Keep in mind- it IS Vescey. He HAS been having a good year so far, however.
February 18, 2005 -- DENVER — What bet ter showcase than All-Star weekend for the NBA and the Players' Association to advertise there has been a meeting of the minds regarding a new Collective Bargaining Agreement? In the wake of the NHL 86-ing its sport and further alienating every loose puck, what could be better for business and pleasure than for the NBA and the union to call a press conference within the next 48 hours and rejoice about practically completed negotiations?
What better opportunity for David Stern and Billy Hunter to prove they're not playing any games and to boast to fans they're going to continue getting their days and nights in court?
Don't quote me on this unless it turns out to be true, but sources are exceptionally inclined to believe the commissioner and the executive director are intimately near to crowing about their mushrooming partnership.
From what I'm hearing — decidedly on the downlow — the two sides are hoping today's bargaining session spawns enough movement in vital matters that an arrangement in principal can be unveiled and hailed with the remaining wrinkles ironed out later.
This will be the first time in quite a while that Stern and his cluster of owners and executives will be in the same room with Hunter and his committee of player reps. Lawyers from both entities have been haggling for the last few weeks and apparently have defined the groundwork.
As I understand it, Hunter supports the essentials of the provisional deal, but at least one confidant in Stern's crew wonders out loud whether the union boss is strong enough to sell it to his peeps.
Obviously each side has made major concessions:
# The elimination of the luxury tax will beget a higher cap and more money distributed among the players.
# Decreased guaranteed years (from seven to five, probably) and a reduction of annual percentage jumps on long-term contracts will beget the abolition of a 10 percent giveback by players.
# Dropping a demand for a minimum draft age of 20 translates into the National Basketball Developmental League being utilized as a minor league with young players bouncing back and forth with the same contracts. Should Stern be unable to get his way on this crucial issue, it's doubtful the NBDL can survive.
Stay tuned for some good news — hopefully — for a change.