Is an 82-Game Season Still a Possibility for the NBA?

Is an 82-Game Season Still a Possibility for the NBA?

Leave it to the players and owners to wait until Day No. 116 of the NBA Lockout to attempt sound bargaining strategy.

It's been a somewhat common argument in both the NBA and NFL sagas that neither side will move to do anything substantial until games are potentially lost and the money stops flowing. We thought we had reached that point with the NBA earlier this month, when it "cancelled" the first two weeks of its regular season for the first time in over a decade.

But, wait. Is an 82-game regular season is still on the table?

Sadly—yes.

The two sides engaged in what is being a dubbed a 15-hour "marathon meeting" on Wednesday in an effort to make serious headway on a deal. From the details that have emerged, it sounds as though progress was made, enough at least that Stern, Silver, Hunter, Fisher and the rest will be right back at it this afternoon.

Their Bold New Strategy: work on the system issues first—cap exceptions, the cap itself and the luxury tax—and then come back to talk about BRI (basketball related income) once those issues have been settled.

If this sounds familiar, Billy Hunter and the players tried this style of bargaining during the all-night meetings of October 9th and 10th. Though they were able to hammer out an agreement on a reduced version of the mid-level exception, that tiny sense of achievement was quickly squashed by a take-it-or-leave-it BRI ultimatum from the owners, a move that forced the Association to where it currently stands—117 days into a lockout.

But now, as is being reported by multiple outlets, given the progress that's "miraculously" been made over night, a full 82-game season might still be a possibility. From the New York Daily News:

David Stern and the NBA players are not only trying to save Christmas but they may even salvage the entire 2011-12 season.

Following a marathon 15-hour negotiating session that concluded at 3 a.m. Thursday, officials from both sides said there is a possibility that an 82-game schedule can be played if a new collective bargaining agreement is finalized within the next five to seven days.

Granted, producing a fully-ratified CBA in that span of time is unlikely. Moreover, the players could very well balk at the idea of an increase in back-to-back games to keep the league within in its normal dates. But the fact that playing 82 games is still even a remote possibility at this stage is simply awful.

Now, given the response it received, at least a few of you we'll remember my "What's with You People Hating on the NBA?" post from a few weeks back. Thus, you might be surprised that I'm suddenly terming a full 82-game season "sad" and then "awful."

Look, the fact is, even though I love the product, the NBA deserves to lose money over this. It deserves to lose games.

Though the NFL's labor talks were an amoral—perhaps even immoral—exercise in greed, at least the league got its collective "stuff" together in time to save the season without the forfeiture of a single game. The NBA, on the other hand, they've been operating not from greed, but from a position of obdurate stupidity since the beginning of this fiasco on July 1st, and, frankly, even long before that.

Is it good for basketball fans that they're making progress? Yes. But is it nonetheless inexcusable that this progress could not be made in the intervening months between July 1 and October 10th? Same answer.

Don't blame either side. They're both at fault. This video we linked to last week from The Onion captures that sentiment perfectly.

Sure, I want basketball; but, as a loyal fan of the NBA, I'm also more than upset that I've had to watch such child-like behavior unfold between adults who—whether they want to acknowledge it or not—run a profitable league.

Play 74 games for all I care. I'll be happy about it. I'll even be happy for 50. Hell, I'm in for any at all. But, after all this time, don't you dare reach back for those once "lost" 8 games worth of revenue.

None of you deserve an extra cent.

Image courtesy the JBOMB Basketball Blog.

NFL Notes: Chiefs S Eric Berry signs franchise tender

NFL Notes: Chiefs S Eric Berry signs franchise tender

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Chiefs safety Eric Berry signed his franchise tender and reported to camp Sunday, though he is almost certain to miss Kansas City's preseason finale against Green Bay this week.

Berry was given the franchise tag early in the offseason but had not signed the deal, which means he could skip all of training camp without being fined. The deal will pay him just over $10.8 million this season, making him the league's highest-paid safety.

Kansas City plays its first regular-season game Sept. 11 against San Diego.

Berry played in every game last season, less than a year after he was diagnosed with cancer. He made 55 tackles, a pair of interceptions and resumed his role as the heart and soul of the defense.

Falcons: 2-time Pro Bowl safety Dashon Goldson signs
ATLANTA -- The Atlanta Falcons signed veteran free-agent safety Dashon Goldson on Sunday.

The Falcons will be without rookie starting strong safety Keanu Neal, the first-round pick, for at least the first two regular-season games with a right knee injury. He will have arthroscopic surgery on Monday.

Coach Dan Quinn has said that backup Kemal Ishmael would fill in for Neal as the starting strong safety.

Goldson, a 2012 All-Pro with the 49ers, had 110 tackles in 15 starts with the Redskins in 2015. He spent his first six seasons with San Francisco and played with Tampa Bay in 2013-14 (see full story).

Bills: Ryan says standing for anthem pays respect to military
ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. -- Buffalo Bills coach Rex Ryan believes standing for the national anthem is a way for NFL players and coaches to show respect and give thanks to members of the armed forces.

Ryan says he can appreciate how some players have personal or religious beliefs that lead them to not stand for the anthem. However, he adds people should appreciate the "gift" they have in playing football, which is the result of "the men and women that serve our country."

He was asked about his opinion before practice Sunday, a day after San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick said he is refusing to stand for the anthem because he believes the United States oppresses African Americans and other minorities.

Ryan did not specifically reference Kaepernick in his response (see full story).

Colts: Former Patroits RB Steven Ridley signs
INDIANAPOLIS -- Free agent running back Steven Ridley signed with the Indianapolis Colts on Sunday.

Ridley was cut Thursday by Detroit, which had signed the sixth-year veteran in April.

Ridley, 5-11, 220 pounds, has played in 60 career NFL games with 26 starts. He went to a Super Bowl with New England in 2011, his rookie year, when he was a third-round selection, and again in 2014, when he was hurt.

Indeed, he's been injury prone, appearing in six games for the Patriots in 2014 and nine for the Jets last year.

He has 685 carries for 2,907 yards and 22 touchdowns in his career.

Indianapolis also waived wide receiver Justin Berger, safety Alden Darby, guard Eric Herman, defensive tackle Ricky Lumpkin, tight end Mike Miller, running back Chase Price, cornerback Winston Rose, defensive end Delvon Simmons, wide receiver Josh Stangby and inside linebacker Junior Sylvestre.

Union's Alejandro Bedoya called up to U.S. national team for key World Cup qualifers

Union's Alejandro Bedoya called up to U.S. national team for key World Cup qualifers

Throughout their seven-year history, the Philadelphia Union have had very few active players called up for U.S. national team duty.

That’s about to change now that Alejandro Bedoya is on the team.

On Sunday, it was announced that Bedoya — Philly’s marquee summer acquisition — is one of 26 players selected for important World Cup qualifiers vs. St. Vincent and the Grenadines and Trinidad & Tobago.

The U.S. travels first to face St. Vincent and the Grenadines on Sept. 2 (3:30 p.m., beIN SPORT) and will close out Group C action against Trinidad & Tobago on Sept. 6 (8 p.m., FS1).

That means Bedoya — who’s started the last four games for the Union, helping the club to a 3-1 mark in that stretch — will miss Philly’s road game vs. the Chicago Fire on Saturday (8:30 p.m., TCN). 

All-star goalkeeper Andre Blake also won’t be available for that contest, traveling with Jamaica for their World Cup qualifiers.

That will leave the Union, who are also managing injuries to midfielders Maurice Edu, Brian Carroll and Ilsinho, a little bit thin as they look to extend their winning streak to three games this weekend. 

But Bedoya’s inclusion on the USMNT roster is something the Union expected. The midfielder has been one of head coach Jurgen Klinsmann’s steadiest players over the past couple of years, as a starter in the 2014 World Cup and the 2016 Copa America Centenario. 

He’s already made 53 appearances with the U.S. national team and figures to make his first as a member of the Union on Friday.

If he does, he’ll be the second active Union player ever to play for the USMNT, following a Maurice Edu appearance in April 2014 in the buildup to the World Cup (he was later cut from the preliminary roster, along with Landon Donovan, before the U.S. left for Brazil). Prior to Edu’s appearance, the closest a Union player had come to earning a USMNT cap was when Jack McInerney was selected to the 2013 Gold Cup squad but didn't play in any games.

Instant Replay: Phillies 5, Mets 1

ap-aj-ellis-phillies.jpg
The Associated Press

Instant Replay: Phillies 5, Mets 1

BOX SCORE

NEW YORK – The Phillies salvaged one win on an otherwise lost weekend in Queens when they beat the New York Mets, 5-1, on Sunday afternoon.
 
A.J. Ellis, acquired from the Dodgers on Thursday in the Carlos Ruiz deal, had the game’s big-hit, a two-run double to break a 1-1 tie in the seventh. It was his first hit with the club.
 
The Phillies lost the first two games of the series by a combined score of 21-5.
 
The win left the Phils at 60-70 for the season. They are three wins shy of last year’s majors-low total of 63.
 
Starting pitching report
Vince Velasquez gave up just one run, but only lasted five innings because he threw 103 pitches. Despite the high pitch count, Velasquez walked just one. He struck out seven. All in all, it was an improvement from his previous three starts when he allowed 19 runs in 17⅓ innings.
 
Mets right-hander Robert Gsellman gave up four runs in six-plus innings in his first big-league start. He allowed just one run through his first six innings but failed to get an out in being charged with three runs in the seventh.
 
Bullpen report
The Phillies' bullpen was excellent.
 
David Hernandez pitched a scoreless sixth inning. Edubray Ramos followed with a scoreless seventh. Hector Neris notched a scoreless eighth and Jeanmar Gomez closed it out.
 
For the Mets, Hansel Robles was brought on to face Ellis with the bases loaded in the seventh and promptly gave up a game-changing double.
 
At the plate
Tommy Joseph, Aaron Altherr and Jimmy Paredes all singled to load the bases for Ellis in the seventh. Parades doubled home the Phillies’ first run in fourth.
 
Health check
Double A Reading outfielder Roman Quinn is back on the disabled list after suffering a concussion Saturday night. Quinn recently returned from a stint on the DL with an oblique injury. His status for the Eastern League playoffs and a possible September call up is unclear.
 
Mets shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera left the game in the first inning with a sore left knee. He appeared to injure himself avoiding a tag at first base. Cabrera had three homers in the first two games of the series.
 
ICYMI
Pitcher Jeremy Hellickson will remain with the Phillies for the rest of the season (see story).
 
Up next
The Phillies return home Monday night to open a three-game series against the Washington Nationals. Here are the pitching matchups:
 
Monday night – RHP Jake Thompson (1-3, 9.78) vs. RHP Tanner Roark (13-7, 2.99)
 
Tuesday night – RHP Jerad Eickhoff (9-12, 3.87) vs. RHP Max Scherzer (14-7, 2.92)
 
Wednesday night – LHP Adam Morgan (1-8, 6.50) vs. LHP Gio Gonzalez (9-9, 4.25)