And the (PBWA) winners are….

When All-Star weekend in Orlando came to an end last month, a quality event was lost amid all the chatter about the slam dunk debacle and the game that didn’t get interesting until the waning minutes: the annual Professional Basketball Writers Association awards.

The tireless and talented NBA scribes who cover this game for a living get together at All Stars every year to hand out the hardware, and I was certainly honored to be among those having this fancy trophy sent to his house. Yet while the work was acknowledged privately, I decided belatedly that it’d be worth taking a moment here to acknowledge it publicly.

Do yourself a favor and read all of these pieces, then follow all of the writers on Twitter (links on names) since these stories are hardly aberrations. There are three categories (Game story, Column, Feature) and three places (with one unique exception that is explained below). Thanks to PBWA president Doug Smith, VP Steve Aschburner, and Treasurer Rich Dubroff for all you do as well.

Game story

1 Marc Stein, ESPN.com on Dirk Nowitzki Game 6 finals
http://espn.go.com/espn/print?id=6655647&type=story

2 Mark Woods, ESPN.com on EuroBasket gold medal game
http://espn.go.com/nba/story/_/page/EuroBasket-110918/eurobasket-ibaka-gets-blocking-helps-give-spain-title-present

3 Kerry Eggers, Portland Tribune for Game 4 Blazers-Mavs
http://www.portlandtribune.com/sports/story.php?story_id=130361447040397300

Column

1 Kevin Ding, Orange County Register on Kobe Bryant
http://www.ocregister.com/articles/bryant-304531-james-nba.html

2 Henry Abbott, ESPN.com on Kobe in clutch
http://espn.go.com/blog/truehoop/post/_/id/24200/the-truth-about-kobe-bryant-in-crunch-time

* (Fran Blinebury of NBA.com initially won in this category, but his piece barely missed the cut in terms of having a 2011 publication date. Nonetheless, his story on Yao Ming is absolutely worth enjoying – http://www.nba.com/2010/news/features/fran_blinebury/12/16/yao-ming/index.html)

Feature

1 Darnell Mayberry, Oklahoman on Russell Westbrook
http://newsok.com/russell-westbrooks-journey-from-community-center-gyms-to-the-nba-all-star-game/article/3542475

2 Scott Howard Cooper, NBA.com on Bismack Biyombo
http://www.nba.com/2011/news/features/scott_howard_cooper/06/14/bismack-biyombo-euro-workout/index.html

3 Sam Amick, SI.com on Adam Morrison
http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2011/writers/sam_amick/11/22/adam.morrison/index.html

Extra, Extra: Tyson Chandler unplugged

Much has changed since I last posted here, though I trust anyone coming to ye old NBA Confidential hub on any sort of routine basis knows by now to find me at SI.com. I’m thrilled to report that the ‘Lockout Central’ tab above is now irrelevant and will soon become a historical reference rather than a place for the latest NBA news. We’re back to actual basketball again, and it’s with that that I drop this interview with New York Knicks center Tyson Chandler.

The top free agent of the latest class talked at length before the Knicks dropped a stinker to a Stephen  Curry-less Golden State squad, explaining how close he was to joining the Warriors, why he chose the Knicks and how he sees the Dallas situation he never wanted to leave behind. Be sure to read my piece on Chandler from tonight here, but below is the extra material that didn’t make the story. Chandler was awful against the Warriors, but I still love the signing and think he will eventually be phenomenal for New York.

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Going Postal: The NBPA gives its best UPS impersonation in flurry of letters…

Short and sweet here, since it’s late and the only point of this post is to share the latest lockout-related letter. If you need to get caught up on all the latest mailings, read about today’s letter from Billy Hunter or go to my archive here. Otherwise, the following is a letter from National Basketball Players Association president/Lakers guard Derek Fisher to the media addressing this story from FoxSports.com’s Jason Whitlock.

Derek Fisher Statement

November 1, 2011 (Los Angeles, CA) – “The statements made in recent articles on the Fox Sports website are inexcusable.  Among the many baseless accusations, to allege that I am working with the league for my personal gain is unequivocally false.  The implication that I am doing anything but working in the best interests of the players is disgusting, defamatory and a flat out lie.  I have issued a letter through my attorneys demanding a retraction for the libelous and defamatory stories the site and reporter have continued to publish.

Regardless of the media reports, the Players Association, our staff, Executive Director and Executive Committee are unified and working side by side to serve our players.

There should be no more distractions.  We must continue to negotiate a fair deal for our players.”

Lockout Musings in the Media

I’d meant to put these interviews up a couple of nights ago, but the gunfight at the Not-so-Ok Corral (story linked) caused a bit of a delay. Billy Hunter’s fiery appearance after the NBA players meeting in Beverly Hills was the latest turn in this tired drama.

For more tidbits on Friday’s events, check out my Twitter feed here. Otherwise, here’s the latest round of media appearances discussing the lunacy behind this lockout from the last week.

FOX NEWS BUSINESS - With Madison Square Garden’s stock nearing a 52-week low, we break down the numbers and the issues.

NEWS10 in SACRAMENTO – Sports Anchor Bryan May and I break down what’s next for the league at large and the Kings.

CBS13 in SACRAMENTO - News anchor Sam Shane and I discuss whether the Kings owners will suffer during the lockout as they attempt to secure a new arena.

KNBR in SAN FRANCISCO - I join “The Razor & Mr. T” to talk lockout.

SPORTS BUSINESS RADIO - Talking lockout with Brian Berger in Portland.

Warriors Extra: On Welts and why it matters that he’s gay; Curry and Thompson updates

And the winner of the lockout news cycle award goes to…

The Golden State Warriors.

With all due respect to the National Basketball Players Association folks who have led the league’s players to a PR victory over the owners on the labor front, no organization has captured all the right kinds of headlines during the work stoppage like those boys by the Bay. It’s quite a feat considering the changed set of rules in this media game, as team officials could no longer discuss their own players and thus were relegated to spreading the good word on the ownership, front office and coaching fronts.

There was plenty of that for the Warriors.

But while there were rave reviews given to owners Joe Lacob and Peter Guber for the additions of former agent Bob Myers as assistant general manager, the legendary Jerry West as consultant, the compelling Mark Jackson as coach, the well-respected Michael Malone as his lead assistant, and the popular subtraction of scorned team president Robert Rowell, none of those moves resonated outside of the sports world like the latest hiring of Rick Welts. In case you somehow haven’t heard, Golden State’s new chief operating officer and team president is gay.

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Sacramento Arena Project: The Nexus Report

Couldn’t make it out to the Sacramento Press Club today, Kings fans? Never fear.

Below you’ll find a copy of the ‘Nexus’ report that was presented to the media and public today by the Kevin Johnson-led ‘Think Big Sacramento’ team that continues to work arena wonders. The Sacramento Mayor and former NBA star is presenting a menu of financing options for a new entertainment and sports complex in Sacramento as we speak, and it’s worth noting that I truly never thought this day would come.

This thing isn’t over yet, but it certainly looks a whole lot more likely that the Kings will stay in Sacramento long-term than it did five months ago. Go ahead and analyze the 62 pages that follow and see for yourself how they plan to get this thing done. And if that’s not enough material on this topic for you, be sure to watch the show I took part in recently discussing this very topic (and since we’re in the pardoning mood, apologies for the rough quality on the video clip as that’s the best available online).

THE NEXUS REPORT

http://www.dailymotion.com/embed/video/xkr20d
Acccess Sacramento – Arena Discussion by drewm7

The NBA Lockout: Whose Side Are You On?

Greetings all you NBA-starved fans/bloggers/tweeters/reporters out there in lockout land.

We (I) interrupt this programming from the Drew League/Goodman League/Melo League/Justice League (Ok, so that one doesn’t apply, although Dwight Howard has been known to don a cape) to check in over here at NBA Confidential. Per the new norm, it’s been a while since I updated the site. But lest you worry your hoops head that we’re way behind in updating matters on the labor front, here’s the “good” news: there have only been three labor meetings since I last posted on June 28.

Isn’t that just grand? You barely missed a thing.

Point being, it has been incredibly slow-goings in the CBA negotiations. The first signs of long-overdue urgency started surfacing this week and another meeting is likely to take place next week, but the divide is still wide enough for Shaq’s house to fit in between the two sides – although it’s a tight squeeze (have you seen his house?!). I’ll keep cranking away over at SI.com so be sure to check in with me there, but I wanted to alert folks that the ‘Lockout Central’ page (formerly CBA/Labor Central) and ‘Interviews’ page have been updated with some recent content. Among the highlights: A visit with Matt Winer and Steve Smith of NBA TV to talk lockout recently and had a number of other not-so-cheery chats about the CBA situation.

On here, however, I get to be the one asking the questions and will take full advantage of that authority. As such, I implore you to answer the query below to satisfy my curiosity. And for the love of Ron Klempner (or Adam Silver, for the sake of objectivity and not skewing this critical public vote), please retweet this to all your social media pals so we can get a decent sample size going. Good night, and good luck (to David Stern and Billy Hunter).

Latest Linkage: Feel the (NBA) Draft? It’s the Calm Before the (Collective Bargaining) Storm

This past month was almost all about the draft, with the annual event providing one last NBA hurrah before the big faux pas.

A lockout is around the corner and resolution is probably at least a few cities away, meaning these latest memories will have to last a while for those of you who are so hardcore that you’re used to tracking free agency and summer league here in the dead of summer. In this particular corner of the country where relocation is such a serious concern, Jimmer-mania relocated from Provo, Utah to Sacramento and Kings fans certainly hope his presence can help keep the team from moving next summer.

Fredette’s arrival sparked the sort fanfare that’s worth witnessing for posterity alone. I did just that over the weekend, tracking the BYU sharpshooter who was taken No. 10 overall at the airport one day and a Sacramento mall the next for the story that is linked below. Here’s the video from those events, and a throw-in vid from his brother, TJ, singing about the journey of one of the most hyped players in the history of the game.

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Latest Linkage: Covering the Draft, Coaching Searches and the Looming Labor Situation

Here’s the latest linkage from SI.com, just in case anyone missed these stories the first time around. Since that doesn’t make for the most exciting post, I might as well share this clip of the 2002 fight between Shaq and Brad Miller on here just as I did on Twitter. The Miller story below reminded me of this melee, and it’s more than worth the four minutes of your life to take a peek back at the big fella going crazy.

One of the most dominant big men to ever play the game retired this week, of course, so there’s a lighter look at Shaq below as he discusses his incredible career with Jackie MacMullan.

 

* (June 4) Rockets center Miller reveals he had microfracture surgery

* (June 3) Walsh takes high road as Knicks’ uncertain steering continues

* (June 3) Brandon Knight confident in ability to play point guard in NBA

* (June 2) Latest news as coaching carousel continues to spin around the league

* (June 2) NBA lacking logic in CBA talks

* (May 27) McHale reaches agreement to become Rockets coach

* (May 26) Hall of Famer West eager to give Golden State a taste of success

* (May 25) Mock Draft 2.0

* (May 25) Lakers name Mike Brown new head coach

If You Build It, They Will Stay: Sacramento Arena Plan Unveiled by ICON Venue Group

When the basketball-loving people of Sacramento finally exhaled on May 2, it was only a matter of minutes before they were holding their breath again.

The Maloof family that owns the Kings had decided to stay, having succumbed to monumental pressure that was coming from almost every side as they attempted to move to Anaheim. But as was made immediately clear by the owners and the NBA, this would merely be a stay of execution unless a new arena was built.

Twenty-four days later, the beginnings of a plan are finally in place. The Taylor/ICON group that has been working with the city of Sacramento since early February completed its feasibility study this week that was intended to determine whether an arena was possible in Sacramento.

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