Every morning, we compile the links of the day and dump them here… highlighting the big storyline. Because there's nothing quite as satisfying as a good morning dump.
In a somewhat conciliatory gesture, NBA owners relaxed their stance on guaranteed contracts Friday during the latest round of collective bargaining negotiations to replace the labor agreement that expires at the end of this month.
The players welcomed the move but cautioned there was still a wide gulf to be bridged. The sides are still hundreds of millions of dollars apart on how to split revenues, and the owners are still asking for a hard salary cap system.
Another labor meeting is set for next Tuesday, and commissioner David Stern said the onus will be on the players to make a new economic proposal.
"The time to have an optimistic or pessimistic view is at the close of the day Tuesday. That's an important day," Stern said after the sides met for nearly five hours. "Time is running out, but both parties seem, at least to me, intent to make a deal by June 30."
I don't think the owners really know what they're going to be getting into with a hard-cap system. If they get it, then I'll guarantee you we'll hear the moaning and groaning that teams can't keep their star players, and it's killing interest in the sport.
Of course, it's the smaller market team owners who are leading this charge. And its not so much that they can't spend what bigger market teams can on players. It's just that they can't spend their way out of mistakes like the Knicks, Lakers or Celtics can. They can't pinch their nose and swallow a bad contract along with a good player in a trade… or buy out someone who's just not working out like they thought he would.
Players need to find a way to still give teams an advantage to keeping stars on their teams but still limiting free-wheeling big-market teams from using exceptions to go $30 and $40 million over the cap. I'll agree that the current system gives bigger markets some advantages, but the hard cap isn't the way to go. That's just a road carpet-bagging stars who will no-longer spend their entire careers in one city. Paul Pierce and Kobe Bryant are already rare enough in that regard. Fan bases identify with those stars. We look forward to seeing them end their careers in their cities, raise their numbers into the rafters, and create the legends in team lore they deserve.
A hard cap kills that. This is a league that works hard to promote individual players. Owners need to think twice before they dig their heels in on this issue.
The rest of the links:
CSNNE: Ray Allen & David Ortiz talk about being Dads | Herald: Moot point for Celtics | ESPN Boston: Snapshot: KG in Minnesota | Eyes on BC's Reggie Jackson | Let's bench this speculation | WEEI: Draft's potential Celtics: Malcolm Lee | Scotty Hopson | Nolan Smith | David Lighty | Justin Harper | SLAM: Rubio finally joining TWolves