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Chris Paul deal: NBA must admit its mistake, reverse decision

With all the anger spurred by the NBA's rejection of a trade that would've sent the New Orleans Hornets' Chris Paul to the Lakers, Commissioner David Stern needs to own up to a mistake and reverse course
With all the anger spurred by the NBA's rejection of a trade that would've sent the New Orleans Hornets' Chris Paul to the Lakers, Commissioner David Stern needs to host his own one-hour special to explain his "Decision."

He must apologize for flexing his muscle in the front-office operations of the Hornets', a team owned by the league. He must acknowledge that some team owners, including the Cleveland Cavaliers' Dan Gilbert, urged Stern to intervene in the deal. He must admit he failed during the recent labor negotiations to come up with a way to keep this situation from happening. And then he must backtrack and allow the trade to go through.

Why? Basketball reasons, of course.

But this time, instead of a disingenuous cover for Stern's desire to restrict player movement, "basketball reasons" would serve as a legitimate argument beyond minimizing the public-relations damage from rejecting the proposed Lakers-Hornets-Houston Rockets deal. Stern's explanation to Bloomgberg doesn't cut it: "The decision was taken that Chris Paul in New Orleans was more valuable than the trade that was being discussed."

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NBA lockout: Five things to note on agreement

Photo: Derek Fisher of the NBA players' union. The NBA tentatively ended its 149-day lockout and is to start a 66-schedule on Christmas Day. Credit: Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times / November 23, 20101. The owners overwhelmingly won. The NBA players essentially took a 12% pay cut by dropping down to their 57% share of basketball-related income to a near 50-50 split. The breakdown will involve a sliding scale in which players would annually receive 49% to 51% of revenue based on how well each season fared. That will involve a nearly $3-billion giveback to the owners should the deal last its full 10 years. 

2. The players won a few small victories. The players made the right strategy in making sure the owners made concessions on various system issues. That included ensuring guaranteed contracts and avoiding a hard cap. The players will also receive raises when the league experiences revenue growth. 

3. Owners have no reason to complain about losses. For those teams lamenting competitive imbalance, the new deal will inflict harsher luxury tax penalties for teams, such as the Lakers, that boast a high payroll. For those lamenting the supposed $300-million losses 22 of the 30 NBA teams experienced last season, there will be a more robust revenue sharing system to help such organizations. From here on out, any purported financial losses will directly reflect poor management decisions. Of course, that truth stood before, but there's less wiggle room for teams to make excuses. 

4. Both sides still have to agree on peripheral issues. A majority of the NBA's 450 players will have to agree on the new collective-bargaining agreement in a vote. The majority of the 29 teams will have to as well, with the NBA-owned New Orleans Hornets surely to vote in favor of the deal. Although both sides agree on the overall framework, there are a few items still to discuss. That includes draft eligibility age, disciplinary items that include drug testing and how to assign players to the D-League. 

5. The season will start Dec. 25 and operate on a 66-game schedule. The Lakers will start the 2011-12 campaign with a Christmas Day matchup with the Chicago Bulls. The remaining 65 games will become more compacted and end toward the end of April. Teams would be allowed to play each opponent twice and have eight games left over. But it remains unclear how the schedule will exactly be structured.

RELATED:

Questions surrounding the Lakers season

Pau Gasol returns to Los Angeles in case lockout ends

How will work stoppage affect Kobe Bryant's scoring?

--Mark Medina

E-mail the Lakers blog at [email protected]

Photo: Derek Fisher of the NBA players' union. The NBA tentatively ended its 149-day lockout and is to start a 66-schedule on Christmas Day. Credit: Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times / November 23, 2010

Questions surrounding the Lakers season

Kobe Bryant

Finally, we have something to talk about other than the NBA lockout.

Owners and the players agreed to the framework of a new collective bargaining agreement. Training camp and free agency will begin Dec. 9. And that Chicago Bulls-Lakers matchup on Christmas Day remains intact. 

But amid the relief over salvaging a partial 66-game regular season, there remains a lot of questions. Below the jump are a few. 

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NBA lockout: There must be a 2011-12 season

David Stern

As deadlines passed to salvage part of the 2011-12 season, both the owners and players union kicked the can down the road, believing a deal of their liking will eventually offset the canceled games and lost revenue.

Each fallout has spurred both sides to speak with inflamed rhetoric, offer doomsday threats and further stall negotiatons. The approach masks a collective arrogance that's beyond reproach. Neither side has believed that holding firm to a position will push it into a point of no return. That point where continued defiance will just result in a worse deal. That point where canceled games and lost money will cause irreparable damage to the league's brand. That point where a significant number of fans will eventually throw their hands up in disgust and walk away from something they once loved.

Surely, casual fans don't pay attention to the NBA playoffs once the Christmas Day games start, or even the postseason. Our nation's history has shown that once sports leagues end their labor strife, fans happily return, albeit in a delayed fashion. But in a sagging economy, the owners and players trade association are playing a serious game of chicken that could result in a huge accident. Owners calculate the players will crack more as they continue to lose paychecks. Players calculate owners will soon reveal their united front is a sham as they continue to lose money at the gate. Both at this point have refused to blink.

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NBA lockout: The sides aren't talking, but the pundits are

There are no negotiating sessions currently scheduled between NBA Commissioner David Stern and locked-out players

*Kobe Bryant will participate in United Way's Homewalk Saturday beginning at 8:30 a.m.  at Exposition Park. 

--The Times' T.J. Simers says he believes the NBA season will start in time for Christmas Day games.

--True Hoop's Henry Abbott looks at a deal both sides in the NBA labor dispute could have accepted. 

--NBA.com's Steve Aschburner reports that there are no negotiating sessions currently scheduled. 

--CBS Sports' Ken Berger argues that the NBA legal fight could end in disaster. 

--The New York Times' Howard Beck outlines the labor dispute. 

--The Associated Press' Brian Mahoney reports that the NBA owners held a conference call Thursday not in response to the players union's litigation, but to get an update on the status of the negotiations.

--ESPN the Magazine's Chris Broussard reports that the call lasted only 20 minutes.

--Sports Law Blog's Marc Edelman breaks down the players' antitrust lawsuits. 

--ESPN Los Angeles' Andy and Brian Kamenetzky, along with Ramona Shelburne, discuss how the players' antitrust lawsuits will affect the NBA lockout.

--The New York Daily News' Mitch Lawrence says he believes that NBA stars won't go overseas. 

--Fox Sports South's Vincent Thomas says he believes that fans will quickly return to the NBA as soon as the lockout ends. 

Tweet of the Day: "For now, owners will review lawsuits, wait for players to miss checks on Dec. 1, sources say. They're still doubting resolve of players. One thing seems certain: Stern, owners want to meet with Hunter to negotiate, not anti-trust lawyers. Appears league will wait for call." -- WojYahooNBA (Yahoo! Sports' Adrian Wojnarowski)

-- Mark Medina

E-mail the Lakers blog at [email protected]

Photo: NBA Commissioner David Stern during an Oct. 10  news conference in New York. Credit: David Karp / Associated Press

NBA lockout: Everyone's talking about the talks

Billy Hunter--The Times' Mike Bresnahan notes that the NBA players union will meet Thursday in New York "to either provide a few details on upcoming negotiation strategy or to bridge a chasm of differences, depending on what you believe."

--Sports Illustrated's Sam Amick explores the relationship between Derek Fisher and Billy Hunter. 

--NBA.com's Steve Aschburner focuses on the role the courts might play in the NBA lockout. 

 --NBA.com's Fran Blinebury goes through the lockout alphabet. 

--ESPN the Magazine's Chris Broussard reports that Fisher, during a Tuesday night conference call with the union's executive committee, denied secretly meeting with NBA Commissioner David Stern.

--The Orange County Register's Kevin Ding praises Lamar Odom for becoming more focused and responsible after marrying Khloe Kardashian.

--Ball Don't Lie's Kelly Dwyer criticizes Jerry Stackhouse for suggesting that more agents need to be involved in the lockout negotiations. 

--ESPN Los Angeles' Arash Markazi talks to Jerry West, who says he wouldn't have been able to ensure that Shaquille O'Neal and Kobe Bryant would stay together on the Lakers.

--ESPN Los Angeles' Stephen A. Smith argues that it's a good thing that Fisher is considering accepting a 50-50 split in basketball-related income. 

--Silver Screen and Roll's Ben R. looks at some of the players the Lakers could pursue because of the amnesty clause. 

Tweet of the Day: "Once upon a time before 24/7 coverage & social media, NBA locked out its players. They came to a deal in Jan., played 50 games & it was fine" -- FisolaNYDN (New York Daily News' Frank Isola)

Rick Friedman Reader Comment of the Day: "What on earth is with this notion that the Lakers have the wherewithal to pursue Paul or Williams in free agency? How is that remotely possible? The Lakers aren't by any stretch of the imagination going to be major players in the free agent market for a long, long time with lots of money tied down in Kobe, Gasol, and Bynum and they'll almost certainly be capped out and paying the luxury tax for at least the next three or four years." -- Benjamin Rosales

-- Mark Medina

E-mail the Lakers blog at [email protected]

Photo: Billy Hunter, executive director of the NBA Players Assn. Credit: David Karp / Associated Press

NBA lockout: Lakers apologize to fans about shortened season

LakersThe longer the NBA lockout persists, the more team apologies to fans will sound something too similar to those of us who have been in bad relationships. Consider the message from the Lakers' senior vice president of business operations Tim Harris, in the team's "Courtside Connection" newsletter about the NBA canceling the first two weeks of the regular season:

We're sorry to share that the NBA and the NBA Players Association have yet to negotiate a new collective bargaining agreement. Unfortunately this means the league has had to cancel all regular season games scheduled through November 14th.

Rest assured both sides are working hard to get a deal done so that we can get back to what we all want most, the excitement of NBA basketball. In the meantime, we'll continue to keep you informed with updates as they become available.

We share your frustration and sincerely appreciate both your support and continued loyalty to the Lakers.

Sincerely,

Tim Harris

Senior Vice President, Operations/CMO

To me, this is playing out like a difficult boyfriend/girlfriend endlessly apologizing and promising favors to their significant other over past misdeeds. The fans being the recipient don't want to fall for such empty promises and gestures, but they can't help but remember all the good times beforehand. It's good that teams, such as the Lakers, are addressing the issue rather than avoiding it all, even it comes off as forced and cliched. But fault all the teams for their owners in playing a part in delaying the season.

RELATED:

Lakers email fans about NBA lockout

NBA lockout: Lakers address canceled preseason to fans

-- Mark Medina

Email the Lakers blog at [email protected]

Former Lakers athletic coordinator Alex McKechnie hired by Toronto Raptors

Alex McKechnie, who didn't have his contract renewed by the Lakers after spending eight years with the team as the athletic performance coordinator, was hired by the Toronto Raptors Thursday.

The Raptors said in a news release that McKechnie will be the team's director of sport science.

He will oversee all athletic training, rehabilitation and strength and conditioning.

McKechnie, who was first brought on board by the Lakers when Shaquille O'Neal had abdominal problems, is regarded as a leader in core training and movement integration.

-- Broderick Turner

NBA to release schedule; A look at the Lakers' schedule

Even though the NBA has locked out its players, that hasn't stopped the league from preparing to release its schedule Tuesday for the 2011-12 season.

In many ways, it's  the NBA doing business as usual.

It's being done just in case a collective bargaining agreement is reached between  owners and players and the season starts on time.

The lockout started July 1, and since then there have been no negotiations between the owners and the players, few believe the NBA will start on time this season.

Nonetheless, the Lakers and their fans will have something to look over when NBA TV broadcasts a scheduled show at 11 a.m. Pacific time Tuesday.

Under this schedule, the Lakers would open the season at Staples Center on Nov. 1 against Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook and the young and athletic Oklahoma City Thunder, said league sources not authorized to speak on the subject.

Here are some other dates to chew on:

The Lakers play Dwyane Wade, LeBron James, Chris Bosh and the Heat in Miami on Dec. 8 and will face them again at home March 4.

And the Lakers will face the NBA champion Dallas Mavericks and Dirk Nowitzki, who swept Los Angeles out of the playoffs in the Western Conference semifinals, on the road Dec. 15 and at home Jan. 16 and April 15.

LA. will play the Chicago Bulls and league most valuable player Derrick Rose on Christmas Day at Staples.

The Lakers will play at Boston on Feb. 9 and host the Celtics on March 11.

 -- Broderick Turner 

 

Lakers assistant Frank Hamblen interested in Indiana Pacers job

Frank  Hamblen, one of Phil Jackson's top assistant coaches with the Lakers and Chicago Bulls, has been mentioned as a possible candidate to be an assistant coach with the Indiana Pacers, according to NBA officials.

Frank Vogel, who took over the Pacers job during the regular season and is the leading candidate to become the full-time coach, has been told by management that he has to change his staff and hire three new assistant coaches, according to the Indianapolis Star.

Hamblen would be interested in a job with the Pacers, according to an NBA official.

Hamblen and the rest of the Lakers' staff are not expected to be a part of new Lakers Coach Mike Brown's staff.

Hamblen was the longest-tenured assistant coach in the NBA. He spent the last 12 years with the Lakers and was a part of all five NBA champions.

Hamblen is from Terre Haute, Ind.

 

-- Broderick Turner

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