Kevin Garnett: 'You trust no one in this'
Celtics forward Kevin Garnett was a guest on Dan Patrick's radio show today and touched on topics ranging from the NBA lockout to Brian Scalabrine. On the lockout, which threatens to delay or cancel the upcoming season, Garnett was expansive.
"As a fan you just want to see sports, but it's the business part of it that you have to pay attention to," said Garnett. "You never want things slowing that down.
"You trust no one in this, to be honest. You know you trust the players, because we're communicating and negotiating. But you never trust the other side. Because you don't know what they're thinking and they don't know what you're thinking. You're trying to come to some common ground going forward."
Asked if he thought the owners wanted the season to be canceled, Garnett responded, "I don't know. I'm not on the owners' side. I don't know what they want ... You say that and you hear that, and, you know, you don't understand some of the motives of some of this. We have a stand that we're going to take on this whole issue. I think at the end of the day common ground will be found. At the end of the day this game is too beautiful. I think with everything that's going on and all the storylines that surround our game, I can't see just throwing away the season."
One of the storylines of a potential upcoming season is the Celtics' aging roster against Miami Heat and Chicago Bulls teams that are younger and getting better. Garnett is in the final year of a contract that would pay him $21.2 million this season. He's unlikely to earn anywhere close to that should he return for another season. KG was asked whether he and the Celtics have discussed an extension.
"Truthfully no, I haven't," said Garnett. "Danny [Ainge] -- I think in passing, every joking moment that we have, he'll throw something up in the air and we'll laugh at it. But it's not concrete, no."
Asked if he'd even come back when his current deal is up, Garnett said, "I haven't gotten to the point where I've made that decision. I'm enjoying the guys I'm playing with. I'm enjoying the game."
-- Garnett touched on two other interesting if unrelated topics in his 11-minute appearance with Patrick. The first was the possibility of him joining the Lakers as opposed to the Celtics before the 2007 season. Garnett made it clear he absolutely wanted out of Minnesota, but he said turmoil in Los Angeles prevented him from playing there.
"I was pretty close to be honest," said Garnett. "What disturbed me about the whole Lakers situation was Kobe and Phil at the time. They were at each other pretty bad, and it was a new situation I didn't want to get into ... It was my choice, yeah. There was a lot going on and I didn't want to be a part of it."
-- Patrick joked about signing a 10-day contract with the Celtics and asked Garnett if an average guy could make a roster. Patrick said he could be a Scalabrine-type.
"You willing to give up that body of yours?" Garnett asked. "Scal gave us a lot. I know people like to crack little jokes about Scal. Scal's in this league for a reason."
-- The private Garnett also talked about his need for privacy.
"I don't really get a lot of time with my family, so I'm a little protective of that," he said. "That's my personal space, that's my family space. I just want people to always respect that and understand that. I'm no different than anybody else when it comes to family."
The NBA fined Michael Jordan $100,000 for public comments he made last month about the lockout and one of the league's players, according to sources with knowledge of the situation.
NBA spokesman Tim Frank confirmed that Jordan had been fined, but said the league would not comment on the total.
In an Aug. 19 interview with The Herald Sun, a newspaper in Australia, the Charlotte Bobcats owner spoke extensively about the need for revenue sharing and mentioned Milwaukee Bucks' Australian center Andrew Bogut.
That violated the league's policy that bars team owners and employees from discussing the lockout or any players during the work stoppage. The NBA sent out a league-wide memo just before the lockout began on July 1 stating that anyone who broke the rules could be fined up to $1 million.
Jordan, who along with Bucks owner Herb Kohl recently lobbied other owners to support revenue sharing, told The Herald Sun: "We need a lot of financial support throughout the league as well as revenue sharing to keep this business afloat.
"We have stars like Bogut who are entitled to certain type of demands. But for us to be profitable in small markets, we have to be able to win ballgames and build a better basketball team."
The players' union has pushed the league to expand its revenue-sharing plan, saying a plan similar to that of the NFL and Major League Baseball would answer the financial woes of the clubs losing money. But the league, which claims to have lost $300 million last season, has countered that even vast revenue sharing would not allow it to turn a profit, according to sources.
By Ben Bolch
September 16, 2011, 3:40 p.m.
The most ballyhooed name change of the year became official Friday morning when a Los Angeles County Superior Court commissioner approved the former Ron Artest's request to become Metta World Peace.
Amid labor discord that threatens to delay, if not wipe out, the NBA season, there is World Peace.
Photos: Famous name-changers
He is 6 feet 7, wears No. 15 for the Lakers and once participated in the infamous "Palace brawl."
Anyone now making his acquaintance will be meeting Metta World Peace. Those on a first-name basis can call him Metta, while those a little further removed can buy jerseys with his last name of World Peace stretched across the back.
The most ballyhooed name change of the year became official Friday morning when a Los Angeles County Superior Court commissioner approved the former Ron Artest's request.
World Peace was expected to attend the hearing, but about an hour after the court doors opened, his attorney, Nahla Rajan, announced that the Lakers forward was not coming. A few minutes later, Commissioner Matthew C. St. George approved the name change in a hearing that lasted about 30 seconds.
St. George: "Mr. Artest has requested a name change to Metta World Peace?"
Rajan: "Yes, your honor."
St. George: "And it's for personal reasons, he said?"
Rajan: "Yes, your honor."
St. George: "OK. All right. He'll now be known as Metta World Peace. Thank you."
World Peace's publicist, Courtney Barnes, said his client had been contemplating the switch for years, "but it took many years of research and soul-searching to find a first name that was both personally meaningful and inspirational." Metta is a Buddhist term that means loving kindness and friendliness toward others.
"Changing my name was meant to inspire and bring youth together all around the world," World Peace said in a statement. "I'm glad that it is now official."
World Peace had hoped to adopt his new moniker last month but was rebuffed because of an outstanding traffic ticket. He was cited for driving without a license and faced an additional charge after missing a court date, Rajan said.
Ticket paid, World Peace can now reign.
And it may be spreading fast. Barnes confirmed reports that World Peace's 8-year-old daughter, Diamond, wants to adopt her father's new surname.
"They wanted to wait until this was fully done before" starting the process, Barnes said.
Rajan said changing the name of a child requires the consent of both parents.
World Peace must now obtain a new driver's license and passport. Barnes said his client would more fully explain his name change Monday when he appears on ABC's "Dancing With the Stars."
Though World Peace was not required to attend Friday's hearing, Barnes said his client was on his way a few minutes before the court session was scheduled to begin at 9 a.m. Artest's name was listed first on the docket.
When World Peace had not arrived by 9:30, St. George told others waiting to have their names changed that he would hear their cases first. Shortly thereafter, Rajan said her client was not coming.
Asked why World Peace had not come, Barnes said, "He's got a jam-packed schedule based on 'Dancing With the Stars.'"
To Each & Every Player,
After the latest round of meetings, I thought it would be best to update you personally as to where the leadership of the National Basketball Players Association stands, where the negotiations stand where we are headed and the reasons why.
Without a doubt, someone will be leaking this. I know it. The moment you read this you will know it. So, I say all with the fullest transparency.
I was elected as your President. By you. For you. I take great pride and am honored to serve the over 400 members of our association. I and our Executive Committee take this job and this role seriously and will not agree to an unfair deal on behalf of you and our players. Period.
I'm not looking out just for the marquee guy, I'm looking out for the guy that dreams of being a professional basketball player and gets a minimum deal. I'm not just trying to protect the guy on a team in a huge market. I'm protecting the player that is in a small market with incredibly loyal fans.
I've made it clear, I want to play. You have each made it clear, you want to play. The fans have been unwavering, they want their basketball. The thousand of employees that work in the arenas, the ticket offices, the concession stands, they want a season. We all want to go back to work.
The league and the team owners have locked us out. This was not our choice. Our employers decided to stop allowing us to do our jobs.
My job since July 1st is to find a solution. To find an outcome that protects each of you and your livelihoods and continues to allow us to play the game we love so much and the fans love supporting.
Since before the lockout began, I have spent hours upon hours, days, months, years, working on preparing you, the fans and the media about the possibilities. Now as the lockout has set in, reality of the situation is here.
The most recent meetings in New York were effective. What you have been told by your agents, representatives and the media is probably speculative and inaccurate.
What actually happened in those meetings was discussion, brainstorming and a sharing of options by both sides. The turning point this past Tuesday was not a disagreement between the players and the owners. It was actually a fundamental divide between the owners internally. They could not agree with each other on specific points of the deal and therefore it caused conflict within the league and its owners.
So it is our hope that today, Thursday, at the owners meeting in Dallas that they work out their differences, come up with a revenue sharing plan that will protect their teams and are then ready to come together and sign off on the agreement we as a smaller group deemed reasonable.
Decertification seems to be a hot button issue today in the media. So I'd like to address it. I've read yesterday's stories and find the position of these agents interesting. I have made myself available to each and every agent. But not once have I heard from them. If they are so concerned about the direction of the union, then why have they not contacted me? Each and every one of them mentioned has been in meetings with me. I've answered their questions, I've been told they support you, their players and our Players Association. So if there is a genuine concern, a suggestion, a question, call me. Email me. Text me. I'm working tirelessly each and every day on behalf of the over 400 players that they represent. Working for nothing but the best interests of THEIR guys. I don't make a commission, I don't make a salary for serving as President. I have NO ulterior motives. None.
It is because they have not come to me once that I question their motives.
I work every day on these negotiations. I work so that each player from Blake Griffin to Tyler Hansbrough, Pau Gasol to De'Andre Jordan, Dwight Howard to Jrue Holiday, Taj Gibson to Danny Granger, Steve Nash to Luke Babbit and every single player get a fair and reasonable deal. Not just for this year, not just for next year but for years to come. So that the league that WE the players largely helped build, continues to grow and thrive.
So to address the agents that have decided to say their piece yesterday, I don't mind. Perhaps they are trying to make news. Perhaps they just want to show you, their clients, they are working hard. But what would be appreciated by the 400+ players would be the support of our agents and constructive ideas, suggestions and solutions that are in our best interests. Not the push for a drastic move that leaves their players without a union, without pensions, without health care. We just aren't there.
I will remain committed to finding resolution to this because I know how important this is. I ask you to remain united with me and your over 400 allies, friends, brothers and colleagues. We are a powerful group if we remain united and focused on the task at hand.
I urge every single one of you to call me, text me, email me with anything. An idea, a suggestion, a concern, a question. I represent you. I work for you.
So to each player, each fan, each agent, each media member who ends up reading this...I stand behind this message. It comes from me, a 15 year veteran of basketball, the game I dreamt of playing as a kid, the game I love so much. I'm a teammate, I'm a father, I'm a son, I'm a husband, I'm a brother, but right now, the role I must work so hard to honor is the one as PA President. And I ask each of you to stand with me, stand by me and urge the league and the owners to come together and allow the game of basketball to continue to grow and thrive. We're ready.
Zydrunas Ilgauskas To Retire
Sep 30, 2011 11:57 AM EDT
Zydrunas Ilgauskas has told the Cleveland Plain-Dealer that he will retire.
Ilgauskas spent the 10-11 NBA season with the Miami Heat after playing for the Cavaliers since 1997.
Ilgauskas was an All-Star in 2003 and 2005 after fighting back from foot injuries early in his career that limited him to 29 games over three seasons.
"Personal tip of cap to Zydrunas Ilgauskas for going 13 years with those feet," wrote former Cavaliers' beat writer Brian Windhorst. "You can't believe what he went through behind scenes to play."
Kobe Bryant: Italy is 'very possible'
MILAN -- Kobe Bryant said it's "very possible" he will play in Italy during the NBA lockout, adding the country is like home because he spent part of his childhood there.
Virtus Bologna has made numerous contract offers to the Los Angeles Lakers star. Bryant discussed the offer with the Gazzetta dello Sport during a sponsor's appearance in Milan on Wednesday.
"It's very possible. It would be a dream for me," Bryant said, according to the Gazzetta. "There's an opportunity that we've been discussing over the last few days. It's very possible and that's good news for me."
Bryant later spoke to the crowd -- in Italian -- at the event in Milan.
"I don't know what's going to happen over the next three or four weeks, but Italy has always been in my heart," Bryant said.
Virtus told The Associated Press that the latest talks are centered on a $2.5 million offer for 10 games over 40 days from Oct. 9 to Nov. 16. That would come out to about $1.5 million after taxes.
The deal would allow Bryant to return to the Lakers immediately if the lockout ends.
The 33-year-old Bryant spent several years in Italy when his father, Joe Bryant, played on five teams from 1984-91. The elder Bryant, who once owned a small part of Olimpia Milano, now coaches the Los Angeles Sparks in the WNBA.
"Italy is my home. It's where my dream of playing in the NBA started. This is where I learned the fundamentals, learned to shoot, to pass and to (move) without the ball," Kobe Bryant said, according to the Gazzetta. "All things that when I came back to America the players my age didn't know how to do because they were only thinking about jumping and dunking."
Turkish club Besiktas and at least one team in China have expressed interest in Bryant, a winner of five NBA championships and 13-time All-Star. However, he seems most interested in the Virtus offer.
"It's a huge honor for me to return to Italy. It's home for me," Bryant said in fairly fluent Italian in a video posted on the Gazzetta website. "It's always been a dream for me to play in Italy. We've got to wait and see what happens."
Virtus also recently reached out to Manu Ginobili, who played with Bologna before joining the San Antonio Spurs in 2002. Denver Nuggets forward Danilo Gallinari rejoined his former Italian club Olimpia Milano last week.
The NBA season usually begins in late October, but owners and players have failed to agree on a new labor deal. The two sides are at odds over how to divide the league's revenue, a salary cap structure and the length of guaranteed contracts.
Last week, NBA officials announced the postponement of training camp and the cancellation of 43 preseason games.
Virtus has won 15 Italian league titles but none since 2001, when it also won the Euroleague for the second time.
Bologna opens the Italian league against Roma on Oct. 9. It did not qualify for this season's Euroleague, although the team has big ambitions after signing former Clemson point guard Terrell McIntyre, who led Siena to four consecutive Italian titles before transferring to Malaga in Spain last season.
Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press
Sources: 51-49 BRI split could save season this weekend
PUBLISHED Wednesday, Oct 5, 2011 at 3:48 pm EDT
Sean Deveney Sporting News
In the wake of the inability of the NBA and players? union to come to an agreement to end the three-month-old lockout Tuesday, both sides have positioned themselves as prepared to hunker down and wait out a long labor stalemate. But a key point to remember is this: The league has not yet canceled regular-season games, and commissioner David Stern was careful to say that he would not take that step until Monday.
That could open the door, sources told Sporting News on Wednesday, to a solution that comes down this weekend on the most contentious issue of the negotiations?the split of basketball-related income (BRI). On Tuesday, the NBA formally made an offer of 47 percent of BRI to the players, while the union said it would not go below 53 percent. The source said that, over the weekend, the two sides could land on a split of 51 percent to players-49 percent to owners, down from the 57 percent that players received under the last collective-bargaining agreement.
Derek Fisher and the NBPA could wind up taking 51 percent of the league's basketball-related income in a new labor deal. (AP Photo)
In Tuesday?s negotiating session, the league floated an idea for a compromise with a 50-50 split of BRI. It was not a formal offer, but either way, the union turned it down before the idea could advance. The union was willing to go down to 52 percent, meaning, essentially, the two sides were just two percentage points apart on BRI.
Logically, that is far too thin a margin over which to risk losing games. Comparing this lockout to the one that cost the league 32 games in 1998-99, union executive director Billy Hunter said, ?The cost is much more significant now as opposed to 1998 simply because the revenues the league generates. We know that if we?re locked out for a year, each side stands to lose about $2.2 billion. In the case of the players, every month that we?re locked out, it amounts to $350 million. So I think the owners feel the same kind of impact, coupled with the overall damage to the system itself?to what extent are people willing to come back if the game is lost??
That?s just too much money to sacrifice for a couple of percentage points, which is why there is hope yet for this season. Once BRI is settled, system issues would then need to be worked out. While the sides did not come to an agreement on how the new salary system would operate, they spent much of the weekend discussing those issues, and the league has agreed to drop its demands for a hard cap, nonguaranteed contracts and salary rollbacks. That, another source said, will make the system disagreements easy to work out, with a beefed-up luxury tax likely to be the main feature.
Of course, there is a chance that, with the margin of error so thin at this late date, any faltering will plunge the league into an extensive lockout. But, at the very least, there is still hope.
Updating a previous post, the Hornets are now expected to trade Chris Paul to the Lakers in a three team deal with the Lakers (Lamar Odom and Pau Gasol) and the Rockets (Kevin Martin, Luis Scola and Goran Dragic).
The Hornets are expected to get Lamar Odom, Kevin Martin, Luis Scola and Goran Dragic, while the Rockets get Pau Gasol. This is a major coup for the Lakers, who now have an All-Universe backcourt and managed to land CP3 without losing Bynum, the likely centerpiece of an offer for Dwight Howard. It's ironic that this blockbuster, which enriches one of the highest-spending big-market franchises in the league (at the expense of a small-market league-owned franchise), went through on the same day as the new CBA. Keep checking Rotoworld's player news for all the fantasy fallout.