Report: Spurs sign Brown to non-guaranteed deal

The Spurs have signed journeyman forward to a one-year, non-guaranteed contract, according to .

Brown (6-foot-8, 235 pounds) was originally drafted in the second round by Charlotte in 2009. He was picked up by the Knicks after the Bobcats waived him midway through his second season. Brown, 25, returned to Charlotte last season, averaging 8.1 points (51.8 percent shooting) and 3.6 rebounds in 22.2 minutes per game. His 14.7 PER was just a hair under the weighted league average. The bad news — it came while playing for one of the worst teams in history.

Writer’s note: I consider myself a pretty educated NBA fan, but I literally cannot tell you a single thing about Brown other than his stats look fairly decent for a castoff type. His (admittedly dated) scouting report at  describes an athletic, undersized tweener who lacks polish. Here’s a more recent assessment from something called .

At any rate, I certainly like this pickup better than the corpse of Tracy McGrady, who reportedly worked out with the Spurs earlier this week. Maybe he’ll thrive in a winning atmosphere — provided he makes it through training camp, of course.

NBA cancels more games after negotiations break down

Associated Press

NEW YORK — As NBA players and owners wait to see who will blink first, fans are stuck staring at a blank calendar.

NBA Commissioner David Stern canceled the rest of the November games Friday, saying there will not be a full NBA season “under any circumstances.”

The move came about after labor negotiations broke down again when both sides refused to budge on how to split the league’s revenues, the same issue that derailed talks last week.

Now, a full month of NBA games have been canceled, and Stern said there’s no way of getting them back.

“We held out that joint hope together, but in light of the breakdown of talks, there will not be a full NBA season under any circumstances,” he said.

“It’s not practical, possible or prudent to have a full season now,” added Stern, who previously canceled the first two weeks of the season.

And he repeated his warnings that the proposals might now get even harsher as the league tries to make up the hundreds of millions of dollars that will be lost as the lockout drags on.

“We’re going to have to recalculate how bad the damage is,” Stern said. “The next offer will reflect the extraordinary losses that are piling up now.”

Just a day earlier, Stern had said he would consider it a failure if the sides didn’t reach a deal in the next few days and vowed they would take “one heck of a shot” to get it done.

Instead, negotiations broke off again over the division of basketball-related income, just as they did last Thursday. Union executive director Billy Hunter said the league again insisted it had to be split 50-50, while Stern said Hunter just walked out and left rather than discuss going below 52 percent.

Owners are insistent on a 50-50 split, while players last formally proposed they get 52.5 percent, leaving them about $100 million apart annually. Players were guaranteed 57 percent in the previous collective bargaining agreement.

“Derek (Fisher) and I made it clear that we could not take the 50-50 deal to our membership. Not with all the concessions that we granted,” Hunter said. “We said we got to have some dollars.”

Instead, they’ll now be out roughly $350 million, the losses Hunter previously projected for each month the players were locked out. He believed a full season could be played if a deal were made this weekend, but Stern emphatically ruled out any hope of that now.

“These are not punitive announcements; these are calendar generated announcements,” Stern said.

No further talks have been scheduled.

There was a sense of optimism entering the day after progress was made on salary cap issues during about 24 hours of talks over the previous two days. Then the sides brought the revenue split back into the discussion Friday and promptly got stuck on both issues.

Stern said the NBA owners were “willing” to go to 50 percent. But he said Hunter was unwilling to “go a penny below 52,” that he had been getting many calls from agents and then closed up his book and walked out of the room.

Hunter said the league initially moved its target down to 47 percent during Friday’s six-hour session, then returned to its previous proposal of 50 percent of revenues.

“We made a lot of concessions, but unfortunately at this time it’s not enough, and we’re not prepared or unable at this time to move any further,” Hunter said.

Union president Fisher said it was difficult to say why talks broke down, or when they would start up again.

“We’re here, we’ve always been here, but today just wasn’t the day to try and finish this out,” he said.

There was some good news.

Deputy Commissioner Adam Silver said there was essentially a “tentative agreement” on most system issues, with Stern rattling off some of them: Owners agreed to keep the midlevel exception starting at $5 million a year; and contract lengths would be five years for players staying with their teams and four when leaving for another.

“And then we hit a wall,” Stern said.

The small groups that were meeting the previous two days grew a bit Friday. Union vice presidents Chris Paul — wearing a Yankees cap for his trip to New York — and Theo Ratliff joined the talks, and economist Kevin Murphy returned after he was unavailable Thursday. Mavericks owner Mark Cuban stayed for the session after taking part Thursday.

Fisher said there were still too many restrictions in the owners’ proposal. Players want to keep a system similar to the old one, and fear owners’ ideas would limit player movement and the choices available to them in free agency.

And though they might be inclined to give up one if they received more concessions on the other, players make it sound as if they are the ones doing all the giving back.

The old cap system allowed teams to exceed it through the use of a number of exceptions, many of which the league wants to tweak or even eliminate. Hunter has called a hard cap a “blood issue” to players, and though the league has backed off its initial proposal calling for one, players think the changes owners want would work like one.

“We’ve told them that we don’t want a hard cap. We don’t want a hard cap any kind of way, either an obvious hard cap or a hard cap that may not be as obvious to most people but we know it works like a hard cap,” Hunter said. “And so you get there, and then all of a sudden they say, ‘Well, we also have to have our number.’ And you say, ‘Well wait a minute, you’re not negotiating in good faith.’”

But if players think what’s being proposed is a hard cap, here’s another warning: Silver won’t rule out the league seeking one again.

“Our response is then let’s have a hard cap, which is what we wanted,” he said.

“We don’t think it’s a hard cap. … We’ve all been wasting our time if they believe this is a hard cap. We’ve been spending literally hundreds of hours negotiating the specifics of a system, where they’re now saying is the equivalent of a hard cap. We’ve been clear from the beginning from a league standpoint we would prefer a hard cap.”

When players offered to reduce their guarantee from 57 percent to 53 percent, Hunter said that would have transferred about $1.1 billion to owners over six years. Now, at 52.5, he said that would grow to more than $1.5 billion.

But even a 50-50 split would be too high for some hardline owners, because it would reduce only $280 million of the $300 million they said they lost last season. Owners initially proposed a BRI split that players said would have had them around 40 percent.

Though they will miss a paycheck on Nov. 15, Hunter said each player would have received a minimum of $100,000 from the escrow money that was returned to them to make up the difference after salaries fell short of the guaranteed 57 percent of revenues last season.

The real losses, though, could be felt by arena staff and other people who work in fields connected to the game. Stern apologized to them in making the announcement.

But Jeff Lee, a 37-year-old cafe owner and Warriors season-ticketholder in the East Bay, said he isn’t discouraged about Friday’s setback.

“I’m pretty certain that the season’s going to start sooner or later,” Lee said. “I know when the season starts it’s going to be well worth the wait.”

AP Sports Writer Janie McCauley in Oakland, Calif. contributed to this report.

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NBA Finals not a Lone Star love fest


Rivalries have a tendency to skew one’s perception of reality or, at worst, make viewing another reality incomprehensible.

The best example going right now — outside of the political arena’s constant state of being — is among Texas NBA fans.

Spurs fans, those who bleed silver and black and nothing else, are in full riot mode over the Dallas Mavericks being in the NBA Finals. You could hear the city’s laughter building on Thursday before the Mavs evened the series with a mad fourth-quarter rush in Miami.

As if he needed the answers, writer Tim Griffin asked and found reasons for fans’ disdain last week.

“The hatred is because of the rivalry and the fact that they have a classless owner and loud mouth peanut sixth man,” wrote someone calling himself “rperez_jr.”

It’s not hard to realize he’s talking about Mark Cuban and Jason Terry.

In a 2006 playoff series won by Dallas, the duo forever made themselves enemies of Alamo City by saying bad things about the River Walk and with a short punch to Michael Finley’s groin.

It doesn’t matter that a few months later, the city did find zoo feces in that river or that Finley and Manu Ginobili had jumped on top of Terry.

Never mind that had it been Terry and some other Maverick on top of Finley, and it was Finley doing the punching, Spurs fans would see a folk hero instead of a villain.

And it makes no difference that Cuban has been a model citizen during these playoffs, even if he’s had to be quiet to do so.

The perception won’t change.

Generally, Texans band together when faced with outside aggression — see the Alamo, Civil War and any state saying it has better high school football or barbeque. If something shines a positive light on the state, it doesn’t take much to get behind it.

Even Longhorns and Aggies can admit that things are better for both, and the conference they play in, when both find themselves ranked. It didn’t do AM much good to say it beat a 5-7 Texas football team last year, just as the Aggies didn’t do the Longhorns many strength-of-schedule favors from 2000-09 by averaging six wins a season.

Fact is, the Spurs and Mavericks have a lot in common:

Playoff streak: Dallas is at 11, Spurs 14. No current team has more than eight.

50-win seasons: Dallas has 11 straight, Spurs have 12, which would be 14 if not for the 1998-99 lockout. Only the Lakers at 12 from 1980-91 have matched that.

Foreign influence: Mavs have four not counting Puerto Rico’s J.J. Barea. The Spurs have three not counting Tim Duncan of the U.S. Virgin Islands.

Coincidence: The Spurs made their first Finals in the 26th season after moving from Dallas. Mavs made their first Finals in the 26th year of existence, losing in 2006 to Spurs fans’ delight.

Ah, but little of that matters in San Antonio. That leaves Spurs fans who hate Dallas left rooting for what one reader calls the “anti-Spurs” because of the way the Heat’s LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh scream and preen after good plays.

Again, that’s perception. To Spurs fans, Ginobili has great expressions after big plays. You can bet others see screaming and preening.

If the Mavericks win, it means the great state of Texas has seven NBA titles in the past 18 years. If you’re counting and you care about telling Hollywood to stick it, that would be two more than California in that time.

And Spurs fans can still point to the imaginary scoreboard that would read: San Antonio 4, Dallas 1.


NBA players who have crossed over between Dallas and San Antonio since 2000:

Former Mavericks

Steve Novak: Seven games with Mavs and 23 with Spurs in 2010-11.

Michael Finley: Played nine seasons in Dallas, where he was a two-time All-Star, before spending 4 1/2 with Spurs.

Austin Croshere: Ended NBA career with three games here in 2008-09. Spent 2006-07 in Dallas.

Pops Mensah-Bonsu: Three games here in 2008-09; 12 in Dallas in 2006-07.

Kurt Thomas: Severe right ankle injury limited him to five games with Dallas in 1997-98. Played well with the Spurs from 2007-09.

Nick Van Exel: Backup point guard in 2005-06 played 100 games for the Mavs from 2002-03.

Mark Bryant: Spent 18 games in Dallas in 2000-01; 30 in S.A. the next season.

Cherokee Parks: Of his seven NBA stops, he had 64 games in Dallas as a rookie in 1995-96; 42 with Spurs in 2001-02.

Samaki Walker: No. 9 pick in 1996 spent three seasons in Dallas and the next two in S.A.

Former Spurs

Ian Mahinmi: No. 28 pick in 2005 joined Mavs this season after 32 games in S.A.

Drew Gooden: Started 2009-10 with the Mavs; finished 2008-09 in S.A.

Matt Carroll: Three games in S.A. in 2004; 46 with Mavs in two seasons from 2009-10.

Kevin Willis: With Spurs from 2002-04. Came out of retirement and played five games for Dallas in 2007.

Avery Johnson: He got a start on his coaching career working with Don Nelson over 1 1/2 seasons from 2002-03.