The NBA will now use a federal mediator. Ken Berger of CBSSports.com: “For those wondering why the step wasn’t taken sooner, federal mediators generally don’t get involved in labor disputes unless asked, or unless they reach an impasse after the sides had ample time to bargain. The NFL requested Cohen’s involvement before the lockout was imposed, and while it’s unclear what impact he had on the ultimate resolution, his powers at the time were muted by the lack of urgency in the talks.”
Brilliant stuff from Ian Levy of Hickory High on lineups: “Small changes in managing rotations make a huge difference. The Oklahoma City Thunder were a perfect example of this last season. 53.6% of their lineups, which played at least 5 minutes together, outscored their opponents. Those lineups were allocated 59.2% of possible minutes. The most commonly-used five-man unit for the Thunder last season was Russell Westbrook, Thabo Sefolosha, Kevin Durant, Jeff Green and Nenad Kristic. This was the Thunder’s starting lineup until Green was dealt to Boston for Kendrick Perkins at the trade deadline. This unit played 541.92 minutes, with a Net Rating of -0.94. When Serge Ibaka replaced Green, the Net Rating of that group jumped to +7.05. That unit, with Ibaka replacing Green played just 127.63 minutes together across the entire season. Green was with the Thunder for 49 games before the trade. That means Scott Brooks had 49 opportunities to set his starting lineup, and each case he chose a less effective orientation with Green instead of Ibaka.”
Jeff Klein of the New York times looks at the NHL lockout that ended a season: “As the 2004-5 lockout wore on, the union, led by its hard-line executive director of 13 years, Bob Goodenow, dropped its opposition to a salary cap, proposing one of $52 million per team on Feb. 14. Bettman countered at $40 million. Goodenow came back at $49 million. Bettman went to $42.5 million. The two sides got no closer, and on Feb. 16, Bettman stepped to the microphone with his fateful message. Union solidarity began to crumble. In July, the players voted in favor of a $39 million cap, and the lockout was over.”
Zach Lowe of SI had a great exchange with Carmelo Anthony: “SI.com: Let me put myself on the line. This summer, I ranked the top 100 players in the NBA, and I ranked you 20th. I got piles and piles of hate mail from fans. Anthony: You can’t do that. You can’t do ratings like that. I don’t see 20 guys better than me. SI.com: Yeah, people thought I was crazy. Anthony: Me too.”
Former OKC mayor Ron Norick on the lockout: “Absolutely, absolutely it’s going to cost jobs. You’re going to have a tough time replacing 40 home games. I don’t care what you do. That would be a tough time. So, yes, it’s going to be a hit, but it’s going to be a hit to all of the cities.”
I made a small cameo on Channel 4 last night (starts at 5:30). Have a look if you want to laugh at me pretending to work.