Well, so much for optimism. Today was a key day in NBA labor talks, and ended with a thud. In a session attended by an expanded cast of player and owner representatives after some vague, ostensible progress over the past couple of weeks and whispers of an impending settlement, talks hit the wall again and made the prospect of cancelling preseason games appear inevitable.
After a 5-hour negotiating session in New York City, NBPA President Derek Fisher said, "right now, we can’t find a place with the league and our owners where we can reach a deal sooner rather than later." Fisher continued: "It’s discouraging and unfortunate, but that’s the reality of where we stand right now."
Additionally, the improved tone of the last two weeks and restraint shown by both owners and players in not discussing their specific differences with the media went out the window today. Deputy Commissioner Adam Silver and Union chief Billy Hunter aired their grievances regarding the position of the other around a hard, soft or flex salary cap.
According to Howard Beck of the New York Times:
Hunter said, "It (keeping the current soft cap) could be characterized maybe as a blood issue" — a remark that Silver seized on as evidence of the union’s rigidity.
"That doesn’t seem a constructive way to negotiate," Silver said.
And 'round and 'round they go. Both sides concur they have moved closer to agreement on financial issues except for the hard or soft cap issue which, of course, has been the major sticking point all along. The current soft cap has so many exceptions that it's not a cap at all. Owners can either err on the side of overpaying to hold onto or add players, or be skewered by fans when they allow players to leave even when the players leave to become clearly overpaid elsewhere (*cough*JOE JOHNSON!*cough*).
As for the players, they think hey, nobody's holding a gun to owners' heads forcing them to ink players to ridiculous deals like the ones signed by Rashard Lewis or Gilbert Arenas on a grand scale and, on a smaller scale, overpaid role players like Josh Childress who litter league rosters. In the players' view, If you don't want to pay guys, you don't have to. Why do owners need a rule to protect them from themselves?
Later this week, Commissioner David Stern, Silver and the owners will meet; Hunter, Fisher and the players will meet separately amongst themselves. After those meetings, next steps will become more clear and will probably soon include the official postponement of training camps and cancellation of preseason games.The regular season is scheduled to start on November 1. There is still time to work out a deal and start the season then, but it will require some catalyst to get either side to move from their stubborn stances on the one central issue.
So Sarver goes and sells the Suns to the Chinese Basketball League and our favorite, fantastic Phoenix team is no longer in the NBA. Gone is MVSteve, BAMF, the Hammer, Dudz, everybody. If that were to happen, who would be your favorite NBA team, and why?
(What I'm kinda looking for is this: Is there any sort of general consensus on whom BrightSiders would pick as their second favorite team. If we took a vote on least favorite, I'm sure the Fakers and that team that BEdge cheers for would be on the top of that list.)
If you absolutely had to pick some NBA team other than PHX, whom would you choose? And why?
Do you cheer for a team that has dazzling point guard play? Do you cheer on loveable losers who can never get over the hump?
Just curious. Not a lot of other stuff to talk about. Maybe go ahead and list the top 5 teams you could cheer AFTER PHX.
Lock and load, peeps. Fire your comments:
In an interview on XTRA 910 captured here, Rick Welts gets into more detail about a number of things including his departure and future. But a couple of items stuck out in the interview regarding working with Robert Sarver, David Stern, and most importantly, his opinion on the future of the Phoenix Suns. And while we are all scraping the bowl, looking for any kind of Suns specific news, here's just a little bit more, with yours truly attempting to grasp as much content as possible in this chunk of the interview:
"...I’ve only developed only one skill in my 36 years in this business, and that’s having a great sense of when it’s time to leave a job. Now is the right time..."
I was irrationally skeptical about his departure and certainly unhappy about another change in the Suns front office. But this sounds legit to me. And let's face it, Welts has some huge honesty points going for him right now, so why doubt the guy, why blame Bob Sarv? (other than because it's fun)... Says Welts:
"...if there’s a good guy in this story, he’s (Sarver) a good guy in this story..."
Sarver is a great guy, he was supportive when Welts "came out," and he handled the departure professionally and all that.
"...I would absolutely confirm on a scale of 1 to 10 he (Sarver) is not an easy guy everyday to work for. I will tell you that the guy that I worked for before him, David Stern for 17 years, is off-the-charts in difficulty to work for. So Robert is a piece of cake, okay?"
Rick forgot to give Bob a number in the 1-10 scale. But it isn't surprising to hear that Sarver isn't a peach. But what NBA owner is? Sterling? Buss? Cuban?
"...because of what’s been invested in the infrastructure on the basketball side...I’m a big believer in the people we’ve brought in, and we’ve made big investments in everything that is possible to invest in in building the infrastructure to be a successful basketball organization."
"Whether that’s one year, two years, three years, I’m not sure. But it’s going to happen, and I think when it does, this is going to be a team that’s going to be right in the thick of things and competing for a championship again."
Well, better than nothing, no? And with all of the doom and gloom, question marks, and concerns, there's at least one former suit that thinks things are headed in the right direction, at least upstairs. We'll see what the new brain trust does about the men on the court who dictate the wins and losses.