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NBA COAST TO COAST

All quiet on labor front; Western Conference All-Star center not so much

David Stern has been laying low regarding collective bargaining but it might be time for Tim Duncan to make the move to center, if only for a game.

January 29, 2011|By Mark Heisler
  • Spurs power forward Tim Duncan is fouled by Warriors center Andris Biedrins during a game at Golden State last week.
Spurs power forward Tim Duncan is fouled by Warriors center Andris Biedrins… (Ezra Shaw / Getty Images )

Peace, it's wonderful

There might not be a next season in the NBA or NFL, but all has been quiet on the labor front recently.

NBA Commissioner David Stern has been as serene as Buddha.

Meanwhile, the NFL's Roger Goodell, asked about union head DeMaurice Smith's declaration — "We're at war" — declared peace.

"We're going to be to be committed to making sure we bring more football to more fans, I promise," Goodell told ESPN's Rachel Nichols.

Of course, the commissioners might just want a worry-free Super Bowl and All-Star game.

If the leagues' problems differ wildly, an ongoing NFL lockout in October, when basketball training camps open, would be perfect cover for the NBA.

With the NFL missing games, NBA stories would start, "In other labor news …"

On the other hand, if the NFL starts on time, the onus would be on the NBA to do the same.

Not yet, Drew

Tim Duncan, who jumps center, plays the post and guards opposing centers, says he is a power forward. Which would have him as the best ever, rather than lined up behind centers Bill Russell, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Wilt Chamberlain, et al.

Since this is the only vanity shown by a Spur since Dennis Rodman discovered tattoo parlors … whatever.

This season, however, the West needs a center with Yao Ming out and No. 2 vote-getter Andrew Bynum having played 23 games.

With Kevin Durant and Carmelo Anthony starting, if Duncan is selected at forward, one more deserving player among Pau Gasol, Dirk Nowitzki, Blake Griffin, Kevin Love and LaMarcus Aldridge gets left out.

Earth to Tim: How about being a center for a day?

Sun stroke

Having lost everyone else since buying the Suns in 2004, owner Robert Sarver has a death grip on Steve Nash.

Without Nash, of course, they're lost.

Unfortunately, with him, they're lost.

Rather than clear cap room after losing Amare Stoudemire — because Sarver wouldn't guarantee a fifth season, as the Knicks did — the owner signed anyone who'd come, such as reserves Josh Childress (four guaranteed years at $26 million) and Hakim Warrick (three at $13.8 million.)

"We just have to being it all together and get more I feel we have the talent to be a playoff team," Sarver told the Arizona Republic's Paul Coro.

"We just have to bring it all together and get more consistency."

Tune in at the trade deadline, when they might be more lost.

Etc.

Is this what owners mean when they say players have to help pay to grow the game? Teams now send out more than bric-a-brac to the press when touting players as All-Stars. … On behalf of Monta Ellis, Golden State sent Western Conference coaches, who select reserves, bottles of wine in fancy boxes with openers and decanters. … Speaking for the coaches: Here's to you, Warriors. Sorry, Monta. …

Detroit Coach John Kuester is keeping his rudderless, up-for-sale team competing — while ticking old favorites on their way out with Tayshaun Prince fuming about Richard Hamilton, who no longer plays, and former teammate Chauncey Billups calling it "shocking" and "disrespectful." … Meanwhile, the Pistons started 12-26, then went 5-4, upending Dallas, winning at Orlando and blowing a seven-point fourth-quarter lead at Miami.

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