary cap, phasing out the exceptions that allow teams to exceed the cap to sign their own free agents.
The salary cap is the biggest issue separating the players and owners, who exercised their option to negotiate a new agreement, instituting a lockout July1. The players would like the salary cap to remain flexible - with all but seven teams last season exceeding it. But the owners want a hard cap with no exceptions, giving them cost certainty.
The owners already have postponed training camps, which were expected to start Oct.6, and canceled the first week of exhibition games. By the end of this week, they are expected to cancel the rest of the preseason.
``I'm hearing that the league really isn't interested in negotiating at this point. The strategy seems to be `let the players miss a few paychecks, and then we'll get serious,''' Schayes said. ``The latest proposal didn't seem much different than the previous one.''
Russ Granik, NBA deputy commissioner, said the owners are equally adamant about securing a hard cap that will slow the rapid escalation of salaries. He, too, said the owners won't budge on that issue.
Schayes, 39, is a free agent this summer. After 17 years in the league, he said he never has seen the players union as unified as it is now.
``The union has been telling guys for a year this was likely to happen, that they should save their money. I think the players have a great respect for [executive director) Billy Hunter and the job he is doing for us,'' Schayes said. ``The owners, I think, their goal is to divide and conquer.''
Both sides are waiting for an arbitrator to rule early next month on whether the owners have to honor the 200 guaranteed contracts during the lockout. Both sides expect that ruling to change negotiations. But that may come too late to save the start of the regular season Nov.4.
``We'll talk about anything but a hard cap. The owners won't talk about anything but a hard cap,'' Schayes said. ``So things are kind of stuck right now. We're all worried about the fans, but the players didn't start this lockout. We didn't cause it. We're ready to go play.''
Players have agreed in principle to the league's request to add marijuana to the list of banned substances and allow a team to have the right of first refusal allowing them to match any free-agent offer made to a player whose rookie scale contract has expired.
The union's offer also has included replacing the $1 million exception with a $2.5 million exception available every year, and an additional $3 million exception for non-playoff teams.
Tuesday, September 27, 2011
I hope Olympiakos' owners, the Angelopoulos brothers, were in the OAKA stands tonight when Kobe held up that jersey. Yes, some of the Panathinaikos fans booed. Bryant continued his Athens NIKE basketball tour on Tuesday. Earlier in the morning, 'KB24' played and trained with youth kids (in a much smaller arena) who have been competing in 3-on-3 tournaments over the past week. You can say a similar scene occurred at OAKA. The Los Angeles Laker guard is looking for a full $15 million from Virtus Bologna before he can truly consider suiting up in Italy. I must say the Black Mamba would look good in red and white. He's definitely enjoyed his 2-day stay in Greece as he can't wipe the smile off his face.
Portland Draft pick and current Panionios player Jon Diebler joined Kobe yesterday, while today it was Greek national team legend and current Olympiakos player Vassilis Spanoulis who made his special appearance. 'Kill Bill' gifted Bryant the Olympiakos jersey. 'Mamba' and 'V-Span' shared some time together with the youth players at OAKA. These two dueled in the 2008 Beijing Olympics and both men expressed their massive respect for one another. Gazzetta.gr has been dominating this Kobe coverage these past few days.
what? did I miss something? what happened while I was in the toilet?
ohhh I don't like that sounds.. it's making me dance wild
hello there.. I sell vacuum for a cheap price, anyone is interested?
yes this Agent Amare speaking.. the area is clean and the guy in red suit is confirmed
hey this mine.. you three monkeys stole this ball from me..
cyborg Amare operating.. x-ray vision on.. ready for inhalation
wow... what a huge biceps you have here.. its so hard.. grrrrrrrgggghhhhhh...
I don't have anything .. I'm so poor , I don't have clothes..
and the only thing left from me is this
chain bling bling cost 10million
I'm the Genie in the lamp.. bwahhahaah!
no its not TRUE that I'll be moving to New York.. I love the Suns...
ohhh this cap? I have this for FREE in Madison Garden
ohh joe... it tickles.. okey okey.. I'll give you the ball, stop harassing me
hahahaha!!! those two Kings looks retards... bwahahaha!
yes... this is what they told me about the deal..
Madison Square Garden is all mine....
Ok just celebrate all you suckers.. I'll lock the gate and no one can come out
what's my talent? I can hold my breathe in 5mins while farting continuously..
wanna see it?
I'll gonna sneeze...wwhaccchoooooo!!!!!...
NBA Live...? this is fake.. the real Amare can dunk from freethrow line
with 5 players over it
bump it harder girl.. bump it...
I see an UFO Ship outside .. this size ... yo I don't lie
WAaaZzzzzaaaaaaa!!! yeeeehhhhh I'm still here yo..!
Sheriff Amare at your service... I'm the fastest gun in the west...
Must kill the coach.. must kill the coach...
(I knew it...someone's controlling Amare.. he's a cyborg..)
That Gorilla makes me hungry.. I want to grill him
Amare : ooohhh I know where's tickling point.. its here in the arm-pit..
Garnett : Stop it... hhheerrrrr...
Amare: Stop it Fisher.. don't touch it.. I want to see the ball bounce..
Fisher : what a retard... of course it will bounce
hi guys.. seems I don't have money.. can I just pay you with two
girls in my collections
girls in my collections
hey I know this guy? you are the drag queen earlier
sorry Bro.. this belongs to my company and they are my property...
My finisher move in WWE.. knee head crusher shit
I have a Eddie Murphy jokes.. its goes like this...
my reach is higher than all you guys.. beat that...
Man its so frustrating to get famous... hope this will give me a shot
where did everybody go? do I smell stinks?