NBA, players fail to agree after marathon talks

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NBA, players fail to agree after marathon talks

Players Association president Derek Fisher used the word "disappointing" to describe the latest proposal from NBA owners after emerging from two days of intense talks.

"At this time it's not enough to really entice us to try to finish things tonight," Fisher said Thursday, in a press conference in New York.

Still, Fisher and union chief Billy Hunter will take the proposal to each team's player representatives to gauge whether the players' association should vote on the proposal, reject it or try to continue to tweak it.

Fisher said that the revised NBA deal doesn't meet on all system issues, but commissioner David Stern indicated it very well could be the NBA's last offer. If the players don't take this deal, Stern said the owners would reset their proposal and it would be worse.

The players earned 57 percent of basketball-related income under the old collective bargaining agreement. They have agreed to come down to 50 percent or very near that figure. But Stern said if the current deal weren't accepted, the owners new offer would call for players to get only 47 percent of BRI.

"Obviously, we would like to keep negotiating and find a way to get a deal done. But right now it's not that time," Fisher said.

Stern followed Fisher and Hunter to the podium and indicated that the revised proposal was the "best attempt" to address the concerns that the players expressed last week. Stern made it clear that the owners were done negotiating.

"We both realize the seriousness of what we're facing," Stern said, adding "... we await the response from the union. We did our best."

According to reports, the league has proposed what is being called a mini mid-level exception worth 2.5 million to be used under certain circumstances. The league will also raise the minimum team salaries from 75 percent of what the salary cap is to 85 percent of the cap.

Stern said the proposal would allow a season to start Dec. 15 if accepted, with a 72- game schedule. That would require moving the playoffs and The Finals back a week, according to Adam Silver, the NBA's deputy commissioner.

Hunter says union hopes to meet with players reps on revised NBA offer in New York on Monday or Tuesday.

According to Hunter, there is no deadline and that the revised offer will remain on table until the union gets back to league.

"It's been a long haul. Were coming to the end of it and trying to get this thing done."

Hunter said that in addition to six or seven primary elements needing to be worked out, the salary cap chief among them, there are 30 to 40 unresolved issues. Those ancillary issures totaled six pages, including items such as the draft age and the commissioner's disciplinary rights.

Whether Brown or Kerr coach, Warriors sticking to same blueprint

Whether Brown or Kerr coach, Warriors sticking to same blueprint

OAKLAND -- For the first time since he joined the coaching staff last summer, Mike Brown on Wednesday morning arrived at the Warriors facility a man in charge.

As acting head coach, he would decide when practice started and when it ended, and conduct proceedings in between.

The general activity was not much different for anyone else, though, as it continues to become evident that everything the Warriors do for the foreseeable future will be a Brown-Kerr, or Kerr-Brown, production.

“Steve is going to be a part of this process the whole time,” Brown said after practice. “Almost before I do anything, I’m going to consult with him. The only time I won’t consult with him is probably during a game.”

Since Kerr’s announcement last Sunday that he was taking an indefinite leave to attend to personal health issues, Brown has been wielding the clipboard. He actually coached Game 3 against Portland last Saturday, in Kerr’s absence, before knowing in advance he’d also coach Game 4 Monday night.

Brown is 2-0, with the Game 4 win clinching a Warriors sweep of the Trail Blazers. Yet Brown is quick to remind anyone that he is following the plan laid out by Kerr. The two exchanged texts Tuesday and, according to Brown, “spoke at length” after the game between the Jazz and the Clippers -- one of which will face the Warriors in the next round.

Though the Warriors are operating under a different head coach, all indications are the atmosphere around the team remains stable and relatively unchanged.

“Obviously it’s different personalities, but when you make it about the players, when you make it about winning, all that other stuff really doesn’t matter,” Kevin Durant said. “He coaches us. He coaches the game of basketball and he does it very well. Our whole coaching staff does the same thing.

“When it’s about basketball, it’s not about trying to have authority over us. He’s just coaching us. He’s just coaching us up. He’s just telling us the proper way to do things on the basketball court. It’s pretty simple when you try to do that. Then it’s on us to try to execute.”

Execution has gone well, particularly over the last six quarters of the series against Portland. The Warriors wiped out a 16-point deficit in the second half to win Game 3, and then rolled to a 35-9 start in Game 4 before coasting to the closeout victory.

Brown was on the sideline in Game 4, with Kerr watching the game from the locker room.

It’s fairly apparent, though, that everyone involved feels a heightened sense of accountability and ownership.

“Mike has had a pretty big voice throughout the whole season,” Durant said. “He’s been a head coach before, understands what it takes to be a head coach. And the coaching staff is just so smart, and they empower each other.

“Anybody, if you’re around us on a day-to-day basis, anybody can tell that they work well as a group. Coach Kerr does a great job. He spearheads it all by empowering everybody, from the coaches to the players.”

After sweeping Blazers, Warriors relishing some needed down time

After sweeping Blazers, Warriors relishing some needed down time

OAKLAND -- After arriving in Oakland in the wee hours Tuesday morning, the Warriors took the day off, went through a light practice Wednesday and will take another day off Thursday.

Slackers, eh?

Not really, when the next game is at least four days away.

The semi-lax scheduling isn’t the decision of acting head coach Mike Brown. It’s not even the decision of head coach Steve Kerr, who was not at practice Wednesday and remains out indefinitely. It’s a common sense call that was made between the two men, with players and staffers on board.

“If you can sweep every series,” Kevin Durant said after practice, “then that’ll be perfect.”

This is one of the perks of sweeping a first-round opponent. By eliminating the Trail Blazers in four games and with their next opponent undetermined, the Warriors are able to balance work and rest.

“With this group here,” Brown said, “the continuity that the nucleus has and how intelligent the guys are, with the big-time veterans we’ve brought in, we feel that rest for their bodies and mentally (are) more important than coming in here and having practice on a daily basis.”

They also have a couple guys recovering from injuries. Forward Matt Barnes (right foot/ankle bone bruise) has been out two weeks, and guard Shaun Livingston (right index finger sprain/hand contusion) has missed the past nine days. Both, however, are expected to be available for the next series.

The soonest that would be is Sunday against Utah, which owns a 3-2 series lead over the Clippers and can close it out Friday in Salt Lake City. If the Clippers win and push the series to seven games, the Warriors would then open against the Clippers-Jazz winner on May 2.

Meanwhile, the Warriors have no choice but to prepare for both, with plenty of time to do so.