It was quite a letdown to learn, after NBA owners and the NBPA spent full days negotiating on Sunday and Monday, that they had made almost zero real progress, and that the first two weeks of the season were officially cancelled. Now that we've all had a few days to let that digest, let's see where we go from here. More rhetoric, more charity games, a mediator will join labor negotiations, and Jared Dudley talks cold, hard cash.
Follow the jump for more....
George Cohen, Director of the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service (Scott Howard's former job), will mediate future negotiating sessions between the union and owners, starting this Tuesday. Cohen is an accomplished mediator, having helped the NFL resolve its labor dispute this past summer. Also on his resume:
Cohen has argued five landmark labor cases before the U.S. Supreme Court and last year helped avert a crisis in Major League Soccer's labor talks. He is a former appellate court attorney with the National Labor Relations Board, and in fact argued before then-U.S. District Judge Sonia Sotomayor on the day she issued an injunction that effectively ended the Major League Baseball strike in 1995. Cohen was the MLBPA's lead attorney in the case, and also has worked with the NBPA.
Unfortunately, Cohen has no binding authority. He can make suggestions, but that's it. Having him there can't hurt, I guess, but his role is more as a Jerry Springer-type who can ask questions and hope to keep the parties from throwing chairs at each other, when they could really use a Judge Wapner-type who could hear their complaints and make a final judgment.
In an interview with New York radio station WFAN, Stern said that "if we don’t make it by Tuesday, my gut — this is not in my official capacity of canceling games — but my gut is that we won’t be playing on Christmas Day." This is classic Stern. He's been making dire threats like this all along, but there's no way there will be any more than a couple of additional weeks of games canceled if Tuesday's negotiations are fruitless.
Amare Stoudemire Says Players Will Consider Forming New League - ESPN (I recommend reading the story and muting the video unless, unlike me, you are able to listen to Skip Bayless without vomiting)
"Obviously we're trying to ... get this lockout resolved. We want to play NBA basketball. But if it doesn't happen what are we gonna do? We can't just sit around and not do anything. So we have to figure out ways to now continue to play basketball at a high level against top competition and have fun doing it. So, that's the next step," Stoudemire said Tuesday night at a Manhattan Footlocker to promote his new sneaker, the Nike Air Max Sweep Thru.
I'm in the "this is never gonna" happen camp on this one. I doubt players realize how much work has been done over the years to develop the infrastructure that supports NBA basketball. From the arenas to the team management to the coaching to the administration to the refs and rules (hate them as we might), it isn't a simple affair. If we're talking about something like the Impact tournament or the Team Philly/Team Melo game, yeah, players can organize those types of things. But a real, viable league with a charter, rules, owners, coaches, schedules, venues, etc started by players? Not gonna happen, and saying it might is either a transparent negotiation ploy or an overwhelming sense of self-importance from the players.
The charity games figure to keep coming until a labor settlement is reached. This one will feature Kevin Durant and Blake Griffin.
Kevin Durant and Blake Griffin will play on opposing teams in an exhibition game next week at the Cox Convention Center, with LeBron James, Carmelo Anthony and Chris Paul among the other NBA superstars expected to fill out the rosters.
Dudley has prepared himself to receive no pay for as long as the lockout should go, and hopes other players have done the same.
The fact that Dudley signed a five-year, $22.5 million extension with Phoenix, likely less than he could have received on the open market after serving as a spark plug off the bench for the Suns in 2010-2011, lends an air of credibility to his advice. Seemingly every major decision he’s made since entering the league has been with an eye toward the lockout and preparing he and his family for a prolonged work stoppage. For veterans and newcomers to the league alike to have not done the same is completely asinine.
Let's hope Dudley doesn't have to tap into his savings for too long.
Are we there yet?