Chat with the Kamenetzky Brothers
Welcome to SportsNation! On Wednesday, we'll have ESPNLosAngeles.com Los Angeles Lakers bloggers Andy and Brian Kamenetzky stopping by for their weekly chat.
Before joining ESPNLosAngeles.com, Brian and Andy hosted Lakers Blog for the Los Angeles Times from 2005-09. They host the ESPN Kamenetzky Brothers Lakers PodKast and frequently appear on ESPN Radio 710. As contributors for ESPN The Magazine and ESPN.com, they have written about virtually every sport known to mankind.
Send your questions now and join the Brothers Wednesday at 10:30 a.m. PT/1:30 p.m. ET!
Andy Kamenetzky (1:31 PM)
Hey all, how's it going? Let's get the chat started.
Mike Brown (El Segundo)
I'm just sitting here, waiting to lead this team to glory! I've got a whole series of Finals Eyewear ready to bust out. #LETUSCOACH
Andy Kamenetzky (1:32 PM)
You and me both, coach. Except I can only afford one pair of glasses, regardless of how long the playoff run would last. #NBACoachesMakeMoreThanBloggers
April (Las Vegas)
Why do you think it took so long for the players to dissolve the union? Couldn't they have done something like this four months ago?
Andy Kamenetzky (1:35 PM)
April: The union has considered (rightly) a disclaimer a nuclear option and has looked to avoid it unless absolutely necessary. Unfortunately, the double edged sword is, as the saying goes, timing is everything. Whether you think this strategy will be effective or not, the general consensus is it delays the negotiation process with legal battles. If the union was even willing to do this at all, they probably should have done it from the start.
Chris (San Diego)
So if there's no season, what do you guys do? Panhandle?
Andy Kamenetzky (1:36 PM)
Chris: Actually, we panhandle whether there's a season or not. We just look slightly more justified in our lack of dignity if we're panhandling in a lockout.
Kelly K. (Hollywood)
Who do you blame most at this point? Which side do you think is most responsible? I need to know where to direct my ire.
Andy Kamenetzky (1:44 PM)
Kelly K: While I think both sides have badly mishandled this situation, were I to focus the majority of your anger in one direction, it would be the owners'. They've somehow managed to allow unquestionable leverage to blow up in their faces. Rather than use this advantage as a means of ensuring what they truly need, they've gone after the entire enchilada right down to the garnish. Sports are not a risk-free enterprise, nor can you use a system to ensure profitability in the face of bad decisions. At some point, you need to actively try to entice the players, rather than lord power over them. While the players turned down a deal arguably worth their while, the owners rubbing their faces in the situation did everyone no favors.
Alfred (Bat Cave)
How can the players and owners not say that this thing has turned personal? Do the players really understand what they have just done by decertifying from the union? Why did they wait so long to do this? At this point, I for one hope we dont have a season, so the players and owners will see the irrepable damage they have just done to this league by showing the fans that all they care about is their $$$$$$
Brian Kamenetzky (1:51 PM)
Hey Alfred-I think it's definitely personal on a couple levels. Or at the very least, the ratio of cold calculated business maneuvering to personal stuff. The owners took the LBJ summer very personally, and believe what they're fighting for is as much control of the league as anything. The players don't want to feel like they're getting taken advantage of, or that they're being dictated to. These are guys very used to being said yes to. On both sides. Not a great recipe. Can't say I agree with you about not wanting to have a season just to prove the point, but I get the sentiment.
Pumpkin Escobar (Hogwarts)
Sup Fellas, if we loose the whole season, what will be made of the Sac Kings? Dont they have to April to make a deal for a satduim? Also, Stern did say contraction has been discussed, but not likely. Wouldnt the Kings make an easy target for a team to be contracted? Thanks fellas!
Andy Kamenetzky (1:52 PM)
Pumpkin Escobar: We just did a podcast with Colin Hanks ("Dexter," "Mad Men," etc.), a Kings fan who grew up in Sacto. His worst fear about the lockout isn't just the Kings being moved, which feels inevitable for a team struggling in town as it is. He thinks they'll be contracted altogether. I hate to say it, but his concerns are valid. The longer this lockout lasts, the more contraction has to be considered. Granted, contraction should be seriously discussed anyway, but that's another story.Here's the show, if you wanna listen. http://espn.go.com/blog/los-angeles/lakers/post/_/id/23083/podkast-with-colin-hanks-dexter-bay-area-sports-and-the-sacramento-kings
Brian Kamenetzky (1:53 PM)
Hi Maximus.Talking to Mo Evans Monday, he indicated there are a lot of other issues- those "B" issues the NBA talked about, like licensing, drug testing, D-League send down rules and split contracts, and so on that they don't consider minor, and that the league has proposed harsh stands. The system issues, at least the ones outlined by the league over the weekend, they're not awful. I mean, I get why the players don't like them, and why they would see this as a big loss (it is), but I kept looking for that poison pill and couldn't find it. It ain't a good offer, but I seriously question how much better the one they sign will be, especially when factoring in the lost revenue in salary b/c of cancelled games.
Are the players really about to blow the entire season over a mid level exception and a couple of other things which effects 20 players a year? This has to be all about ego, right?
What's more likely to happen this weekend? More NBA games cancelled or the Twilight Saga smashing box office records!
Brian Kamenetzky (1:54 PM)
Twilight. They'll wait as long as possible before cancelling the XMas games. That's a huge date on the NBA's calendar, b/c it's when teh major network broadcast partner starts putting games on TV, and they have to start writing checks for the games missed.
Has D-Fish hurt his image to the point of no repair? It seems like Fish wasn't ready for this battle, and has just really let the players down. How can anybody really trust Hunter and Fisher to make a deal?
Andy Kamenetzky (1:56 PM)
Alexander: No, I don't think Fisher's image has been hurt. This is a very difficult task he's been saddled with, and more importantly, it's not his day job. His positive image is the result of what he's done as a basketball player and a leader with character, not a negotiator. Granted, his resume would have been enhanced by getting a deal ASAP, but Stern and Hunter are the ones who'll lose in reputation and legacy if the season is lost, not Fisher. There's only so much you expect from Fisher in this, as opposed to those two.
Mike (Ladera Ranch)
Once the season is officially shot, will the courts keep the pressure on to create a new CBA or could this drag on to a nuclear spring and summer, followed by another nuclear winter?
Brian Kamenetzky (1:56 PM)
Hey Mike-I don't think anyone entirely knows that answer, but there's no question the court process slows things down considerably. For every judgment there's an appeal, then another, and a motion here, another there. It takes a ton of time. So while you never know when the end point might actually come, if indeed they do decide to let the legal process play out to the very end-- this is HIGHLY unlikely, I believe, just to say-- we could be without the NBA for a long time.
Scott V. (Anaheim)
I've already moved on to the Ducks.
Dave (5 Freeway)
How much does this tarnish the legacy of David Stern? Can he still be considered the best commissioner ever? People had said that about him.
Andy Kamenetzky (2:01 PM)
Dave: It hurts Stern's legacy a ton, in my opinion. For all the positives with Stern's successful efforts to grow the game and pull the league out of the abyss of irrelevance, two big work stoppages in 12-13 years is unprecedented. If the entire season is lost, the hit is even worse. Factor in his controversial (in my mind, harmful) reaction to the Brawl and his generally increasing arrogance as the years passed and I'm not sure how fondly he'll be remembered. The good can't be denied, but as the saying goes, the lockouts will go down on his permanent record.
Michael Jordan (Charlotte, NC)
Does my hardline stance as an owner reflect on me as a businessman or as a person?
Andy Kamenetzky (2:02 PM)
Michael Jordan: Both. You've always been about the money as a person, a player and a businessman, so how can these sides even be separated?
Franklin (Los Angeles)
Who has the most to lose on the Lakers if they don't play. Gotta be Kobe, right?
Brian Kamenetzky (2:03 PM)
On a personal level, Franklin, I think that's the case. (You can make an argument for the young guys-- rookies who might miss a chance to make a team this year, and theoretically scuttle their entire NBA careers.) Kobe will do as much as he can to hold off Father Time, but even he knows he can't do it forever. Losing a year makes him a year older, even if it gets his body back in order. That matters, b/c the injuries are going to come back in some form. Plus, the clock is running on the team around him. There is an expiration date on it, not only because they'll have to make a choice on Bynum, but Artest is a year older. The PGs are a year older, and so on. If the luxury tax rules are more punitive, they'll have to make some adjustments. This year and next really are Kobe's best chances, and given that the last proposal would have left things alone for a couple seasons, I'm sure he wasn't thrilled from this standpoint to see that deal get turned down.
I love Metta WorldPeace. I have an Artest jersey hanging in my closest. But I'm terrified of what a lost season might do to his waistline/sanity. Do you have any words of comfort?
Brian Kamenetzky (2:03 PM)
Sure, Caleb. How about this: I'd be far, far more concerned about Lamar Odom.Comforting, no?
Shannon Brown says Steve Blake wanted to approve the deal. Steve Blake denied it. Who's telling the truth? How many players do you think would have approved the deal on the table?
Brian Kamenetzky (2:06 PM)
Hey David-Honestly, I don't know. My guess is Blake wanted to play, but doesn't want to look like he's undercutting the union. I'm sure his stance is at least partly true-- that he wanted to make sure everything was fully vetted and put before the membership. It's hard to say for sure how many players would have voted for that basic deal, because it was never put in front of them. Scuttlebutt said it would have had a real chance. But one thing I think is clear-- A lot of guys really don't know what's going on, or what's in these proposals. If it was my career, I'd be taking a far more active interest.
Chris (Studio City)
Now that we're at this point, should Kobe have been more visible in this whole process? He's still 1A or 1B in terms of face of the players, plus he seems to have a LOT to lose (salary, a year he can't get back, etc.)?
Brian Kamenetzky (2:09 PM)
Hey Chris-I don't think so. I'm of the opinion that guys like Kobe have an unwinnable situation for themselves, if they get too involved publicly. He's done everything he should-- he's shown support for the union, offered to make loans, showed up to meetings, been a voice of moderation, but not rocking the boat. He has a TON on the line (honestly, I think losing the season bothers him almost as much as losing the money... or at least that ratio is a lot different than it is for most guys), but at the same time, how does he walk the line? If he pushes for guys to hold out, well, that's easy to say. He's made 180 million in salary over his career. If he says lets play, he's selling out for his own interests. Best to do what he has.
Alan (temecula, ca)
Seems like players were ok with 50/50 can u give me more details about other parts of agreement that made it so bad for the players?
Brian Kamenetzky (2:10 PM)
Alan-Things like the tax structure, the way the escrow account was set up and the contribution levels players would have to make. They didn't like the structure of the mid-level and other exceptions, and restrictions on sign and trades for tax paying teams. Basically, anything that would be seen to hinder player movement. Plus, those B issues I mentioned before.
Dr. Rufus T. Barleysheath (New York)
How many people do you think will truly, truly give up on the league if this thing busts up an entire season? People make threats, but would they follow through?
Brian Kamenetzky (2:11 PM)
Not in L.A.-- the Lakers will continue to sell out at home and on the road as long as they have the star power to be the Lakers-- but in other places I do believe there are fans who leave and won't come back. No question.
I still don't understand why were having this lockout? just make an agreement already.
Brian Kamenetzky (2:14 PM)
James, I think you speak for a lot of fans. Most of them, really.
Trevor H. (Houston)
What was so bad about the last proposal that made the players decide to dissolve the union?
Brian Kamenetzky (2:14 PM)
I think they felt this was their last, best chance to play the remaining piece of leverage they felt they had. This was the one thing-- using the court system either in the manner they did or by the other form of decertification-- they could do to get the owners to come off their positions.
Steve R. (Los Angeles)
What are the odds you think we get any sort of season this year?
Brian Kamenetzky (2:16 PM)
I'm still saying there will be one. There is still time, based on the '98-'99 calendar. No XMas games, though.55-60% chance of season. But it's cloudy.
Michael U. (Brooklyn)
Let's be optimistic and say they fix this. Can the Lakers fill the holes they have fast enough to get back to the top of the W.C.?
Brian Kamenetzky (2:17 PM)
As long as they don't get fancy and try to re-work the entire roster, yes. Plug some holes. Find a viable option at center to back up Bynum and take pressure off Pau. Get someone-- doesn't have to be a guard-- who can reliably stretch the floor and make teams respect their outside shot. They don't need an overhaul, just more depth.
What has been the worst move either side has made during the negotiations?
Brian Kamenetzky (2:21 PM)
Rhetoric. Both sides have done a horrible job controlling the rhetoric. I think that's been the NBA's biggest mistake. It's one thing to win the negotiation. Everyone knew that was coming, including the players. But don't poke them with a stick. Don't make them feel publicly like they're getting rolled. These are prideful, competitive guys and if you puff your chest out, they'll puff theirs, too. Throw them a bone here and there, let them save face.The players, I think, have done a poor job delivering their message, or even formulating a cogent plan to get this done. They have failed repeatedly to explain why the system issues are so important, or what a deal would look like that they would take. They've tried to hard to frame the debate in terms of fairness. This isn't about fair or unfair, but possible and not possible. Some of the things they want just aren't possible.
Yolanda C. (St. Louis)
Who do the Lakers use their amnesty provision on, assuming there is one? Walton is the most useless, but has a shorter deal. Artest makes a lot more money. Is he a candidate?
Andy Kamenetzky (2:21 PM)
Yolanda: I think you hit the nail on the head. If the season gets saved, I'd be stunned if it's not Walton. However, if we lose the whole year, and pick up next year when Luke has just one year remaining on his deal (which makes him easier to trade), then Metta World Peace becomes a very strong candidate. Even taking into account Barnes not being an ideal starter and Devin Ebanks being totally unproven, Artest is at that point their most unideal contract, between the length of the deal and arguably declining skills. He'd have to be considered.
Steve R. (Los Angeles)
Sucks for the Clippers, too. How close were they to being competitive this year? (I've already given up on the season)
Andy Kamenetzky (2:27 PM)
Steve R: Actually, I think the Clips were fairly close, health assumed. Griffin and Gordon are as good of a young inside-outside combination as the league has to offer, and guys like Aminu, Bledsoe and Jordan have all demonstrated promise. I also think lifting themselves from the presence of Baron Davis was a major plus. The Baron to Blake alley-oops were nice and perhaps the point guard found a new enthusiasm, but I don't trust him to remain positive, motivated and in shape for three years. History just doesn't back up that optimism. Plus, to truly move in the right direction, this needed to be "Blake's and Eric's team," and now it's official.
Andy Kamenetzky (2:28 PM)
Alrighty, that's all the time we have. Thanks for joining the fun. Keep swinging by the blog for more updates and thoughts.