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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Pistons agree to terms with T-Mac?

The Associated Press is reporting that Tracy McGrady will sign a one-year contract with the Detroit Pistons for the league minimum ($1.3 million).

I thought that the 31-year-old would perhaps sign a two- or three-year deal for $3-$4 million per season, and if he had been willing to accept a role off the bench, he may have been able to strike such a deal. The Bulls were interested, but when he balked at a reserve role, they moved on to Keith Bogans… Keith Bogans. Think about that for a second.

T-Mac is officially in Allen Iverson territory.

Presumably he agreed to sign with the Pistons in a starting role, but what does that mean for Rip Hamilton and/or Tayshaun Prince?

Bulls to sign T-Mac?

Mar. 12, 2010 - Memphis, TENNESSEE, UNITED STATES - epa02077082 Memphis Grizzlies O.J. Mayo (L) fouls New York Knicks tracy McGrady (R) at FedExForum in Memphis, Tennessee, USA on 12 March 2010.

Looks like Chicago is getting closer to signing Tracy McGrady.

The Bulls are prepared to sign Tracy McGrady if he proves to be sufficiently healthy in a workout Monday and can convince the team he is willing to accept a bench role, one source familiar with Chicago’s thinking said Sunday.

“Nothing is done until it’s done, but I expect the Bulls to sign McGrady later this week,” the source said.

Although he has expressed interest in snagging one of the spots on Miami’s bench in support of the LeBron James-Dwyane Wade-Chris Bosh triumvirate and he auditioned for the Los Angeles Clippers last week, Chicago is undeniably where McGrady has been hoping to wind up.

McGrady made his desires evident in several recent messages on his Twitter feed, including his pronouncements Saturday that he has “unfinished business” with the Bulls and that it “could be fate this time round” with Chicago after drawing serious interest from the Bulls in the 1997 draft and again during free agency in 2000.

It obviously doesn’t hurt McGrady’s chances that Bulls star Derrick Rose told’s Nick Friedell on Friday that the idea of signing McGrady — Rose’s favorite player as a kid — has his full support.

“That would be good,” Rose said. “I think that if he comes along, he could help our team.

“A player like him, with his experience and how he plays, I think it would help us.”

McGrady is/was a great player, when healthy. But ‘health’ has always been his biggest problem. He has missed a ton of games in his career, so his mileage maybe isn’t as bad as a typical 31-year-old. (Remember though, he came to the NBA straight out of high school, so he has played 852 games in his career.)

It sounds like the Bulls want him to anchor the bench, but it’s crowded on the wing with Luol Deng, Kyle Korver, Ronnie Brewer and now possibly T-Mac in the fold. As long as the Bulls aren’t investing too much money in McGrady, it (probably) can’t hurt to roll the dice and see how much he has left.

T-Mac says he’ll be an All-Star next season

Here’s what he told the NY Times

There’s no question I will be an All-Star,” McGrady said. “Not right now, but next year when I come into the season, I will be an All-Star-caliber player, there’s no question.”

He added, for emphasis, “I will be myself next year.”

All right, so he said he’d be an All-Star caliber player, and that’s different than saying he’ll actually make the All-Star game, but still.

I admire the guy’s confidence and optimism, but I think McGrady’s All-Star days are behind him. Who knows…maybe he’ll prove his doubters wrong.

Photo from fOTOGLIF

Rockets, Knicks and Kings complete major three-team deal

ESPN has the details.

The Knicks will acquire McGrady and Sergio Rodriguez from Sacramento, sources said.

The Rockets get Kevin Martin, Jordan Hill and Jared Jeffries from New York and will have the right to swap first-round picks with New York in 2011 as well as take on New York’s 2012 first-round pick.

Sacramento obtains Houston’s Carl Landry and Joey Dorsey and New York’s Larry Hughes.

This differs from the Rockets/Kings deal I wrote about earlier in that Houston will take on Jeffries’ contract next season and in return get a prospect (Jordan Hill) the right to move up in the 2011 draft. In addition, the Rockets get the Knicks’ pick in 2012. I love this trade from Houston’s perspective.

The Knicks get to see if T-Mac has anything left in the tank and a decent young point guard in Sergio Rodriguez (6 points/3 assists in 13 minutes of PT for the Kings). More importantly, they free up enough cap space (~$30 million) two sign two big-name free agents this summer.

I’m not sure why the Kings wanted to get the Knicks involved. They’re taking on Hughes contract for this season, so I guess it will save them the trouble of buying T-Mac out.

Photo from fOTOGLIF

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