NBA lockout: Now what?

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NBA lockout: Now what?

OK, sonow that the NBA players union has that revised proposal from the league,whats going to happen?Well,nobody knows for sure, of course, but heres how things may shake out over theweekend and into early next week.At somepoint in the next day or two, Warriors player representative Charlie Bell andother reps will board planes to New York City to meet with union presidentDerek Fisher and executive director Billy Hunter.In themeantime, those player representatives will be calling teammates, solicitingtheir input and trying to gauge where their players stand on the deal. Theplayers are expected to respond by the end of Tuesday.
At thispoint, holding what is believed to be the owners final proposal, it appearsthe players have four possible moves, none of them particularly appealing.One accept the deal as is, resigning themselves to an agreement that will give theowners back more than 1.3 billion in salary over the length of the contractand further restrict free agent movement.Two reject the deal and risk commissioner David Stern and the owners resettingthe ensuing proposal to one that is significantly worse -- calling for a hardsalary cap and rollbacks in player salaries, among others.Three Come back with adjustments to the proposal that the players already have agreedto ratify, thereby putting the onus on the owners to either accept or rejectit. Thats risky because Stern has indicated the owners are done negotiating.However, hes issued an ultimatum before in this process and subsequentlybacked off.Four Begin the process to decertify the union, which would put the matter into courtsystem and in all likelihood cost everyone the 2011-12 season.Sternsaid that if the players accept the deal, the season could start on Dec. 15,and teams would play 72 games. If the players dont accept the deal, it islikely Stern would cancel games through Christmas.Althoughits been suggested Stern and the owners could conceivably cancel the season ifthe deal is rejected early next week, that would appear to be premature andextreme. During the 1998-99 lockout, sides didnt reach an agreement untilearly January and a 50-game season began in early February.

Kerr, Warriors in preliminary stages of planning for Durant's return

Kerr, Warriors in preliminary stages of planning for Durant's return

OAKLAND -- Though Kevin Durant is eager to get back to the court, Warriors coach Steve Kerr and his assistants are in preliminary stages of planning his return.

One thing is certain: There will be restriction on the number of minutes Durant is plays in the first few games after he receives medical clearance.

“It’s something we’ll consult the training staff on,” Kerr said Saturday after practice. “I imagine we’ll ease him back by playing him shorter minutes to start, so he can build up his rhythm and his conditioning.”

Durant has been out since Feb. 28, when he sustained a sprained medial collateral ligament (MCL) and bone bruise to his left knee. After several days of strict immobilization, he has over the past week progressed to the point where he is engaging in vigorous workouts and shooting sessions.

Yet Durant will not be re-evaluated until next Thursday, which means he likely will not be cleared before the week of April 3. Not until then will the coaching staff devise a plan to reintegrate Durant.

“That obviously has a domino effect on the entire rotation,” Kerr said. “When we get to that point, we’ll figure that out. But it’s not something I’m giving a lot of thought to right now because he’s still at least a couple weeks away.”

The Warriors lost five of seven in the immediate aftermath of Durant’s injury but have recovered to win the last six in a row.

 

Feeling more comfortable, West cleaning up Warriors' messes down stretch

Feeling more comfortable, West cleaning up Warriors' messes down stretch

OAKLAND -- David West is as much a cleanup man as he is a basketball player.

The veteran power forward, masquerading as a center for the Warriors, cleans up behind teammates, cleans the clocks of opponents and probably cleans his plate after every meal. And he’d hit fourth in any baseball manager’s batting order.

The Warriors during their renaissance haven’t had such a personality. They’ve been a fun bunch, enjoying life, each other and their pillaging of the NBA.

West, 36, brings a more laconic dynamic, and it’s on full display as the Warriors lean into the final weeks of this regular season. He’s a leader who is producing and, more and more, winning over a fan base that was somewhat skeptical early this season.

“David West has been playing brilliantly,” Warriors coach Steve Kerr said Friday night, after West came off the bench for a highly efficient 14-minute stint in a 114-100 win over the Kings.

Showcasing sharp passing, splendid shooting, solid rim protection and his usual old-jerky toughness, West totaled 8 points, four assists, three rebounds, three blocks and one steal. The Warriors were plus-8 when he was on the floor.

Such production, it seems, is a bit of a bonus.

“He’s been very good for us as a veteran leader,” Draymond Green said. “He’s been playing well, but just his presence also has meant a lot to this team.

“D-West is just kind of a no-bull---- type of a guy. He doesn’t say much. But when he does, you know it means a lot. And everybody hears him.”

Said West: “It’s just about adjusting and learning personalities. Obviously, this group has been very successful. I just try to add my 2 cents where I feel like it fits. Try not to over-talk people. I speak to guys directly and just make sure that we’re all on the same page.”

West is in his 14th season. Drafted by the New Orleans Hornets in 2003, he also has played for the Pacers and, last season, the Spurs, before joining the Warriors in July.

The question at the time was whether he still had a lot to give. West is a two-time All-Star and one of the most widely respected players in the league. But did he still have the legs to compete at a high level?

The answer is visible, particularly over the past month, since he returned from fractured left thumb on Feb. 23. West is shooting 53.0 percent from the field, he’s rebounding consistently and he has proven to be a spectacularly good passer -- easily one of the best in the league among big men.

Earlier this week, to quell any lingering concerns about how much athleticism he still has, West rose up and dunked over a crowd of three Dallas Mavericks. It was clock-cleaning at its finest.

“I’m just getting more comfortable,” West said, referring to his game and his locker-room influence. “We’ve developed good chemistry, communicating, harping on our defense more than anything else at this moment, because we feel that’s going to give us a chance if shots aren’t falling.”

West is on a one-year deal for the veteran’s minimum, $1.55 million. He sacrificed bigger dollars for a chance at his first championship. He’s doing his part. And he neither takes nor leaves any mess.