The days of buyouts started just hours after the trade deadline passed, when the Washington Wizards told Mike James to take a leave of absence pending the buyout of his contract.
James was a regular part of the Wizards rotation last year, starting 50 games, but he had appeared in just four this year. The Wizards tried to find a way to use his $6.6 million expiring contract in a deal, but when that didn’t happen they decided to just buy him out.
Buying out contracts is going to be the hot thing over the next few days in the NBA. Some of these guys, like Zydrunas Ilgauskas, will have no trouble getting work. It is likely Mike James will have some suitors, although the rumored leader early is Charlotte.
Another guy out there right now is Kenny Thomas, who was waived by the Kings. However, he is not going to a lot of suitors for what is left of his game.
Everything LeBron James does and says gets magnified and scrutinized.
So when he put out this photo on Instagram standing shoulder-to-shoulder with Tristan Thompson and the caption “get it done” it seemed a message to the Cavaliers.
LeBron clarified that on Sunday, saying this has become a distraction, and the message was for both sides to bend, as reported by Dave McMenamin of ESPN and Chris Haynes of the Plain Dealer.
When Thompson didn’t sign the qualifying offer he surrendered a lot of leverage, the Cavaliers don’t have to raise their five-year, $80 million offer — but reportedly they still would, a little. Thompson and his agent Rich Paul have pushed for a max contract, but that’s not happening.
At some point, the two sides will come to an agreement. For the Cavaliers, this is a distraction, their star is unhappy with that, and ultimately if they are going to make a title run they need the energy and rebounding Thompson brings (even if it is just off the bench). For Thompson, he can’t make up a year of lost salary, he has to come in and start getting paid at some point.
The two sides will get it done. Eventually. Likely before the season tips off.
China has secured the ninth and final Olympic men’s basketball berth awarded this year.
China earned the bid to the 2016 Rio Games with a 78-67 win over the Philippines. 2016 first-round draft prospect Qi Zhou had 16 points and 14 rebounds, setting up the Olympics to be his big introduction to American fans.
Former NBA player Yi Jianlian won tournament MVP by averaging 16.7 points, 8.8 rebounds, 1.4 assists and 1.2 blocks per game.
This will be China’s ninth straight Olympic appearance.
The Philippines, who got 17 points from Andray Blatche in the final, will still go to an Olympic Qualifying Tournament next summer with a chance to reach Rio.