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11 posts from November 2011

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Hooray! NBA is back!

Players and owners agreed to a tentative deal to end the lockout early Saturday morning.

Want instant drama? The Heat will begin the season on Christmas Day against the Mavericks in Dallas. That means the Mavericks will receive their championship rings and raise the championship banner in front of LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh moments before the season starts.

If players and owners ratify the deal (a formality, it seems), free agency and training camp will begin on Dec. 9. The Heat has work to do. Point guard Mario Chalmers is a restricted free agent and the Heat must weigh the option of using the new CBA's amnesty clause to cut a player (possibly Mike Miller) in order to reduce payroll against a new, beefed up luxury tax.

The Heat must also sign draft pick Norris Cole and go searching for a point guard or center with its mid-level exception.


Friday, November 18, 2011

Chalmers organizes exhibition in Alaska; Wade might not play

Mario Chalmers has organized an exhibition basketball game to be played in his native Anchorage, Alaska, on Dec. 1.

48_chalmersmarioIn other words, MARIO CHALMERS has organized, arguably, the most logistically challenging exhibition game of this long offseason. Congrats to him. I mean, never mind getting to Alaska. Being there this time of year is miserable. The low tonight in Anchorage is two degrees.

Chalmers has commitments from some of his buddies around the league and Carlos Boozer (the other Alaskan). No doubt a good time will be had by all when Chalmers gets together with Michael Beasley,  Daequan Cook and James Harden.

Chris Bosh and Dexter Pittman will play in the game but Dwyane Wade told Chalmers he might not make it because of his responsibility as a parent. Sounds like a good excuse to me to get out of going to Alaska in December.

On Thursday, Wade did say that he might consider playing overseas if the season is lost. (He said this in August as well.) I seriously doubt Wade will ever play in a league overseas but I'm assuming he'll be bringing his boys if he does so.


PICTURED: Sources confirm that this Heat dancer will not be playing overseas or going to Alaska.


Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Chris Bosh weirded out by lockout; Shaq talks some smack

The Associated Press caught up to Chris Bosh on Tuesday at the Miami-Rutgers game. Here's what he said:

Bosh"It's still kind of weird not playing, because I've always played in November. So it's feeling real out of place and I still can't see it. But I think we're all aware of what could possibly happen. We don't see it happening like that, but what can you do?"

What can you do? Seriously, Chris? You can AGREE TO A DEAL! The rent is TOO DAMN HIGH! I like  WRITING IN ALL-CAPS to emphasize a point.

Also from Bosh:

"If you look at the free agents coming up in the same situations, with Chris Paul, Dwight Howard, Deron Williams, they can control their own fate," Bosh said. "They have the power to control that and I think that's a great thing. In any job you want freedom to negotiate. With us doing what we did and Carmelo (Anthony) going to the Knicks, I think that has a lot to do with it. Hopefully we can keep that and guys can come and go and make the deal that's best for them and their family."

One important thing Bosh wasn't asked on Tuesday: If he had a comeback for Shaq after being dissed in the future Hall of Famers' book. Shaq thinks Bosh is overrated. (Book excerpt first reported by the Palm Beach Post.)

“Some guys come into the league without a ton of props, so there’s not a whole lot of pressure on them. Then they sign a big deal and all of a sudden they’re thrown into the spotlight. Chris Bosh is like that. He’s getting all this attention, so he starts believing he’s really good. C’mon now. We know better. He’s a player who can put up some numbers, but he’s not an elite player. He was in Toronto eight years and they were never a factor, never a playoff team. Don’t get with those other two guys and start pounding your chest. I ain’t buying it, and I’m not the only one.”

Shaq, as you've probably gathered already, has always had a warm spot in his heart for Bosh. He once called him the "RuPaul of big men." Also, there's a rumor floating around the league that Shaq will have a nightly Bosh joke on TBS -- "Just Bosh'n around" -- when he joins the broadcast after the lockout.

To paraphrase, here's what Bosh thinks about when he thinks about Shaq:











Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Heat players lose $8 million in salary with first missed paychecks

So, Heat fans, anyone out there having trouble paying the bills lately? Is the rent TOO DAMN HIGH!?! Check out these numbers.

Players missed their first paychecks on Tuesday. Here's a breakdown of how much each player lost, based on the commonly used contractual formula that each player is paid 1/110th of their total contract each game. These figures include the eight preseason games that were never played and the regular season's first six games. (Players are paid per game. And, obviously, we can debate the merits of these numbers all day based on a new CBA, prorated salaries and everything else. But, you get the point: It's a lot of money.)

Total 2011-12 contract: $16,022,500 Miami-heat-dancers-2
Per game: $145,659.09
First paycheck: $2,039,227.27

Total 2011-12 contract: $16,022,500
Per game: $145,659.09
First paycheck: $2,039,227.27

Total 2011-12 contract: $15,512,000
Per game: $141,018.18
First paycheck: $1,974,254.54

Total 2011-12 contract: $5,400,000
Per game: $49,090.90
First paycheck: $687,272.72

Total 2011-12 contract: $3,780,000 Heat_natalia_natalie_odaymis
Per game: $34,363.63
First paycheck: $481,090.90

Total 2011-12 contract: $3,600,000
Per game: $32,727.27
First paycheck: $458,181.81

Total 2011-12 contract: $1,399,507
Per game: $12,722.79
First paycheck: $178,119.07

MARIO CHALMERS (Restricted free agent/team option)
Total 2011-12 contract: $1,091,100
Per game: $9,919.09
First paycheck: $138,867.27

Total 2011-12 contract: $788,872
Per game: $7,171.56
First paycheck: $100,401.89

Total amount in lost wages: $8,096,642.74

Also, the Heat's dancers (pictured) are losing money.


Monday, November 14, 2011

Three game-changing rules

Here are three rules in the owners' now-rejected proposal that, if altered, would've probably resulted in this deal going to a vote, as opposed to the disaster we have on our hands at the moment:

First, this one, which essentially says non-taxpaying teams can't use non-taxpayer exceptions if it will put them over the tax, and they cannot go over the tax threshold at any point during that season. Essentially saying, if you use these exceptions, the tax threshold is now a hard cap number.

A team in any season that uses the Non-Taxpayer Mid-Level Exception or the Bi-Annual Exception, or that in year 3 or after acquires a free agent in a sign-and-trade, cannot at any time thereafter have a team salary at any point during that season in excess of the Tax level; provided, however, that a team with a team salary below the Tax level would be permitted prior to October 15 to engage in a transaction using either of the foregoing exceptions or a sign-and-trade that would result in its team salary exceeding the Tax level by no more than $5M, so long as it engages in other subsequent transactions to bring its team salary below the Tax level on October 15 and its team salary does not exceed the Tax level at any time thereafter.


It's fairly self-explanatory why players would be against that one, because it would limit their options if, say, the Knicks are willing to pay the tax to acquire them but wouldn't be allowed to use a mid-level exception to do so. But, the counter-argument to that is, "Why do you have to play for the Knicks?"

Under this proposed CBA, the minimum payroll would increase for every team, meaning there's money being spent everywhere, and the league wants to at least attempt to create some sort of competitive balance.

Second, there's this simple one, which reduces the minimum player salary:

Minimum player salary scale reduced from amounts shown in 2005 CBA for 2011-12 in proportion to overall system reduction (i.e., approx. 12% lower than under the 2005 CBA). Scale grows by 3.5% in future seasons.

Basically, if the union believes it's fighting for every player, not just the big-money players, then this rule seems unacceptable. Not only are minimum-salary players making the least money, obviously, but many of their contracts aren't guaranteed unless they reach a certain date of the season. Too much at risk for these players to be taking this level of a pay cut.

Lastly, there's another simple one:

All salaries for 2011-12 to be prorated in proportion to the number of 2011-12 regular season games that are canceled.

Now, this is 100 percent conjecture on my part, but I believe if these rules were altered, the players would have very likely put the deal to a vote.

For them, it has basically come down to freedom of player movement, and that's something of a joke because there are ways around every system.

For example, that whole extend-and-trade restriction where players would have to wait 60 days before getting a contract extension wouldn't be a deterrent if a player really wanted to head elsewhere.

What Carmelo did last year would still be possible in this deal. What the Heat did last year would still be possible. In fact, the Heat would've had an added $2.5 million exception to work with after signing the Big Three and hitting the salary cap number.

As for the additionally punitive luxury taxes, there probably would've been three or four less teams willing to dive into the tax under these rules. And it's likely none of the highest-spending teams would be willing to dive into the highest of tax levels. But it's unlikely that would've been a deal breaker.

Makes you wonder whether it's worth even threatening to lose the season for this.

It's completely fair for the players to want to negotiate further. But the risk of losing so much more at this point is probably too large. That's why going this route is so dangerous.

They're betting that those middle-of-the-road owners who David Stern convinced to accept last proposal will cave even further. But it's likely they'll go the other way and get in line with the hardliners.

If that happens, good luck even getting this deal back on the table.

(Another) Big day!

First, apologies for the extended down time during the summer, etc. Call it NBA lockout depression.

Second, thanks to Joe Goodman for jumping back aboard the blog.

Now, to some of the things that have been floating around in my head today, as the NBA players meet in New York to decide how to handle this newst proposal from the owners and see just how real this latest ultimatum is from David Stern.

If the league is essentially trying to restrict movement for the highest-paid, or "superstar" players, I'm not certain that puts all 30 teams in better position to win championships. In fact, it might keep certain franchises in extended ruts until they're lucky enough to draft a franchise-changing talent.

Here's just one example: Let's say, hypothetically, Tim Duncan retires from the Spurs in the next year or two, and that franchise gets stuck in mediocrity. San Antonio is a small market, yes, but it's also a respected enough franchise that a big-name player to seriously consider going to in free agency.

By discouraging a superstar from going in that direction, and with so few truly elite, franchise-elevating players to go around, that would leave the Spurs basically hoping just to make the playoffs, or tanking a season with its fingers crossed that it can score one of those great players in the draft, which is certainly no guarantee.

Sure, the Spurs have won some titles in the past 15 years, so it's hard to feel sorry for them in that scenario, but replace them with the Suns, Sixers, Hawks, Blazers -- any decent team in a decent city -- and you'll have the same story. Does that really help them "compete for a championship," as Stern keeps repeating is the goal, or does it just make luck more of a factor in terms of the draft? Sounds like the latter to me.

When you allow players like LeBron James or Chris Paul to be more mobile, you're essentially sharing the wealth of championship possibilities. Think about it: Cleveland had legitimate "championship aspirations" for probably five of the seven years LeBron was there. It was that franchise's poor decisions, along with a few head-scratching performances from LeBron that didn't bring a ring there.

Almost the same thing in New Orleans. Paul was MVP caliber, particularly in the 2007-08 season. That franchise didn't spend or make moves designed to truly compete for a title. It was happy appeasing its fans and making money off Paul's ability. The fact that CP3 wants to go to New York has more to do with the fact that that franchise wants so badly to win a title, and not necessarily because it's in New York and he can be marketed better. I mean, he's a North Carolina kid.

Even once you get lucky in the draft, you need smart decision makers in your franchise to make it a true contender. Even Kobe Bryant wouldn't have won titles four and five if the Lakers didn't fleece the Grizzlies for Pau Gasol. Is that an indication that the previous system was broken, or that the Grizzlies weren't nearly as interested in winning as the Lakers were?

I guess my point is that the owners should stop selling this as a competition issue and just admit they want to make more money by putting limits on how much they spend overall. Add that to the new BRI split, and these guys are getting everything they want while making it look like it's for the betterment of the league and its fans. That's nonsense.

That said, players really have no choice but to take this deal or lose the season. The reason Stern keeps saying this is the last deal before a "reset" deal is put in place is because this is as far as the hardline faction of owners will allow him to go.

If the players say, "we want to negotiate a few more details" just to put the onus on the league to decide, all that does is let the owners who are willing to lose a season have the final say. Stern has clearly twisted enough arms to this point, and it's doubtful he'll be able to do anymore before those owners take over. Thanks, MJ.

Other quick thoughts: If contraction is real possibility, it's probably something the better players in the league wouldn't mind happening. Remember LeBron wondering aloud last season what it would be like if Kevin Love was on another team because T-Wolves didn't exist? That would only make the league more competitive and more interesting.

What I don't understand is why it would be forced into this CBA unless there are a handful of owners who've already decided they're going to sell their teams in the next few years.

Last thing is this, and it goes back to the league trying to limit movement. If players want to move to the bigger markets, a salary hit from the NBA isn't going to restrict them. I think we've learned, both from actions and from numbers that sports business people have researched, that players are willing to lose money in NBA salary to change teams because they'll make even more money through marketing deals when they play in New York, L.A., Chicago or Miami. So getting rid of extend-and-trades and limiting sign-and-trades will only get players to find new ways out. It won't force them to stay put.

I'm gonna stop typing now so I can officially cross my fingers for the rest of the day.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Hints of bad news from players around the league

Players are meeting Monday in New York to discuss the league's latest offer for a new collective bargaining agreement. David Stern said a 72-game season could begin on Dec.15 if players accept the deal. Schedules would be retooled and The Associated Press reported Friday that the Heat would open the season at New York.

At first, I had high hopes that the players would accept the deal and the season would begin in mid-December. Hey, we would miss 10 games but a 72-game season sounds fun. There likely would be some back-to-back-to-back games, which would add a new dynamic to the regular season. My excitement was tempered, however, when I started reading the comments of a few players around the league about the NBA's proposed deal.

To players, the NBA's latest proposal isn't much different than the last. Here are some examples:

Danny Granger, Indiana Pacers player rep
“From what I’ve seen and heard, the counter offer is the same they presented us a week ago, making a few minor changes that in the big scheme of things really did nothing to the deal," Granger told the Indianapolis Star. “I would expect the proposal to be rejected after all the players learn more about the deal. The next step I don’t know.”

Nazr Mohammed, Oklahoma City (from Twitter)
"This deal is so bad that it amazes me that the league would bring this to the table after all the concessions we have already made..."
"...The revised proposal is worse than the last offer. Players should contact the union, call ur Rep or go to a meeting. U gotta see this!!!"
"Some of the info that's out there is correct but those aren't the issues. The additions to the proposal makes it impossible to accept..."
"...Those issues aren't being talked about. When I saw them it made me laugh out loud that were even being proposed. You will see."
"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."
"Trust me when I say that I want a deal and that this proposal would not effect me much but it would kill the young players. I'm just [willing] to fight with them if that's what they want. I would hope that a veteran would do the same for me when I was a young player."
"I don't want to #Decertify but we may be forced to do it if this is their best and final offer. Can't lie I'm very sad 2day."


Thursday, November 10, 2011

Should the Heat keep Mike Miller?

The new collective bargaining agreement calls for an amnesty clause that will allow teams to dump players who aren't performing up to their contracts. The Heat's most likely amnesty candidate is forward Mike Miller, who recently put his house up for sale.

So, what exactly is the amnesty clause? It's basically a one time, get-out-of-jail-free card. Under the new CBA, teams will most likely be able to cut a player and most of his contract (75 percent has been reported) will not be factored into the salary cap or luxury tax. In other words, there will be a lot of shuffling the first week of the season ... if there is a season, of course.

Mike_millerA few big-name players likely will be cut from teams, including Baron Davis (Cleveland), Gilbet Arenas (Orlando), Rashard Lewis (Washington) and Brandon Roy (Portland). (Before you ask, yes these players would immediately become free agents.) Anyway, the Heat will likely take a long look at releasing Miller, who is under contract for $24 million over the next four seasons. 

Two freakish injuries to Miller's thumbs, a history of concussions and an injured shoulder limited Miller in his first season with the Heat. He had offseason surgery on one thumb and the shoulder after having surgery on the other thumb just before the start of last season. Should the Heat release Miller? That's the tough question facing Pat Riley.

Under normal circumstances, the answer would be an easy one: Miller would stay based upon the size of his contract. I mean, the Heat's ownership has plenty of money but it's not about to throw away nearly $25 million just because Miller had one bad year. But these are not normal times for the Heat. Far from it. This is the Big 3 Era and the Heat wants to win the title this season, especially after losing in the Finals to Dallas. The Heat could cut Miller and use the cap space to bring in a healthy shooter.

Still, a strong case can be made for keeping Miller. He's a fierce competitor who battled through injuries last season and gave the maximum effort. His shot might have been off, but his defense, rebounding and basketball acumen shined at times in the postseason. What if Miller bounces back this season and regains his form as one of the game's best three-point shooters? All things considered, it might be in the Heat's best interest to keep him.


Wednesday, November 09, 2011

The Dwyane Wade-Tim Tebow connection

Dwyane Wade recently donated his body to science to test the harmful effects of Gatorade. Very heroic. Here's the link to the story: CLICK ME!

I kid, I kid ... I think.

Funny, after reading it, one thing occured to me: The Associated Press is now apparently writing ads for Gatorade disguised as news stories.

In all seriousness, Gatorade is bad for you. Don't drink Gatorade. You know what Wade really drinks after games? Fish oil. No kidding. He downs bottles of the stuff weekly. The Heat's entire locker room smells like the Deerfield Beach pier.

Why is Gatorade bad for you? I don't know, exactly. Something about molecular assassination or your kidneys. I do, however, have anecdotal proof that it falls somewhere in between bathtub gin and lead-based paints in the slow-poison department.

Several former Florida Gators refuse to drink the stuff. I mean, seriously, could you think of a bigger indictment? Mike Miller -- proud Gator -- does not drink Gatorade.

Then there's Mr. Gator himself, Tim Tebow. Tebow did one of these same "scientific tests" (code name for advertising stunts) for Gatorade during the Super Bowl a few years back. He stripped down and put on the breathing tubes and whatever other movie props Gatorade was using to make him look like a lab rat. Anyway, Tebow won't touch Gatorade anymore either.

Seriously, if Wade really wants an edge on the court, he'll donate some of his salary for a center who can score.


LeBron grabbed in Mississippi

So, LeBron played in another exhibition game on Tuesday night. This one was in Mississippi.

Mississippi, exactly. You know these guys are hard up for some bball when it comes to that. Of course, it wasn't really Mississippi. As in, Mississippi's Mississippi. It was suburban Memphis. But whatever, the point is James scored, like, a gazillion points and dunked a lot. Wait, no, that really isn't the point either.

This video is the point. Wait until the end. Pretty funny if you're into the whole being-punked-by-LeBron thing. Gotta give the woman props, though. After LeBron left here hanging, she just reached out and grabbed him. Mississippi, y'all.





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