Stern issues ultimatum

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Stern issues ultimatum

NEW YORK (AP) Commissioner David Stern gave NBA players an offer and a deadline: Accept a chance to earn up to 51 percent of basketball-related income by Wednesday or get ready for a deal that's a whole lot worse.He wouldn't call it an ultimatum, but it didn't sure sit well with the union."The players will not be intimidated," attorney Jeffrey Kessler said early Sunday after eight hours of negotiations stretched late into the night. "They want to play, they want a season, but they are not going to sacrifice the future of all NBA players under these types of threats of intimidation. It's not happening on Derek Fisher's watch; it's not happening on Billy Hunter's watch; it's not happening on the watch of this executive committee."Kessler said the proposal was really 50.2 percent for the players and called the chance of them ever reaching 51 percent a "fraud" and an "illusion."Whatever. If players don't agree to it by Wednesday, Stern said they would get a deal that would guarantee them just 47 percent of BRI and call for a flex salary cap."We hope that this juxtaposition will cause the union to assess its position and accept the deal," Stern said.Thus ended another frustrating day, one that puts a lengthy 2011-12 season in doubt."Today was another sad day for our fans, for arena workers, our parking lot attendants, our vendors. Very frustrating, sad day," union president Fisher added. "We, for sure, unequivocally, made good faith efforts to try to get this deal done tonight. And we're at a loss for why we could not close it out."And it remains difficult to see how they can. Stern certainly wouldn't speculate on the chances."I'm not going to make percentage guesses or anything like that. We want our players to play. We'd like to have a season," he said. "These are the terms upon which we're prepared to gear up and get in as many games as possible."Players and owners met with federal mediator George Cohen for more than eight hours, and Stern said Cohen offered six "what if?" recommendations relating to the BRI split and the salary cap system.Stern said owners accepted the first five and would put them in writing in a formal proposal to the players, hopefully Sunday. But it wasn't acceptable Saturday, with Stern saying Kessler rejected it."I think it's fair to say that speaking on behalf of the union, Mr. Kessler rejected the mediators' recommendations and our proposal," Stern said. "But hope springs eternal, and we would love to see the union accept the proposal that is now on the table."Though insistent on no more than a 50-50 split, owners will offer the players a band that would allow them to receive between 49 percent and 51 percent of revenue. However, Stern's description of how it would work was confusing, and Kessler said under "the wildest, most unimaginable, favorable projections and we might squeeze out to 50.2."Fisher said the players' proposal would have given them about 51 percent, with a portion taken out to use for retired players' benefit.Day 128 of the lockout came at the end of a tenuous week in which both sides seemed as much at odds with themselves as each other. Some players took part in conference calls to discuss the option of decertifying the union and filing an antitrust case against the league, while hardline owners were in favor of offering the players 47 percent now and not going beyond 50.Although the lengthy meeting offered hope of compromise - despite the rare attendance of Hall of Famer and Charlotte owner Michael Jordan, and Portland billionaire owners Paul Allen, considered to be hard-liners - Kessler said owners never really made any."They came in here with a prearranged plan to try to strong arm the players," he said. "They knew today they were sticking to 50, essentially 50.2. They were going to make almost no movement on the system, and then they were going to say, 'My way, or the 47 percent highway.'"He added there was no reason to talk again before Wednesday if the owners stick to their current position.Other items in the new owners' proposal related to rules for teams paying the luxury tax and for the use of the midlevel exception. Players have said the system issues are just as important as the BRI split, because they fear owners' proposals essentially would prevent teams in the biggest markets from being free agent options.A month of the season already has been lost, and more games could be in jeopardy soon. Nobody said the decertification threat made any real impact on the discussions, but Fisher also said there's not a deal yet that's worth a vote.If they can't agree to one by Wednesday, it will be even harder to find common ground. Players already rejected a flex cap in June.Fisher and Kessler again questioned the owners' willingness to negotiate, but Stern said they were ready to make a deal - by Wednesday."We want to allow the union enough time to consider our most recent proposal, and we are hopeful that they will accept," he said.As for the Wednesday deadline, he added that it "doesn't aid the negotiating process to just leave it hanging out there."

Report: Kings forward Matt Barnes accused of choking woman

Report: Kings forward Matt Barnes accused of choking woman

Trouble in New York. Not only did the Sacramento Kings drop a game to the Knicks Sunday evening at Madison Square Garden, but they found a way to land on TMZ as part of their postgame activities.

A report surfaced Monday morning that the NYPD was looking to question Matt Barnes after nightclub patrons accused him of choking someone. The veteran wing has since been in contact with authorities to give his account of the events.

"Matt is cooperating with NYPD's investigation," Matt Barnes' attorney Matt Spiro said in a statement to CSN California.

Barnes also posted a statement on the report to his Instagram account, writing "There's alaways two sides to a story.. The side the media consistently tries to paint of me.... And what actually happened! Don't believe everything you read."

A photo posted by matt_barnes9 (@matt_barnes9) on

Later Monday after afternoon, the Kings issued the following statement: "We have clear standards of conduct and behavior expected of the entire Kings organization – on and off the court. We are working with all parties involved to gather information in order to take any appropriate next steps."

Barnes and DeMarcus Cousins went out to a New York City nightclub following the game, which by all means is well within their rights. While information is still being gathered, it appears that Barnes got into an altercation after bumping into a woman and Cousins had to come to his aid.

According to TMZ, Barnes claims to be the victim in this incident and has taken pictures of his injuries that he believes support his account of the events.

“Barnes claims the woman reacted by slapping him in the face, hard -- and that’s when all hell broke loose.

Barnes claims the woman’s crew -- which included several men -- jumped in and began to get violent. Barnes was knocked to the ground in the melee and one of the men began to choke him.

We’re told Barnes got physical in an effort to protect himself. Cousins jumped in to defend Barnes.”

Spiro told TMZ, “We do not believe a crime was committed and are hopeful no charges will be pressed.”

The Kings are scheduled to fly to Dallas sometime on Monday where they will face the Mavericks on Wednesday evening.
 

Rewind: Cauley-Stein shows versatility in Kings' comeback attempt

Rewind: Cauley-Stein shows versatility in Kings' comeback attempt

Sometimes your shot won’t fall. The Sacramento Kings tried everything. Their 3-pointers went halfway down before popping out. Mid-range jumpers found the back iron of the rim. Fastbreak layups rolled out. Tip-ins bounced three times before jumping off the rim. 
 
Sacramento shot just 14-of-49 in the first half and 31-for-96 overall for a horrifying 32.3 percent from the field. And they still had a chance to win.
 
“I thought we got good looks all night,” coach Dave Joerger told media following the game.
 
The New York Knicks built a 21-point first half lead, but with 4:51 remaining in the fourth, the Kings trailed by just two. And then the shots stopped falling again for Sacramento.
 
“When you have to come back from that amount down, it takes a lot of energy and I think we ran out of legs,” Joerger added.
 
The Kings shot 7-of-29 from the field (24.1 percent) in the fourth quarter and 1-of-10 from deep as the Knicks clung to the lead. 
 
Carmelo Anthony dropped in six of his 20 down the stretch and Brandon Jennings hit all four of his free throw attempts in the final few minutes as the Knicks survived for the 106-98 win.
 
DeMarcus Cousins had a big night, scoring 36 points and grabbing 12 rebounds, but he shot just 9-of-30 from the field, including 4-for-10 from long range. 
 
While his team was struggling to hit anything in the first half, Cousins completely carried the team. But when the Kings drew near, be it Cousins or one of the other Kings players, they took ill-advised shots looking for the home run instead of methodically running their offense.
 
It’s nearly impossible to win an NBA game when you shoot 32.2 percent, but Sacramento had plenty of opportunities to complete the comeback and squandered them.
 
With the game out of control early, Joerger turned to unconventional lineups in an attempt to mix things up. Willie Cauley-Stein got an extended look in the second half and may have played himself into more time moving forward. 
 
The second-year big finished the game with nine points on 4-of-7 shooting and grabbed four rebounds in 23 minutes of action. He brought energy on the offensive end and played strong defense against the best the Knicks had to offer.
 
“I think his versatility and length to be able to have to step out and play Carmelo or step out and have to play (Kristaps) Porzingis, where maybe that’s not Kosta’s strength as much,” Joerger said. 
 
The former Kentucky star agreed with his coach’s assessment after the game.
 
“I like to play dudes like that anyways,” Cauley-Stein told reporters. “That kind of goes into to my strengths instead of trying to play a five man that’s just bigger than me and outweighs me by 30 or 40 pounds.”
 
Cauley-Stein has played more than 20 minutes in a game just once this season and he’s sat out three of the Kings' 20 contests as a healthy scratch. He came into the night averaging just 4.9 points and 1.7 rebounds in 11.9 minutes per game.  
 
“You’ve just got to remember this is my second year and a new coach, so it’s like being in a rookie year all over again,” Cauley-Stein said. “You’ve got to prove yourself to them that you can make plays, that you can knock down shots.”
 
There's no question the Kings can use a defensive-minded hustle player off the bench, but Joerger has often turned to 36-year-old Matt Barnes for those minutes instead of the Kings' first-As theround pick from a season ago.
 
With the loss, Sacramento fell to 1-3 on the road trip and 7-13 on the season. They have a two day break before facing off with the 4-15 Dallas Mavericks on Wednesday night at the American Airlines Center.