You can thank Kevin Garnett for the lockout. No, he isn’t playing the same role he did in the last one when his newly-minted $126 million contract was seen as the albatross that the owners needed to kill and never allow to come back from the dead. Now he’s in another mode: old veteran looking for one more big pay day. From that angle, it’s cool that he came to NYC and pointed a finger at the owners and at his fellow players. No more concessions, he told his guys over and over. Things got nasty in the meetings – as they’re bound to do with someone like KG – and then progress was halted. In some cases, things went backwards. As one league official told Yahoo! Sports’ Adrian Wojnarowski: “We were making progress, until Garnett [expletive] everything up.” Garnett undoubtedly hit the owners with his legendary scowls and intensity (as vets of many photoshoots with the future Hall of Famer, we can attest to that). Could we have gotten this whole thing fixed up before days started being canceled? Who knows? … The real issue for the players is how badly do they need the big stars? It builds a strong image if players like D-Wade, LeBron, KG and the rest show up for these meetings. But their perspective is completely different than the Union’s. Derek Fisher and Billy Hunter shouldn’t be fighting for them; They need to fight for everyone else … The Italian Job is off… for now. Kobe and his agent’s little game of cat and mouse finally caught up to them when their asking price became too high for Virtus Bologna to match and bring him over. So negotiations are off for the time being. We can see why the lockout is taking so long – should it really have taken these two sides this long to figure it out? It’s really not that difficult … Yesterday, we told you Shaquille O’Neal wants to one day own an NBA team. But that wasn’t the only interesting thing he got into. A few weeks ago, Bryant made a remark in Italy that was seen as a diss towards his old pal, saying: “I like players who workout. I used to do that six, seven hours per day. I cannot stand players who practice for 30 minutes. I need to say something to them.” Yesterday, O’Neal addressed it, saying he doesn’t need to work out, his numbers and MVPs speak for themselves. We can’t wait to hear these two at 65 still bickering and arguing like a pair of spurned lovers. Are they going to throw shots at each other over stuff like this forever? … Chris Broussard reports that Kevin Durant is in Akron for a few days working out with LeBron James. We wonder what they’re working on? … Andrea Bargnani will play for infidelity. A website called ashleymadison.com, which bills itself as “the world’s leading married dating service for discreet encounters,” is doing whatever is necessary to bring Il Mago over to play for a team in Italy that’ll be known as Ashley Madison Roma for it’s sponsor. It’s always a good thing when you combine star athletes with cheating websites (not). Great idea, but poor execution … Remember Pitt standout Chris Taft? He’s on the comeback trail, and is throwing his name in the NBDL draft pool … Philly is gonna Get Jiggy With It. New York-based leveraged buyout specialist Joshua Harris and eight others completed the deal to buy the 76ers from Comcast-Spectacor. They’ve already made management moves, but most importantly, they brought star power to a franchise sick of waiting on someone to bring the excitement back: Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith. Will got in as a a minority shareholder, which is similar to Jay-Z in New Jersey. Great move. We figure in between every one of his $20 million roles, he can stop by to give the team some pointers on how to succeed. Our question is are they going to be able to play “Miami” in warmups? Or is that out of line? Tough decisions. And we all know that L.A. and Philly stay jiggy … We got on Drake for getting into an argument with MJ. Then, we wanted to slap him after he told Brian Wilson the Miami Heat could take the ’86 C’s. But now he wants to argue with the champ, Mark Cuban. Drake’s definitely not making us proud right now … We’re out like Shia LaBeouf in a fight.
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