News aplenty: Vegas League attendance dwindles, lockout reigns and arena plan moves forward
Lots of news on the lockout and arena fronts from the past two days…
Las Vegas fall league opens
Despite the hype from Phoenix Suns swingman Jared Dudley, the crowds so far haven’t shown up for the Impact Competitive Training Series. Here’s an image from yesterday before game 1 at the Impact Training Facility (via Ben Golliver, Twitter).
But there were highlights, including this throwdown from J.J. Hickson on Jazz forward Jeremy Evans (via Ball Is Life).
Nobody has dominated above-the-rim play the way Hickson has this week. And if you made the mistake of getting in his way (see Jeremy Evans), prepare to be posterized. On Tuesday, he had 26 points and 11 rebounds.
More Vegas highlights from days 1 and 2 can be found over at Crossover Chronicles. Hickson and fellow Kings newcomer Isaiah Thomas are paired up on Team F. If you’re down in Vegas and want to check out how the two mesh on-court together, here’s the league schedule.
Latest lockout meeting dampens players’ spirits
The mood of players in Vegas was grim following word that yesterday’s meeting between the league and players union went poorly. Ben Golliver of CBS Sports Eye on Basketball is on the scene in Sin City and caught up with Isaiah Thomas.
Isaiah Thomas, a 22-year-old second round pick in the 2011 NBA Draft by the Sacramento Kings who has yet to sign a contract officially, couldn’t agree more. Thomas admitted that the lack of progress on Tuesday, which he heard about on Twitter, is starting to make him “a little bit” nervous.
“I’m mad, angry, because it feels like I’m still in college right now,” Thomas said. “I made that decision [to skip his senior season] and I got drafted but nothing has changed. I’ve got to just patiently wait. Keep it in God’s hands and hopefully it works out. Time is ticking. I’ve been patiently waiting. Hopefully if the time comes, I can get an NBA paycheck and be able to play and put on an NBA uniform.”
There is word that some agents are pushing for decertification. But despite the doom-and-gloom surrounding labor talks, CBS Sports’ Ken Berger says there’s a silver lining from yesterday’s negotiations.
The only thing both sides agreed on after this latest round of posturing and semi-negotiating was that the players had come to the table with economic concessions the owners and NBA negotiators could live with — or at least could envision writing into a new CBA. Though no written proposals were formally exchanged, hidden amid all the rhetoric and doomsday prognosticating was something extraordinary for how lost it became: the NBA and its union are on the verge of solving the biggest dispute between them, as in how much money each side gets.
So far, no preseason games have been cancelled. Training camps are supposed to open at the beginning of next month. The league and players union will be holding their own separate meetings tomorrow, with owners descending upon Dallas and players heading to Vegas.
City Council breaks down arena report
A few points on yesterday’s City Council Meeting.
- New City Manager John Shirey and company were given the go-ahead to negotiate development terms with the ICON/Taylor Group.
- Parking continues to emerge as a key to this deal. In addition to figuring out what to do with the city’s existing downtown spaces, more parking will have to be built around the arena.
- Councilman Rob Fong will lead the negotiations with the NBA and Maloofs on arena terms. He led discussions five-years ago and is more hopeful this time around.
- And the city also did some analysis of its own and found some “logistical hurdles” following Think Big Sacramento’s funding report. More toxic clean-up, additional roadwork and changes in sewer and drainage systems could raise the bill. But officials remain hopeful.