A common perception throughout the 139 day NBA lockout is that once NBA players started missing paycheques, they would cave.
Well, the first cheques of the season failed to arrive on Tuesday and the NBA officially cancelled all games to Dec. 15, but instead of folding, the players filed lawsuits against the league in at least two states.
Initial antitrust cases were filed in California (Carmelo Anthony, Kevin Durant, Chauncey Billups, Leon Powe and rookie Kawhi Leonard were the plaintiffs) and Minnesota (Caron Butler, Ben Gordon, Anthony Tolliver and No. 2 overall selection Derrick Williams are the plaintiffs in that case).
The owners will conduct a conference call on Thursday to figure out where to go from here.
Instead of having players and owners snipe, expect to see a lot of feuding lawyers going at each other.
There is no love lost between NBA commissioner David Stern, the owners he serves and attorney Jeffrey Kessler. The well-regarded David Boies will lead negotiations for the players, which might help a bit. Or not.
Boies was quoted by Yahoo! Sports saying Stern “overplayed his hand,” and also told reporters “There is one reason and one reason only that the season is in jeopardy and that is because the owners have locked the players out and have maintained that lockout for several months.”
Boies worked for the owners during this summer’s NFL lockout so he’ll bring a unique perspective to where things go from here, but we’re not holding our breath on anything getting settled quickly.
It will take a month following an agreement to get a season up and running, so Jan. 1 is likely the drop dead date for the two sides to come to their senses.
At this point, it’s hard to see 2011-12 getting salvaged, but stranger things have happened.
NO MONEY, ‘MO PROBLEMS
So, just how much cash did NBA players lose on Tuesday? Raptors lost between $407,541 U.S. (Jose Calderon) and $385,416 (Andrea Bargnani), to $34,583 (Solomon Alabi).
According to CNBC, the average NBA player lost $220,000, but because the Raptors have so many young players, only four lost more than the average.
Some of the hardest hit overall were Kobe Bryant ($1.05 million), Rashard Lewis ($922,998), Kevin Garnett ($883,332) and Gilbert Arenas ($802,886).
Lewis and Arenas are prime candidates to be amnestied under a new clause whenever a new agreement is reached. That would allow their salary to come off the books (though they would still be paid in full).
AROUND THE RIM
According to reports out of Lithuania, injured Raptors forward Linas Kleiza might soon join young Jonas Valanciunas on Lietuvos Rytas. Kleiza is currently recovering from a devastating knee injury and has denied the reports, but should be ready to play by February ... Valanciunas played well against potential lottery pick Patric Young this summer and some doubt his NBA future, but the Florida big man made a statement this week. Young out-rebounded potential top three pick Jared Sullinger of Ohio State 12-6 and also scored 14 points. Sullinger managed just eight points from the field, but another eight from the line ... Andrea Bargnani has been in town working himself into game shape after a fine summer with the Italian national team ... Former Raptor Matt Bonner is considering suiting up for the Halifax Rainmen of the National Basketball League of Canada. Bonner has an in with the Rainmen, who are also coached by one-time Raptor Jaren Jackson ... Sticking with the NBL, former NBAer Rodney Buford is now a member of the London Lightning. Halifax traded Buford to London for Tyrone Levitt, the first player they selected in the inaugural NBL draft ... According to Nolan Shulman of Flagrantfouls.com an even 100 Canadians are playing in high school or prep school in the United States this season. That’s up from 77 last year ... Gonzaga big man Kelly Olynyk will red-shirt this season. An excellent student, Olynyk still needs to grow into his now-7-foot frame and can now complete his Masters at Gonzaga.
NCAA’S CANADIAN ROUNDUP
Canadians are off to quite the start in the NCAA this season but few expected the performances we have seen so far.
Kevin Pangos of Holland Landing tied a Gonzaga record with nine made threes in just his second game and scored 33 points in all.
North Vancouver’s Robert Sacre added 15 points and 10 rebounds in the 89-81 win over Washington State.
Pangos is a great story for those who think the only path to the NCAA for Canadians is to go to a U.S. prep school. Pangos played at Dr. Denison, ignoring many offers from south of the border.
Toronto’s Myck Kabongo, potentially an NBA lottery pick either this year or next, had a huge game against Rhode Island, scoring 18 points, with nine assists and seven rebounds in a Texas win.
Montreal’s Kris Joseph (Syracuse), another potential NBAer, has scored 50 points over three games, averaged four boards per game and is 7-13 from three in three Syracuse wins.
Yet another potential pro, Mississauga’s Andrew Nicholson (St. Bonaventure) is off to another strong start (24 points, five rebounds, two blocks in a blowout win over Cornell to open the season).
Burlington’s Brady Heslip (Baylor), the nephew of former Raptors and Team Canada head coach Jay Triano, scored 16 points on Tuesday and has hit eight-of-20 three-point attempts so far.
Toronto’s Junior Cadougan (Marquette) has 14 assists over the first two games of the season.
Montreal’s Khem Birch (Pittsburgh) has immense potential but will take some time. He scored two points and added three rebounds in each of his first two games for the Panthers.
Montreal’s Hernst Laroche (one of five Canadians at New Mexico State) scored 13 points, added five assists and four rebounds in his season debut. Toronto’s Christian Kabongo complemented Laroche with 20 points in 24 minutes, fellow Torontonian Daniel Mullings added nine, while Hamilton’s Tyrone Watson contributed across the board.
Kentucky’s Kyle Wiltjer, the son of former national team big man Greg Wiltjer, scored 14 in his NCAA debut, but played only three scoreless minutes against Kansas.