A grim update on the NHL lockout


A grim update on the NHL lockout

From Comcast SportsNetDie-hard hockey fans might need to invest in some classic NHL games on DVD.It might be the only taste of hockey for months.There's no telling when the NHL lockout will end, especially when neither the league nor the NHLPA has committed to face-to-face negotiations to end the labor unrest. There were no formal talks Sunday on the first day of the lockout, the league's fourth shutdown since 1992, including a year-long dispute that forced the cancellation of the entire 2004-05 season when the league successfully held out for a salary cap.And there are no formal talks planned.The league issued a statement to fans on its website that it was "committed to negotiating around the clock to reach a new CBA that is fair to the players and to the 30 NHL teams."The clock is ticking and there's no new collective bargaining agreement in sight. The league could start to announce this week the cancellation of preseason games and there's little chance training camps will open on time. The regular season is scheduled to begin Oct. 11, but that obviously is in peril.Day 1 of the lockout could serve as a preview for the next several cold months: Empty rinks, empty talk."This is a time of year for all attention to be focused on the ice, not on a meeting room," the league said. "The league, the clubs and the players all have a stake in resolving our bargaining issues appropriately and getting the puck dropped as soon as possible. We owe it to each other, to the game and, most of all, to the fans."Pittsburgh's Sidney Crosby, Chicago's Jonathan Toews and Colorado's Gabriel Landeskog were among the players participating in an NHLPA video to fans that was posted on YouTube. With black-and-white photos of each player as a backdrop, they talked about how much the game meant to them, and thanked fans for their support."We understand the people that suffer the most are the fans," Crosby said.Some players won't wait for labor talks to pick up -- they've already packed up.As of Sunday morning, all NHL players were free to speak to other leagues. Many will land in Russia's KHL, and two big names already signed. Pittsburgh center Evgeni Malkin and Ottawa defenseman Sergei Gonchar agreed to deals with Metallurg. More will surely follow.Malkin, a 26-year-old center with the Penguins, is the NHL's reigning MVP. The 38-year-old Gonchar is a defenseman who helped lead the Senators to the playoffs last season.Although the club provided no further details of their contracts, it said that they would comply with KHL regulations on signing NHL players during the lockout. Under these rules, KHL teams can sign a maximum of three NHL players above their limit of 25.The KHL also sets the ceiling for the salaries of NHL players at a maximum of 65 percent of what they earn under their NHL deals. Malkin has two years and 16.5 million remaining on his deal with Pittsburgh. Gonchar has one year and 5.5 million left with Ottawa.Philadelphia Flyers defenseman Kimmo Timonen and forward Scott Hartnell are part owners of a team in the Finnish league. Timonen, a father of three children, said it would be hard to immediately consider playing overseas unless the entire season was wiped out. But Timonen returned to his native Finland to play in 2004, and clearly understands why some young players are interested in finding a roster spot in Europe."A lot of young guys are asking if there's a spot to play," he said. "I'm sure our team can take a few of the guys, but not many."Many of the players, 25 years and younger, could end up in the AHL, the NHL's primary minor league. No matter where they play, the players are prepared for a lengthy wait to return to the NHL.The core issue is money -- how to split a 3.3 billion pot of revenue. The owners want to decrease the percentage of hockey-related revenue that goes to players, while the union wants a guarantee that players annually get at least the 1.8 billion in salaries paid out last season.While the NHL lockout might not destroy the whole season -- like in 2004-05 -- a sizable chunk of games could be lost without any productive talks on tap."I'm sure we will remain in contact," NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly said. "But there are no negotiations planned or scheduled at this point."Teams are prepared for the likelihood the season will not start on time. And so they are making economic plans on several fronts. At the end of each month, for instance, the Buffalo Sabres will refund any games that are canceled by the NHL.The Minnesota Wild, meanwhile, fresh off a free-agent spending spree that landed them forward Zach Parise and defenseman Ryan Sutter, will send out ticket policies on Monday."We support the league's position and trust our NHL negotiating team is looking out for the long-term interests of the game," the Wild said in a statement. "Even as NHL games may be missed, the Wild will continue to support the great sport of hockey at all levels through our grass roots partnerships with amateur hockey associations."Minnesota defenseman Steven Kampfer was fired up to report for training part in part to see what it would look like to have those prized free agents -- Parise and Suter -- in uniform to ignite a franchise that missed the playoffs last season."It was going to be really exciting to see our lineup with those two acquisitions," Kampfer said. "I guess we'll just have to wait a little longer."Parise and Suter signed on the same day in July as the Wild made a statement to the rest of the league that they wanted to be true players in the Western Conference. But that will have to wait."It's a frustration situation to go through because you never want a work stoppage," Kampfer said. "But we're trying to fight for what's fair for both the owners and players. Everybody wants more money. The owners want to keep more of their profits and the players want their fair share of the profits. As players, we have full confidence that (NHLPA executive director) Donald Fehr will do his job to get us the best deal that he can."For now, most teams seem to be stable financially. The cancellation of games may change that, but for the time being, the panic button has not been pushed. Penguins spokesman Tom McMillan, for example, said the team has no plans on layoffs "at this time."In jeopardy are some key dates on the calendar: the New Year's Day outdoor Winter Classic at 115,000-seat Michigan Stadium between the host Detroit Red Wings and the Toronto Maple Leafs; and the Jan. 27 All-Star game hosted by the Columbus Blue Jackets, one of the league's struggling small-market teams.The Blue Jackets put out a statement Sunday supporting the league, but did not mention the All-Star game."The league, the clubs and the players all have a stake in resolving our bargaining issues appropriately and getting the puck dropped as soon as possible," the team said. "We owe it to each other, to the game, and most of all, to the fans."NHL players struck in April 1992, causing 30 games to be postponed. This marks the third lockout under Commissioner Gary Bettman. The 1994-95 lockout ended after 103 days and the cancellation of 468 games."Like any partnership, you want both sides to benefit," Crosby said in the video. "I think that's the case here. As players we want to play."But we also know what's right, what's fair."

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Wizards' history at trade deadline has produced mixed results

Wizards' history at trade deadline has produced mixed results

What a team does at the NBA trade deadline generally relates directly to whether they think they can compete in that year's postseason. Good teams headed to the playoffs may find value in adding another piece for the stretch run, while teams heading towards the NBA draft lottery often have nothing to offer in trades at all.

Because of that, the Wizards have found themselves in very different states at this time of the year throughout their history. From 2002 through 2009, for instance, they didn't make any deals at the deadline. Yet since 2010, they have made nine trades and at least one per season.

With the 2017 trade deadline coming up (Thursday at 3 p.m.), here is a look back at each trade the Wizards made at the deadline since the year 2000 with analysis. The first deal was made by Michael Jordan with the rest have come under Ernie Grunfeld's tenure as president of the Wizards. The trade information is from Basketball-Reference.com:

February 22, 2001: Traded Calvin Booth, Obinna Ekezie and Juwan Howard to the Dallas Mavericks for Courtney Alexander, Hubert Davis, Christian Laettner, Etan Thomas, Loy Vaught and cash.

Analysis: Howard was still getting it done at the age of 27 with 18 points and seven rebounds a game for the Wizards, but it wasn't translating into wins, so they traded him to Dallas in an eight-player deal. In return they got some veterans and some intriguing young players like Alexander and Thomas, but the trade didn't ultimately amount to much. The Mavericks later shipped Howard to Denver in a deal for Nick Van Exel and others that helped them reach the conference finals in 2003.

[RELATED: Porter isn't, and never has been, available for a trade]

February 13, 2010: Traded Caron Butler, Brendan Haywood and DeShawn Stevenson to the Dallas Mavericks for Drew Gooden, Josh Howard, Quinton Ross and James Singleton.

Analysis: The first trade of the Wizards' pre-John Wall rebuild sent three starters from their 2007-08 playoff team to Dallas for four players, including Gooden who would be dealt elsewhere just four days later. Howard was the best of the players they received, but he only appeared in 22 games across two seasons for the Wizards due to injuries. Following this trade, he played in just 76 more NBA games before his career was over.

February 17, 2010: As part of a 3-team trade, the Washington Wizards traded Drew Gooden to the Los Angeles Clippers; the Washington Wizards traded Antawn Jamison to the Cleveland Cavaliers; the Cleveland Cavaliers traded Zydrunas Ilgauskas, Emir Preldzic and a 2010 1st round draft pick (Lazar Hayward was later selected 30th) to the Washington Wizards; the Los Angeles Clippers traded Sebastian Telfair to the Cleveland Cavaliers; and the Los Angeles Clippers traded Al Thornton to the Washington Wizards.

Analysis: In another trade to dismantle the mid-2000s Wizards, they sent Jamison to play with LeBron James in Cleveland. Ilgauskas never played for the Wizards, the first round pick didn't work out and Thornton was out of the league soon after.

February 18, 2010: Traded Dominic McGuire and cash to the Sacramento Kings for a 2010 2nd round draft pick. Sacramento did not receive the 2nd round draft pick because it was top 41 protected.

Analysis: This was a minor trade that saw McGuire leave after a disappointing tenure in Washington. He was a very good defensive player in college, but couldn't make it work in the pros.

February 23, 2011: Traded Hilton Armstrong and Kirk Hinrich to the Atlanta Hawks for Mike Bibby, Jordan Crawford, Maurice Evans and a 2011 1st round draft pick (Chris Singleton was later selected 18th overall).

Analysis: The trade looked much better when it happened than it does in hindsight. To acquire a first round pick for what the Wizards gave up was no small feat, it just didn't amount to much in Singleton, who never realized his potential.

[RELATED: Lou Williams no longer a trade option for Wizards]

March 15, 2012: As part of a 3-team trade, the Washington Wizards traded Nick Young to the Los Angeles Clippers; the Washington Wizards traded JaVale McGee and Ronny Turiaf to the Denver Nuggets; the Denver Nuggets traded Nene to the Washington Wizards; and the Los Angeles Clippers traded Brian Cook and a 2015 2nd round draft pick (Arturas Gudaitis was later selected) to the Washington Wizards.

Analysis: This was an important trade for the Wizards. They got rid of Young and McGee and brought in Nene, who brought a veteran presence to the locker room and helped lead the Wizards to two playoff appearances.

February 21, 2013: Traded Jordan Crawford to the Boston Celtics for Leandro Barbosa and Jason Collins.

Analysis: The Wizards felt compelled to trade Crawford and didn't get much in return. Barbosa had recently torn his ACL and ultimately restored his career, but that comeback didn't come in Washington. Barbosa never played a game for the Wizards, but later became a valuable piece for the Warriors and won a title in 2015.

February 20, 2014: As part of a 3-team trade, the Washington Wizards traded Eric Maynor and a 2015 2nd round draft pick (Arturas Gudaitis was later selected) to the Philadelphia 76ers; the Washington Wizards traded Jan Vesely to the Denver Nuggets; the Denver Nuggets traded a 2016 2nd round draft pick to the Philadelphia 76ers; the Denver Nuggets traded Andre Miller to the Washington Wizards; and the Philadelphia 76ers traded a 2014 2nd round draft pick to the Washington Wizards. (2014 2nd-rd pick was protected and not conveyed)

Analysis: This one had a lot going on. Not only did the Wizards part with Jan Vesely, a major bust after being selected sixth overall, they brought in Miller who at 37 still provided an upgrade as a backup point guard. He didn't score much (3.8 ppg), but he ran the offense competently and was a decent distributor (3.5 apg).

February 19, 2015: Traded Andre Miller to the Sacramento Kings for Ramon Sessions.

Analysis: Miller was good in the short-term, but the Wizards decided to get younger almost exactly a year later. Sessions was a better scorer and ended up spending a full season with them the following year.

February 18, 2016: Traded DeJuan Blair, Kris Humphries and a 2016 1st round draft pick to the Phoenix Suns for Markieff Morris. (2016 1st-Rd pick is top-9 protected)

Analysis: Some (myself included) criticized this deal when it went down because the Suns seemed desperate to part with Morris after some off-the-court troubles, and it's never easy to give up a first round pick. But lately the traded has looked better and better by the game, as Morris has emerged as a perfect complement to the rest of the Wizards' starting lineup. In his last 29 games since Dec. 18, Morris is averaging 16.6 points and 7.9 rebounds per game. Add it all up and this is probably the best trade the Wizards have ever made at the deadline.

Honorable mention: Speaking of Grunfeld, when he ran the Milwaukee Bucks he once traded future Hall of Famer Ray Allen, a first round pick and two players to the Seattle Supersonics for future Hall of Famer Gary Payton and another veteran. Now that is a blockbuster.

[RELATED: Report: Wizards interested in T'Wolves' forward]

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Carmelo Anthony on Knicks, Phil Jackson: 'I trust the process'

Carmelo Anthony on Knicks, Phil Jackson: 'I trust the process'

NEW YORK (AP) -- Carmelo Anthony had a half-season of clues about what Phil Jackson thought of him, and now it was his turn to evaluate his boss.

Anthony had trumpeted his trust in Jackson when he re-signed in 2014 and reaffirmed it months later, even as Jackson continued trading away key players from the best team Anthony ever played on in New York.

Reminded of that recently and asked if he still trusted Jackson, Anthony stopped well short.

"I trust the process," he said, mimicking Joel Embiid of the Philadelphia 76ers.

The process isn't going well for Jackson in New York.

The Knicks are 23-34, 12th in the Eastern Conference and on pace to miss the playoffs for the third time in Jackson's three full seasons as president of basketball operations. He's made his relationship with Anthony worse and hasn't made the Knicks better, and a guy who could do little wrong as a coach just can't get it right as an executive.

Maybe Jackson can swing a trade to fix things before Thursday's deadline.

Or maybe he'll just never fix the Knicks.

[RELATED: Report: Wizards interested in T'Wolves' forward]

If Jackson is planning anything, it remains a mystery. He hasn't spoken to reporters covering the Knicks since his preseason press conference in September -- backtracking from his vow to be accessible when he took the job -- and isn't expected to before the deadline. He has made only three postings on Twitter all season.

Yet he's still made plenty of noise.

He angered LeBron James by referring to his friends and business partners as a "posse" in an ESPN story . And he upset some of the league's other power players with his actions toward Anthony -- which could prove damaging when trying to lure free agents. Jackson has either appeared to endorse or refused to distance himself from articles criticizing his best player and has largely cut off communication between them -- after saying when he was hired that he planned to focus on "how players are treated" and "the kind of culture that's built."

Hall of Fame finalist Tracy McGrady told reporters this weekend he couldn't remain quiet the way Anthony has.

"I'm not going to let you disrespect (me) in the public's eye like that," McGrady said. "You're not going to be sending subliminal messages about me like that and I don't respond to that. I don't operate like that. I'm just not going to do it. And then you hide and don't do any media? You leave everything for me to talk about? Nah, that's not cool."

Jackson retains the support of Madison Square Garden chairman James Dolan, who said in a recent ESPN Radio interview that he would not fire Jackson during the two-plus years that remain on his contract. (Both sides have an option to terminate the deal after this season).

Dolan didn't even express much disappointment in the results, even though the Knicks had their worst season ever in Jackson's first season and are 72-149 since the start of 2014-15.

"He was the best guy we thought we could find to run the New York Knicks," Dolan said.

Maybe if he'd been hiring Jackson to coach, as Jackson's 11 championships are a record for coaches. But there were questions about how he would do as an executive with no experience, and the answers haven't been good.

[RELATED: Porter isn't, and never has been, available for a trade]

He fired Mike Woodson and replaced him with first-time coach Derek Fisher, who lasted just 1 years. Starters Tyson Chandler and Raymond Felton were traded in one deal, and J.R. Smith and Iman Shumpert left in another early the next season. They were all mainstays on the Knicks team that won 54 games and reached the second round of the playoffs not even two years before Jackson was hired in March 2014.

Now all that's left is Anthony, and it certainly seems Jackson wants him gone, too. He would have to find a workable deal, hard enough given the 32-year-old Anthony's salary and age, then get him to waive the no-trade clause he gave Anthony when he re-signed him.

If not, maybe Jackson himself would leave this summer -- though Dolan said he had no indication that was the 71-year-old Jackson's plan. But he insists he can't coach for health reasons and doesn't appear to enjoy scouting and dealing with agents, essential parts of his job.

He must be disheartened that the work he put into this team hasn't paid off. Jackson hired Jeff Hornacek to open up the offense after two years of his favored triangle, traded for Derrick Rose and signed free agents Joakim Noah, Courtney Lee and Brandon Jennings. None has sparked a turnaround, and drafting Kristaps Porzingis remains Jackson's only inarguable success.

Jackson played on the last championship Knicks team in 1973 and said when he was hired what it would mean to build another winner here.

"It would be a capstone on the remarkable career that I've had," Jackson said.

There's still time for that.

But these days, Anthony probably isn't the only one who no longer trusts in Jackson.

[RELATED: Lou Williams no longer a trade option for Wizards]