Salary cap for next season much higher than expected

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Like the rest of the nation, it’s hard to say the recession is over for the NBA, but things are looking better.

David Stern has reported that next year’s salary cap will be $56.1 million, which is about $3 million higher than what was the highest estimate last year, and maybe $6 million better than feared. That may not seem like a lot, but for teams like the Knicks, Heat, Bulls and six others looking to add a top-flight free agent it is, because you can put a little more talent around that star.

That is one of the things Stern has reported out of the Board of Governor’s meeting that took place today.

According to Ken Berg at CBS, that means NBA league-wide revenue was off 0.5 percent, which is much better than the expected losses off at least 3 percent that had been estimated.

That would put the luxury tax threshold at $68 million for next year, not far off the $69.9 million it is this year.

It all comes as a bit of a surprise after Stern on All-Star weekend bemoaned the state of the NBA economy and said that owners would lose $400 million this season.

In other issues, the Board of Governors also had a “spirited discussion” of resting players at the end of the season, but that it remains a team’s decision.

There also was some discussion of bigger issues, like the owners doing some serious revenue sharing — this would be a huge change for the league and give them a more united front in the negotiations with the players union on a new CBA. Other topics included reseeding the playoffs, or having some sort of play-in for the eighth seed in each division.

Looks like Donovan to keep Andre Roberson, Steven Adams as starters

Los Angeles Clippers v Oklahoma City Thunder
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Billy Donovan was given the head coaching job in Oklahoma City to bring their offense into modern times — and it seems to be working, Russell Westbrook said he feels a lot more space in the system.

But if the Thunder are going to contend for a title, they need a top 10 defense as well — and to do that Donovan is going to keep a Scott Brooks move and continue to start  Andre Roberson and Steven Adams. Check out the starting lineup for their first preseason game Wednesday.

There also was this report via Anthony Slater in the Oklahoman yesterday about a scrimmage at practice.

Durant, Russell Westbrook, Serge Ibaka and Andre Roberson all started for the White team. Nick Collison joined them, but that was only because Steven Adams sat out with back soreness….

Donovan said the teams weren’t split by accident. That’s how they’ve been divided in practice. So at this point, it seems Roberson is this team’s starting shooting guard and Adams is the team’s starting center.

This is the smart move. Last season the lineup of Westbrook, Roberson, Durant, Ibaka and Adams was +13.4 points per 100 possessions over their opponents. Roberson and Adams are there for defense — neither brings much offensive game to the floor, but when you have Westbrook and Durant and only one ball between them, you don’t need more offensive threats. You’re going to get plenty of points.

If they can just stay healthy, Oklahoma City is a team to be feared.

Knicks’ legend Harry Gallatin passes away at age 88

Harry Gallatin
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The Hall of Fame player behind the original iron man streak is with us no more.

Knicks’ legend Harry Gallatin passes away at age 88, the team confirmed Wednesday.

Gallatin led the Knicks of the late 1940s and into the 1950s, when he set a then record playing in 610 consecutive games. Nicknamed “The Horse,” he was a beast on the boards who averaged 15.3 rebounds a game one season and averaged 11.9 boards and 13 points per game over the course of his 10-year career. He’s still fourth all time in total rebounds in Knicks franchise history.

Gallatin was a seven-time All-Star and twice All-NBA selection. After his playing days, he spent many years as the athletic director at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville.

Our thoughts are with his family and friends.