Archive for October 10th, 2011

By Jeff Lenchiner

NBA

The NBA announced late Monday night that it has canceled the first two weeks of the 2011-12 NBA regular season because a new collective bargaining agreement has not been reached with the National Basketball Players Association.

This cancellation includes all games originally scheduled to be played from November 1 through November 14.

“Despite extensive efforts, we have not been able to reach a new agreement with the players’ union that allows all 30 teams to be able to compete for a championship while fairly compensating our players,” NBA Deputy Commissioner Adam Silver said.

Refunds plus interest are available for all NBA season-ticket holders for all preseason and regular-season games that are canceled.

After an unexpected meeting Sunday night in New York City, key representatives of the NBA owners and the players union stayed in town and got together again Monday afternoon. They got started around 2:15 or 2:30 p.m. ET or so and didn’t finish until around 9:45 p.m. at night.Earlier in the day, progress was reported on a near agreement in regard to changing the mid-level exception in free agency, but that’s a minor issue in the labor disputes that caused and prolonged the ongoing NBA lockout.

According to Ken Berger of CBS Sports, after the meeting the first person to speak to the media was David Stern, who said: “I’m sorry to report … that the first two weeks of the season have been canceled.”

More from Berger: Stern says owners’ proposal would’ve raised average player salary from $5-$7m/year. … Issues on the “competition side” have “separated us greatly.” …  Stern says players requested raised of 10.5 pct. And 9 pct… Stern: “we depart on good terms with negotiators. We just have a gulf that separates us.” … Stern: Yes, cancellation means no chance of an 82-game season… Stern: we couldn’t close the gap. … underpinning was union was at 53 and we were at 47… Stern: we remain very, very far apart on virtually all issues.

Still more from Berger: Adam Silver: What’s separated us over the past two days are not economic issues, but the system… Stern says further negotiations have to “account for the losses we are incurring” by canceling games… Stern on whether season itself is in jeopardy: “I’d like to think not.” … tern to fans: “I say that we tried awfully hard. We made, in our view, concession after concession.”

That’s from the owners side. As for the players union, here is president Derek Fisher, as tweeted by Berger:

Fisher: “I continue to believe that we’ve been more than fair and reasonable in our approach.” … Fisher: “This is what we anticipated would happen, and here we are.” … Fisher: “This is not just about dollars and cents for players. It’s about a system for our guys to operate under.” … Fisher says owners’ proposal of punitive luxury tax is “still as close as you can get, if not a hard cap.” … Hunter: “I don’t know that the season is in jeopardy. I think it would be foolish.”

Will the first two regular season weeks be all we lose? Or could another two weeks soon be taken? No one knows.

Keep reading InsideHoops.com every day. We update every single day of the week, multiple times a day, giving you news, views, serious stuff and fun stuff. Even during lockouts, we keep it coming.

Read NBA fan reaction or share your views in this basketball forum topic.

phoenix suns

The Phoenix Suns today announced that prominent local business leader Brad Casper has been named the team’s president to lead business and non-basketball operations, effective immediately. A 25-year veteran of consumer businesses, Casper most recently served as President and Chief Executive Officer of Henkel Consumer Goods, Inc., a $1.7 billion North American business based in Scottsdale, Ariz., which included the former Dial Corporation.

Lon Babby will continue in his role as President of Basketball Operations. Jason Rowley, who has been the Suns’ General Counsel for nearly four years and served as the interim head of business operations, has been promoted to Chief Operating Officer and will report to Casper.

“We are proud to have been able to attract someone of Brad’s caliber to lead our business operations,” said Suns Managing Partner Robert Sarver. “His expertise in organizational development, marketing and branding, coupled with his passion for the Suns, will be an enormous asset for our organization, our marketing partners, and our fans. His dedicated involvement in the Arizona community exemplifies and extends our organization’s commitment to the city and state.”

Sarver added, “Rowley’s work warranted his promotion to Chief Operating Officer. He will provide important continuity and leadership.”

Casper served as President and CEO of The Dial Corporation and led its integration into German-based Henkel Group as Henkel Consumer Goods, Inc., after the 2004 purchase. During his tenure from 2005-2010, Casper oversaw construction of the company’s headquarters and research lab in Scottsdale, engineered the acquisition of Right Guard deodorants, and led the development of successful new products like Dial body scrubs, Renuzit air fresheners, and Purex Complete 3-in-1 Laundry Sheets.

An Ohio native, Casper is a 1982 graduate of Virginia Tech University with a bachelor’s degree in finance whose entrance into the business world came as a financial analyst with General Electric. Then, in what he considers the big break of his career, Casper was hired as a brand manager with Procter & Gamble at the age of 28. The position took him and his wife to Kobe, Japan, though the couple never had previously owned passports. The youngest brand manager in the firm’s history, Casper’s performance earned him a transfer to Hong Kong and then mainland China where he oversaw the launch of numerous products in the Asian market. He rose to the position of Vice President and General Manager of Procter & Gamble before being named the President of Church & Dwight, the manufacturer of Arm & Hammer products. He subsequently joined Dial.

Named by the Phoenix Business Journal as one of the state’s “Most Admired CEOs” in both 2008 and 2009, Casper’s extensive involvement in civic and business organizations includes the Greater Phoenix Economic Council (GPEC), Greater Phoenix Leadership (GPL), the Global Institute of Sustainability (GIOS) at Arizona State University, and the Scottsdale Unified School District Foundation. He is also a Fellow at the Thunderbird Graduate School of Management and serves on the board of directors of Grand Canyon Education Inc., which operates Grand Canyon University.

Casper and wife Kay reside in Paradise Valley and have been married for 28 years. The couple began dating in high school but first met as 10-year-olds at a cotton candy stand. They have three children: 19-year-old Colton, a student at Arizona State, 15-year-old Carly and 14-year-old Brody.

Suns Vice Chairman Sam Garvin said, “During Brad’s career he has been instrumental in creating a culture of innovation and growth, launching and developing numerous multi-billion dollar brands. He has a deep understanding of sports marketing through his previous experiences sponsoring Team USA Hockey, Major League Baseball, and the NBA, as well as being a marketing partner with the Suns after his arrival in the Valley. We are excited to have Brad leading our business.”

Rowley assumes the role of Chief Operating Officer after four seasons as the club’s Senior Vice President and General Counsel, responsible for all legal matters pertaining to the organization’s basketball, business and arena operations. Rowley received his bachelor’s degree and J.D. from the University of Arizona and prior to entering law school served in the U.S. Navy. He began his legal career in 2001 with the law firm of Snell & Wilmer in Phoenix and was corporate counsel for Van Tuyl Group, the nation’s largest privately held automotive retailer, before joining the Suns.

The show Psych on USA Network is an InsideHoops.com favorite. I watch it, and tons of our message board members love it as well. Several pro-Psych forum discussions exist and it’s almost all positive. The general consensus is that it’s an extremely fun show.

So it was cool when InsideHoops.com was recently invited to cover a USA network event called “Psych Fan Appreciation Day,” celebrating the upcoming new Psych season with dedicated fans of the show. We were treated to an advance preview of the season premiere, and met virtually the entire cast.

We’ll post some interview quotes in the next day or two, but right now we’ll jump right to the extra good stuff and present video clips  of two Psych stars welcoming you to InsideHoops.com:

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carmelo anthony

Carmelo Anthony talked late Saturday night about playing a basketball game in New York City in mid-November, but not at the Garden and not in a Knicks uniform.

Anthony emerged from the FIU locker room at midnight Saturday pretty certain the NBA will cancel the first two weeks of the season today — no matter the last-hour meeting being arranged for last night between the two sides in the league’s labor dispute.

Nothing is set in stone, but Anthony believes he, LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Chris Paul and friends will stage a big exhibition in the Big Apple.

“We’re going to keep giving back,” Anthony said.

On his Twitter account yesterday, Anthony started banging the drums for his Big Apple charity-fest.

“Working on an epic exhibition charity game in NYC,” he wrote. “Showtime. I’m comin’ home.”

– Reported by Marc Berman of the New York Post

yi jianlian

Until the NBA and its players’ union can come to a resolution on a new collective bargaining agreement, Yi Jianlian is returning to the place where his professional basketball career started.

Jarinn Akana, one of Yi’s representatives, confirmed that his client has signed a contract with the Guangdong Southern Tigers of the Chinese Basketball Association which will have an NBA out for whenever the labor dispute is settled.

The CBA allowed its teams to sign only free agent NBA players, and Yi is an unrestricted free agent after the Wizards declined to extend his $5.4 million qualifying offer for next season. Wilson Chandler, J.R. Smith and Kenyon Martin have all signed to play in China since the league decided to lock out its players on July 1, but the CBA does not allow foreign players to leave until the conclusion of the season.

Akana explained in a telephone interview that since Yi is a local player, the CBA and the Southern Tigers have both afforded him the privilege of leaving whenever he signs another deal in the NBA.

– Reported by Michael Lee of the Washington Post blog

Romanian prosecutors say a man has been detained over the killing of American basketball player Chauncey Hardy.

Ionut Adrian Tanasoaia surrendered to police early Monday. He is accused of beating up Hardy in a bar in the southern Romanian city of Giurgiu on Saturday night.

Mediafax news agency reported that Tanasoaia attacked Hardy because he wanted to dance with his girlfriend.

– Reported by the Associated Press

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