NBA lockout mediation leads to progress, more talks scheduled

After meeting for more than 24 hours the past two days with federal mediator George Cohen, including Tuesday’s marathon 16-hour negotiating session, progress has been made on the proposed revenue split but many issues still remain between the NBA and the player’s association, according to Yahoo! reporter Adrian Wojnarowski.

A source told Woj that the sides have moved closer to a 50-50 split of revenue “give or take a point with ranges based on revenue performance,” while another source stopped short of calling this a “breakthrough” moment since system issues could again derail the discussion.

To clarify, the owners are now offering a range of 49-51 percent of BRI, according to ESPN’s Chris Broussard, depending on how much revenue the league takes in during a given year.

Broussard also reported the the league is open to a $5 million mid-level exception, down from last year’s $5.8 million but significantly higher than the $3.4 million they had previously offered.

Woj added that the biggest remaining issue right now concerns “the luxury tax proposals to punish big-spending teams and discourage them from overpaying players.” This includes the NBA’s wish to limit Larry Bird rights and yearly cap exceptions.

The two sides are set to meet Thursday at 2 p.m. ET after an NBA board of governors meeting.

It sure seems like we will have a better gauge on the likely length of the lockout by the end of this week. Although it’s fair to question why it took so long for the two sides to engage in an all-day bargaining session, as Bill Simmons did, the fact they finally did so certainly shows the seriousness of both sides.

The NBA and the players must feel the time is now to make concessions and find a deal with the majority of the 2011-12 season intact. Whether they can actually find that common ground, though, is anyone’s guess.

Suns fourth in average #NBARank

In my analysis of the Suns and #NBARank I commended the Suns’ depth in the rankings, with 10 players featured among the top 175 even if they were a bit thin at the top.

ESPN’s Larry Coon crunched the numbers on this project in which 91 analysts ranked the NBA’s players from 500 to 1 based on current ability and discovered that the Suns’ average #NBARank of 148.5 among their top 12 players ranked fourth in the entire NBA.

The top three features the Nuggets, Mavericks and Grizzlies with the Spurs rounding out the top five. The Suns, of course, are the only squad in the bunch to miss the playoffs last season.

Phoenix was nowhere to be found, however, when Coon looked at the average ranking of the top five players on a team, but the team did rank fifth with an average score of 120.3 when just a team’s top 10 players were considered.

The first thing this project points out (which we already knew, of course) is that the Suns desperately need some more top-end talent, with Marcin Gortat their only top-100 player under the age of 37. But it also shows how deep the Suns could be next season with practically the entire rotation considered an above-average NBA player.

Tags: Lockout Nbarank

  • Steve

    I really hope a decision isn’t rushed that will cause the league much more pain down the road. Spending needs to get under control.

    You know what I’m really curious about? Why hasn’t the uprising of sabermetrics in the basketball community led to more management teams being unwilling to spend big money on overrated players? Sabermetrics seem to have helped get baseball under control a little bit over the past decade (unless you’re talking about teams in NY, Boston, Philadelphia, or Washington DC). There are a lot of teams with mid-range or even low salary figures that are fielding good teams despite their low payroll. I really think that has to do with advanced statistical analysis of players.

    Basketball isn’t quite as individually oriented as baseball, so I think it’s harder for sabermetrics to be counted on so firmly, but sabermetrics will still almost always yield consistent results across the board. Why haven’t more teams realized that Jeff Green isn’t worth $5M because he’s never had a PER above 15 (the league average)? How is Beno Udrih worth $6.5M when his WS/48 is below 0.1 (and has never been higher than 0.128)?

    Why aren’t GMs and other talent evaluators smart enough to use all the available resources?

  • Scott

    The Suns have a precarious hold on that 5th spot (ranked 5th on having the “best top 10 players”). As noted, the two best Suns players are well into their sunset years. The rankings are also counting Carter as a Sun, when he is not going to be with the team next year, and Pietrus, who – with his expiring contract – is probably trade bait.

    Gortat is the next best Sun after Nash and Hill, but does anyone consider him as being the potential cornerstone of the franchise? Gortat’s good, and he might make one or more All-Star appearances one day if he continues to improve, but can he carry the team? The Suns at this point have no one who looks like they’re on the upswing in talent, with unlimited potential. What they have are a boat load of players who are probably already playing at, or close to, their potential.

    Aside from having a tenuous #5 rank in top 10 players, the Suns also have several of the league’s worst ranked players. Siler is considered to be one of the 10 worst players in the league, yet he was able to get court time with the Suns. Dowdell was ranked in the lower 50 NBA players, and he also played a fair number of minutes. Gani Lawal is ranked higher than either Dowdell or Siler, and he didn’t play at all due to injury.

    Compare that to the Nuggets or Jazz, who only have one player each in the final 100 ranked players.

    As for the last draft, I think Markieff Morris was a solid pick and he should play well in the Suns’ system. I expect his ranking will greatly improve once he gets on the court and starts nailing 3s. I’d make him the reserve PF, coming in after Frye, as he should have a similar game. His ability to rebound could help the Suns when Lopez is playing center, as Lopez prefers to defer on rebounds. But I don’t see Morris as being much more than a competent role player for the Suns.

    If the Suns don’t make any huge changes in trade or free agency, in my view they need to move rail thin Warrick to reserve SF (backing up Hill), and Childress to starting SG (with Dudley as his reserve). If he’s not injured and is playing well, Pietrus can find minutes subbing at both wing positions. This plan would work best, offensively, if both Childress and Warrick could hit their 3s. I think Warrick could pick up the corner 3 with practice, but I’m not sure Childress is going to have a confident shot. Childress may have to focus on developing defensive intensity for the starting unit, and let his offense continue to be assists and around-the-basket plays.

    Although it would spoil my scheme above, a free agent I’d like for the Suns to consider is Michael Redd. He’s supposed to be recovered now, and nobody’s talking about him much … so he’s probably on the radar for several teams, like the Knicks, Heat, Celtics, Mavs, and Spurs.

    A player I’d be interested in the Suns acquiring by trade, if he’s still available, would be OJ Mayo. I’d be willing to trade Brooks or Pietrus for Mayo. I think Mayo could have more upside at PG for the Suns than Brooks.

  • Lloyd I. Cadle

    The talks just broke off. The owners have the players on the ropes. Hopefully they hold out for a hard cap.

    Please don’t settle for a soft cap that penalizes a team a paltry 1 1/2 dollars for every dollar a teams spends over the cap.

    There needs to be a non-compromise on the hard cap with a minimum that each team must spend. In other words, the Bucks must spend as much as the Lakers.

    This will not allow any greedy teams or any cheap teams. Only the teams with good G.M.’s, coaches and scouting will win.

  • Michael Schwartz

    @Lloyd TrueHoop’s Henry Abbott has an interesting take on that very topic:

  • Lloyd I. Cadle

    Thanks Michael -

    I am not out to see the players lose money. What if the owners gave the players 53% in exchange for the hard cap?

    We don’t want to stick it to the players, the fans just want to see competitive basketball. How about a system where the hard cap is 80 million, but the minimum is 78 million that each team must spend.

    That would be great for the long term health of the NBA. They would get much higher T.V. ratings, which would lead to much more fan interest and more money for both the players and the owners.