DNB Lockout Journal- NFL is Back, NBA Is Not.

Fans of the NFL finally got to see their league come back to life. Basketball fans are no where close to that. In fact the two sides have not even spoken since June 30th. Well that is expected to change next week. This is not exactly reason to start a parade. If you followed the NFL Lockout at all there was lots of talking without a lot of success. One thing that was mentioned in the post lockout chatter was the fact that the NFL deal never got much accomplished until they got the lawyers out of the room. Well David Stern was a lawyer so good luck with that in the NBA. But to be serious just as in a divorce the one thing that is a certainty is the lawyers on both sides always win. Lawyers make a lot of money out of these labour disagreements.

As for all this players rumoured to be and some going to Europe if you think that is a real concern for the NBA think again. This contracts for any major players would all have opt outs to return to the NBA when a new CBA is in place. So about the only concern would be for individual teams that a player could be injured not unlike when players play internationally. But the idea of players going to Europe or China as being a real threat is laughable. If players have issues with playing in Canada which is as close to the U.S as you can get. I can't imagine to many NBA players being happy in Europe or elsewhere for the long term.

In addition if you believe the NBA and 20 teams are losing money, then there is zero motivation to come back and play ball. At least not with the agreement they have now. Those 20 teams losing money if no season is played are not going to lose that money. Sure they won't make any either. They will also face winning back fans and corporate support. But under this system they claim to be losing money so it is worth the risk.

Now if the NBA wants to worry about something it might have nothing to do with their own issues. The NFL now has 10 years of guaranteed labour peace. Which in terms of corporate sponsorship makes them a much more attractive option and a safer one. While the NBA if they lost an entire season would face the challenge of trying to win those corporate partners back and likely will not end up with the same kind of security that the NFL now has.

The other problem is NBA Players as a collective group make far more money and unlike their fellow pro athletes in the NFL are not as motivated to have to get out on the floor and play. Also as we mentioned earlier their are other options to play if you really want too. The NFL is not the same really all that is out there for players is the Arena League and CFL in terms of football jobs and they come at a significant pay cut. A top player in the CFL makes about 200 thousand dollars and most far less than that. The Arena League is even a little worse in terms of pay. Both leagues are also different rules wise than the NFL. That would be case for NBA players as well in Europe.

So talks next week are a step in the right direction. Talking is better than not talking. But back in the last lockout that produced a 50 game season that did not start till the following year they talked in the summer as well. While there is not to much similar between the NFL Lockout and the NBA Lockout the one thing that is the same it the same in any labour issue. Things tend not to move or have progress until both sides are pressed against a deadline. For the NBA that will not be when the season is suppose to start. It will be when we no longer can have a season at all.


DNB Lockout Journal- Short Season

The NFL finally got a deal done yesterday and will not miss a game of the regular season. If you ask most NBA experts for that to happen with the NBA Lockout it will take a minor miracle. As I had said if that schedule that was released is actually used I would be stunned. So what that means is in a best case we are looking at a shortened schedule. Back in 1999 the Raptors would play a 50 game schedule and went 23-27 under Butch Carter. The Schedule did not start till February 5th and the Raptors would get off to a very slow start. Starting 5-10 in the first month of that season. In the end that bad start would cost the Raptors from making the post season for the first time.

That season was the introduction to Vince Carter. He exploded on the scene from the opening game a win over Boston and set the NBA on fire going on to win the rookie of the year. It was the start of perhaps the most successful era in the history of this franchise. The next season the Raptors would make the playoffs.

While there are some similarities to where the Raptors were heading into that season and where they are now it is not exactly the same. Raptors came off a dreadful 16-66 season prompting then G.M Glen Grunwald to take to the court and promise fans that things would be better. Bryan Colangelo did not take to the floor after the Raptors closed the season against the Miami Heat. But he would promise brighter days and changes after the season ended should he return. Some of those changes have already happened. Jay Triano was shown the door. Dwane Casey enters promising a new culture that will be based on defensive end of the floor. Butch Carter had come in during that terrible 16-66 season. He would have to bring change with no real training camp of significance thanks to the labour situation. Casey will likely face a similar situation.

The Raptors draft pick this season will not have the impact of Vince Carter. In fact he won't have the impact of Hoffa. No I am not saying that Jonas Valanciunas is going to be a bust. But he will not be here for whatever length season the Raptors will play next year. If they do. Also if people remember how that 1999 season worked it will allow for very little practice time for Dwane Casey to transform the team that ranked dead last in defence the last two seasons.

The Raptors do have some youthful pieces that should be able to endure what will be a crazy schedule in terms of the lack of days off it would have. But that alone would probably not be enough to turn this team into a playoff team. This Raptor team also with a new coaching staff and likely some new players to come will not exactly have much in terms of chemistry. So it all points to a team that would get off to a slow start. After a win over Boston to start that shorten season the Raptors went on to lose their next 6 games. A slow start is death in a short season.

A Short season may in fact but the Raptors in a worse situation than they would be under normal circumstances. But the good news is if the Raptors were to fail in a short season the rewards in this potential draft class are far greater for the Raptors to come back and be competitive in the next full season of the NBA. This all assuming we have a season at all. That in no guarantee at this point. It would also draw the question of how the NBA would dictate the draft order in a year that many say could be the best since 2003. The NHL in that circumstance literally had a lottery for all the teams and the Pittsburgh Penguins were the bigger winners getting to draft Crosby. The NBA and a lottery? Oh wait that doesn't sound good does it. Not in a league where the lottery results many are convinced are a shame.

So shorter is not likely better for the Raptors. But long or short, basketball and Raptors fans want to be able to say what NFL Fans got to say yesterday. That our sport is back. But the time to say those words is a long long way from happening.


DNB Lockout Journal- Scedule Release

On Tuesday the NBA Released a schedule that it is most likely will never happen. It is kinda like someone tells you all your Christmas Gifts now and then by time Christmas comes around you get none of those lovely gifts. Ironically when you look at the Raptors Schedule it might have been one of the better schedules they have had in recent years. It would have included a 7 game home stand. Chris Bosh would have come back to Toronto in December and fans likely would have thrown rice to congratulate him on his wedding in the summer. But sadly none of these things will happen.

Some people have asked me why is the NBA releasing a schedule. Is it not bad enough that we are in a lockout and now they tease us with releasing a schedule they likely never will play. Well the answer to that is pretty simple. If the NBA did not release a schedule as they would in any other year. The players union would likely use that against them and accuse them of negotiating in bad faith. In other words if the NBA schedule is not released it would be a sign the owners have no intention of wanting to make a deal or play a season next year. Which in all honesty might be the truth. Teams losing money could actually benefit from not playing a season. If you believe the NBA that would mean about 2/3rds of the league.

In all honesty during this entire process the league that so famously has ads "NBA Cares" really doesn't about the fans. In fact both sides don't at the end of the day. Fans are used as pawns in this whole process. Both sides want you to believe the other is the bad guy and thus public pressure will be on the other side to make a deal. But ultimately everyone is out for themselves in this make no mistake about that. It is not that players and ownership don't care about fans. It is just they do but maybe not in the most positive ways or with best motives.

I have found the last few weeks very depressing. It is frustrating to know that all you have worked for in the past years is left in the hands of others. I am no different from any of you in the sense of I want to see basketball being played as well. This blog is based almost exclusively to cover the Raptors and the NBA. It hard or next to impossible to produce content with no real news to talk about. Sure we can do lots of things that really are at the end of the day just filler. After awhile though that gets old for you as readers and for myself as well.

On Twitter I was talking about having a Lockout Party on November 2nd when the Raptors are at least in theory scheduled to open their season at home vs the Sixers. The reason I am serious about doing such a thing is without the game of basketball it is a way to still connect with all the great people that I have got to know through this blog and basketball. Truth is with no Raptors to cover I really have no reason to be in Toronto much at all. So it would be fun to come to the city and get to see lots of people that are in the same boat as me missing basketball and just say screw it and have some fun. At this point it is just an idea. But so was this blog. So hopefully there is no reason to have this party at all. But the sad reality is this party is far more likely than the Raptors playing the Sixers at the ACC.

As this lockout goes on I am going to share and express my feelings and emotions about all of this. Also mix in whatever news there might be. Ultimately while it makes me sick to my stomach this is going on. I do understand why it is. I also think that ultimately the owners need to fix this league to have a competitive balance. Raptor fans have seen all to often how this system works for them. It has seen many stars be born in Toronto only to take their talents elsewhere. While The Raptors can endure this with solid fan support and ownership in MLSE, many other teams can not. If when this is all over the Raptors are in a better position to have a more even playing field to compete for a championship I will be happy. Anything less than that will be pointless and painful.

We will keep plugging along here at the DNB. So please keep supporting the blog and I will be back Tuesday to talk about...honestly who knows. But I will do my best to make it worth your time.


DNB Back From Vacation

So is in the NBA Lockout over yet? No....well I am back from vacation at least. I have to be honest over the 2 weeks I took a break a lot of stuff did happened. Dwane Casey has his coaching staff with no team to coach. Jonas Valanciunas has been elected to the hall of fame...wait no he won the World Under 19 basketball Championship. He also got many Raptor fans excited about him based on his play. Under international rules against people in his age bracket he dominated. Bryan Colangelo is searching for a G.M? Wait isn't he the G.M? It seems when the smoke clears on this NBA Lockout he might not be. Raptors don't need players or games to make news this lockout is going be great. Oh and speaking of players on the roster Sonny Weems looks like will be taking his talents to Europe. Deron Williams is the biggest name to make the jump so far. But unlike Williams the contract Sonny is taking apparently doesn't have an out clause and will pay him more than what he earned with Raptors last season. In other NBA News Yao Ming has been forced to retire from his injuries.But at least we will always have the memory of Charles Barkley kissing a donkey's backside thanks to Yao. There was also this classic commercial.

As for Yao being in the Hall of Fame if he is it won't be for his play it will be for other reasons which in my view don't make you a hall of famer. But back to Barkley as he is going to be joined by Shaq who is also now among the retired. TNT announced that Shaq will be part of their line-up when and if we are playing basketball again. Barkley seems very excited about the addition he was actually doing an interview on the NFL Network from a celebrity golf tournament. But in terms of the lockout Chuck like most is very grim about any short end to this. The NFL is poised to save the day and the season by finally ended it's lockout it would appear. If people think you will see a similar scene in the NBA with Billy Hunter and David Stern I would suggest you don't hold your breath.

I find this whole situation pretty depressing. I have kind of went through stages of grief to some degree. But whatever emotions we all have had at the end of it is a business. Sports use to be a distraction and a diversion from life. Now all to often it is a reflection of real life.

In terms of the Dino Nation Blog for the remainder of the lockout barring some news of note we will be coming to you every Tuesday and Thursday. I really can't think it is possible to do anything of quality for 5 days a week with very little actual news to go with. So for the remainder of this work stoppage I will be doing blogs on Tuesday and Thursday. We might keep Ryan's DNB Top 10 alive as well after I talk with him and see if he wants to keep it alive during the lockout will let you know.

It is very hard to not take this personally as a fan of the game and also as someone that tries to eek out a living based on the game. But all that being said for me personally I understand why this is taking place and on Thursday will give you my personal take on the lockout. So come back for that. During these tough times for the NBA I urge you not just to support this blog but all blogs. We were not getting rich prior to the NBA Lockout and I fear for a lot of folks the NBA Lockout may see a lot of talented folks have to find something else to do. But in terms of myself I worked far to hard to build the DNB to let it just die. So I am committed to making this work some how, some way.


Lockout Terms To Know

Ok so here are some terms you will become all to familiar with during this NBA Lockout. Some you might know some you might not.

CBA- Collective Bargaining Agreement. I hope most people know this one but basically the CBA is the agreement that governs how the NBA is run. It is like the road map for everything. We do not have one in place and hence you have the owners locking out the players until on is in place.

BRI- Basketball Related Income. This is something that will be debated as to what is actually basketball related income. Things like parking revenue and other things. How you define it is open to interpretation and Players will consider almost everything part or the mix while owners will define it in very narrow terms.

MLE- Mid Level Exception. It is a loop hole under the old CBA that allows teams over the cap to still sign a player or players at a set amount based on where the cap is and some other factors. There has been talk the owners would like to eliminate it and players obviously are against this as it is a step closer to a hard cap system.

Hard Cap- Basically it is what it sound like. The Cap number is what it is with no exceptions. Owners want it to have cost certainty and the players do not as it would control salaries and basically cap them at a set number.

Non Guaranteed Contracts- The NFL has these and it allows teams the flexibility to cut loose players regardless of years remaining. Players are against this because it would make it very easy to ditch a player without really having to justify it. So it would give a huge level of control to ownership.

Franchise Tag- It is a exception to allowing a player to hit the open market. NFL has had this for years. How it works in that league is a player can have this tag placed on them by the team and they will be given a contract based on the averages paid to a player in similar circumstances. It allows teams an eliminate of control and makes it harder for things like what happened in Miami to occur. If Leborn James was franchised tagged by the Cavs he would have to sign with them for that set amount or come to another agreement with them. It is a short term solution that allows teams to hang on to a player an extra year.

Profit Split- Basically this is what is sounds like. The debate will be about the % of profits that should go to Salaries and the players. A couple of percentage points might not seem like a lot or to lose a season over but over the life of a deal it could mean big bucks.

Profit Sharing- The amount of money shared between the owners. You might say why should players care about this? Simple answer is the more teams that are viable and have money to spend the more chance there is to make money for the players.

Rookie Pay Scale- The set amount that rookies are paid upon entry into the league. This is already in place and owners would likely want to reduce these numbers. Players want it as is one would figure. Draft busts need to get paid isn't that right Big Country?

Those are just some of the terms you will become all to familiar with over the lockout. I could probably list more but this is not going to be a short affair so I got to pace myself.

In terms of the blog probably a couple more posts on the lockout and then will be taking a 2 week Vacation/lockout break and see where things stand. If you have ideas on how we can keep you entertained and engaged during the lockout would love to hear them.