Breaking news, NBA commissioner David Stern and Billy Hunter the Executive Director of the NBA Players Association finally met yesterday in New York. This is significant because it was just the second time the sides have met since the lockout began July 1st. The two sides are reportedly very far apart, with the players currently taking 57 percent of Basketball Related Income (BRI). When the sides last me June 30th the players initial offer was to reduce their percentage of BRI to 54.6.
That means the players offered to give the owners an additional $100 million per year for the next 6 years. To show just how far apart the two sides are the proposal the owners submitted asked the players to reduce their BRI percentage from 57% to less than 40%, which is a huge gap.
But if the meeting is any indication NBA fans should not expect to see a deal anytime soon. According to ESPN, a very “dour-faced” Commission Stern summed up the negotiations saying:
“I don’t feel optimistic about the players’ willingness to engage in a serious way…from where we sit, we’re looking at a league [NFL] that was the most profitable in sports that became more profitable by virtue of concessions from their players,and with an average salary of $2 million. Our average salary is $5 million, we’re not profitable and we just can’t seem to get over the gap that separates us.”
The fact that the two sides are meeting is a positive as it’s very difficult to make a deal when you go a month without any negotiations. Say what you will about the NFL lockout, but the two sides met almost continually throughout the process and were finally able to reach a deal without missing any games.
The same can’t be said for the NBA unless the two sides agree to meet at least 12 hours a day, every day, from now on until however long it takes to make a deal. That will not happen anytime soon as the two sides plan on only meeting a couple more times in August. Clearly neither side is in any hurry to get a deal done and that is unfortunate. The league will lose money, the players lose money and more importantly fans will no doubt turn their nacks on the NBA.
The lockout looks like it has the potential to cause teams to miss training camp and pre-season games, which would be detrimental to everyone involved and particularly the Utah Jazz.
The Jazz have a new coach, a core group of young players who haven’t played much together and they need to spend as much time as possible on the court to get to know each others traits, playing styles and Corbin’s system. Coach Corbin was handcuffed last year because he stepped in during the season, he did not have the benefit of a training camp, to put together his lineups and rotations. Missing this important practice period would put a young team like the Jazz at a major disadvantage.
With all of the news about players going overseas to play, and with negotiation sessions ridiculously few and far between, not to mention how far apart the two sides are on the key issues, it looks like the NBA may be in for a long-term layoff. This has the potential to jeopardize a good portion, if not all of the upcoming NBA season.
So while the lawyers on both sides will be paid handsomely throughout this process, it may only be until players start missing paychecks that they get serious about making a deal. However for Jazz fans all the news concerning the lockout isn’t bad. The extra time off would do wonders for Mehmet Okur who will have extra time to heal from his Achilles and back injuries, same for an aging Raja Bell.
As for the two Jazz recent first-round picks they have taken the opportunity to hone their skills together this summer. Thanks to a story by Brian T Smith of the Salt Lake Tribune we have found out the Alec Burks and Gordon Hayward have become workout buddies in Hayward’s home state of Indianapolis.
Burks agent convinced his client to travel to Indianapolis to take part in intense workouts at St. Vincent Sports Performance. The two-a-day workouts are five hours and focus on shooting, agility, strength and core training. Burks has also been playing in the highly competitive Indy Pro-Am Summer League which is full of NBA vets and drafted rookies as well as current and former college players. While it’s not the most elite competition, it is still a high level of basketball and so far Burks has shined.
He has done so well that he was actually featured on ESPN’s SportsNation as one of their YouTube best videos of the week. Remember all of those so called draft experts who said Burks was a shooting guard who couldn’t shoot? I do. Check out this video and you tell me if Burks shot looks like it’s broken or if he can’t shoot.
I realize this isn’t top notch NBA competition and he isn’t being guarded by Dwayne Wade or Kobe Bryant, but he is absolutely dominating the league, he’s had 33 and 34 point games which is exactly what he should be doing. Check out how easily Burks gets his shot off, how high he gets above the rim, how smooth he is handling the ball, how easily his stutter step allows him to get by defenders and finish well above the rim, seriously above the rim.
I’m somewhat hesitant to say this but his game reminds me of Dwayne Wade. Again, as Ice Cube put it I need to Chiggidy check myself before I wreck myself,” but Burks talent just oozes off the screen. You can tell how long his arms are by how easily he gets above the rim. Scouts say he’s a willing defender and I can just imagine that wingspan wreaking havoc on the defensive end.
His jumper is silky smooth. I’ve got more proof of that for you if your bored on a summer night and you want to get your ‘basketball jones’ fix. This is Alec preparing for the NBA draft, check out out fluid his pull up jumper is. Notice where he gets his shot off from, above his head, that combined with his near 40 inch vertical leap will allow him to get his shot off over defenders.
Finally for all of those “experts” who said he’s a shooting guard who can’t shoot watch him firing up the three-pointers from the corner at the end of the video. I realize he’s not being defended but seriously does that really look like a shot that’s not going to go in the more he works on it? To me he looks like the most athletic scorer the Jazz have had since the glory days of Darrell Griffith aka Doctor Dunkenstein.
Again it’s hard to throw out comparisons without watching him play in actual NBA games but while Burks may not be a great spot up three-point shooter he looks like a great drive and dish guy. Someone you can get the ball to at the end of the shot clock and actually get a good shot off. He got to the free-throw line at will in college, he rebounded at nearly 7 a game, which is tremendously important for guards to do in the NBA, and he is an excellent ball handler.
The offense ran through him at Colorado, he handled the ball very well and even played some point guard. Considering he was the guy the other team set-up their game plan to stop and that he didn’t have very good teammates at Colorado, and that he played against top notch competition (4 of the top 14 picks came from his conference) Burks numbers are better than what they look.
Yes he only shot %30 from the three-point line but he shot over %50 on his two point attempts. Ray Allen and Brandon Roy were the only 2 shooting guards in the NBA who played more than 20 minutes per game who shot over %50 on their 2-point attempts last year.
Burks versatility, athleticism and work ethic, along with the Jazz lack of depth should allow him to earn time on the court right away, that is if the NBA ever decides they want to get serious about settling the lockout and start meeting every day. The Jazz finally have a roster loaded with young, athletic, talented, and versatile players. It would be a shame to see their development impeded because of the current labor issues.