Good morning. There ain’t no news to report, so a little of this and a little of that. We start with Mr. Jimmy Kimmel on NBA-TV’s programming quagmire:
Watching that video prompted me to check out what the folks over at NBA.com have lined up for our multimedia needs today, and it turns out the season will start in 26 days with a nice lineup of Friday night games that includes an ESPN doubleheader of Atlanta-Philadelphia and Oklahoma City-San Antonio. At least that’s what their schedule says.
Of course, we all know by now that the schedule the NBA had planned on following will be torn up and replaced by an entirely new schedule once the lockout gets resolved
by the logical and reasonable men negotiating it.
Maybe, just maybe, that schedule will feature Christmas as opening night. Paging George Cohen.
From Ken Berger of CBSSports.com: “Despite the grim outlook of potentially lengthy and costly lawsuits, there are strong indications that NBA officials and attorneys representing the players want to take one more shot at reaching a settlement before the possibility of having close to a full season is devoured by the legal process. Two people who have been briefed on the league’s strategy told CBSSports.com the NBA is holding out hope a settlement can be reached in time for the season to begin no later than Christmas. One of those people said the process already is under way through what he described as “back-channeling,” although sources from both sides professed no knowledge of such conversations. A third person said that based on how vendor contracts and other financial arrangements were put in place, starting the season by Christmas would be optimal as far as preserving those relationships, and of course, revenues. Multiple people who have spoken with top NBA officials about the matter said it is understood that starting the season after Christmas is not viewed as a viable option. “I don’t know that there’s an appetite for a 50-game season,” another person familiar with the league’s position said.”
Meanwhile, the chorus of NBA players making noise about playing overseas continues to grow louder. Pau Gasol has said that he and his brother, Marc, would like to team up and play for FC Barcelona, which might actually get a few Americans to turn their attention across the pond. Barca, the former team of now incognito Californian Ricky Rubio, is one of two remaining undefeated teams in Euroleague, with a starting backcourt of Marcelinho Huertas and Juan Carlos Navarro. Add the Gasol brothers to that duo, and Catalonia here we come!
But about that lockout.
There is a must-read column from Bill Simmons of Grantland.com on the subject, in which he savages virtually everyone involved and says it has become obvious that David Stern has stayed in his job too long. An excerpt:
“My father served as the superintendent of schools in Easton, Massachusetts, for nearly twenty years. He retired in the summer of 2009, at the age of 62, for a variety of reasons … but mainly this one. He didn’t want to stay too long. When you’re a superintendent, it only takes one renegade school committee member, one unexpected budget cut, one scandal or one tragedy to shift momentum against you. Once it happens, you can’t get it back. Adversaries smell your weakening power the same way zombies smell blood. You start getting undermined or browbeaten into ideas you never wanted to do. By the time you finally resign or get replaced, those final years become part of your legacy, the last thing anyone remembers about you (whether you like it or not). My father never wanted that to happen. He left one year too early instead of one year too late. He has no regrets. And as an NBA die-hard and 38-year season ticket holder for the Celtics, he watches what’s happening with David Stern right now and has one reaction: “He stayed too long. That’s exactly what I didn’t want to happen to me.” I don’t blame Stern — sometimes you’re the last to know. I think that he thought his track record was impeccable. He can’t see how his players see him in 2011 — as the little/old/sarcastic/white/out-of-touch dictator who patronizes them, orders them around, genuinely feels like THEY should listen to HIM, and by the way, works for the owners (and not them). And it’s not like fans are delighted with him, either. He stopped thinking outside the box years ago. It’s funny that the league obsesses over its big market/small market issue, revenue sharing and international growth and keeps trotting out the same laborious 82-game regular season with the same jacked-up prices and the same annoying issues (like tanking for draft picks, or exhausted teams playing their fourth road game in five nights). You know what was really telling these past few weeks? We were coming off of one of the top-five NBA seasons ever, now it’s November, the league isn’t playing … and nobody really cared. Imagine the outrage if pro football disappeared for an entire month. Where’s the clamoring for regular season pro basketball? If anything, it’s swung the other way. Many season ticket holders don’t care if they miss these first six weeks of games, feeling their tickets are overpriced, anyway. Casual fans only care during the playoffs; for them, it was always a nine-week sport and that’s it. Only the junkies are pissed off. And even then, you don’t REALLY feel the NBA’s loss until after the holidays, when college football is gone and the NFL playoffs are winding down. No wonder the league claims to be losing money even after a godsend of a two-year stretch (pre-Decision and post-Decision) in the midst of a historic talent boon. When you remember it happened on Stern’s watch, then factor in his disconnect with the players, it’s sure starting to seem like one of the greatest sports commissioners ever overstayed his welcome.”
Who knows what the commissioner has up his sleeve for his next move. Technically, he is not allowed to call Billy Hunter to ask to resume negotiations, and vice versa, because Hunter and Derek Fisher no longer represent the players. Super lawyer David Boise, who charges $1,225 per hour, is empowered to take that call should Stern choose to make it. “They have my number,” Boise said in a meeting with reporters that I attended last Tuesday.
My advice is this: Fire off an angry 140-character message to @NBA to get some of the rage out of your system, then get your Christmas shopping done early by investing in the greatest time-waster ever, a pinball machine. I have one in my office, I have played it thousands upon thousands of times, and no two games have ever been the same. You can buy one from my buddy, Levi, by clicking here. He has 16 of them ready to ship anywhere in the world. This is the best one he has in stock:
More later, including the debut of the newest full-time contributor to SheridanHoops.com, AJ Mitnick.
And in case you missed it last Tuesday, it is worth your while to click here and read the column Jan Hubbard wrote about David Stern’s need to revert to being the old David Stern before it is too late.