Bulls

Egos holding up NBA talks

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Egos holding up NBA talks

With reports that the NBA will cancel at least two more weeks of regular-season games Tuesday, three words come to mind in regards to the ongoing lockout: "No useful purpose."

Part of federal mediator George Cohen's farewell statement last week, that is now the collective aura surrounding the labor-negotiation process. Whether it's system issues, details of a luxury tax, competitive balance, a revenue split--between the league and the union or the amongst the owners themselves--or simply ego, the two parties involved continue to fruitlessly turn in circles. That's even according to the opinion of the presumably neutral Cohen, once hailed as a savior and now, apparently just another frustrated witness to the shenanigans after spending 30 hours (including a 16-hour marathon session into the wee hours) in the span of three consecutive days trying to solve the impasse.

A week from Tuesday, the regular season was originally scheduled to start, with the Bulls in Dallas to open the campaign against the defending champion Mavericks. Instead, Derrick Rose is in Hawaii, on a "Hoops for Troops" tour with a handful of fellow Wasserman Media Group clients. A worthy cause, indeed, but not where the reigning MVP or his increasingly growing fan base would like him to be.

Players will now seemingly miss a month's work of checks, while owners who have complained about their losses continue to lose money as NBA arenas remain dark. From the outside looking in, it seems clear that the players have given up plenty and the owners have their heels dug in, but as astronomical as the figures they debate over appear, both sides are risking losing more money with this work stoppage.

The trickle of NBA players overseas may continue, charity exhibition games will be played, quotes like Wizards center JaVale McGee's infamous "ready to fold" declaration will make the rounds and boardroom tales such as Portland owner Paul Allen's symbolic silence will inspire gloom, but no real progress will be made.

At least until pride is swallowed on one end or another, leading to a "winner" and a "loser," for the good of the game. After all, no division of money or unfailing system can compare to fans deciding they've had enough and don't return when the lockout ends.

SportsTalk Live Podcast: Of Bulls and Blackhawks, which team will finish with higher draft pick?

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USA TODAY

SportsTalk Live Podcast: Of Bulls and Blackhawks, which team will finish with higher draft pick?

On the latest SportsTalk Live Podcast, Patrick Finley (Chicago Sun-Times), Hub Arkush (ProFootball Weekly) and Jason Goch (SB Nation) join Kap on the panel.

The guys debate which team will finish with a higher draft pick when the season ends: Bulls or Blackhawks?

Plus, hear their reaction to the MLB’s new pace-of-play rule change.

Listen to the full SportsTalk Live Podcast right here:

There are 600,000 reasons you won't hear Gar, Pax or Hoiberg discuss losing

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AP

There are 600,000 reasons you won't hear Gar, Pax or Hoiberg discuss losing

The Bulls made headlines on Tuesday when VP John Paxson announced that David Nwaba, Cristiano Felicio and Cameron Payne would be entering the rotation, thus continuing the youth movement in Chicago.

On the surface the moves make sense. The 24-year-old Nwaba, the 25-year-old Felicio and the 23-year-old Cameron Payne will be replacing 28-year-old Justin Holiday, 29-year-old Robin Lopez and 25-year-old Jerian Grant. The Bulls want to see what they have in these younger players who haven't played much; they already know what they have in Lopez and Holiday, and Grant (like the other two) is under contract through next year.

OK, got that? Here's why they're making the move: they're sitting 8th in the NBA Lottery standings and really want to move into the top-5 to give themselves a chance at what should be a loaded front-end of the draft class. It's pretty obvious, and anyone who tells you otherwise is either named Gar Forman, John Paxson or Fred Hoiberg.

And here's why: On Wednesday Mavericks owner Mark Cuban was fined a whopping $600,000 by the NBA for comments he made on a podcast regarding tanking. The Mavericks are currently 18-40, the third worst record in the NBA. This comes a season after they finished 33-49, netting them the No. 9 pick that turned into talented point guard Dennis Smith Jr.

So when Cuban was asked about the best interests of his Dallas team, which touts young talent but clearly isn't headed for the postseason in 2018, he said this on the House Call with Dr. J Podcast:

"I'm probably not supposed to say this, but, like, I just had dinner with a bunch of our guys the other night, and here we are, you know, we weren't competing for the playoffs. I was like, 'Look, losing is our best option. [Commissioner] Adam [Silver] would hate hearing that, but I at least sat down and I explained it to them. And I explained what our plans were going to be this summer, that we're not going to tank again. This was, like, a year-and-a-half tanking, and that was too brutal for me. But being transparent, I think that's the key to being kind of a players owner and having stability."

Cuban isn't wrong, and the Mavericks sure as hell aren't the only team tanking. But to come right now and admit that losing is the team's best option wasn't, as Cuban predicted, going to sit well with the league office.

Commissioner Adam Silver sent out a memo with the fine that said Cuban's comments "which concerned his perspective on the team's competitive success this season" were "detrimental to the NBA."

So while the Bulls are going about their business in trying to lose as many games down the stretch as possible, don't expect anyone to admit it's the reason behind their personnel moves. There are 600,000 reasons why.