Pretty good news out of New York today and I'm not talking about David Stern missing the negotiations with "flu-like symptoms". 

Here's more details but the quick story is the two sides have narrowed the gap to the point that missing any more games than the two weeks already cancelled seems to make far less sense than finding common ground on the last few items of contention. 

Of course, and this goes without saying, if common sense was the rule of thumb there wouldn't have even been a lockout to begin with so it might be too soon to start counting the unhatched gorilla eggs. 

The agreement seems to contain an amnesty provision that would allow teams to drop one contract per team. The player would still get paid the full amount but only 25% of the salary would count against the cap. The waived player immediately becomes a free agent.

Say, just for example, the Suns waived Josh Childress under this provision. He would get the $27m he's still owed but only about $1.7m would count against the cap each year for the next four years.

My questions to you smart people, which player would the Suns mostly likely cut (if anyone) and looking around the league, do you see any one getting cut that could be a value pick up for the Suns?

Bonus question: Do you think there will be live games by December 1?

[Note by Seth Pollack, 10/20/11 5:32 PM MST ]

Looks like talks broke down tonight with no additional meetings between the two sides scheduled. We'll have more later. Remember that thing above about common sense? Yeah...not a lot of that going on here.

For more gory details, go here.

Also the twitter feeds of Ken Berger and Adrian Wojnarowski have the blow by blow of where is all went bad.

The players apparently feel that they were moving towards a deal until the owners meeting changed something and they came into the meeting today with a more hard line approach.


After meeting for more than 24 hours the past two days with federal mediator George Cohen, including Tuesday’s marathon 16-hour negotiating session, progress has been made on the proposed...

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I'm a little late posting this but last Saturday October 15th Yahoo NBA writer Marc Spears tweeted the news that Kansas University draftees Markeiff and Marcus Morris will begin training with former NBA All-Star Shawn Kemp.  Initially I had a hard time seeing this as positive news, but a few quick Google searches and my fears of Markieff hanging with the 'Reignman' eating Krispie Kreams and listening to prison stories were abated.  Jump to hear why.

 Awjk_medium

Let first get this out there - when I heard the name Shawn Kemp my thoughts were immediately?  The 'Blimp'? Doesn't he have a billion kids?  Didn't he go to jail for drugs and stuff? 

Yes.  He made a lot of stupid personal decisions as an NBA star.  He currently has 9 children with multiple women (one of which, Shawn Kemp Jr. is a 6'10" scholarship Freshman at the University of Washington) , he famously ballooned up during the (irony ahead) 1998 lockout and his play suffered and he suffered emotionally as well.  He abused drugs - was arrested twice (2005 & 2006) for drug and weapons charges and ended up serving time in prison.  Just begin typing his name into Google and the instant result function shows a little of his reputation...

Awoe_medium

His NBA career ended with multiple failed come-back attempts due to 'personal matters' and his final come-back attempt marred by an injury sustained while training a short time before signing with the Washington Wizards

Right now he's training our first round draft pick Markieff Morris.  Cool deal huh? 

That's what I thought at first.  But remember this, Shawn Kemp is a 6x NBA All-Star (which might not mean a whole lot...) but during the prime of his career and before the weight issues Kemp nearly averaged a double-double for 8 years.  He could dunk, and he was 'aight' at rebounding, and he could dunk.  I mean he could really dunk a basketball and not just donuts.. okay I'll stop. 

Then I read this article out of Seattle where Kemp has returned to make his permanent home.

Supposedly - Kemp has turned his life around, he's in much better shape and is looking to help people because of his life experiences.  Here's the biggest take-away from the article,

"Look, I've made mistakes, and I'd like to say that I wish I could change things, but in the end what I've learned and what I know now, it's a lot. And I think, because of that, I can help a lot of people."

The article says he's been working with current Philadelphia 76ers Center Spencer Hawes.  Does that encourage you? 

I'm going to be blunt.  My expectations for Markieff Morris aren't very high and they won't change knowing he's the grasshopper of Masta Kemp.  I see any help as good help. 

Earlier this summer It was Garret Siler and Marcin Gortat who were learning the ways of the Jedi and seeking help from Hakeem Olajuwon, now it's Markieff Morris and Shawn Kemp.  Whatev.  I'll be excited about this tutelage if and only when Markieff Morris contributes in a special way and credits his instruction from the Reignman.  Until then - I'll hide in my cave until Basketball is real again.


BTW - Lockout UPDATE - the Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe have been meeting in the castle for 9 hours 35 minutes and 45 seconds.

Poll
What's your reaction to the news that the Morris Twins are working with Shawn Kemp?

  306 votes | Results


The host of HBO Real Sports, Bryant Gumbel had some choice words for NBA commissioner David Stern. The comments, which can be found here not only offer scathing criticism, or well, let's be honest, accusation of racism and even slavery, but address an issue that hasn't been discussed much since the lockout began.

Said Gumbel:

"The NBA's infamously egocentric commissioner seems more hell bent lately on demeaning the players than on solving his game's labor issues."

and further:

"His efforts are typical of a commissioner who has always seemed eager to be viewed as some kind of modern-day plantation overseer, treating NBA men as if they were his boys. ... His moves are intended to do little more than show how he's the one keeping the hired hands in their place."

This is the first acknowledgment I have seen of what we all see and know to be true:  the NBA is made up primarily of African American players. According to the Institute of Ethics and Diversity in Sport, in the 2009-10 season, 77% of the NBA was made up of African American players. During the same year, whites made up 98% of majority ownership in the NBA.

Based on the numbers, and based on what we've heard from Stern and the players, does Gumbel have any leg to stand on with his assertion of "slaves and plantation owners?"

While Gumbel may have a point, once again we are left with a reality that he is ignoring: the millionaires and billionaires are fighting and we middle-classers are left paying the price.  Correct me if I'm wrong but don't things work like this:

  • Someone has to own NBA franchises
  • A governing, rule making body must exist to deal with administrative issues, money, marketing, etc.
  • Players need to play for NBA franchises so there are games to watch
  • Without popularity, attendance, fandom, franchises don't make money

Gumbel and his assertions have some merit in my view. The numbers don't lie, a minority is partially controlling a majority-and the majority makes the sport a money maker. But would things be different if Stern was an Afro-American or Hispanic? What if white NBA players made up 77% of the population and ownership was 98% African American? I doubt anything would be different.

The simple fact being dealt with here is money, greenbacks, cash, bank, paper, currency. Everyone wants it, regardless of race.

What say you all? Do you agree with Gumbel's assertions?

Poll
Do You Agree with Bryant Gumbel's Assertions?

  141 votes | Results


“… Not your average shooter. He’s an artist. His jumper is picture perfect. If you wanted to teach someone how to shoot the ball, you would say to them, ‘Do it the way Walter does.’...

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