The NBA players’ can win the PR war, but they also have to try to clean up the mess

The Children are back to school, the NFL is almost about to start as well as the NCAA. The month of September is just a few days away and the NBA is still not advancing with their bargaining with the players. Just a month from now, training camps are supposed to start. But the lockout is now in its second month and there are no accomplishments whatsoever.

There are no communication or dialogue going on from both sides and David Stern and all the NBA owners have not gone over the top with their case yet, and also not a lot of efforts from the players’ side.

With Fisher leading the players, the union gave out a 56-page lockout handbook to all its 400 or more players. And one of the many things included in the book is a very simple reminder for players to be extra sensitive when giving interviews or talking to the media and granting some interviews.

What happened in 1998 was a different thing. And this year’s lockout is clearly the owners’ fault. But if the lockout continues and would result some missed games, then it would be the players’ fault.

The owners had the blueprint in place where the 1999 era collective bargaining agreement is written, and states that owners have the right to keep players’ salaries under control and say “no” when it comes to deals with some overpaid players, and signing up a replacement for a very reasonable half price.

This lockout is the owners’ fault because they bargained a bad deal.

The burden somehow lies to the players, especially since they owe the league and the game so much. They also owe it to all the incoming players, as well as to future employees that would definitely feel the impact and the pain of this bad deal.

The players have given up a bit, though, and now is the time for the other side to do something. This is the owners’ fault and their mess. But if the players want to keep goodwill then they also have to do something. They have to understand the situation and what to do about it. Times are different.

This time more people are involved, especially with the Internet and the mobile phones and other gadgets are very accessible. And somehow, all these bring people closer together. And though people understand that the players do not have the obligation to settle, but their obligation is with the people, and those who came before them. This may be the owners’ mess, but this is the players’ duty.

NBA players to go overseas during the lockout

Kobe Bryant has not finalized anything just yet. Dwyane Wade, on the other hand, is nowhere to be found. Two big names from the NBA are appearing on “Law and Order,” Carmelo Anthony and Chris Bosh. Kevin Love has already taken up pro volleyball. These are just few of the NBA players who have already thought or done something while the lockout is still on. Though, there are a lot of names coming up and rumors of NBA players going overseas, there is no migration of players going on.

So far, the biggest name in the NBA, according to a report by Adrian Wjnarowski, who made the biggest jump, is the former Golden State Warriors scoring forward Reggie Williams. He was also just named as one of the small forwards in the NBA last year. Williams is said to be playing in the Spanish League this year. He already made everything official, and he received a very big buyout clause. Williams will do well with what he has received, so even if the lockout will end and the NBA season this year will resume, Williams will stay overseas to play full season.

Another report also confirmed that the 2010 Final Four Most Outstanding Player, Duke product, and the second round pick of the Detroit Pistons Kyle Singler will also play in the Spanish League. Although Singler was really not the highest choice, especially since the former USC forward and the 16th overall selection of the Philadelphia 76ers Nikola Vucevic will be going home in his native place of Montenegro, to play during the lockout, Singler was signed anyway.

Recently, Marc Stein of ESPN.com also relayed that Omri Casspi, forward for the Cavaliers, might also fly to France and join Tony Parker’s team. Although, Parker does not really have an intention of playing for the French team, but if the lockout continues and players, like Casspi, are showing a lot of interests in playing for the team, then he might just change his mind, pack his bags, and play for his very own French team.

Other names that came up who are said to be considering of playing for Spain are Rasual Butler, Hawks’ second-rounder, Keith Benson, and Pooh Jeter.

More or less, this is the whole scenario. The names mentioned are almost about to sign up or just about to close some deals, while the others are already 100% in. But aside from these, no other names are mentioned, but it is just late August, a lot of things could still happen next month.

Kobe Bryant and Luke Walton helped out laid-off Lakers employees

People are aware that most of the pro athletes these days earn millions of dollars for a season’s work, and this does not include some endorsements and other activities that they have outside the court. And when these athletes help their team, go to the playoffs, or win a series or two, then these millions of dollars double or triple. And this is an amount that common people could not even imagine of having.

So for regular people, like some of the employees in the NBA, just a fraction of what these athletes are receiving will definitely help them go a very long way. And Los Angeles Lakers players and superstars, Kobe Bryant and Luke Walton, understand this very well. And they did what other players failed to do, which is to give their bonuses to those people who were laid off because of the lockout and other reasons.

Kobe Bryant, specifically, wants to give some amount of money to the two members of the Lakers’ video department whose contracts were not renewed anymore after the season. These people are Chris Bodaken and Patrick O’Keefe. They are going to divide the $65,000 of the Lakers’ playoff bonus given to them.

Bodaken, to other people’s knowledge, started his career as a ball boy for the team in 1986 and he worked in the same team for the last ten seasons as their director of video services. O’Keefe, on the other hand, was the team’s video coordinator for six seasons. Both of them are, of course, hoping for the lockout to end, and when it happens they are also hoping to get their jobs back. But, for the time being, they are just so grateful, especially to Bryant, for his generosity.

Bryant may have a soft spot for the video coordinators, but Walton has his heart for the team’s training staff. He is said to have given the group an undisclosed amount of money. The team has laid off to a total of twenty ever since the season came to an end. Some of these people can still be re-hired after the lockout, but all of these are still uncertain.

For people who are wondering, the Lakers, actually has no obligation whatsoever, to pay the employees of the team during the offseason. That is why, a lot of people are hoping for the best and for things to go well. For employees of different teams, they can only wish for the lockout to end and for them to have their job back.

Delonte West is looking for a hardware store work to survive the lockout

Whether it was just a Twitter joke that Delonte West made that he is planning to look for any position at Home Depot during the NBA lockout or if it is a legitimate attempt to continue earning money, no one can blame the guy. The NBA’s current lockout is really taking a toll on some people.

The history of some NBA players seeking out different part-time jobs and other activities is long and something that is not new anymore. Some of these players are fortunate enough to have some sneaker endorsements, which only goes to the big names in the league. Some people remember that during the 1950s and 1960s lockout or offseason, some even sold insurance just to make ends meet.

And who can forget Ron Artest who was known to have applied for a summer job at Circuit City – back when there was still a Circuit City. He did this, according to him during an interview after the said job, only to take in the company’s 15 percent employee privilege or discount.

So, when West made this announcement in his Twitter account, some raised eyebrows, while others thought, why not? West is a free agent and in a lockout like this which could possibly run for another 14 months, then everything can be possible. This Twitter message may mean something much deeper.

Delonte is really very keen on this Home Depot thing that going overseas to play ball for other teams. And according to some sources this decision has something to do with some of his previous legal problems.

Some people are not as convinced as the others, and they are saying that this kind of announcement may have something to do with Delonte’s bipolar diagnosis about two years ago. This is also the reason behind some of Delonte’s behavior. With all of these, some people can not help but remember Malik Rose in Delonte. During the 1998 lockout, people heard that Rose moved back to his parents’ house and had his room and bed adorned with some cartoon characters. But people would also, definitely, not forget how he came out from all of these and helped his team bagged the championship in 1999.

West made more than a million dollars last year from the Celtics and a total of over $14 million since he started with the NBA. So, it is either he is out of cash due to health reasons and other things or he has a mountain of cash and just playing around.

NBA players meet roadblock to play in China

Kobe Bryant, according to some sources, has offers of $1.5 million every month to play in China. And there are some news going around that he is inclined to accept the offer, one big problem though, according to some reports The Chinese Basketball Association officials are planning to agree on one rule which says that NBA players with opt-out clauses are not allowed to sign a contract with any Chinese team. This said rule will be official within the week.

Bryant is the biggest star who is very serious about his negotiations with a certain Chinese team, and he is not the only one. According to some reports, Tony Parker, San Antonio Spurs’ point guard is also meeting some Chinese officials about the possibilities of playing in a certain Chinese team.

But all of these have changed, since according to the rule, even after the lockout players can not just leave and abandon their team and go back to playing in the NBA. If they have signed a contract with any Chinese team, then they have to play for the team for the rest of the season, which ends in the middle of March.

The NBA, though, has very good ties with China. China is actually offering all these players a very good chance of still earning some of the money that they are about to lose once the lockout extends until the rest of the year and the whole season 2011-2012.

Until now, no one knows how the stiff the rule is and how this would affect the whole thing. There are some talks that there are a number of Chinese owners who are insistent on having the NBA players play for their specific teams and are more than willing to restructure the contract just to sort things out, that is why up until know no one is letting go of anything. Everything is still hanging until the said meeting next week, when the verdict will be announced.

The Shanxi team is the most aggressive among the Chinese teams in terms of pursuing NBA players to play in China. And this is the same team that has been offering millions of dollars to players as their monthly salary. And due to Bryant’s reputation, any team would be more than willing to meet his demands, no matter how much it would cost them. This whole deal is also very advantageous for all of Bryant’s product endorsements to conquer the Far East.

Wade to play somewhere else next season

Dwyane Wade has realized that he cannot take a year off from basketball. And if the lockout continues, then Wade has decided to go somewhere else to play.

Though Wade, just like other players, is still hoping that an agreement will be made between players and owners to finally end the lockout and save the 2011-12 NBA season, but if not then he will be forced to play somewhere else this winter. Wade did not tell The Associated Press yet where he is going to play but probably it is an international club.

Dwyane denied receiving offers from international basketball teams as well as the $2 million monthly proposal from one Chinese team, which is becoming the talk of the town. Wade, though, was really overwhelmed by the love and support that the Chinese fans gave him during his 9-day trip, he said that he would need to review and really think hard about any offer given to offer by a Chinese team or any team for that matter.

Wade’s Heat teammate LeBron James told the press recently that he is very optimistic about the results of the lockout and believes that it will even start on time. Wade, on the other hand, though he and James almost always have the same take on things, is not very optimistic about what is going on between players and owners.

Wade, though, is not very worried about what is going on, since he is very busy with a lot of activities and he does not have the time to be stressed out about the lockout.

Weeks after the loss of Miami to Dallas in the NBA finals, Wade was in constant motion. He is making himself busy with so many things and different activities.

Wade has been seen attending some fashion shows in Europe. He also went to China, not to make any basketball deals or whatsoever, but to attend to some business meetings with corporate partners like Gatorade, Hublot and Nike’s Jordan Brand. He also attended his teammate and friend, Chris Bosh’s wedding as well as a number of personal trips. He even went to New York for some photo shoots for different projects that he has lined up. There are even some talks of him posing for GQ, and, of course, the preparation for his next signature shoe, the Fly Wade 2, coming this fall. And he will also go to his old school, Marquette, very soon for a 5-on-5 play. Wade is definitely one busy guy.

James is very optimistic that the NBA season can be saved

LeBron James visited 360 third graders and told them that their futures are bright, and he believes that the same is true about the NBA.

During an interview with The Associated Press, the Miami Heat forward said he is not considering playing in any international team at all during this NBA lockout, like the other players. He is very optimistic about the whole thing, and he is also very committed in helping the US Team get the gold medal in the 2012 Olympics just like what he did during the Beijing games.

What he is doing right now is trying as much as he can to forget what happened in the NBA finals, and finally get rid of the sting. And he is also going to the gym and working out two times a day.

James is also trying to keep his promise to be even better when the Heat starts playing again when the NBA season resumes. He told some people that when he was in Houston he also had some moments like this, and what he did was learn the post plays from one of the greatest players in the NBA and also a former Rockets star Hakeem Olajuwon.

So, even with everything that is happening right now, with the lockout and all, and even when union chief Billy Hunter announced in a conference of attorneys in Baltimore that he would bet against there being a 2011-2012 season, James is still very hopeful.

He also shared with some reporters that he knows and understands why star guard like Deron Williams feel the need to get a deal overseas and why NBA superstar Kobe Bryant seems to be playing with the idea of playing overseas as well, but he said that this is just not his thing.

He is also very passionate about the whole Olympic thing, and he said that this is one of his motivations and one of the things that keeps him optimistic. He even mentioned that if there is a need for him to make a personal appeal to some of his fellow players to convince then to play in London next summer, then he would not hesitate. Though, there is nothing about this yet, no negotiations or talks, or whatsoever.

James just has a very memorable homecoming when he opened “Wheels for Education,” a program that he is very passionate about with the help of HP and Nike, and provide hundreds of children in the third grade of Akron Public Schools with all the academic tools that they need. This program does not stop in elementary. This program would help children until high school and graduation.

NBA players back in college because of the lockout

Kenny Donaldson reminded some of the UCLA former basketball stars that as the UCLA’s athletics assistant director of academic services, he can definitely help anyone of them to go back to school and finish their degrees. Donaldson is really hoping that some NBA players would still change their mind and decide to study again and eventually graduate.

And because of the NBA lockout, Donaldson might get his wish since there are already a number of NBA players who are contemplating over his offer. UCLA’s American Popular Culture class has already four NBA payers who are, as everybody knows, out of work due to the lockout, and they are Russell Westbrook, Oklahoma City Thunder’s guard, Kevin Love, forward for the Minnesota Timberwolves, New Orleans Hornet’s forward Trevor Ariza, and Baron Davis, guard for the Cleveland Cavaliers. Another NBA player who is enrolled in two classes for the summer is Milwaukee Bucks forward Luc Mbah a Moute. And since the players already have their very own professional careers, all of them are paying for their own tuition fees and for their books.

Ariza was in UCLA in 2003 from Los Angeles’ Westchester High School, he actually did not intend to stay very long at that time. After averaging 11.6 points and 6.5 rebounds as a rookie, he declared for the 2004 NBA draft and he was not among the favorites, he was actually the 43rd overall pick in the second round by the New York Knicks. And since Ariza announced that he is more passionate about basketball and really wants to focus in having a professional basketball career then Donaldson lost all his hopes and doubted that Ariza would ever go back to school.

But, due to the NBA lockout, and lack of anything to do, Ariza is now back to school and enrolled at UCLA and he is even considering of taking up a much heavier or more serious course during the fall. Although he has not made up his mind on a major yet, he is already certain that he would really continue studying. He has decided that even if the NBA lockout is already lifted, he would still try and continue his studies by doing some online courses, and the like.

Ariza also said that he is now learning more just like a freshman because right now he has a different and a deeper appreciation for education. Although he is also welcoming the idea of maybe playing in Spain, China, or Serbia, especially is the lockout really extends until the fall, he would still give more time to studying and, of course, on his coursework at UCLA.

An unofficial Grizzlies practice may be organized by Zach Randolph

One of the rules of the NBA lockout is that players are not allowed to meet or spend time with any of their team employees, but there is no rule preventing them from meeting their teammates. Players can continue socializing with their friends and teammates, party with them in their mansions, travel together, and do whatever activities they have in mind. They can continue living their lives – lives that other people can only dream of.

After a few months, though, they would really need to adjust since there will definitely be a great change in their off-season routines. The training camp that they used to have will likely to be postponed and move to a different time or schedule, which no one knows when until now, or at least until after the two parties work out a labor agreement, which they said that they are really working on to resolve. Therefore, with all of these, if players are concerned and still want to practice and work on plays and general on-court togetherness, then they just have to initiate it and do it amongst themselves and during their own time.

And of all people, those who are least expected, more often than not, surprise people. Zach Randolph is said to be thinking about calling the boys, the Grizzlies players, for a series of practice sessions. And this is really something good not just for Randolph but for the entire team.

From an interview that David Cassilo, Zach Randolph’s fellow Grizzlies, gave to Tony Allen for SLAM Online, he has mentioned that Zach just sent him a text message about him keeping in touch with the guys and getting all of them to gather in one city for a week or more or something and have some good rounds of practice. And David continued that he has no problems with it and he is just waiting for a confirmation within the week.

Just like what happened during the NFL lockout, most teams initiated their very own trainings and some minicamps so that players could be updated with the playbook. The NFL players practiced and had some sessions together while the union and the owners were still trying to work on a deal at that time.

Zach was maybe inspired by what the NFL players did during their very own lockout. Although NBA players do not need as much practice as the NFL players, it is a very good idea, nevertheless.

David Stern might work for free all through his lockout

Two months ago, Shane Battier made some headlines by suggesting something to Billy Hunter, head of the NBA Players Association, and made some of his fellow players feel very uncomfortable after he announced that he is wondering whether Hunter would show team spirit with his players, and agree to work for just $1 during the lockout. DeMaurice Smith, NFL union boss, did it, so Battier was just wondering whether they can also do it in the NBA. This whole idea was quickly dismissed, as expected.

David Stern, on the other hand, is said to have decided to work for free during the entire lockout that he and his owners started. Well, this is not really a very big deal for Stern since he can afford to. David Stern is making more than just $20 million every year.

According to some sources, Stern has showed no signs that he will say “yes” with regard to the lowering of his salary when the parties do iron thing out once and for all a new labor agreement that is, in fact, expected to be more restrictive or all the players. Some sources also confirmed just recently that Stern is estimated to receive an annual salary of as high as $23.

If all of these reports are true then it does not mean anything. And even if the new collective bargaining agreement restructuring is needed badly, especially since this is a lockout initiated by the NBA and they are the ones which locked out players, it is the players who are not being paid during all these, Stern’s enormous salary isn’t the problem, nor should it be a point of disputation.

This whole thing is really causing a lot of trouble. Most people said that they would feel a lot better if David Stern will take all of those millions and, for example, send a paid NBA employee to the parking lots surrounding en various arenas a number of times a week this fall and winter, and give out at least 20 bucks a pop to all the people who are going to be out of work during this entire lockout.

A lot of people would really be affected by this whole thing, even those people who are working in a bar and are depending on a lot of tip from the customers who are enjoying an NBA game night. There are 114 NBA workers who were laid off just last month, and there are more to come if this while thing is not resolved anytime soon.