NBA Lockout Talks Reach A Breaking Point; Andrei Kirilenko Is Going Home

There’s nothing else to say at this point, other than if they don’t get this deal done by Monday, David Stern and the rest of the NBA will start canceling games. The two sides met for four hours yesterday for what was deemed an enormously important negotiation day by pretty much everyone involved, and yet they came out of it still very much apart. The meetings basically ended when the owners low-balled the players with an offer of 47 percent of the basketball related income, down from the 57 percent in the previous CBA, and still much lower than the player’s offer of 53 percent … While it was Dwyane Wade blowing smoke at Stern for treating him like a child last Friday, his spot might’ve been taken by Kevin Garnett, who would probably do this if Stern pointed a finger at him. The minute KG showed up, reporters joked all chances of having rational conversations went out the window with the fire-breathing dragon coming to kill everything in his path. Also in the house yesterday for the meetings: Ben Gordon, Paul Pierce and Kobe Bryant, amongst the regulars … But wait, are we going to criticize the players for going out and having a good time? Turns out after many of the NBA’s best came to New York on Friday for the meetings, some of them went out and were having a great time before bouncing on Saturday without attending more meetings. These dudes aren’t machines. Fans may look at this through a fantasy prism. To them, the NBA isn’t a job. It’s entertainment. It’s a fantasy league. It’s a night out at Buffalo Wild Wings. But to the players, it is a job, and right now, they have time off from their job. If you received time off and you had enough money where you weren’t concerned about bills, what would you do? Go out…have fun…take a vacation…hang out with your friends and family…have a life. These are the only viable responses. Would it be amazing if all the stars cared so much that they were at every meeting, every day and stayed for every minute? Sure. We wish they could all be Paul Pierce, who has been singled out multiple times for his input in these meetings, or even Derek Fisher. Would it be awesome if they were working around the clock to get the NBA back on so all those folks working in the league have their jobs back? Of course. But that just isn’t reality. In a sense, it shouldn’t be either. Would you do the same with your job? Probably. You might even relish the time off. We can hope for an end to this disappointing lockout, but we shouldn’t expect players to be unselfish saints spending their lives working to save the jobs of other people because that’s just not realistic … Bryant’s presence was noted yesterday, and Stern wished him luck if he is able to find a deal to play overseas. But just as it seemed a formality last week, talks have now slowed. Plus, there’s this from a source close to Bryant’s camp: If he does go over, he will probably play “fairly carefully.” No way those words originally came from Bryant’s mouth. They don’t compute with him. That’s a perfect way to get hurt anyways – go over there and hold yourself back or act like you’re above the competition … At the NBA 2K12 launch party we hit up last week, Robert Horry spoke on the lockout and actually said the player who reminds him most of himself is Rudy Gay. Do you see it? Horry did admit Gay was better, but he should’ve said a lot better. At his best, Horry was an average-to-decent starter who somehow jumped about five plateaus in crunch time. Gay is a near All-Star, and someone who’s actually one of the better end-of-the-game finishers in the league. Still, it speaks to both player’s versatility to hear that comparison … The Andrew Bogut-to-Australia deal that has been in limbo pretty much all summer is now officially being put on hold because of an insurance problem. Without an appropriate insurance, Bogut won’t play over there … While Bogut is having his problems, Andrei Kirilenko is having none. The forward signed a three-year deal to play for CSKA Moscow. It does include an opt-out if the lockout ends, but who knows what AK-47 will do? He’s from Russia and grew up in that system before he came over to the NBA. This is literally like going home, and he shouldn’t have a problem fitting in at all … How many hours did you spend playing NBA 2K12 yesterday? We had to set limits here in the office so people could actually get some work done. But we love the suggestion Dime poster sweetv0mit had in Smack yesterday: 2K tournament for 7 hours owners vs players. Loser loses the lockout … And someone needs to put a muzzle on Metta World Peace‘s Twitter account. Seriously … We’re out like AK-47.

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