Ken Berger of CBSSports.com on today’s huge meeting: “But if Cohen, the ultimate dealmaker according to legal sources who have dealt with him, can build a bridge on the cap-and-tax issues, then agreement on the other problems can and will follow. I don’t have all the answers, but I do have the answer to this question: Are there any more excuses for the NBA and its players union to avoid compromise and extend this lockout? The answer to that question is no.”
SLAM ranks Russell Westbrook 12th overall: “In fact, due to Westbrook’s rare talent, I would encourage Head Coach Scott Brooks to encourage his young leader to shoot more. To trust his lighting-quick first-step and off-the-charts athleticism and take over games when needed. While the Thunder have a bevy of riches assembled by the brightest young (not sure if we can still call him that, but…) mind in GM Sam Presti, there isn’t a lot of on-the-ball wizardry. The frontcourt is full of role players (Nick Collison, Serge Ibaka, Kendrick Perkins) and the backcourt isn’t necessarily loaded with creators. James Harden is the perfect compliment and Eric Maynor is much like Westbrook (a converted college scoring 2-guard) only a little less awesome in every department.”
Chad Ford of ESPN.com: “If the owners care so much about competitiveness, why aren’t they putting some skin in the game? Why do the players have to fix a problem that, for the most part, is an owner problem? The players won’t cave on system issues until the owners get on the same page with revenue sharing. By doing these two things, Cohen can help restore a level of trust and put the parties in a position to make a deal. Whether Cohen can get there in such a short time is debatable.”
Dave McMenamin of ESPN LA with four concessions that would end the lockout: “Owners letting go of the hard cap idea and surrendering their “supertax” alternative. The idea that competitive balance is directly tied to a hard cap is wrong. A small-market team without the television revenue that allows it to overspend on player salaries can still be perennially competitive. It just has to draft well and choose free agents wisely, as San Antonio and Oklahoma City have done. A hard cap, and the “supertax” alternative that is really just a hard cap in disguise, would only go in place to save owners from themselves. If small-market owners feel like they don’t have the resources to spend the way the Lakers or the New York Knicks do, they have to be disciplined enough not to do it. If large-market teams want to continue to overspend, then a dollar-for-dollar luxury tax paid back to the league and redistributed among all the teams that didn’t cross the tax threshold is a fair price to pay.”
SLAM interviewed Eric Maynor and J. Cole: “Maynor: I was a LeBron fan in college. As soon I got to the League it was like no more fan stuff. It’s like I’m going at you just like you’re going at me. That’s how its gotta be. We go at each other everyday. Me, Russ, KD, all the boys—we go at each other everyday and at the end of the day we gonna still be cool. But you never going to hear me saying that I’m looking up to somebody in the NBA. None of that anymore.”
Career highlight: Having my name pop up on the Colbert Report.