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Brettman: NBA, Blazers Dispute Paul Allen Reports

Allan Brettman of The Oregonian reports that NBA deputy commissioner Adam Silver disputed multiple reports that Blazers owner Paul Allen delivered a message to the players union that led to a breakdown in Thursday's labor negotiations and that Portland Trail Blazers president Larry Miller disputed the notion that Allen is preparing to sell the Blazers... -------------------------------- At the mediation Thursday, "Paul did not speak at the session with the players," Silver said. "I do not understand why his presence has taken on a life of its own as if he was sent in to deliver a message to the players," Silver said. "In no way was his presence intended to send a message." ... Also Friday night, Blazers president Larry Miller rejected the contention, contained in one account of the Thursday mediation session on a national website, that Allen was positioning the team for sale. "Paul is just as committed to the team as he was when he purchased the team 23 years ago," Miller said. -------------------------------- NBPA executive director Billy Hunter (here) and union lawyer Jeffrey Kessler (here) called out Allen publicly for his role in the NBA's labor breakdown. Another report referred to Allen as the "Grim Reaper" in the failed labor negotiations. Here's Dave's take on Allen's role. ed: post updated, bumped to front page

NBA and Ref's Association agree on new contract


The NBA and the referee's association have agreed on a new five-year contract. The previous agreement expired on Sept. 1, and the NBA was faced with the possibility of using replacement refs when the season started up again.

UPDATED: NBA/Union met for 5+ hours Wednesday; agree to meet again Thursday


NOTE: The link has been updated to reflect Wednesday's news Once again, the two sides wouldn't say anything about what they had discussed, but the fact that they are committed to meeting again bodes well! Today's best quote: "Hunter, who long held a pessimistic view of the negotiations, said he thought clearly "there's more than enough time" for a deal to be reached that would allow this season's schedule to remain intact."

Does modern technology affect team bonding and communication?


As a fan, I love that technology has given us insights into athletes' lives. With Twitter and Facebook, we're no longer dependent on the traditional media to hear their words, and we can communicate directly with the players. But there's a flip side to modern technology. From ----------------------- "Ask many coaches, general managers and older players and you'll hear a common gripe: chemistry on teams has been altered because of modern technology, and not for the better. The rise of smartphones, with all their instant-communication and entertainment options, have created insular worlds into which distracted players too often retreat instead of bonding with teammates." and "Coaches and managers are particularly frustrated at the paradox of players fraternizing less with their own teammates, and more with the "enemy." Players from opposing teams, they say, too often get each other's cellphone numbers and start calling or texting back and forth, often griping about playing time and occassionally [sic] giving up little secrets about their teams." ----------------------- Thoughts?


OT: Fly-Fishing and Other Outdoor Pursuits

Confession #1:  I don't really pay much attention to basketball in the summer. Oregon summers are too short and too beautiful to spend a lot of free time inside, tied to the TV and computer. I'll...

L.A Businessman buying majority stake in Atlanta Hawks


An Atlanta newspaper reports that the Hawks have reached an agreement with a California pizza chain owner and developer, Alex Meruelo. Meruelo, who will be the league's first Hispanic owner, insists that the team will remain in Atlanta. Meruelo opened his first business, a pizza restaurant, when he was 21 years old. His business has grown to include a chain of 50 restaurants, residential and commercial real-estate developments, construction and engineering, a bank, a motel-casino, and a TV station.

Portland Tribune: Getting to know the real Joey Crawford


Kerry Eggers talks with referee Joey Crawford, a "warm, funny guy with a heart of gold." What can I say? He actually sounds like a likeable guy in the interview. --------------- Crawford has brought his wife to Portland on the occasional road trip through the years. How does she handle sitting in the Rose Garden and listening to fans’ catcalls directed toward her husband? "She’s good," he says, laughing again. "My kids are the ones I worry about. They’re adults now and have that Philly craziness about them. If somebody’s taking a shot at their father, they scream back. I tell them, ‘Those people paid their money; leave them alone.’ " ----------------------

Ken Berger: Both sides of NBA labor negotiations prepare for legal war


Berger provides some insight into the legal strategies available to the players' association. The current NBPA plan is to pursue a grievance with the National Labor Relations Board. But some NBA agents wish the NBPA would do what the NFL players did -- decertify and go the anti-trust route. ----------------------------- "The NBPA has both options available to it, and no deadlines or restrictions on when to use them. This is an advantage, labor lawyers say, but deciding between the two paths carries great risk. "That's a tough call," Clifton said. "Do you feel you have a better cause of action through NLRB legally and from the standpoint of timing and chances of success vs. the courts, where it becomes an anti-trust action?" . . . . . . If the threat of losing games -- or possibly, the entire season -- isn't enough to compel both sides to hammer out a deal, the 2011-12 season will be in the hands of lawyers, judges and a labyrinth of legality. The outcome would be difficult to predict, and the timeframe possibly lengthy, depending on which legal strategies each side pursued." -----------------------------

Lockout Side Effect: Gag Order Handcuffs Worthy Causes


Mike Tokito reports that Blazers' alumni ambassador Brian Grant can't talk to current players about taking part in his fundraiser to fight Parkinson's disease. "Last year, Grant's star-studded "Shake It 'Til We Make It" event included Blazers Brandon Roy and Greg Oden along with Suns point guard Steve Nash. This year, however, Grant can't speak to those players because of his role with the Blazers, and would also be putting any NBA officials he brings in -- Heat president Pat Riley was a speaker at the dinner last year -- in jeopardy of breaking the gag order if they start a conversation with a current player."

Henry Abbott: Putting draft prospects to the psych test


The Blogfather takes the personality test given to NBA draft prospects. He scores pretty well in some areas, but more-or-less flunks when it comes to "internal motivation." Huh? One of the most successful sports bloggers suffers from low motor-itis? Anyway, it's an interesting column on personality testing and assessing NBA players. ---------------------------- "As humans, we have this fascination with the idea bringing somebody in for an examination will tell us what we need to know about how they'll perform in the future. But increasingly researchers find that lessons from tests, interviews and the like are not nearly as useful as lessons from months or years of recent past performance. If you want to know who's going to play basketball well in the future, the best predictor is not who can run this fast or jump that high, but who has played basketball well in the recent past. As a half-hour test taken in the present and designed to predict the future, the Sports Aptitude exam has its work cut out for it. It is further challenged by being a personality test. They are common in the American workplace, but evidence suggests this is a particularly tough nut to crack, which makes sense as we are only beginning to understand the nuance of how the human brain really works." ---------------------------- Note: The Blazers aren't on the list of this firm's clients, but they do have a sports psychologist (Dana Sinclair) who consults with the team. A recent Oregonian article mentioned that she interviewed players at the Draft Combine in Chicago, and in past years Mike Barrett has said that she is one of the people in the war room on draft night.


OT: Where in the world do you come from?

One of the best things about Blazer’s Edge is hearing from people all over the world. During a recent game we had visitors from almost two dozen countries and six continents, including the US and...

Freeman: Blazers' scout Larry Greer is "The Spy Who Everyone Knows"

Joe Freeman of The Oregonian writes about advance scout Larry Greer and the role scouts play in developing a game plan. ---------------------------- Marcus Camby glares at the opposing coach along the sideline during a stop in play, hears the coach yell "Floppy" to his players, and cups his hands around his mouth and screams across the court toward the Trail Blazers' bench. "Floppy! Floppy! Floppy!" A salt-and-pepper-haired man rises from the row of seats just behind the Blazers' bench, contemplates Camby's words, and shouts back. "Power. Power." Camby yells "Power" to Andre Miller, who yells it to Wesley Matthews, and before the opponent readies to inbound the ball, every Blazers player on the court knows exactly what play is about to be run and exactly how they are supposed to defend it. ---------------------------- Greer is the guy who suggested the Miller-to-Batum alley-oop play that won the Spurs game. ed: bumped to front page

Wojnarowski: Refs' union charges NBA with unfair labor practices


Not only is the NBA negotiating a new contract with the players, but the current referees' contract expires on Sept. 1. AWoj reports that the referees have just fired a shot across the bow: ------------- The National Basketball Referee’s Association has filed charges to the National Labor Relations Board contending that the NBA has violated federal laws by engaging in unfair labor practices, Yahoo! Sports has learned. The charges were outlined in a series of several memos distributed to the NBA’s 60 referees and details what the NBRA describes as "the league’s refusal to negotiate with the union concerning non-economic issues." ..... The memo and filing to the National Labor Relations Board also includes details of an alleged "obscene expression" by commissioner David Stern directed at union negotiators in a Jan. 24 meeting, referee sources said. "When the NRBA representatives declined his demand to delete the obscene expression from their notes, this negotiator abruptly left the room." -------------

Freeman: Blazers PF LaMarcus Aldridge Is Tired

Joe Freeman of The Oregonian writes that Portland Trail Blazers power forward LaMarcus Aldridge is getting tired... ------------------------- "I'm gassed," he said, after the Trail Blazers' 100-92 victory over the Spurs. "I was gassed the whole game. I've been tired lately. I tried to push through it, but I couldn't find my rhythm because I was just tired. I was dead tired." As the Blazers enter the final throes of the most important stretch of the season, their most important player has hit the proverbial wall. Aldridge ranks third in the NBA in minutes played per game, averaging 39.7, and has played more minutes this season (2,940) than all but one player (Golden State's Monta Ellis has played 2,992). ... As McMillan said when he walked out of the AT&T Center Monday night, pulling a black travel bag along the ground behind him through a dark tunnel that led to the team bus: "LaMarcus can rest all he wants to in July and August. We need him now." ------------------------- ed: bumped to front page

Calkins: Blazers Back-to-Back Battles


The Columbian's Matt Calkins talks to players, Nate, and the NBA's VP of basketball operations about the Blazers' grueling schedule and the difficulties of traveling so much. The NBA denies that it's a vast conspiracy: --------------------- But Stu Jackson, the NBA’s executive vice president of basketball operations, insists there is no conspiracy. He said that in terms of total miles traveled, the Blazers aren’t nearly the highest in the league. Plus, two years ago, Portland’s 16 back-to-backs were among the NBA’s fewest. "It varies year to year, team to team," Jackson said. "Having coached, I understand Nate’s mindset. But it may be a venue issue. The way the NBA calendar unfolded, there may have been two or three dates that made the back-to-backs impossible to avoid." ---------------------

Freeman: Elliot Williams update


EWill visited his LA surgeon this week and got good news -- he's been cleared to resume basketball activities and step up his rehab. ------------------- "It went really well," Williams said of the visit. "He said my progress is very good. I can’t jump yet, but I can do everything else and I’m going to start pushing it pretty hard. So I’m excited." Williams is forbidden from dunking and has to limit his cutting for another four-to-six weeks because his surgeries were spaced out over eight weeks and his left knee has to catch up to his right knee. But he’s optimistic he will be cleared to resume all basketball activities sometime in late April. -------------------

Oregonian: Paul Allen's Northwest sports teams lead way in new Green Sports Alliance


From Rachel Bachman, an interesting writeup about the intersection of sports, business, and the environment: --------------------- "The Portland-based Green Sports Alliance, launched Monday and backed by the leaders of the nation's largest sports leagues, aims to make leagues, teams and facilities more earth-friendly. Representatives from teams owned by Trail Blazers owner Paul Allen, who also owns the Seahawks and co-owns the Seattle Sounders Major League Soccer team, initiated the concept of an inter-league alliance to reduce sports franchises' impact on the environment. The organization's other founding members are the Seattle Mariners, the NHL's Vancouver Canucks and the WNBA's Seattle Storm." ----------------------- The GSA will be based in Portland, and will work with the federal Environmental Protection Agency, the National Resources Defense Council, Portland State University, and the Bonneville Environmental Foundation.

Freeman: On leading the NBA in alley-oops


The Trailblazers have more alley-oops than any other team in the league, yet never seem to make the SportsCenter highlights. For shame! Anyway, Joe Freeman talks with Aldridge, Miller and Fernandez about the Trailblazers' new love, the alley-oop. ---------------------------- "It's a high-risk play, but the players like it, the fans like it and if it's executed right, it's an easy way to score," said Miller, who has been one of the NBA's best lob passers for years. "I think that's everybody's favorite play. To see a lob or somebody get dunked on, that makes the game fun." Two seasons ago, coach Nate McMillan wouldn't even allow the Blazers to work on lob plays in practice -- much less feature them in games -- because the roster didn't possess the personnel to pull it off and lobs too often resulted in turnovers. But the addition of Miller at the start of last season and the acquisition of center Marcus Camby at the 2010 trade deadline bolstered the Blazers' alley-oop potential. ----------------------------

UPDATED: Przybilla will sit out Portland game because of knee pain


From Jason Quick: "Charlotte coach Paul Silas on Wednesday held out center Joel Przybilla in the Bobcats game against Chicago after the former Trail Blazers center limped through a Tuesday practice. Przybilla and the Bobcats will play host to the Blazers on Friday and it is unclear whether Przybilla will play. UPDATE: "Charlotte center Joel Przybilla will not play Friday against the Trail Blazers because of pain in his surgically repaired right knee." ----------------------- According to reports, he'll be out for a while.

NYT: Napping on Game Day Is Prevalent Among N.B.A. Players


The New York Times talks about the benefits of napping, the sleep routines of several NBA players, and interviews the Trailblazer's sleep doctor. ---------------------------- "Everyone in the league office knows not to call players at 3 p.m.," said Adam Silver, the league’s deputy commissioner. "It’s the player nap." ..... Some N.B.A. teams have received an education in the art of napping from Dr. Charles Czeisler, the director of the Division of Sleep Medicine at Harvard Medical School and chief of the sleep medicine division at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston. Czeisler, known in the N.B.A. as the sleep doctor, has consulted with the Boston Celtics, the Portland Trail Blazers and the Minnesota Timberwolves about the virtues of receiving enough sleep. Napping was a significant piece of the tutorial. ----------------------------

Calkins: From Prejudice To Pride -- Patty Mills

Matt Calkins of The Columbian talks with Portland Trail Blazers guard Patty Mills about his family's heritage. ------------------ "Unless someone asks me, it’s not a subject I talk about much," Mills said. The subject pertains to his Indigenous Australian heritage, more specifically his Aboriginal mother, Yvonne, who as a 2-year-old was taken from her mother along with her older brother and three older sisters. The abduction was part of national effort led by the Australian government and church missions to remove Indigenous Australian children from their homes and assimilate them into white culture. It is now classified as "The Stolen Generation," and Yvonne was a textbook victim. "That’s the chip I carry on my shoulder," Mills continued. "Not just being an Indigenous Australian, but knowing that my mom’s side of my family never got to see me play." ------------------ ed: bumped to front page

Storyteller: The ABCs of the CBA


Storyteller has a new series focusing on different aspects of the NBA's Collective Bargaining Agreement. He's managed to take arcane topics and turn them into highly-readable and informative posts with lots of good examples. Huzzah! A is for Average Player Salary B is for Base Year Compensation C is for Circumvention D is for Disabled Player Exception and so on . . . He's up to F so far. There's also a link to Storyteller's Twitter on the page, so you can follow him for updates.

Former Blazer Asst GM Warkentien gossip


"Warkentien, who knows where all the bodies are buried in Denver and has a strong relationship with Anthony, is about to be employed by the enemy. A person close to Warkentien confirmed a report Sunday night by Yahoo! Sports that the Knicks intend to hire Warkentien as a high-level consultant. The move, which has yet to be finalized, represents the first step in Knicks president Donnie Walsh's long-time efforts to hire a right-hand man. In the past, he had considered Warkentien, former Warriors executive Chris Mullin, and former Trail Blazers GM Kevin Pritchard, while coach Mike D'Antoni had some other candidates in mind. "

Interview with author of Scorecasting, a new book that looks at myths behind sports


A Sports Illustrated journalist and a finance professor have joined forces to write a Freakonomics-style book that looks at the cliches, truisms, and myths of several sports. The book is getting good reviews, and this Wired interview gives a nice glimpse of what it's all about. Anybody read it yet?


1/10/11 Junk Drawer: Oregon Ducks Edition

There's a rumor going around that there's a football game tonight. For some reason, I'm more psyched about this game than I've been for a football game in years, and I didn't even go to school in...

Trail Blazers add inspiration to perspiration in training camp


From the Oregonian: "One week ago today, on the eve of the first day of training camp, the Trail Blazers not only received a vivid and painful reminder of the past but also a peek at the possibility of the future as they watched inspirational videos during a team meeting. The videos, conceptualized by coach Nate McMillan and general manager Rich Cho, helped crystallize several themes that they hope will serve as the backbone of the team's rise from first-round playoff loser into championship contender."

Where the heck did Chris Dudley live? And does it matter?


"Republican candidate for governor Chris Dudley continued to use his Portland home during the years he claimed Camas, Wash., as his residence to avoid paying thousands of dollars in Oregon taxes."

Friends quick to enlist in Brian Grant's battle


More about Brian Grant's "Shake It Til We Make It" fundraiser for Parkinson's disease. This is turning out to be a huge event, with Muhammad Ali and Michael J. Fox attending, as well as Bill Russell, Bill Walton, Brandon Roy, Charles Barkley, Clyde Drexler, Greg Oden, Steve Nash, Terry Porter and Rasheed Wallace.

NBA Officiating Videos


The NBA has some interesting new videos up looking at officiating, including this behind-the-scenes video of a day in the life of a referee. (Never really though about it before, but refs have to ice their knees too.)

24 Hours in NYC With The Portland Trailblazers


Even though we'd all like to forget the Knicks game, here's a Dime Magazine article about the Blazers visiting the Big Apple. Spoiler alert: They are not seduced by the bright lights and glamour.

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