Big names show up to CBA negotiations


LeBron James, Carmelo Anthony, Dwyane Wade and Chris Paul were among the players who attended a negotiating session between the NBA and the union Thursday.

“It’s important for me that all of us, as being the faces of the NBA, to be involved in the negotiations and what’s going on,” Anthony said as he left. “Our future is in jeopardy if we can’t come into a mutual agreement.”

LeBron and Wade are locked into long term deals, and it would be very difficult for the owners to negotiate any kind of changes to those contracts. The guys that really have something to lose with an owner-friendly CBA are Anthony and Paul, who will be signing new deals in the next two years.

Regardless, the show of force from the players’ side is important. The owners need to know that the league’s biggest names are behind the union in these negotiations.

The four-hour bargaining session Thursday was the first since February’s All-Star weekend, when the players — also strengthened by the surprising attendance of some big names — rejected the owners’ proposal. The union recently submitted its own proposal, but commissioner David Stern has indicated it’s similar to the current CBA, and the owners are seeking significant changes to the system.

Stern has estimated the league will lose about $370 million this season, which the union disputes. The sides began discussions last year but remained far apart, creating fears of a lockout next summer.

Stern cracks me up. He effuses positivity whenever he’s asked about the financial state of the league — to the point that I think he’s trying to hypnotize his audience — but now that it’s time to negotiate a new collective bargaining agreement, the league is suddenly $370 million in the red. After going on and on about how well the league is doing worldwide, he’s pleading poverty.

However, the CBA does need a few changes. Contracts need to be guaranteed only to a certain point — say, 50% in years 3-4-5 — or they need to be kept to a maximum of four years. Too many franchises handicap themselves by giving long-term, lucrative contracts to players on the decline. Also, there’s nothing a team can do when a perfectly good player is hamstrung by injuries after signing his deal (i.e. Michael Redd or Tracy McGrady).

I’d also like to see a harder cap. Teams with free-spending owners like James Dolan, Jerry Buss or Mark Cuban make things that much tougher on small market teams who can’t afford to keep up with the Joneses. Fortunately, these teams — the Knicks, Lakers and the Mavs — are generally way over the cap, so they aren’t competing directly with the small market teams for free agents. (The Knicks were obviously the exception this summer, but they’ll be over the cap before too long, especially if they rehire Isiah Thomas in a year or two.) All in all, the salary cap rules aren’t too bad — at least it’s not uncapped, like baseball.

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Michael Redd out for season…again

Per the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel…

A basketball source has confirmed that Michael Redd suffered a torn anterior cruciate ligament and torn medial collateral ligament in his left knee on Sunday night in Los Angeles. The injury will sideline the Bucks shooting guard for the rest of the season.

The injury is the same one that Redd suffered nearly one year ago, on Jan. 24 against Sacramento at the Bradley Center. He suffered a torn ACL and torn MCL in his left knee on that night and was lost for the rest of the season.

On Sunday, Redd planted on his left foot as he made a move in the lane during the Bucks’ 95-77 loss to the Los Angeles Lakers at the Staples Center. He immediately was helped off the court.

Redd had a magnetic resonance imaging exam done in Phoenix on Monday, and the test revealed the ligament tears.

The 30-year-old Redd has been plagued by injuries in recent years. He missed the final 35 games of last season after being injured, and he was out for 16 games earlier this season due to a left patella tendon strain.

As a Bucks fan living in Southern California, I actually attended the Bucks/Lakers tilt last night at Staples Center. Redd drove into the lane, came to a jump stop and his knee just gave out. He has struggled this season to get back into the groove, but over the last few games he was starting to (sort of) resemble his old self.

I know that there are Bucks fans out there that want to be rid of Redd, but I think that anger is directed more towards his contract than at the player himself. In his heyday, he was a stone cold shooter, and could make contested jumpers from anywhere on the floor. He is also a good citizen and teammate, and a good locker room guy. I feel bad for him.

From a salary cap perspective, this injury obviously kills any chance the Bucks had of moving Redd before the trade deadline next month. Next season, he is due to make $18.3 million in the final year of his contract. He could opt out, but there’s a better chance that Barry Bonds will admit to using steroids while wearing a yellow and white polka-dot dress on St. Swithin’s Day.

The Bucks are just going to have to ride this one out and retool in the summer of 2011.

Photo from fOTOGLIF

Michael Redd doesn’t want out

When I saw DIME’s juicy headline, “Michael Redd Wants Out of Milwaukee, and I Don’t Care ” I was surprised. Redd has always been a class act and it’s not like him to go to the press demanding a trade. As it turns out, he didn’t. Not even close.

DIME pounced on this quote:

“I do feel like I have to figure out where I fit with this team now,” Redd tells HOOPSWORLD. “My thing is, I want to win. I want to win regardless of anything else. I want to win, to play on a contender, and I feel like we had our chance earlier in the season when we went 8-3, but we’ve slipped since then. We’ve got to get back to where we were at the beginning of the season and keep fighting.”

DIME writer Aron Phillips then went on to question Redd’s decision-making skills…

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Line of the Night (12/16): Michael Redd

Normally, I pick a player from a winning team, but tonight I’m going to give the Line of the Night to Michael Redd because the Bucks got royally hosed against the Lakers. There were a series of bad calls down the stretch and in overtime, but the killer was a travel and charge by Kobe that was somehow turned into a three point play. Lakers win, 107-106, in OT. Ridiculous. You’d think the game was in L.A. the way the officiating crew was cowtowing to the Lakers.

Anyway, Redd has been coming off the bench the last few games as he tries to come back from his ACL surgery, and tonight he finally looked like himself. He posted 25 points, seven rebounds and four assists, and hit some big shots in the second half to bring the Bucks back from an eight-point deficit. In a game where Brandon Jennings had an off night, Redd stepped up. If he can get back to being an efficient scorer, the Bucks will have a pretty potent backcourt.

Redd out with knee injury

Michael Redd is sidelined again.

Michael Redd of the Milwaukee Bucks will miss at least two weeks after experiencing soreness in his surgically repaired left knee, a source told on Monday.

Redd underwent surgery in March to repair a torn anterior cruciate ligament, and he left Saturday night’s game against Detroit during the third quarter because of discomfort in the knee.

Redd is a great example of why the NBA needs to lower the maximum contract length to three or four years. Over the last three seasons, Redd has missed more than a third of his team’s games. During that span, the Bucks paid him almost $44 million and have missed the playoffs each and every year.

I give Redd a lot of credit for transforming himself from a second round pick into a NBA All-Star, but his inability to stay healthy in recent years has really hamstrung the Bucks. To add insult to injury, he’s slated to make more than $35 million over the next two seasons, and if he isn’t healthy, he’s going to be impossible to trade.

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