After months of news surrounding labor negoations, we get a taste of NBA action ON the court. No more court-rooms, no more talking heads of NBA player reps in suits. With the season getting underway Chrismas Day, a week from Sunday, the NBA tipping off what will be a fast and furious exhibition season. I had the opportunity tonight to watch both the Philadelphia 76ers at Washington Wizards and the Cleveland Cavaliers at Detroit Pistons. Not exactly the Eastern Conferece semi-finals, but pro hoops nonetheless.
Just one caveat, the deal is "pending league approval" The Los Angeles Clippers caved in to the demands of the NBA owned New Orleans Hornets. After breaking off the talks saying the demands were just too high, the Clippers went ahead and made the deal anyway. The hold up in the deal was which guard the Clippers were going to trade to the Hornets. Los Angeles wanted to move Eric Bledsoe, while New Orleans was insisting on Eric Gordon. Bledsoe's recent injury complcating matters even further, but the Clippers gave up in the end.
Has Dwight Howard finally made up his mind? First he was demanding trade as free agency opened. Then, as recently as yesterday he began hinting that he was happy in Orlando and it was his favorite place on earth! Now, Howard again leads the NBA news cycle as New Jersey has aggressively entered the sweepstakes in what could be a four-team mega deal. Where are the Lakers in all this? They are rumored to have focused on Chris Paul in the realization they cannot land both.
Chris Paul and Kobe in the Lakers back court? The three team deal between Houston, New Orleans and Los Angeles is dead. Well, maybe not Los Angeles, just the Lakers. As the LA Times first reported, the Clippers jumped into the fray, withdrew and are now back negotiating. Since the Hornets are owned by the NBA, the Clippers continue negotiations with the NBA front office. While Paul may still be on the move, Dwight Howard now appears happy staying in Orlando. The recent news has Kobe wondering why thus far all the Lakers have done is lose Lamar Odom?
Camps are now open across the country with the race to fill opening day rosters underway. With some teams opening practice with as few as seven players under contract, lots of player movement coming before Christmas. The major action of the day, the Lakers pulling out of the Chris Paul sweepstakes while the hunt for Dwiight Howard gets underway. 14 days until Christmas.... and opening day!
NBA camps are officially open! Free agency is also underway and we have the latest rumors. The proposed deal that would send Chris Paul to the Lakers is still in play. Houston, Los Angeles and New Orleans continue to look for ways to make it happen with league approval. For the most part, all players under contract reported for duty for training across the country.
It's official! The NBA labor deal has been approved by all parties and camps are set to open. It is a 10-year deal, but both sides have the option to opt out after six. Contract limits were lengthened, a soft salary cap is in place but the luxury tax will have more impact on owners. There were also be increased drug testing of players. While camps open today,, those involved in the CP3 trade remain in limbo in Houston, Los Angeles and New Orleans.