David Stern: Owners and Player “very far apart” on a New Labor Deal.

     Today NBA commissioner David Stern made it very clear that the owners and players are nowhere close to reaching a new labor deal. The key issues being discussed are the length of player contracts, the amount of guaranteed money they are being paid and a hard salary cap. Unlike the NFL lockout where the owners are relentless in their pursuit of money, I believe the NBA owners are correct in this argument. While the current system of luxury taxes is not totally bad, I believe the hard salary cap is the way to go. If this luxury tax system remains there will be like 5 super teams in the league and everyone else will be mediocre. In this era of agents and players deciding to join together and form super teams, the league needs to be evened out. Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely hate parity but a big 5 super league with 25 other non super teams would be a terrible game. Clearly teams do not care about paying the luxury tax as long as they can sign the players they want. At the start of last season, 12 teams were above the 69 million dollar cap with 7 of them being at least 10 million into the luxury tax. The cap is the greatest conflict between the clubs and players because it affects everything else. If the salary cap is lowered / a hard cap is implemented, the contracts of the players will be shorter and they will be paid less money. Of course in the money first NBA, the players do not want this to happen. I believe it has to happen. Some of these contracts today are insane and it’s worse that teams must be held at gunpoint by agents and players to overpay for their services. Reluctantly, I use Amare Stoudemire as an example. Last year, he would have stayed in Phoenix if they’d offered him a 5 year max deal rather then the 4 year max deal. Then after he turned Phoenix down, his agent Happy Walters comes out and says they’ll only take a 5 year 100 million dollar deal. Lets face it, if Phoenix offers him that 5 year deal worth 119 million then he’s not in New York. I’m glad as hell that he is but I’m just saying, the decision making of these guys is all money driven and it’s not the way it should be. I mean there has to be a line drawn at some point. There should be no way that players leverage their way and hold these teams to gunpoint because they want more money. I understand with a hard cap some of these things would still occur in smaller magnitude, but the hard cap would 1. reduce the length and size of the deals and 2. stop players from leveraging teams for egregious contracts. While the owners are mostly slimy and greedy themselves, they own and run these teams. The owners should have the power and leverage in making deals, not the players.

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5 Players to Workout For Knicks on Thursday

As reported by Tommy Dee, on Thursday the Knicks will workout 5 prospects 

Keith Benson, 6-11, 230, Oakland, senior

Mike Davis, F, 6-9, 225, Illinois, senior

Charles Jenkins, F, 6-3, 220, Hofstra, senior

Iman Shumpert, G, 6-5, 212, Georgia Tech, junior

Chris Singleton, F, 6-9, 225, Florida State, junior

     Keith Benson is an intriguing prospect, he’s got a 7-4 wingspan and is a very good athlete. He’s a good shooter and good rebounder. The problem is that he’s not a great defender which is bad for the Knicks. If you can improve his defense, I think he could be a very good NBA player. He will be a 2nd round selection. Mike Davis is a power forward but he’s too finesse for my taste. He is a bit soft inside and he’s not a shot blocker. He plays hard and he’s a good rebounder and he can shoot but overall he needs work. He’s got late second round value.  Charles Jenkins is a really interesting prospect. Tommy Dee has him listed as a forward but I think that’s a typo. Jenkins is a point guard and a very good one. I like him more at the 2 actually as he isn’t a great passer. He wasn’t asked to pass much at Hofstra but if you’re gonna play point for the Knicks, you gotta be able to deliver the rock to the big 2. He’s a great scorer and has a really nice jump shot. He’s not an elite athlete and needs to improve his passing but overall he’s a solid player, should be a first round pick. Iman Shumpert is another intriguing prospect. He’s got great size for a point guard at 6’6 and he’s real long. He may not be a pure point, maybe a shooting guard but he’s a great defender and he’s a great finisher at the rim. His 3 point shooting could use some work and he isn’t a great jump shooter but overall I think he’d be a great 2nd round purchase for the Knicks. Chris Singleton is going to be a lottery selection. He’s an unbelievable defender and he’s can shoot the hell out of the ball from 3. He’s incredibly athletic and finishes nicely at the rim. He’d be a great fit for the Knicks coming off the bench, he’s got versatility to guard the 3 and 4 on defense. I like him alot but I don’t know if he’s gonna be there at 17 for the Knicks to pick.