Marc Spears of Yahoo! Sports: “Whenever the lockout ends – whether it’s next week or next month – NBA teams know this much: They’re not going to have much time to prepare for their shortened season. That could give some teams like the Oklahoma City Thunder, Dallas Mavericks, Miami Heat and Chicago Bulls an advantage because their rosters are already largely built. Other teams like the Denver Nuggets, Golden State Warriors and Boston Celtics who either have a lot of holes to fill or hired a new coach – or both – could have more trouble. Not every team is as fortunate as the Thunder, who already have 14 players under contract and just one free agent: guard Daequan Cook. Their coach (Scott Brooks) has been with them for more than two seasons, so they likely won’t have many system changes. When the players have gathered during the lockout for informal workouts, they ran the team’s plays. Whenever the season begins, they likely shouldn’t have a tough transition.”
Darnell Mayberry: “Will the fans still show their support? Interest in the NBA product clearly isn’t diminishing in Oklahoma City. The Thunder has sold out its allotment of season tickets and has started a waiting list. But loyalty might not linger throughout the league. If games continue to be canceled, there is a serious risk of alienating thousands, if not millions, of fans. Since teams secure season ticket renewals in the spring, league-wide attendance still could be strong. But casual fans could boycott and deliver a blow to the league’s merchandise and single-game ticket sales, as well as viewership.”
A sad day in Oklahoma yesterday as legendary broadcaster Bob Barry Sr. passed away. Best wishes to his family.
Major League Soccer has overtaken the NBA in average attendance. That sounds bad, but I’d like to see the percentage of tickets sold to capacity.
Ken Berger of CBSSports.com: “If Stern had been willing to move from 50 percent and meet Hunter at 51, it would’ve been a $40 million concession for the owners to get their approximately $400 million share of the lost November games — a net gain of $360 million. But instead of offering to make the economic move Stern had said Thursday night he was prepared to make, he decided it was better to lose the $400 million — a net swing of $760 million. So collectively, Hunter and Stern cost their business $1.5 billion by walking away without a deal Friday.”
Howard Beck of the New York Times: “The new N.B.A. labor deal is practically done. You wouldn’t know it from the headlines, the dour news conferences or the apocalyptic rhetoric spilling from league officials. But the deal, in practical terms, is about 95 percent complete. The N.B.A. and the players union have agreed on contract lengths and luxury-tax rates, trade rules and cap exceptions, and a host of oddly named provisions offering “amnesty” and “stretch payments” and less onerous “base-year” rules. All of these pieces — some favoring the players, most of them favoring the owners — have fallen into place in recent weeks, even as talks collapsed and restarted and collapsed again. The checklist has been reduced to a few items. But it is the last 5 percent that is ruining the prospects for labor peace and gradually eroding the N.B.A. season.”