Up, Up, Down, Down, Left, Right, Left Right, B, A, (Select, Start) - The Downbeat - #573

  Basketball workouts. Healed Achilles tendinitis. Pro-ams.  Whatever.  The most important thing to take away from this Brian T. Smith interview with Gordon Hayward is that he was just like us, struggling with the original NES,

Contra: I always played Contra when I could get it to work. On the original Nintendo you had to blow into the thing a couple times to get it to work. Whenever I could get Contra to work me and my friends were also playing that.

The reason the Konami code was put into that game was that there was no other way to beat it.  With his video-game street cred solid, OGTime seems to need another nickname video-game related.  Any ideas?

He was made his appearance on ESPN's top 500 list at #221 ahead of the likes of Al-Farouq Aminu and Wesley Johnson.  The players at this stage of the rankings aren't even rated a 5 yet (4.18 for Hayward) but we're more than halfway through the list.  I guess that means that a large majority of the NBA players are below average?

Hayward's friend and teammate, Jeremy Evans, will be playing today in the Impact Basketball Competitive Training (Lockout League) that starts today in Las Vegas.

Games start at 1:30 today and will be available online for free.  Evans doesn't play until 3:30 p.m. I'm assuming that because it's in Vegas, the game times are Pacific.

Evans will be on a team with Armon Johnson, Josh Selby, Xavier Silas, Coby Karl, and Derrick Caracter.  Joining their team later in the week will be Derek Fisher, Tony Allen, Al Harrington, Stephen Jackson, and Gary Forbes.  Not all of the players will be participating so those coming later will replace someone currently on that team.  No word on how long Evans plans on playing.  They will play today against John Wall, Nick Young, Jordan Crawford, and more.

With Eurobasket almost over, this will be our next hit for our addiction.

Sam Amick of SI.com reports a couple breadcrumbs of hope for the season being saved,

On the heels of Roger Mason's now-infamous tweet in which the NBPA vice president wrote, "Looking like a season. How u," but later claimed his account was hacked, one league source claims that union president Derek Fisher text-messaged numerous players last week indicating that some progress had been made and imploring them to be physically prepared just in case the season started on time. There was another curious happening on Thursday, when -- according to ESPN's Chris Broussard -- NBA deputy commissioner Adam Silver attended the U.S. Open with Wasserman Media Group CEO, Casey Wasserman.

In addition to being one of the most influential agencies in the NBA, Wasserman Media Group relies heavily on an agent who just so happens to have a history of pushing back harder than the rest during a lockout landscape. Arn Tellem - who represents a league-leading 34 NBA players, including 10 All-Stars -- drew the ire of commissioner David Stern and union executive director Billy Hunter during the 1998-99 lockout for taking a more extreme position than most of his colleagues.

Derek Fisher though says not so fast,

While the reports of my texts are false, I will say that I have & will continue to urge our players to stay ready for a season.

At least he didn't claim that his phone was hacked.

There will be a larger meeting this week where new proposals could be exchanged according to Ken Berger.

 Turkey was eliminated from Eurobasket and as a result, we won't get to see more of Kanter unless the lockout is resolved or he signs somewhere to play.  

Despite having a rough first game when friendlies started, I think it's safe to assume that Kanter will be okay in the NBA.  His play in Eurobasket has alleviated my fears a bit that he'll be a bust.  His physicality, as Harpring would say, was impressive.  He's not going to be over-matched by most players.

He finished the tournament with nearly 10 & 4 in 18 minutes of play.  That equates to 20 & 8 per 36 minutes.  He won't get that much PT as a rookie with the Jazz, but the team will be in a good position to incorporate him into the core of the team.  Kanter won't have the pressure to come in and perform like he would with a lot of teams picking #3.  With the established players the Jazz already have, they'll be able to work him in at a good pace.

Eventually, whether it's sooner or later, he will be an integral part of the team.

  Henry Abbott of TrueHoop take an excellent look at each of the owners' positions in the lockout and categorizing them into either hawks or doves,

Human nature dictates some owners are doves -- eager to play the upcoming season -- while others are hawks who would risk ditching a season in the name of a new collective bargaining agreement that strongly favors owners.     

He has Greg Miller as a hawk

 

Team/Principal Owner Hawk Or Dove? Revenue Sharing

 

 

Utah Jazz 
Greg Miller
HAWK: The Jazz paid through the nose for a competitive team most of the last decade -- money that's tough to make up in a small market without a different CBA. Miller also just lost a star player, Deron Williams, to a threat to move to a bigger market. He'd like changes. The Jazz are in a small market without much profit, so they would be recipients.

 

I have to disagree with Abbott on this one.  While the Jazz have lost money the past two seasons going over the cap, they're in a spot now where they want to move on.  They just rid themselves of Andrei Kirilenko's contract.  Mehmet Okur's $10 million comes off the books after this season.  And next summer, they could trade Jefferson and his expiring deal.  Nearly everyone else is or will be on a rookie deal.  Compared to production, Raja Bell's contract isn't good but overall isn't a killer.

The Jazz are in a rebuilding phase obviously and would rather have the season start.  They're not going to be paying the luxury tax this season (under the old CBA anyway).  They doled out in years past because they believed they were contenders.  In this league, that's what you have to do.  Maybe that's part of the problem.

I believe the Millers would like to tweak the CBA to allow for some more provisions for teams keeping their drafted stars and some financial assurances.  But overall, they're not one of the new owners that is trying to make money on their teams.  The Jazz is more of a labor of love for them.  It's about keeping the Jazz and the NBA in Utah.  The team is embedded deep into the economy and culture of the state.

So when push comes to shove, they'd rather get a deal done for the sake of developing their young players and providing the community with a great product rather than losing an entire season.

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