The end of the weekend mail
Good job on short notice, folks.
And there are more than few “what if” questions and list possibilities to get us through another basketball-free week.
Won’t that be fun?
Okay, am off to make a gaggle of birdies and doubles on a lovely day.
And then to rip Magic 8-ball, the dope.
Q: Hi Doug. Interested in your thoughts on the current bargaining positions of both the Union and the owners.
It seems to me that the NBA owners are essentially going for a "knockout" win when perhaps a winner by unanimous decision would be more appropriate.
The players seem willing to make quite a few concessions but the Owners seeking that the player's share of Basketball Related Income falls to the mid 40%range and a hard cap seems to be unfair, even to someone like me who tends to side with the owners.
Mike D, Cambridge
A: There’s no question the owners – well, some of them at least – are looking for fundamental, and huge, change to the current system with a hard cap, few if any exceptions and no fully guaranteed contracts.
Personally, I think they’re asking for far too much, probably emboldened by the fact every time they negotiate, they pretty much get what they want. They’ve managed to cap the highest earners while eroding the middle class and have relative control over young players for up to five years.
The players give and give and give every time they reach a new deal, I’m not surprised there are some owners trying to hit a home run. I don’t think they will but I bet they get close to what they want.
Q: Hi Doug: Could you give us a complete (or close to complete) list of what is included in Basketball Related Income? Do the players get a share of, say, concessions? Parking? Jersey sales?
Thanks! Take care!
Tim H, Windsor
A: It runs the gamut, actually.
BRI is derived from ticket sales, national television contracts, parking, concessions (so your $14 beer at the ACC helps pay LeBron’s salary), merchandise, some stadium advertising, a portion of stadium naming-fee revenues.
Q: Hey Doug. When do Valanciunas and Weems start playing ball? I know that they aren't on the same team but I assume they will be playing against each other at some point. Do you know when their season starts?
Also, I have a question about next year's draft. No I don't want to know how the process will go about. I wonder, if, heaven forbid, they don't have a deal in place by next June, can they even have one?
Thanks as always. Feel free to talk more basketball than baseball any day :)
Brett F, Lethbridge
A: The training camps are underway over there now and the season starts the first week of October.
And if there’s no agreement by next June, there won’t be a league again so it’s not something anyone’s considering.
Q: Hi Doug. With your behind the scenes access, what kind of stuff are you able to get your hands on? Have you assembled a collection of memorabilia for Super Son? (i.e. Jose's socks from the game when he missed the free throw and ended the streak, etc.)
Snas H, Milton
A: Nah, I don’t do memorabilia and it would be unprofessional to use my position to try and get anything of value. In fact, even asking for something like an autograph could be grounds to revocation of a working credential.
There is one thing I do keep, though, for me, mostly. I have a lot of credentials stashed somewhere from various major events I’ve covered – Olympics, World Series, world championships – and they’ll adorn the bar I eventually construct at Casa Doug.
Q: Hey Doug. You often remind us of your disdain for the world of pucks. You've said more than several times that if there was a hockey game in your backyard, you'd go sit on the front porch with earplugs. But alas!
While at the University of Western Ontario rec center, I picked up a rather old pucks magazine to browse through during my cardio. It was something along the lines of Post Foods Present 'Be a Player' Hockey magazine - the 1995 Playoff Edition!
I was astonished to see that this gaudy piece of hockey history had survived since publication, and that former greats such as Wendel Clark had lent their names and likeness to faux interviews spreading the goodness which is Cheez Whiz Awareness.
And then this bombshell:
'Hockey's Mad Masks' by Doug Smith, a sports writer for the Canadian Press (or something to that effect). A two page spread. About Hockey Masks. HOCKEY.
Do you care to elaborate on this experience/explain yourself? Are you truly a reformed Pucks aficionado, or were you just short on the hydro bill in your early years and needed to accept a few outlandish assignments (PUCKS?!)?
Hopefully I gave you something to run with here!
Andrew P, Toronto
A: Oh oh. I’ve been found out! Yes, back in the day I’d write almost anything to supplement a meager income and while I don’t remember that specific one – perhaps because I blocked the whole pucks thing out of my mind – if you say you saw it, I’ll take you at your word.
All I can ask is forgiveness, I was young and foolish and probably needed some extra cash for something or other.
Now, if you want to send me that publication, I can be sure to shred it so there is no longer any evidence.
But, I promise it was the best “Hockey’s Mad Masks” story you’ve ever read.
Q: I see the new Sportsnet magazine is starting up, which I am looking forward to as I enjoy a good magazine read but to start one up in this day and age someone has cajones' over there to give it the go-ahead.
My question is this, have you been approached to submit any articles? And if so does your contract with Mother Star preclude it??
Doug B, Toronto
A: It’s a huge gamble and I wish them well, we need quality long-form sportswriting in this country, although I’m not sure a magazine will survive.
But, no, I haven’t been approached, I know they’re using a lot of crossover talent (from TV and radio) and do have a small staff in place already.
The rules at our place is we’re free to do freelance work if approached. But, if it’s a story on a subject our paper wants, we have to do it for them. For instance, I’ve done a few magazine articles on players or Raptors issues and before each one, I’ll let the bosses have first crack at it; generally it’s not “news” or anything I haven’t written before so they don’t really care.
Q: Hello Doug, just wondering what you think of second base for the Blue Jays?
Kelly Johnson is good but doesn't impress me as above avg. Some think that Hobbs should not move to second because he just learned third. I say hogwash, he learned third in a couple of months and has already played second. He certainly seems to have the speed to be a good second baseman.
I think you can then move Escobar to third. He looks to have a good arm and is a bit taller which I think can help on the hard hit balls.
One thing AA has said is that when Hech reaches the majors it will be as a shortstop. Farrell has said that the lineup can afford to have a weak spot in the line up, being Hech.
So what is your thought, Hobbs to second or not to second?
Robert M, Charlottetown
A: My thoughts? He’s learning to play third base and is a work in progress, I think they need to put him there, leave him there and let him learn the position.
No sense disrupting one guy and having to find another; why not just look for a second baseman? And I don’t know that Johnson’s all that bad, he could very well stick.
But, I did see a note from Griff this week that said Farrell didn’t entirely dismiss a possible Hobbs move but it’s not the first choice, I don’t imagine.
Q: Hey Dougie. My beloved Winnipeg Jets have resumed playing after a 15 year hiatus. I don't think you've mentioned anything about it. What's up with that? I know you're not a fun of the pucks, but you can't ignore one of the biggest hockey stories of the year.
Dan C, Winnipeg
A: Um, good for them?
Hope they sell every seat?
But, yes, I can quite easily ignore “one of the biggest hockey stories of the year” and have.
Q: Hi Doug. My memory is getting hazy, but I seem to recall that Rick Carlisle was fired after the 2002-03 season. The same off-season I believe the KO Kid was hired. I don't recall Carlisle's name figuring prominently in discussions for the Raps job. Correct me if my memory fails. Also please comment as to why he wouldn't have been pursued and how the Raptors trajectory may have changed had they hired Carlisle. Cheers.
Sam C, Toronto
A: Presume the trajectory would have been quite different, especially if the Raptors had had a guy like Nowitzki, who helped Rick become a championship coach.
Not sure why his name wasn’t bandied about, I do know he took some time off to relax and might not have been actively looking immediately.
But while we’re at it, why don’t we wonder what would have happened had Toronto been able to get Phil Jackson or Doc Rivers when they were available.