Early Saturday morning news broke that the NBA lockout has finally concluded after 149 days of fierce negotiations. Though the deal has yet to be finalized, a “handshake” agreement is said to have been reached between the owners and players. All signs are pointing towards a season starting Christmas Day, with training camps and free agency beginning as soon as Dec. 9. Between now and the Nuggets first game of the 2011-12 season, which will likely be at Utah on Dec. 26, we’ll be covering a lot of material, but before we begin our analysis, here are some links to help get you acclimated with the new CBA and how it affects your favorite basketball team.
The winners and losers of a new CBA by Henry Abbott: This is a great little article by our fellow TrueHoop colleague that touches on who benefits from the new CBA and who doesn’t. From the sound of it, the owners took a harsh stance on creating a more balanced league for all 30 teams, and for the most part, came out victorious. No longer can teams like the Mavericks and Lakers spend uncontrollably while the rest of the small-market franchises watch in the distance. This new CBA has made it much more difficult to go over the luxury tax and in turn will create a more competitive environment for everyone. In this sense, you have to tip your hat to the owners, as teams like the Nuggets benefit greatly. By the way, Abbott goes out of his way to mention the Nuggets as a clear winner of this new CBA stating, “Remember when the Heat had all that cap room to sign free agents? The Nuggets are basically like that, only now all kinds of teams will be on a course to shed payroll. There’s not a system in the world in which you can’t parlay tiny roster commitments into potential.”
How does the NBA’s tentative deal sound?: In this most recent episode, ESPN’s popular 5-on-5 series featuring TrueHoop contributors from across the board, analyzes just how damaging this lockout truly was to the NBA’s reputation. The general consensus: Although there will be some backlash, and even a few hardcore sports fans that may never actually watch an NBA game again (which I find hard to believe), the vast majority of fans will forgive and forget come Dec. 25. Speaking for myself, I know my view of the players has changed. I didn’t think they were quite as stubborn as they proved to be, but in the end I give them credit for saving this season and that’s all that matters.
First look at the new deal by Larry Coon: If you’re unfamiliar with Coon, all you need to know is that he’s the No. 1 guy when it comes to understanding the rules and regulations of the CBA. He wrote a Q-and-A-style bible for the last CBA and I’m sure he’ll do the same for the new one. In this article he reminds us that the “handshake” agreement is not yet signed and therefore, not yet completed. Owners and players still need to vote in order to finalize the negotiation process and unfortunately there are still many, what Coon refers to as “B-List” issues, that need to be resolved such as the age limit for league eligibility and drug testing policies. Coon also reminds Nuggets fans across the world of just how bad of a decision JR Smith, Wilson Chandler and Kenyon Martin made now that the lockout has ended more prematurely than they had originally thought.
Denver Nuggets have lineup questions to settle as players and owners tentatively agree to end NBA lockout by Benjamin Hochman: I can’t tell you how happy I was to read this article — one that finally discusses the Denver Nuggets lineup situation and how it will be presented in actual NBA games. Hochman simply covers what the Nuggets lineup appears to be like right now without longtime contributors JR Smith and Kenyon Martin, as well as recent Nuggets addition, Wilson Chandler. There are two points that don’t necessarily reflect Hochman’s viewpoint from the article but are ones I do have to quibble with however. First, Hochman states, “If Denver doesn’t re-sign Nene, it’s quite possible that the Nuggets won’t overpay for an available big man,” and although this is entirely possible, I have a hard time seeing it come to fruition as the Nuggets have nearly the most amount of cap space of any team in the entire NBA and will need a center desperately should Nene jettison himself to a different location. As I’ve said before, Koufos and Mozgov are good, solid backup big men — but they’re nothing more than that at this point in time. Throwing them into the fire that is the starting center position on an NBA team and asking them to handle guys like Dwight Howard, Amare Stoudemire and Zach Randolph on a nightly basis just doesn’t seem like the recipe for success. And after all, why not overpay for a guy like Marc Gasol or even someone like Samuel Dalembert who has actually started several season at center before? The Nuggets have the money and they waited for the perfect opportunity to spend it as the new CBA will see free agent salaries dip in near-dramatic fashion. Bottom line: To me, by starting Koufos or Mozgov at center, the Nuggets are taking a firm stance on rebuilding, which doesn’t necessarily need to be taken given the amount of talent in all other positions on our roster. Hochman also states that without Kenyon Martin the Nuggets will look to Al Harrington at the power forward position, and again, although I agree that this is a possibility with Karl at the helm, it would be a grave mistake considering how it already failed several times before last year. Finally, I don’t care how Karl feels about “rookies,” starting anyone but the Manimal (aka, Kenneth Faried) at the power forward position seems clueless.
NBA Faces Major Economical Changes featuring Chris Mannix: This is probably the best, most informative video I’ve seen yet regarding the new CBA and how it might affect the NBA landscape. Mannix was in the groundbreaking meeting in which David Stern and Billy Hunter reportedly came together on a handshake agreement to end the lockout and he discusses many of those aspects from his point of view in the clip.
How the NBA deal got done and what’s in it by Chris Sheridan: Though many of our fellow Nuggets bloggers have long despised Sheridan for his alleged “East Coast bias,” the facts remains: He called the Carmelo-to-New York trade from the very beginning, stuck by his word the entire time and saw his prediction come to fruition in the end. He’s as plugged-in to the NBA media circuit as anyone and is usually delivering the juicy material long before the rest of the pack. In this article he details some of the more critical adjustments made to the new CBA, including the decision to leave out what would have been referred to as, “The Carmelo Anthony rule,” which — had it been passed — would have prevented players whom desired a trade to another team the right to sign an extend-and-trade deal such as the one Carmelo Anthony did before being dealt to New York. This would have essentially kept these types of players on their incumbent teams until their contracts expired, forcing them to “deal” with the pain of still getting paid millions of dollars to play the game they love until they were no longer contractually obligated to play for that franchise. I actually think the decision to leave this clause out was a good one as many of the other adjustments made to the CBA should prevent this type of situation all together in a sort of Adam Smith Invisible Hand type of way; plus, if it ever does happen, it’s always best for those two sides to go their separate ways as we saw with the Nugget and Anthony this past season. Could you have imagined that playing out for an entire year?!?
NBA players reactions to tentative labor deal by Nicki Jhabvala: This is simply a fun little read that highlights many of the best tweets put forth by NBA players upon hearing the news that the lockout has ended.
NBA’s agreement sheds light on larger issue: today’s leaders by Ian Thomsen: I fully endorse this as my vicarious position on the NBA lockout. That is all. (Actually that is not all — if you haven’t yet read this piece on Masai Ujiri by Thomsen, I highly advise you to!!! After all, he is our GM…)
FAQ: Lockout’s over — what do you need to know? by Royce Young: This is another FAQ-style piece on some of the most important questions you’ll probably need to know (as pointed out in the title) about the new CBA, the upcoming season and everything in between.
The Top 40 Players in NBA Free Agency by the CBSSports.com Eye on Basketball staff: This is an absolute must-read for Nuggets fans and NBA fans alike. As previously mentioned, the Nuggets have the most cap space the team has had in years so this free agency period is going to be extremely important, especially considering our long-tenured starting power forward and center might very well both be gone before the start of the season. Speaking of which, guess who happens to find himself atop the Eye on Basketball staff’s list of the best players in free agency? That’s right, Nene. All in all, the Nuggets have a whopping FIVE of the top 40 players available in free agency according to the article. Much to our delight here at RMC however, Marc Gasol comes in at No. 2 on the list. So when faced with the dilemma of whom to overpay, I ask you one simple question Nuggets fans: “Nene or Gasol?”