Hornets Beat: We’re Still Locked Out

Published: July 18, 2011

The second edition of Hornets Beat focuses mostly on lockout related issues. Our featured guest is Chris Trew, a nationally touring comedian, Air Sex host and co-founder of The New Movement. Joining him is our very own Michael McNamara, Caleb Smith from At The Hive, Jake Madison from Swarm and Sting, and Mason G from HoopDat.

If you didn’t hear, Hornets Beat is a new feature where we take five people who know about the Hornets, be they writers, musicians, politicians, comedians, superfans, or whatever, and we ask them five questions. You can look forward to it every Monday morning around 6am central time, and if you can think of any specific questions you want to see tackled, just leave your thoughts in the comment section.

1. Who do you currently blame more for the lockout, the owners or the players?

Michael McNamara, Hornets247- The owners. I know it is a cliche argument, but the players just took the money that was offered. Who can blame Peja for taking that contract? Business owners have to be more responsible with their costs. They weren’t, and now we are in this mess.

Chris Trew, Comedian- At first I blamed the players but then I blamed the owners. Then I changed my mind again. Then again. Now I blame the Universe. The Universe is clearly out to get every one of us and we should be afraid.

Caleb Smith, At The Hive- The owners. They make questionable financial decisions every year. On the other hand, this is a business negotiation between really rich guys and even richer guys, and these things happen. Both sides have valid concerns, and I don’t think either side should be characterized as “good guys” or “bad guys” unless one side becomes particularly belligerent. For now, we should just hope that both sides act in good faith.

Jake Madison, Swarm and Sting- The owners. Bad owners in particular. They made the decisions which led to the NBA (supposedly) losing $300 million. I’m not going to blame Rashard Lewis for signing a 118 million dollar contract, but I’m certainly going to blame the person who offered it to him.

Mason G, Hoopdat- I lean slightly towards owners, but there’s heavy blame for both sides. You can’t blame the players for accepting the ludicrous contracts offered up by team management; however, those irrationally high salaries have caused the players to think that they were entitled to that much money, and now they’re refusing to concede as much as they should in these negotiations.

2. Do you think there should be a minimum or maximum amount of money a team can spend?

Michael McNamara, Hornets247- Minimum- definitely. Maximum- not so sure. The League has a right to demand that its franchises spend a certain amount of money to ensure a quality product, but revenue sharing could actually help competitive balance if implemented properly, so I am not so sure that a cap is necessary.

Chris Trew, Comedian- Vernon Maximum. This seems like a no-brainer to me. Both the answer and my cool new slang I just created.

Caleb Smith, At The Hive- Generally speaking, sure, but when it comes to the details I simply don’t have strong opinions. I feel like I don’t know enough about the ins and outs of the NBA’s economics and financial policies to have a strong opinion. Basically, I’ll support whatever helps small market teams compete with the big spenders.

Jake Madison, Swarm and Sting- Both. A hard salary cap means every team is on a level playing field in term of what they can spend. The Lakers spent 24 million more than the Hornets. How is that fair? Competitive balance is broken and a hard cap fixes that. A minimum team salary (at least in theory) means every owner will field a competitive team.

Mason G, Hoopdat-Yes and yes. Minimum is essential so teams can’t rob their fan base of a quality on-court product to deepen their own pockets. There also has to be a cap that is much more restrictive than the one currently in place. There are ways around that soft cap, and wealthier owners manipulate it in ways that less fortunate owners cannot.

3. If Hornets players sign deals abroad, the first one will be…

Michael McNamara, Hornets247- Willie Green. Even if the lockout is settled relatively quickly, there is no guarantee that Willie will be offered anything more than the league minimum. He lacks the elite skills that translate into being an above average player in the NBA, but his selfless attitude and work ethic would be appreciated in Europe.

Chris Trew, Comedian- I think David Andersen, Marco and Mbenga promise each other they’ll form a big 3 and play for the Germany Wasps. At the last second they shock the world and swap out Mbenga for Magloire.

Caleb Smith, At The Hive-Who knows? I suppose it would make sense for an international player like Marco to be the first to go, but that’s just a guess on my part. Maybe Aaron Gray will go put up 40 & 20 per game in the CBA!

Jake Madison, Swarm and Sting- You’d have to think Belinelli is the most likely option—if you count him as being on the team currently. But if anyone goes, I hope it would be Pondexter. With the summer league cancelled, the most important thing for him right now is playing time. If he has to go abroad for that then I’m all for it.

Mason G, Hoopdat- Well, there are only 6 players currently on the Hornets’ roster, so I’ll go with the guy making (by far) the least amount of money – Pondexter. I can’t see Paul, Jack, Belinelli, Ariza, or Okafor risking injury just to make a few extra bucks overseas when they are fully capable of staying in game shape here in the US.

4. What are the chances Chris Paul signs a contract to play abroad during the 2011 calendar year?

Michael McNamara, Hornets247- 2%. The only reason I don’t say zero is because his good buddy Deron Williams is going to give it a try and perhaps he can sell CP3 on the benefits of playing abroad. But Chris has so much to lose and so little to gain by signing with an overseas team, and for that reason, I put the odds at 50-to-1.

Chris Trew, Comedian- 20% if it gives him a chance at winning a championship, 80% if he attends any wedding outside of North America and eats the toast served to him by Carmelo Anthony.

Caleb Smith, At The Hive- I’m thinking around 40%. Unless I’m mistaken Paul hasn’t actually spoken of a desire to do this yet. All I’ve seen in the news is a vague reference to Paul being “open-minded” about it. When you consider the risk of injury, and the financial situations of overseas clubs, I think it’s possible but not likely.

Jake Madison, Swarm and Sting- 10%. I think it is very unlikely he plays abroad. The only way I could see it potentially happening is if he thinks games will be missed. Chris is a competitive guy and will want to play basketball somewhere. Hopefully, that’s at the start of the season with the Hornets.

Mason G, Hoopdat- 5%. His love for the game of basketball is the only reason that number isn’t 0. Paul knows what’s at stake from both a basketball and financial perspective over the next year and beyond; I seriously doubt he’d do anything to jeopardize his status in the NBA. The extra time off for his knee shouldn’t be a bad thing, either.

5. Your first thoughts upon hearing that Shaquille O’Neal would be joining TNT were…

Michael McNamara, Hornets247- Downgrade. If Shaq weren’t famous, he would just be that awkward guy you work with who thinks he is much funnier than he actually is. I mean, are “Sacramento Queens” or “The Big Aristotle” jokes that are really that brilliant and funny or are we just laughing because it is Shaq? Kevin McHale was great in his role with NBATV and TNT, so going from him to Shaq is just a massive downgrade. I just hope he doesn’t take time from Webber and Chuck as well.

Chris Trew, Comedian- Two of my biggest dreams just became highly unlikely. #1, This is going to keep him from buying the Hornets. #2, Our NBADL team, The Baton Rouge Diesels (also owned by Shaq) probably won’t happen for another couple of years.

Caleb Smith, At The Hive- I think it’s great. I don’t know if Shaq will provide a lot of deep insight into the game (although he might surprise me), but he will certainly be entertaining. Shaq and Barkley together? That’s basically a guarantee of great television.

Jake Madison, Swarm and Sting- Nobody touches the Shaqtus. As long as he’s not whispering then it’s going to be fun watching him and Barkley go back and forth. There are certainly going to be a lot of one-liners coming from the TNT set.

Mason G, Hoopdat- Turrible! But seriously, if T-Mobile can turn Charles Barkley into a rapper, I can’t wait to see what’s in store with the two of them together. At the very least, pairing Shaq with Chuck should be fairly entertaining, whether it benefits TNT’s actual basketball analysis or not. I may be wrong… but I doubt it.

Michael McNamara writes for Hornets247. Chris Trew is a a nationally touring comedian, Air Sex host and co-founder of The New Movement. Caleb Smith writes for At The Hive, Jake Madison is with Swarm and Sting, and Mason G writes over at HoopDat.


  1. 42

    July 18, 2011 at 6:59 am

    Let’s see what Nikkoewan says about the chances of him being able to see Chris Paul play in The Philippines in a week:


    Don’t forget the party!


  2. Carpo

    July 18, 2011 at 8:21 am

    I’d just like to say to the players, you have a job that millions of guys would cut their arm off to have, even if they only earnt a tenth of the money a late 2nd rounder earns. I understand everyone likes money, but the superstars of the league who may get paid 18 instead of 22 mil a year, is it that big a deal??

  3. MaskedTalent

    July 18, 2011 at 10:26 am

    I can’t believe you said Shaq would be a downgrade! He’s the funniest personality to ever grace the NBA. I think he would be an upgrade over McHale or equal

    • crazybb1125

      July 18, 2011 at 1:56 pm

      I agree with masked talent. I think he would be close to perfect and not a downgrade. besides he is funny, and I think it would be even more hilarious if Chuck and SHAQ were going at it with each other. it would be also cool if they had a bouncing ball every time SHAQ talks as rookie broadcaster joke.!!

  4. dbeard06

    July 18, 2011 at 10:30 am

    When owner spend cautionsly, they are labeled as CHEAP. When owners spend big, they are labeled as making BAD BUSINESS DECISIONS (unless they win a championship). So where is the middle ground? There isn’t one. And that is the problem with the NBA business model. Players and agents have too much control. Small market teams have to offer big contracts to certain players or those players will go to big markets teams with big bucks, thus making the playing field extremely uneven. A hard cap should have been put in place decades ago, because now players and big market owners have gotten too comfortable with the current system, which is BROKEN!!!!!!!! How do you fix this?, revenue sharing is a start. A better cap system is an idea. But ultimately, players need to be held accountable for their performance. This guaranteed contract crap has to go!!!!!!!!

    • dbeard06

      July 18, 2011 at 10:30 am

      I meant “cautiously.”

    • Caleb

      July 18, 2011 at 2:25 pm

      I agree owners can be in a tough spot, but that doesn’t excuse bad decisions – Rashard Lewis, Joe Johnson, etc.

    • crazyb1125

      July 19, 2011 at 2:00 pm

      the best way to do this is to have what I call or create an “EXPECTATION CONTRACT” where the basis of the contract deals only by how you perform in the game. I can’t put on HERE the whole contract agreement, but I can can give examples of how it would work. So for example let’s say David West wanted to sign back to the Hornets but he wants 13 million dollars a year for the next 3 years which will be 39 mill. First he must categorize as the type of player your signing as (status):

      EXAPLE #1
      Superstar:minium:12 mill a year- 24 mill per yr max.
      Starter: minium:7 mill a year- 11.9 mill per yr max.
      6th Man: minium:5 mil a year- 6.9 mill per yr max.
      Role Player: minium:3 mill per yr- 4.9 mill per yr max
      bench warmer minium 450K per yr-2.9 mill per yr. max

      so david west will be signed as superstar, BUT! he must play at a superstar level or he will LOSE minium 10%- max 20% (if its says he loses 10% percent of income in his contract then he loses 10% of his money) money to the point where he will be paid at whatever is expected for a starter. another stipulation that can clear all this is. how do you know your status? Well let’s say for example in david west contract the owner expect him to average superstar type status which would be 20+ ppg, 10+ in RPG or Assist apg, 2+ spg or bpg in 37 mpg (minium) and he averages 18.9 ppg, 8.9 rpg, 2.6 apg, 0.6 spg, & 0.9 bpg in 37 mpg……… then he lose 10% of his money because he didn’t exceed or succeed the requirements of the contract. Now if he averaged 22.8 ppg, 10.8 rpg, 2.6 apg, 2.1 bpg, 0.3 spg, then he met the requirement and deserve a 10% bonus to his contract.

      also whenever % decrease or increase you have in your contract, you get a bonuses for helping your team get to the playoffs, winning a reward or trophy, and a championship. Its basically a gambling contract on the owners and players part. Also this is the stats you must have to categorize yourself status:

      superstars: 20+ ppg, 10+ apg or rpg, 2+ bpg or spg, 37-44 mpg
      starter(stat):12-19.9 ppg, 2.5-9.9 apg or rpg, 0.9-1.9 spg or bpg,25-36 mpg
      6th man (stat):7.5-11.9 ppg, 2.5-5.5 apg or rpg, 0.3-0.9 spg or bpg, 17-24 mpg
      role Player (Stat): 5-10.9 ppg, 0.6-5 rpg or apg, 0.3-0.9 spg or bpg, 10-17 mpg
      Bench warmer (stat):N/A-4.9 ppg, N/A-0.5 apg or rpg, N/A-0.2 spg or bpg N/A-9 mpg. players must meet these requirement or exceed to have go higher or lower in income. coaches are not to effective players MPG unless of trade, foul trouble, or disrespect towards the team, and coaching staff (Not owner).

      • 42

        July 19, 2011 at 5:43 pm

        A simpler system would be a ‘guaranteed’ version of the NFL system: base salary plus performace. Few NBA contracts include performance clauses. The players are so rare, really, there is no need.

  5. greenpea

    July 18, 2011 at 11:41 am

    1. Owners cuz of what dbear said.

    2. Yes to min and max

    3. Q-Pon for sure

    4. 1%


  6. Beedat

    July 18, 2011 at 11:50 am

    1. Owners for making the mess, players for not realizing how good they have it. They ened to take a pay cut.

    2. Yes yo both

    3. Belli

    4. 20%

    5. Nice

  7. Chris Trew

    July 18, 2011 at 11:58 am

    I’m so mysterious.

  8. longfellow

    July 18, 2011 at 12:27 pm

    Just wanna say shaq is going to do really good and Charles better watch out.

  9. CP3fan

    July 18, 2011 at 12:28 pm

    Lovin the format. Keep that up.

  10. Joe Gerrity

    July 18, 2011 at 12:34 pm

    While I feel the Owners created this situation by agreeing to a sub-par TV contract, it’s the players who I now blame. You can’t just expect the owners to make another bad deal just because they did last time.

    With investment in a team starting in the 300 million dollar range, players should accept the reality that even small market owners will demand a return. Sure in the past the players made more, but the league was getting killed financially because of it.

    Frankly, they need to meet somewhere in the middle.

  11. 504ever

    July 18, 2011 at 1:46 pm

    I say the problem is the owners for never adequately tackling the wide difference in “local” earnings teams have, especially from local TV rights. (The forward thinking NFL did this is the 60s reasoning that a local team wouldn’t have a game without the visiting team, so local TV revenues (and gate receipts) should be split.) Without this bonus earnings, big market teams wouldn’t be able to be so much more competative, and small market teams wouldn’t be able to trade the Pau Gasol’s of the world to a big market team for cap relief.

    A lack of a minimum team salary also allowed Memphis to profit from that salary dump, so a minimum team salary has to be established to prevent owners from fielding low payroll, non competative, teams to profit from TV revenues a la’ Donald Sterling. So the owners need to bring on a minimum player payroll, too.

  12. crazybb1125

    July 18, 2011 at 2:12 pm

    My answers to these Questions.

    1.) Both! Owners-owners should’ve never sign player w/o looking at their budget first but since they take the risk why should the players have to take the pay cut!

    players- why be so selfish and ask for too much money in the first place. only way you should be thinking about more money is if your not thinking about a title so early in your career, so you choose money over title, but if you want a championship players need to think about cutting their salary from the beginning to avoid this mess

    2.)I agree everything that jake Madison said: Both

    3.)Ewing or Pondexter to me

    4.)I’m going with maybe 10-15%

    5.)it would be more than awesomely stupid funny if SHAQ was to broadcast on TNT. but would’nt it be even more cooler if SHAQ was part owner of the Hornets like Jordan is over the BOBCATS!!

  13. Pingback: HoopDat makes appearance on Hornets247′s “Hornets Beat” | HoopDat

  14. Uptown Sammy

    July 19, 2011 at 5:35 pm

    -“If Shaq weren’t famous, he would just be that awkward guy you work with who thinks he is much funnier than he actually is.”

    I agree 100%

  15. da ThRONe

    July 24, 2011 at 1:11 am

    1) Neither. The system is screwed up. The Memphises and Atlanta’s of the league have to overpay to keep their key piece’s. Yeah there’s no way Rashard Lewis should have been offered that deal, but all in all at of FO’s were left with little choice over pay or lose.

    2)Both. There needs to be a ceiling and a floor. I like the idea of a flex cap. I don’t necessarily like handcuffing big market owners who are willing to pay more. I would say a number around 65mil a floor of 55 mil and cap at 75mil. Every dollar over the 65mil cap is a 3 to 1 luxury tax.

    3)At 1st I would have said Marco(being that he is a Euro player), but he is a FA why risk injuring himself and losing out on a deal. So I’ll say Q-Pon.

    4)25%. I don’t think this lock out will last the whole season and that’s the only way I see the main veterans going overseas.

    5)Love this move for TNT. I can’t wait to see him and Chuck on the same set.

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