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NBA labor peace in our time . . . not

Commissioner David Stern and union chief Billy Hunter managed to make nice, more or less, during All-Star weekend, but the real talks haven't even begun yet. They'll be best of enemies again in no time.

February 19, 2011|By Mark Heisler
  • NBA Commissioner David Stern is trying to enjoy a peaceful All-Star weekend.
NBA Commissioner David Stern is trying to enjoy a peaceful All-Star weekend. (Danny Moloshok / Reuters )

Ah, peace, it's . . .


NBA Commissioner David Stern announced the game "has never been better," after previously noting the game's economic model is broken, his contribution to this weekend's love-in on the labor front here.

If Stern and union head Billy Hunter agreed not to air differences this weekend, they'll be back at each other's throats as soon as they're out of here.

"It was good rhetoric early to say [the NBA offer] is baloney [as Hunter did] or some random meat," said Stern, "but now, as we get down to the July 1 deadline, it's time to start negotiating. . . .

"At this point, the owners know what their numbers are and the players are beginning to understand it."

Translation: They haven't even started to negotiate and won't talk in earnest before June, if then.

Then comes the lockout July 1, totally assumed by both sides.

Carmelo: Thefinal frontier

A bidding war finally broke out for Denver's Carmelo Anthony as Knicks owner James (Thanks Dad) Dolan took over talks for his team.

Dolan is reportedly offering two or three Knicks starters . . . although his people are lukewarm on Anthony . . . except for former General Manager Isiah Thomas, still Dolan's unofficial advisor — to the horror of Knicks fans.

Thomas, the coach at Florida International University, may be pushing it to get back in the action.

Dolan reportedly met with Anthony, who had said he wanted to look in the owner's eyes.

"Did Melo see someone he can trust to make the right basketball moves?" Mitch Lawrence wrote in the New York Daily News.

"[Or] did he look in those eyes and see . . . Isiah Thomas smiling back?"


In last week's errors: I listed Stern among the management doves in collective bargaining, with the NBA running the Hornets, thinking the value he places in not burning a season makes him a moderate in this context. However, I got a protest from the National Dove Assn., saying if he's one, they're calling themselves something else. . . . A management source told me I was off on Philadelphia's Ed Snider, whom I had as a hawk. Snider has had great success as owner of the NHL Flyers, became involved with the 76ers in a corporate move when Comcast bought both teams, thinks the NBA is out of its gourd and is said to be philosophically between Ayn Rand and Genghis Khan. . . . Updated score: Doves 5, Hawks 20, War Party 5.

I have great respect for Jerry Colangelo, who built the Phoenix Suns, put the U.S. national team back together and made graciousness part of players' responsibilities. However, heading up the Naismith Hall of Fame, Colangelo saw his mysterious, unnamed electors pass over Reggie Miller, whose resume lacked nothing I know about, for induction. . . . However they're doing it, they'd better do it some other way.

By the way, Anthony is a PR genius, keeping all those balls in the air while claiming he knows only what the Nuggets tell him and charming press people. Or as he put it, "I take my hat off to myself for dealing with all this stuff that's going on and still be able to go out and play at the high level."

—Mark Heisler

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