Atlanta Hawks: Hope on horizon (Update: Talks break off, more games canceled)

(Update: The league canceled all games through Nov. 30. The BRI still seems to be a sticking point.)

We’ve been here before but it looks like an end to the lockout is within sight.

The two sides are meeting this morning, and Chris Sheridan reports that the split of basketball revenues is at the top of the agenda. That’s been a source of contention between the sides in earlier sessions. Also, things have usually gotten tougher once the small negotiating groups go back to their constituents. So there’s still time for everything to fall apart but there was real optimism after last night’s bargaining session.

Union exec Billy Hunter said the two sides are “within striking distance of a deal.” Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports quotes a source saying: “There’s a strong expectation [within the negotiations] that hands will shake [Friday].” Howard Beck of the New York Times goes so far as to report that there’s still the possibility of an 82-game schedule if a deal is reached soon and that the league has called arenas to clear dates in late April.

It sounds as if they’ve made progress on issues like the mid-level exception, the maximum length of player contracts “Bird rights” and the luxury tax.

There also have been reports that the new deal would include an amnesty clause, which would allow teams to waive one player and, according to ESPN.com’s Marc Stein, wipe most of the salary off the books for cap purposes. There also are reports of a “stretch exception” that would allow a team to waive a player and spread the money owed out over several years. Both provisions could potentially help the Hawks shed payroll and gain some cap flexibility.

Of course, once the lockout ends the Hawks are going to be in flux because of the Alex Meruelo issue. ( When earlier reports surfaced about “seller financing” potentially being a problem, my understanding was that it was not an NBA concern since the league’s lawyers were involved with the deal from the beginning. There is no “seller financing” as part of the deal but there was confusion on that point because some ASG members would retain a minority interest in the team.)

Once the lockout is over, who will be calling the shots on Hawks basketball operations? If it’s ASG, do those owners proceed with the belief that Meruelo will eventually buy the team? If the sale falls through, I’m assuming the current owners still want to sell the team so do they proceed with any long-term planning in the interim?

What a mess.

Wilkins plans game

You don’t have to wait until the season to see NBA-caliber ball. Damien Wilkins has organized a charity game at Morehouse on Nov. 5 with proceeds benefiting the Boys and Girls Club of America. League guys expected to play: Teague, Smoove, J.J., Lou Williams , Jordan Crawford, Anthony Morrow, Chris Wilcox, Derrick Favors, James Harden , Jarrett Jack, Jeff Green, Jonny Flynn, Micheal Beasley, Rudy Gay, Russell Westbrook , Shannon Brown and Trey Thompkins.

The game was originally scheduled to be played at Clark Atlanta but Wilkins said high demand for tickets prompted the move to Morehouse. I can see why. That’s a hell of a lineup if all those dudes play. A lot of them have been playing in those pickup games at an ATL church. Someday I’d like to show up at a court with a squad like that.

Ticket info is here.

Etc.

Speaking of those pickup games. . . . For my blog people worried (for some reason) that Smoove engaged in a summer of sloth, he’s been showing off a hint of abs at those church pickup games. He said he’s not going for the full six-pack look, though. . . .

Reports in Europe indicate Italian club Dinamo Sassari is on the verge of waiving Hawks draft pick Keith Benson and replacing him with Steven Hunter. There were similar reports last week, which the club denied, and Benson stayed. It’s hard to know what to make of this development since I’m not familiar with the dynamics of Dinamo (hey-o!) but it could all end up being moot if the lockout ends soon. . . .

JC2 never did lack confidence. . . .

This is the best analysis yet of the players’ arguments. That’s because it comes from Kevin Murphy, a University of Chicago economist who is advising the union.

Michael Cunningham, Hawks beat

174 comments Add your comment

gcs

October 31st, 2011
11:18 pm

Strike! Strike! Strike! Strike! Strike! Strike!

doc

October 31st, 2011
11:27 pm

Geez, dmb like flat out plagerism stole your words as their own? no wonder the ship is sinking a bit.

Big Ray

November 1st, 2011
1:33 am

Said this before the lockout began –

The NBA cannot afford to do what the NFL did. The NFL still sells, the lockout all but forgotten. Why the difference?

The NBA hasn’t had the same marketability since Jordan/Bird/Magic and so many others left the game, but they did have some hope in other personalities:

1) Shaq has probably been the biggest personality. So big, that he’s retired and his brand still sells, though to a lesser extent.

2) Penny Hardaway was a good personality for a while. He had the “Lil’ Penny” thing going on in commercials.

3) Kevin Garnett had some staying power for a while. Kobe Bryant was good, but that’s one major thing he didn’t quite have in common with Jordan – he wasn’t quite as marketable, though somewhat close, and wasn’t as profile picky. Jordan would never have dipped so low as to do stunts with “Jacka$$.”

4) Dwayne Wade hooked up with Barkley to bring us some fun. He has lost his luster since.

5) Dwight Howard really never quite got going, and neither did Amare Stoudamire.

6) LeBron’s narcissim did him in. He had the League to himself until “The Decision.” Now he’s doing McDonald’s commercials…and they ain’t working. Michael Jordan has been retired for years, but if he does an underwear commercial right now , every generation will recognize him.

7) Kevin Love doing commercials in the shower with a “not so new” brand of body wash is the indicator of an all-time low point. I think anybody who didn’t watch NBA ball on the regular had not a clue as to who that was. All they knew was that some guy was in some couple’s shower and it wasn’t very funny.

8) The NBA’s best hope for marketing at the moment is, of all things, a Los Angeles Clipper. That’s right – Blake Griffin. Maybe others of the new generation will also lend their personalities to the cause (Derrick Rose would be a vote, but he’s too quiet).

Only one problem – you can’t sell what you can’t produce.

Normally I’d side with the players and blame the owners for creating the frankenstein’s that they did. After all, who can say Dan Gilbert is entirely innocent of creating the egomaniac that Lebron became – somebody had to crown him, and Gilbert is guilty of giving the young man every single thing he ever asked for, except enough of the right teammates to win it all (he needed a hard core assassin who wanted the ring, didn’t care about fun like LeBron…not a bunch of coat tail riders like Mo Williams).

But in this case, I’d say the owners, though still at fault, are not quite the fools that the players are. Those contracts? The fault of the owners, no doubt. But this mess that currently stands at a stale mate? The players need to accept what was eventually coming, like it or not. The owners finally backed themselves into a corner they didn’t like, and now they’ve come out with their teeth showing. They’ll lose money, sure.

But they won’t lose livelihoods like many of the players will. And those who just got their first monster sized contracts? They’re hurting. Those who have had recent divorces? Also hurting. Everybody else will be on Ramen Noodles within months. And they know it.

Welcome to the “real” world. You only had one thing to sell, and it wasn’t selling all that great last we looked. You better come back to the table and get what you can before it’s gone.

Big Ray

November 1st, 2011
1:40 am

BTW-

If you think the lockout shortened offseason hurt the performance of football teams, just wait until you see NBA teams.

Not to mention our own undisciplined bunch…

Looking at M. Cunningham’s tweets, I had to laugh. So Keith Benson was unable to take playing time from former Hawks Othello Hunter over there in Italy, huh? How ironic….

Hunter struck me as a fundamentally sound hard worker when he was with us (when he was allowed to play). Sure, let’s get rid of guys like THAT, and replace them with guys who can’t get PT in front of those types in a weaker League.

Hopeless…

Grandad

November 1st, 2011
2:14 am

vava:

Dalembert = Good Guy
*[humanitarian award for efforts in Haiti]
Sam Dalembert = *low basketball IQ (here we go again)
*supposedly

doc:
To sign Battier, Dalembert, & Foster
$’s would come from savings on Marv (no lux tax)
-&-
*Not* re-signing Jamal.
-Plus-
Capt Kirk comes off the books next year;
-or-
could be traded @ the deadline ?
-and-
a trade involving Josh or Joe is still a possibility ?

**note – Foster will not bring a Big contract.
Battier = medium size contract.
Dalembert would take the most to sign.

One could probably sign all three for around $18 mil.
*[maybe less]
although it’s hard to say what the mkt will be …
with the *new CBA.

_____________________________________________

Look for collusion to be the next “Big Ticket”;
with the players crying & screaming
after the CBA is signed.

They can all thank “King LeBJ”.

______________________________________________

1. What’s funny is that Billy Hunter is negotiatiating for the rank and file.

2. I’m not sure who Fisher is sleeping with ? [Stern] ?

3. Then there’s KG who set back lockout money for a rainey day;
plus a fifty game season will be great for his knees;
he rides in one day & blows up the negotiations –
(lobbyist for the agents, of course) !

_______________________________________________

I recommend northcyde & “the Hatter”;
go in and negotiate for the fans.
Who could win against that combo !

Grandad

November 1st, 2011
2:46 am

Whether the players realize it or not;
-once- College Basketball starts,
many, many, many, many folks are gonna cease …
to give a shooey whether or not these guys ever play again.

Myself included !

Once College fb season is over;
I’ll flip to collegiate basketball in a flash.

I’ll think of the NBA again next June around draft time.

____________________________________________

Grandad

November 1st, 2011
2:48 am

One thing I’ve learned:
Life don’t wait around.
This year will pass and then it’s gone, never comin’ back.
You’re a year older;
you either did somethin’ or you wasted it.
We all know;
we are not promised tomorrow.
We’d best live today.
Paint your masterpiece now, while you have the chance.
One day you will look up;
and you say to yourself;
hmmm, I wasn’t quite ready to be old yet.
Life didn’t wait on me, it went on and happened.
You kinda look back and say;
man, if ………?
Or, you don’t waste one precious second;
worrying about little bitty things that don’t matter.
Run, jump, smile, laugh, hold a baby, call your ma’ma,
hug your children and tell ‘em every day that you love ‘em,
Make a vow to a good woman and keep it,
help someone that needs it, be nice,
make love not war,
find someone and do something for them without them asking.
I need to end this little soliloquy with a quote:
“It’s nice to be important, but it’s more important to be nice”
-Mary Woods- wife of Marvin Woods Coach of Milan HS, Indiana
(Milan HS Indiana – the real Hickory Hoosiers)

Grandad

November 1st, 2011
2:51 am

One thing I’ve learned:
Life don’t wait around.
This year will pass and then it’s gone, never comin’ back.
You’re a year older;
you either did somethin’ or you wasted it.
We all know;
we are not promised tomorrow.
We’d best live today.
Paint your masterpiece now, while you have the chance.
One day you will look up;
and you say to yourself;
hmmm, I wasn’t quite ready to be old yet.
Life didn’t wait on me, it went on and happened.
You kinda look back and say;
man, if ………?
Or, you don’t waste one precious second;
worrying about little bitty things that don’t matter.
Run, jump, smile, laugh, hold a baby, call your ma’ma,
hug your children and tell ‘em every day that you love ‘em,
Make a vow to a good woman and keep it,
help someone that needs it, be nice,
make love not war,
find someone and do something for them without them asking.
-Grandad-

I need to end this little soliloquy with a quote:
“It’s nice to be important, but it’s more important to be nice”
-Mary Woods- wife of Marvin Woods Coach of Milan HS, Indiana
(Milan HS Indiana – the real Hickory Hoosiers)

Grandad

November 1st, 2011
2:52 am

That 1st part was all me – sorry.

vava74

November 1st, 2011
2:56 am

Big Ray,

Benson: wrong Hunter, its Steven Hunter than will replace him.

In general about EuroBall:

People around here simply think that the level of basketball in Europe is low, for instance at NBDL.

You are wrong: the level of bball is LOWER but the game is also different (more collective and guys are less physically gifted).

This means that in Europe, they guys that REALLY make it are normally:

- Guys who are technically good, but are either slow or small for the NBA;
- Unprepared guys like Jennings was and like Benson is, DON’T MAKE IT because although physically gifted, they are too RAW.

Steven Hunter may not be a wonder, but he has significantly more experience and his size allows him to be semi-dominant in Europe.

Othello, whose stats I have not seen recently, would be big enough at 6′9” to play in Europe the PF AND the even the C position comfortably.

vava74

November 1st, 2011
3:28 am

Fan report on Benson:

“He was sent away not only because he did not play well but also because he was an alien body inside the team. What left people incredulous was his total indifference, lack of spunk, how can I say it… his lack of attention.”

Basically it seems that Benson had trouble adapting and that his worst characteristic – lack of aggression, according to scout reports – overlapped whatever skills he has.

Not a good sign, however, I also think that with the lockout looking more or less closer to the end, he didn’t want to get injured over there and lose his opportunity to try to play in the NBA.

Given the fact that we only have 9 guys under contract and lack cap room, it seems pretty obvious that his chances of staying with us are pretty good.

vava74

November 1st, 2011
3:34 am

Picking up on the previous post:

DaJuan Summers was also sacked by an italian team (the top team – Sienna) following just 5 games averaging 4ppg.

Another raw guy who struggles in Europe.

Paddy

November 1st, 2011
6:42 am

Big Ray……your points are well thought out and delivered with knowledge and expertise. But all your examples are just the reason why the NBA is so far behind the curve in marketing their product. Fans want their teams to win not their players to be successful. The “Michael Jordan thing” will never be duplicated. The buying public wants to see the Lakers come to town not Kobe’s Lakers come to town! It is great that Kobe is on the team but fans like teams not individuals. Its the Packers, Yankees and Montreal that drives tickets not Bart Starr, Reggie Jackson and Rocket Richard. It is the total package with the team as the center piece of monetary success of franchises. To market players who are out of controll turns the ticket buyer off.

Grandad

November 1st, 2011
7:07 am

Paddy:

While I agree with you,
I’m afraid the avg NBA fan comes to the game to see players.
-Not Teams-
highlight reel plays, dunks, spectacular passes athleticism, etc.

Myself,
I’m old school and love Team play, Defense, precision offense and the like.
But most of all a Competitive Attitude.

I’m not debating either you nor Big Ray.
I just think it’s the way things are nowadays.

Paddy

November 1st, 2011
7:28 am

Grandad…..it is the way things are today. Thats why the NBA is in trouble. The buying public likes the old concept. When the NBA went the other way so did the disposible income of the true NBA fan. And they have been gone for years and are not coming back anytime soon. It is a players run league and they are not buying IT.

Paddy

November 1st, 2011
7:32 am

Grandad…..the “me first, me always” attitude does not sell. At least not enough to keep teams afloat and profitable. They have marketed themselves into a no-win situation.

vava74

November 1st, 2011
8:13 am

I agree with Paddy. He truly has a point.

doc

November 1st, 2011
9:06 am

i think it is on between, glamor sells whether it is teams stars or talent. people show up for glamor teams or great players. if the glamor teams have great poayers tyey come oit in droves like the celts or lakers. if teams have great players but not glamor teams un not so much like the duncans, parkers and durants of the world. yeah the heat too with big three are huge draw but a good one just with dwade with the bulls comimg on. again it is glamor.

sorry to disagree with the whole laqueen is the problem thing and the narcissist. what the owners wont fess up it was one of their own again who played by the rules maybe sorta and shook their tree. they were outsmarted by pat riley and they are truly trying to protect themselves from their own.

gilbert was cheap and wanted it all for himself and got caught with his pants down egg on his fafe and exposed for the azz he really is, a donald sterling type in disguise thinking like a slave owner with the biggest slave to sell. yup grandad that is what it is and you and everybody better see it and enjoy it as ticket prices gonup no matter the product. we the fools to see it any other way:

drmaryb (*_*)

November 1st, 2011
9:50 am

I’ll buy a ticket at ANY PRICE to see those BEEFCAKES!!

I’ve got cavities from all the CANDY I got from those BIG BURLY MEN!!!

Nate ArchiBALL

November 1st, 2011
2:13 pm

@Michael Cunningham Thanks for posting the Q and A with Kevin Murphy, the players economist. Good business explanation as to why one would purchase a franchise in a league that is losing money.

http://www.nba.com/2011/news/features/steve_aschburner/10/27/lockout-q-and-a-kevin-murphy/index.html

Mr. ATL

November 1st, 2011
3:26 pm

I suggest you forget about the Hawks until a legitimate owner buys the team. Atlanta Spirit’s betrayal of our town is unforgivable.

O'Brien

November 1st, 2011
3:37 pm

Given the lockout situation, and the owner friendly CBA that is coming (5 year Max contracts, smaller annual raises, lower MLE etc), how bad does the JJ contract look now?

Rod from College Park

November 1st, 2011
4:16 pm

People still wating on Marvin to improve. LOL

Grandad

November 1st, 2011
6:14 pm

My premise that LeBJ scared the owners is real.
I’m not real sure that 9:06 AM doc is the real doc ?
If so, then, my mistake.
Back to LeBJ;
just because he created the impetus for the lockout,
does not mean that a lockout was not forthcoming.

Slaves – Slave owners – seriously.

Jews were slaves before Africans.
It’s curious, in history, to study the evolution of post slavery.
How the cultures have responded to the after-affects.

Enslaving human beings is wrong.
Putting any people in bondage is wrong.
The Bible says:
“the love of money is the root of all evil”
[1st Tim 6:10]
perhaps that is enslaving young athletes.
Fame, money, drugs, sex, power – intoxicating.
I see the bondage.