Chris Paul talks have been renewed; Nets deny Howard meeting

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Here is the latest news.

So far, two guys are getting amnestied: Gilbert Arenas and Chauncey Billups. Richard Jefferson was expected to be a third, but he showed up at Spurs training camp and participated. Vince Carter was bought out, as was Richard Hamilton, and Brandon Roy was told to retire.

Also, Mark Cuban revealed that he was one of the five owners who voted against the new labor deal. He also came out in support of David Stern for vetoing the Chris Paul trade, which put him in the distinct minority.

The Dwight Howard situation remained fluid, complicated and strange; but at least he showed up for the first day of camp. He could end up in New Jersey or Los Angeles in the next hour, the next day or the next week, or he could remain with the Magic through the trade deadline, which will be March 15 this season.

The Paul fiasco was fluid, too, with the three teams who tried to make a trade Thursday re-engaging and trying to come up with an alternate deal that will pass muster with Hugo Chavez, I mean David Stern.

My ex-colleague John Hollinger of ESPN summed it all up best in a tweet: The NBA has officially changed its name to Venezuela.

From Brett Martel of The Associated Press: “New Orleans general manager Dell Demps says he has been given autonomy to make another trade for All-Star guard Chris Paul. Demps said Friday that since a three-team deal that would have sent Paul to the Los Angeles Lakers did not go through, the Hornets are going to “keep plugging away.” Demps says they are “resuming talks” and that “everything is open.” … The 26-year-old Paul was seen walking in the training facility Friday wearing a black Hornets practice jersey, and he appeared to be in good spirits. Demps says the Hornets “love Chris”’ and would like to keep him, but he has told them that he is not prepared to sign an extension.”

I am setting the over/under on the next CP3-to-Lakers deal at 5 p.m. EST Saturday. Wager amongst yourselves. There are reports out there that the union has given the league until Monday to approve a Paul trade, or there will be litigation.

I discussed the Paul situation and the re-opened NBA’s craziness on 850 KPOA radio in Denver with ex-Nuggets beat writer Dave Krieger. Click here to listen to the interview, in which I referenced Albert Pujols. (Once upon a time, a was a baseball writer).

Amid reports that Howard and his representatives met with Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov and general manager Billy King last night in Miami, SI.com is reporting that Orlando is considering filing tampering charges against the Nets, and there were conflicting reports over whether Howard had fired his agent, Dan Fegan.

Nets general manager Billy King issued a statement denying the team had met with Howard.

From SI.com’s Sam Amick: “With indications growing that Howard would ask for a trade to the Nets this week, sources said the Magic were told that their franchise centerpiece met with Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov in Miami on Thursday. A source close to the situation said early Friday that Orlando was also considering filing tampering charges against Houston, but that a Rockets claim will not be pursued due to lack of information. The Rockets, according to a source, were informed that there wouldn’t be tampering charges brought against them and were told that they weren’t considered.

From John Denton of Magic.com: CEO Alex Martins … did say that the Magic planned to investigate ESPN reports that multiple NBA teams met with Howard Thursday night in Miami about his future with the Magic. At this time, Martins said there is no concrete evidence to prove that tampering occurred. If a team is determined to have tampered with a player under contract they would be at the mercy of NBA Commissioner David Stern. Stern has taken such matters in the past very seriously and he would likely impose serious penalties. Such punishment could include fines, loss of draft picks or denying the team the right to sign the player in the future. … Martins reiterated his desire to keep Howard in Orlando long term. “Everything that we’ve heard from Dwight this week wouldn’t indicate (that he wants to leave). He’s told us that he loves Orlando and that he wants to be here,’’ Martins said. “Those conversations continue. We’re not going to talk about the specifics and all of the exchanges, but everything we’ve heard is that he loves it here and wants to be here. We’ll take him at his word.’’

New Jersey, meanwhile, was prepared to offer Nene a four-year contract worth $60-65 million if Howard is unobtainable.

Stern issues statement on Chris Paul veto

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This was just sent out from NBA headquarters:

“Since the NBA purchased the New Orleans Hornets, final responsibility for significant management decisions lies with the Commissioner’s Office in consultation with team chairman Jac Sperling. All decisions are made on the basis of what is in the best interests of the Hornets. In the case of the trade proposal that was made to the Hornets for Chris Paul, we decided, free from the influence of other NBA owners, that the team was better served with Chris in a Hornets uniform than by the outcome of the terms of that trade.”


Reactions to the vetoed Chris Paul trade

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NEW YORK — I was standing outside the St. Regis Hotel enjoying some tobacco last night when David Stern came walking by, we shook hands and I offered him a cigarette. He said he’d prefer a big, fat cigar, and then he kept walking. I found it curious that he was not being escorted by his usual security guy (who loves this site).

Alone walked Stern down East 55th Street, about an hour before word got out that he had vetoed the three-team trade Chris Paul trade.

It was dark by then, so it wasn’t like Stern was walking off into the sunset. But it sort of had that feel to it.

Henry Abbott of ESPN TrueHoop has written a piece suggesting that Stern hinted at retirement in his news conference to announce the owners had approved the deal in a 25-5 vote, and the events of the past 14 hour make you wonder whether Abbott isn’t onto something.

In the meantime, the opinions are flooding the Internet, and there aren’t a whole lot of people siding with Easy Dave.

A sampling:

E-mail from Dan Gilbert urged Stern veto of CP3 trade: Yahoo

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This is going to be one crazy day.

And the craziness began just after midnight, EST, when Yahoo Sports published an e-mail it said was sent from Cleveland Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert to commissioner David Stern, deputy commissioner Adam Silver and some other owners urging him to shoot down the three-team trade that would have sent Chris Paul from the New Orleans Hornets to the Los Angeles Lakers .

Curiously, the Yahoo report is unbylined. (It also does not mention whether it was written in Comic Sans font.)

Here is the text of the e-mail:

Commissioner,
It would be a travesty to allow the Lakers to acquire Chris Paul in the apparent trade being discussed.
This trade should go to a vote of the 29 owners of the Hornets.
Over the next three seasons this deal would save the Lakers approximately $20 million in salaries and approximately $21 million in luxury taxes. That $21 million goes to non-taxpaying teams and to fund revenue sharing.
I cannot remember ever seeing a trade where a team got by far the best player in the trade and saved over $40 million in the process. And it doesn’t appear that they would give up any draft picks, which might allow to later make a trade for Dwight Howard. (They would also get a large trade exception that would help them improve their team and/or eventually trade for Howard.)

NBA labor agreement passes by 25-5 vote

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NEW YORK — Five NBA owners voted against the league’s new collective bargaining agreement, commissioner David Stern said Thursday following the conclusion of the league’s Board of Governors meeting.

The identities of those five teams were not disclosed, and Stern joked that the over/under on negative votes as set at 8 before the ballots were cast.

But what Stern did disclose is that he expects this to be the last collective bargaining agreement he negotiates – even if one side chooses to opt out of the 10-year agreement after Year 6.

“I don’t believe in legacies. We had a deal we had to make,” Stern said, calling the agreement a “watershed moment” for the future success of all 30 NBA teams. He also described the agreement as “fair, but not perfect.”

The commissioner sounded most proud of the new “robust” revenue sharing plan — under which the amount of money going from large-market to small-market teams will quadruple, with several teams receiving as much as $20 million annually, including six that will receive at least $16 million.

Some teams (Stern did not say which ones) will contribute as much as $50 million annually toward revenue sharing.