NBA lockout now in serious trouble; other notable snippets

It’s been about 33 days since the NBA went into full lock down mode and little has changed since. I’ve yet to write anything really decent these past 33 days as there is little to nothing much players and clubs can do as of right now.

A first sign of promising hope arose early this week when the league owners and members of the players union met for a 3-hour meeting to discuss issues and see if progress would come out the meeting room. It didn’t. And from the look on NBA Commissioner David Stern’s face as he answered questions from the press, the situation hasn’t changed one bit.

“I don’t feel optimistic about the players’ willingness to engage in a serious way,” and with a blank stare he added there was nothing encouraging from the discussions. While fans of the NFL recently rejoiced that their season had been saved, it’s time for NBA fans to start seriously considering that there will be no season come November.

David Stern doesn't feel confident in the NBA labor talks

“It’s a tough position to be in,” Lakers guard and Players’ association President Derek Fisher said. “I think Peter [Holt] (San Antonio owner and heads the labor relations committee), Glen Taylor (Board of Governors chairman and Minnesota owner), Commissioner Stern, Adam Silver (Deputy Commissioner) are articulating certain things in the room, expressing their desire to get a deal done, but where their proposal lies makes it hard to believe that. So we’re continuing to try to work around what’s been said and really focus on the deal on the table, and right now we’re still a very, very long way from getting a deal done.”

Fisher stated that he would like to schedule a handful of more meetings this month but brought the fact home that both the league and the players are much more further apart than those in the NFL labor talks.

And as that news wasn’t bad enough, the NBA has filed two lawsuits against the NBAPA on August 2nd as they accused the players union as being “uncooperative in negotiations toward a new collective bargaining agreement by making ‘more than two dozen’ threats to dissolve their union and sue the league under antitrust laws to secure more favorable terms in a new CBA”. According to Sports Illustrated, “players’ attorney Jeffrey Kessler, who also represented the NFL players, was named in the NBA’s lawsuit for his use of what the league called a ‘impermissible pressure tactic’ that has had a ‘direct, immediate and harmful’ effect on CBA talks.” The article goes onto say that Kessler responded to the lawsuit by saying “The NBA Players Association has made no decision to decertify. They talk about the fact that this is something the players have considered for 30 years, and that’s true. And they haven’t done it for 30 years, so there’s no decision made. There may be no decision made. We view this as an example of their bad-faith bargaining. They don’t want to be at the table.”

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Instead of discussing and analyzing the 2011 free agency class that has players such as Tyson Chandler, Nene, Greg Oden, J.R. Smith and David West, we are left to pick at our brains as to who might leave the NBA to play overseas. The first big name to sign was New Jersey Nets guard and All-Star Deron Williams who signed a one-year deal with the Turkish club called Besiktas as the deal included an escape clause allowing him to return when the lockout ends.

This was the first domino that allowed other NBA players to sign with European and Asian clubs in order to stay in shape such as Toronto Raptors guard Sonny Weems to Lithuania on a one year contract to the Zalgirs Kaunas club. Other players such as Carmelo Anthony, Chris Paul and Dwyane Wade have all said they would be interested in signing with a foreign club. Another huge name to be thrown into the mix was Lakers star Kobe Bryant who has possibly hinted or denied that he has been in talks with Besiktas about a contract that would have him play alongside Williams. Rumors flared as it appears both sides were settling on an agreement but soon died down as Bryant has not spoken to Besiktas and could consider playing overseas if the lockout spills into when the season would actually start.

Kobe Bryant has also expressed interest into playing basketball in China

One of the Portland Trail Blazers is heading back home to play for his native France as Nicolas Batum has signed a contract with SLUC Nancy in the French league and Euroleague. This didn’t come as much of a surprise to Blazers fans as Batum has a history with French basketball, he plays for the French national team and played in the French league prior to being selected by the Blazers during the 2008 NBA Draft.

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This really isn’t new but it’s worth mentioning as the promising career of Houston Rockets big man Yao Ming announced this summer that he is retiring from basketball after nine seasons. The tallest player in the league at 7’6″, Yao had been dealing with years of pain and surgery to his feet and knees as he missed entire seasons (2009, 2010) and missed a great deal of games (2005-2010) as his giant frame couldn’t handle the stress of playing ball. He sat out the 2009-10 season, then lasted only five games in 2010-11 before sustaining a bone bruise and fracture in his left ankle and was set to make a comeback but never happened.

Yao Ming pays just nine seasons in what was looking like a stellar career

Picked as the number one Draft pick in the 2002 Draft, Yao had gained serious interest by the NBA for his sheer size and offensive ability. An eight-time All-Star, and averaged 19 points and 9.2 rebounds in eight seasons. Yao played in the postseason four times, and helped Houston win a first-round series in the 2009 playoffs for the first time since 1997 by beating the Blazers 4-2. He ranks second in team history in blocks (920) behind NBA career leader Hakeem Olajuwon, and ranks sixth in points (9,247) and rebounds (4,494).

Not only was he a star in America but Yao had international superstar status well before he left China. Yao’s face is everywhere in Asia and really brought the game of basketball to kids in neighborhoods of Beijing and Hong Kong that basketball is now a very popular sport.

In an article on Sports Illustrated, former Rockets coach Jeff Van Gundy said Yao deserves Hall of Fame consideration, “not just for his statistics, but for his unprecedented impact on the game.” “He’s been one of the greatest ambassadors to ever set foot on an NBA floor,” Van Gundy said. “This guy touched so many people, and really opened doors in China, not only for himself, but for so many others. In his eight years, he accomplished as much as any player has ever accomplished,” Van Gundy said. “He was the real deal, as a player and as a person.”

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To cap off this post, here is video of Oklahoma City star Kevin Durant dropping 66 points in a pick-up game in Harlem. At one point he spits 5 three-pointers in a row. Enjoy:

photos courtesy of, and Statistics and articles courtesy of