Morning Shootaround

Shootaround (Oct. 21) -- LaMarcus Aldridge says he's happy with Spurs Staff

Aldridge happy with Spurs | Reports: NBA, NBPA closing in on new CBA | Rose forced to play catch up with Knicks

No. 1: Aldridge denies talk he’s unhappy with Spurs –Just two days ago, the San Antonio Express-News’ Jabari Young reported that San Antono Spurs star forward LaMarcus Aldridge was growing unhappy with his role on the team. According to Young’s report, Aldridge signed with the Spurs in part so he could be the face of the franchise, but the emergence of Kawhi Leonard as the team’s star had rubbed Aldridge the wrong way. Yesterday, Aldridge went on the “Jim Rome Show” (you can listen to the interview here) and tried to clear the air. Tom Orsborn of the San Antonio Express-News transcribed what Aldridge had to say:

Spurs big man LaMarcus Aldridge scoffed at reports detailing how the club is open to trading him, telling a national radio show Thursday he’s happy in San Antonio.

“For sure, I am,” Aldridge told The Jim Rome Show. “We made history last year (winning a franchise-record 67 games). They incorporated me into the family and tried to make me one of the big pieces. I’m from Texas. I see my family. I’m winning. Of course, I’m happy.

“That’s why I don’t buy into the rumors. I feel like I’ve done everything they’ve asked of me.”

Aldridge said he hasn’t heard anything from club officials, including coach Gregg Popovich, that would indicate they are shopping him around.

“I talk to Pop daily and he’s always telling me I’m doing great,” Aldridge said. “…He’s put me in position to be more of a leader. As long as the guys here aren’t saying bad things- and they aren’t – than I am fine.”

Aldridge stressed that he’s more comfortable in his second season with the club after averaging 18 points, 8.5 rebounds and 1.1 blocks last season en route to his fifth All-Star appearance.

“Things are a lot more comfortable,” said Aldridge, who joined the Spurs in free agency in the summer of 2015 after nine seasons with Portland. “I’m not as lost out there. I’m more confident in what’s going on and what my role is and how things go on here. Last year, I was more in the dark…a little lost at first.”


No. 2: Report: NBA, NBPA close on new CBA; Report: Amnesty clause may be cut — A buzz about averting potential labor strife in the NBA has been about for the last few days. As such, reports have been leaking out that both NBA owners and the National Basketball Players Association were close to hammering out a new Collective Bargaining Agreement. According to both The Vertical’s Adrian Wojnarowski and’s Brian Windhorst, that chatter is looking more and more true — with some caveats.

First, here’s Wojnarowski’s report on the labor talks and how things are progressing:

After a Wednesday meeting in New York, the National Basketball Association and National Basketball Players Association have pushed close to a new Collective Bargaining Agreement, league sources told The Vertical.

NBA commissioner Adam Silver and NBPA executive director Michele Roberts have led negotiations over several months and now have moved the league to the cusp of a new multiyear CBA of labor peace, league sources said.

The owners and players believe a finalized deal is inevitable within the next few weeks, with sides already agreeing upon most of the major issues in the deal, league sources told The Vertical. There are still talks left on smaller provisions of the CBA, league sources said.

The NBPA will need its players to ratify a new deal, but union player leadership is eager to sell the rank-and-file on the terms of a deal that’s nearly complete in its negotiations, league sources said.

The NBA and its union will avoid a possible work stoppage in 2017. The NBA and NBPA have the ability to opt out of the current 10-year deal on Dec. 15, but a new agreement will be in place before then, league sources said.

The NBA’s 30-something stars – including NBPA president Chris Paul, vice president LeBron James and executive committee member Carmelo Anthony – will benefit from the changing of the 36-and-over rule that now prohibits players from signing a five-year maximum contract if their 36th birthday occurs within the life of the deal.

The NBA and union have tentatively agreed to change the rule to over 38, league sources told The Vertical, which would have significant financial implications for superstars in the twilight of their careers.

Among the principles in agreement, the NBA’s Basketball Related Income (BRI) split will remain unchanged in a new agreement, league sources said. The players receive a share in the range of 49 to 51 percent of the current BRI.

The NBA will raise rookie-scale, veteran minimum and free-agent exception deals in the new agreement, league sources said. Rises in those salaries could come in the 50 percent range over current numbers, sources said.

The NBA will keep its “one-and-done” rule with college basketball, retreating on its original desire to make college players wait two years after high school graduation to become eligible for the NBA draft, league sources said. Two-way contracts between the NBA and NBA Development League will offer teams the chance to add 16th and 17th roster spots, and pay players differently based upon their assignments in either the league’s minor league or as part of the parent team, league sources said.

Windhorst has similar news to report, but adds that the NBA’s salary cap amnesty provision, a key part of the last labor agreement, may not be a part of this one:

There is currently not enough support for an amnesty clause among NBA owners as they continue negotiations for a new deal with the National Basketball Players Association, sources told

The sides met on Wednesday in New York and continue to make progress toward a new labor deal, though a resolution is not expected this week, sources said.

Paul’s participation in Wednesday’s session, sources said, is a strong signal that a deal between the parties is within range.

There have been amnesty clauses in the past two CBAs, allowing teams to waive players and have their salaries removed from the salary cap.

This move would potentially deal a blow to the Miami Heat as they look for a solution to Chris Bosh, who is owed $75 million over the next three years.

The sides have made progress on several other key issues including contract extensions, restricted free agency and qualifying offers, according to sources.


No. 3: Hornacek: Rose will ‘learn by fire’ with new offense — New York Knicks guard Derrick Rose was recently cleared in a civil lawsuit that accused them of gang raping his ex-girlfriend when she was incapacitated from drugs or alcohol. That trial caused him to miss the majority of the Knicks’ training camp and preseason games and as such, is behind his teammates in learning the squad’s offense. Coach Jeff Hornacek knows Rose can pick things up quickly and he’ll have to in order to succeed, writes Ian Bagley of :

To pick up the portions of the New York Knicks’ offense he missed during his civil trial, Derrick Rose will have to “learn by fire” this weekend, head coach Jeff Hornacek said.

Rose missed five preseason games and seven practices during his civil trial in Los Angeles over the past two weeks.

Rose missed Thursday’s preseason finale against the Brooklyn Nets. He is expected to meet with Hornacek and other Knicks coaches on Friday to go over aspects of the Knicks’ offense that were implemented during his absence.

“I’ll probably just sit with them and go over some things. I’ll probably overload him with a lot of information and then when he comes in [Saturday for practice with teammates], he’ll try to learn by fire,” Hornacek said Thursday. “We’ll get him in early probably and run him through some stuff with some of the guys. But I want to talk to him a bit with that stuff and maybe take him out on the court and at least show him some different things. He got some of it at least in training camp. So some of it will be a review but we’ll start to show him the new things.”

Rose will use Friday’s tutorial and three practices to get up to speed prior to the Knicks’ season opener Tuesday against the Cleveland Cavaliers. That isn’t much time to pick up on what he missed during his absence.

It’s also worth noting that he and new Knicks center Joakim Noah haven’t shared the floor together during the preseason. Hornacek, though, believes that Rose won’t have much trouble getting acclimated to the offense.

“We hope it comes together well,” Hornacek said. “[Rose is] a veteran player. He’s played with Jo before. Obviously him and Jo and Justin [Holliday] were teammates in Chicago so they have that familiarity. He’s probably played in All-Star Games with Carmelo [Anthony]. So he has that and we have training camp. It’s not like we just traded for him yesterday and he’s got to come in there and pick it up. He has a little background with these guys. So hopefully it doesn’t take too long.”


SOME RANDOM HEADLINES: Former Sacramento Kings fan favorite Kenny Thomas has opened a new restaurant near the team’s new arena, the Golden 1 Center … LeBron James had a good time making fun of Kevin Love’s old sneakers … Portland Trail Blazers guard Damian Lillard has released his first full-length rap album …