NBA players blowing it, plus notes on Chip the Gambler, playoffs for PSU, and curfew for Terrence Jones
- Kerry Eggers
- Portland Tribune - Sports
Musings on a busy Monday in sports ...
• If, in fact, the NBA players have busted the union after saying no to the owners' latest collective-bargaining proposal, I offer a hearty congratulations.
Man, are you guys blowing it.
I read the proposal commissioner David Stern released to all the players over the weekend. I was struck by how severely it would punish the teams with salaries beyond the luxury tax threshold, which is a good thing for parity and the idea of small-market teams being able to compete.
Overall, as opposed to the operative word of union president Derek Fisher, the proposal seems 'fair.' It contains a split of basketball-related income that would give the players no less than 49 percent; a soft salary cap with maintenance of mid-level, bi-annual and Larry Bird exceptions (plus a new exception for teams with room under the cap); four- and five-year maximum contracts that would be guaranteed, with annual increases of 3.5 to 6.5 percent; a lower but still lucrative rookie pay scale and an amnesty clause, which could aid both the team and the player.
I'm going to guess the average player salary will drop from more than $5 million to the $4 million range. The NBA player would still be the most highly compensated in all of professional sports.
And the union turns it down. Amazing.
I'm told only 50 of the NBA's 420 active players attended Monday's union meeting in New York. That's a travesty. It means nearly 90 percent of the players are allowing a handful to make a decision that will affect the league for the next decade. Disgraceful.
The players are being led down an errant path by a group of big-time agents who are looking out for the best interests of only the game's stars, not the rank-and-file players.
I'm not a fan of the NBA owners, and I don't like the posturing by Stern that includes terms such as 'charade' and 'nuclear winter.' But with both sides drawing lines in the sand, I don't see the owners being moved to cross over with even one toe.
'Hoodwinked' was the word one ownership source used in a yahoo.com report on the union's decision to dissolve and begin the process of filing an anti-trust suit - a process that could take just short of forever.
I'm praying to the basketball gods for an 11th-hour change of heart that would rescue the players from this abyssmal decision. All the while, I'm doubting now that my prayers will be answered.
• Hey, how about a roll-call vote of the NBA players on whether to accept the owners' offer?
Just a thought.
• Let's see. Alabama, Oregon, Oklahoma and Arkansas win out. Louisiana State loses to Arkansas, Oklahoma State falls to Oklahoma. LSU, Oklahoma State, Alabama, Oregon, Oklahoma and Arkansas all finish the pre-bowl season with one loss. Who is No. 1?
As a caller to Dan Patrick's radio show said Monday, 'I can just see the BCS computer exploding.'
And it's not time for an FBS playoff system?
• Oregon coach Chip Kelly's chutzpah in going for it on fourth-and-long - latest example the fourth-and-7 from the Stanford 41 in the second quarter of the Cardinal game, which resulted in a TD reception by De'Anthony Thomas - is well-documented.
But what about the Chipster's propensity to go for - and make good on - the 2-point conversion?
Last year, the Ducks were 7 for 8 on 2-point PATs, including 2 for 2 in the BCS Championship Game. This year, they are 3 for 4. That's 10 for 12 over the past two seasons.
Has anybody in college football ever done it as often, or more effectively?
• A victory over Weber State on Saturday would put Portland State in position for its first Division I-AA postseason action since 2000.
But could three Big Sky Conference teams make it to the 16-team FCS playoffs?
It has happened only twice, in 2003 and '09.
The teams ahead of the 25th-ranked Vikings in the Big Sky standings - Montana State and Montana, who square off against each other Saturday - are locks to be included in the 16-team field. Montana State is ranked No. 1 and Montana No. 7.
The Big Sky's reputation is good. Eastern Washington won the national title a year ago. An 8-3 PSU club (with losses to Montana State and Montana) would seem a decent bet if a few teams ahead of the Vikings fall on Saturday.
If that happens, Portland State might play host to a first-round playoff game. The Vikings have made a bid, and 20,000-seat Jeld-Wen Field could be attractive to the NCAA committee that awards sites.
• A couple of early basketball scores involving Pac-12 'powers' - Seattle Pacific 69, Arizona 68 in an exhibition, and Loyola Marymount 69, UCLA 58 - give me pause about the lack of strength of the conference.
• Terrence Jones and a teammate at Kentucky, Stacey Poole Jr., were involved in an automobile accident early last Friday before the second-ranked Wildcats' season-opening 109-58 victory over Marist.
Jones, the former Jefferson High standout who was Southeastern Conference player of the year as a freshman last season, and Poole were riding in a vehicle driven by Larry Warren, a high school teammate of Jones now attending school at Kentucky.
The incident occurred at about 2:30 a.m. The driver of the other car was charged with driving under the influence.
Warren told the Lexington-Herald Leader the three were leaving a nightclub when the incident occurred, but that they were all drinking bottled water and no alcohol. Jones left the scene in fear of altercation with the other driver, according to Warren.
Jones was questioned by police before being treated at a hospital and released, according to coach John Calipari.
Calipari said the players broke no rules, but because of their actions, he would impose a curfew on the Wildcats in the future, 'because this team has showed me an inability to make proper judgment and decisions that they've been given the freedom to make.'
Jones did not start against Marist, but had eight points and nine rebounds off the bench.