Give Me A Few Months Before I Start Having NBA Withdrawals - The Downbeat - #523

  Truthfully, I won't start feeling bad about the lockout until we start missing training camp and pre-season games.   I love summer league and watching the rookies play, but since the Jazz have cancelled the RMR and have had games in Orlando, I haven't had the same affinity for it.  There's a huge dry spell after summer league and the start of training camp anyway.  July also gives us the free-agent signing period and other transactions, both of which are dead with the lockout.  Given that the Jazz weren't going to make many moves in the free agent market, I don't feel like I'm missing much.  There could have been some trades go down for the Jazz but that's about it.  So that's what we'll be missing in July.  Other than that, it will be business as usual until we start missing games.  

That's when I'll start having withdrawals.

  Since the lockout will be dominating the headlines for the foreseeable future, you might as well get educated on it.  There are some great resources out there on what both sides are looking for and some FAQs on the situation.  Here are a few more,

Larry Coon, the CBA expert whose site comes up first when you Google "NBA CBA," gave a great FAQ on ESPN.  Here's one interesting part,

If the lockout lasts an entire year, what happens to contracts that expire following the 2011-12 season? Do they expire anyway, or does the contract extend through 2012-13?

A contract that is scheduled to expire following the 2011-12 season should expire on June 30, 2012, whether or not the season is played. This means it's possible that 2012 free agents -- like Dwight Howard -- may have already played their last game for their current teams. Nervous teams had the opportunity to make a trade by June 30 to avoid the risk of losing these players without compensation. However, no such trade was completed, which may indicate either some faith in their ability to hang on to their potential free agents, or in the league's ability to resolve the labor dispute before the season is lost. (Sacramento and Cleveland swapped Omri Casspi and J.J. Hickson on Thursday, but neither player's contract ends in 2012.)

It is also possible for the two sides to mutually agree that 2011-12 "didn't happen," so all contracts will simply be pushed back by one year. Therefore this is all subject to negotiation.

That would apply to our own CJ Miles.  He could be an unrestricted free agent next season and possibly could have played in his last game as a Jazz man.  The problem this present for teams like New Orleans and Orlando is that if the league loses out on the entire season, do they lose out on their ability to trade Chris Paul and Dwight Howard?  It's possible that under normal circumstances that one or both of them could have been traded instead of losing them for nothing.  If there's no season or if we lose enough games so as to not have any trades, then those two teams could be taking a huge hit.  It's possible that some special exception could be made for all teams to be able to trade but that would seem a little fishy.

The league has also put forth some pretty large penalties for teams contacting players in any way including a $1M dollar fine, loss of job, and possibly loss of draft picks.  The list of whom the teams can't contact is pretty detailed:

The league gave team officials a long list of people connected to players that they can't communicate with, including agents, family members, personal staff, workout guys and shoe representatives.

...

League and team officials can't call, text, email or tweet players. Facebook is out, too. The league might even check phone records of team employees to ensure no contact is taking place. Spouses of team employees also have been instructed not to speak with players' wives or girlfriends, one source said.   

Of course this is the first lockout where social media, heck the Internet/web in general, is as prevalent as it is.  I find it slightly humorous that they have to draw up rules about tweeting, retweeting, following, liking, etc.

The league has also scrubbed the main NBA.com page and team pages of any mention of players.  SBN breaks down each of the teams' websites.  The Jazz aren't exempt from this policy as they now feature Delaney Rudd and the Jazz dancers.  Don't forget to buy your season tickets which are going to be refunded soon!

If you do some advanced searches, you can still find some mentions.  They've scrubbed things pretty good though.  This image search this morning returned a few results and now there's nothing.  This one of Derrick Favors still does though.  Any previous link though defaults to the main page.

If you're wondering how NBA.com looked during the previous lockout, here's the Wayback Machine's archive.  That wasn't a good year for the Jazz regardless of the lockout.  The page for the Utah Jazz redirected during the lockout.  However, here's the first page after the CBA was settled.  I love the advertising .gif.

  Predictably and justifiably so, there are some pretty scathing articles against the league and ownership right now.  Here are some excerpts of some of the best and just how a supposed 22 teams are losing money.

Deadpin.com obtained the financials of the New Jersey Nets from several years ago.  They show just how the league is able to make a profit look like a loss.  I'd have to copy and paste the whole article for things to make sense.  So consider this a teaser and make sure you click through to read the whole thing.

The hustle: The first thing to do is toss out that $25 million loss, says Rodney Fort, a sports economist at the University of Michigan. That's not a real loss. That's house money. The Nets didn't have to write any checks for $25 million. What that $25 million represents is the amount by which Nets owners reduced their tax obligation under something called a roster depreciation allowance, or RDA.    

ESPN also wrote on the same subjectand warns about using them to gauge other teams or recent history.  However, there's still something to be learned from them.  Again, you'll need to read the entire thing.

So while we can't extrapolate from these financial statements to draw firm conclusions about the league as a whole, we can still use them to inform ourselves about some of the arguments used in the ongoing labor dispute, and perhaps gain some insight into which side is on more solid footing.

In general, financial statements provide a snapshot of a company's performance during a given time period. These statements communicate to the reader (in this case the league office, creditors, potential investors, and now the players association) information about what the company owns, what they owe, what revenue came in and where it all went. These statements are prepared by the company's accountants and audited by an independent firm to ensure the dollar amounts are reasonably accurate and the generally accepted accounting practices were followed.

Tom Ziller comments on both of these in addition to giving his own take,

This is why owners deserve and maybe will receive no sympathy: it's a new world, with new voices and a much easier, broader way to share ideas and information. The Craggs and Coon pieces zipped around the basketball web on Thursday, opening plenty of eyes, even among those of us who have been paying attention all along. The league will be disrobed by a skeptical fan base that watched Wall Street burn Main Street to the ground and get away with it. We are a cynical people, we hate being lied to above all else (ask Anthony Weiner) and we're not going to gobble up the bulls--t that comes out of Secaucus.    

So while there are teams that are legitimately losing money, the number of teams actually losing money is a lot lower than the 22 reported by the league.  The teams' books aren't open for public consumption so there's no way to scrutinize them for sure.

  I'll bet you're all hunkering for some draft news now, aren't you? Aren't you?  The draft is long over but the guys over at BrewHoop looked back at all the main mock drafts and graded them based on their predictions versus the actual picks.  If I was doing a mock draft of mock drafters, I would have taken Draft Express first and Chad Ford second.  Click on through for their findings.

  Say it ain't Jo-se.  Man, some take the lockout pretty hard even though they haven't played in the league for 20 years.  Our main man Jose Ortiz was busted in Puerto Rico after "federal agents seized 218 marijuana plants at his house along with 40 rounds of assault-rifle ammunition, the U.S. Attorney's office said Thursday" according to ESPN.

He's just hunkering down like the rest of us, I don't see what the problem is.  If you want to arrest someone, start with David Stern who forced Ortiz into taking drastic measures.  BDL also has the video.

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