Shannon Brown wants to get in on the free agent fun

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It seems the Lakers could have a clean slate at point guard. With Derek Fisher an unrestricted free agent and Jordan Farmar a restricted one, L.A. was set to move forward into the off-season with Shannon Brown as the sole PG secured for next season. However, apparently Brown has decided that he will “probably” turn down his $2.2 million player option for next season to become a free agent, according to Ramona Shelburne of ESPN Los Angeles.

If nothing else, Brown should be able to sign a longer deal in anticipation of the new Collective Bargaining Agreement, which is likely to not only curb max contract size and length starting in 2011, but also have a trickle-down effect to players in Shannon’s tier.

If Brown wants to re-sign with the Lakers, the initial year of his new deal could only be worth about $2.6 million, unless L.A. plans to use part of their mid-level exception. With Los Angeles so far over the cap, the only reason they can re-sign Brown at all is using a salary cap exception of some sort; if they choose not to cut into the MLE, they’ll be able to re-sign Shannon to a new deal (starting roughly at the aforementioned $2.6 million) because they hold his Early Bird rights.

However, the Lakers could surely seek PG help from elsewhere. Fisher seems like a lock to return, but L.A. could still play the market with their MLE. There are likely plenty of free agents out there who wouldn’t mind snuggling up with the champs. Although point guard isn’t exactly the deepest position in this summer’s FA class, there are still a few viable candidates. Raymond Felton (UFA), Kyle Lowry (RFA), and even Steve Blake (UFA) could provide interesting alternatives, should the Lakers prefer them to Brown.

2017 NBA playoffs have been historically uncompetitive

AP Photo/Elise Amendola
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The NBA Finals so many wanted to see – Cavaliers-Warriors III – is here.

At least it will be.

Today is the first of six off days before the 2017, which begin June 1 in Oakland.

The lengthy delay is the product of an underwhelming postseason featuring few competitive series and numerous blowouts.

Golden State swept its way through the West, and Cleveland dropped only one game (to the Celtics in the conference finals) while winning the East. There have been only two Game 7s, but considering the magnitude, neither felt that compelling. Blake Griffin‘s injury undercut the Clippers against the Jazz, and Celtics over Wizards felt inevitable with home teams winning each game of the series. Between, there have been several lackluster games and series.

There have been just 74 playoff games this year – the fewest before the Finals since since the NBA instituted a best-of-seven first round in 2003:

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That’s 74 of a possible 98 games – 76%, the lowest since 1999 and seventh-lowest ever.

Even if the Finals go seven games, it will be the fewest games in a postseason since 2007. If the Finals go five or fewer games, it’ll be the shortest postseason in this playoff format.

And it hasn’t just been quantity. The quality of games has been lacking, too.

Though there were more blowouts last year by nearly any measure, the 2017 postseason’s average margin in pre-Finals games (13.5) is fifth-highest all-time and second-highest since 1959 (behind 2016, 14.2).

Combine the two factors, and these are the drabbest playoffs in nearly 50 years. Here’s each postseason plotted by average margin in pre-Finals games and percentage of possible games pre-Finals:

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This probably just confirms what you’ve seen: The 2017 playoffs have been in a rut.

We’re all counting on the Cavaliers and Warriors to salvage this postseason, but considering how deep the hole is, anything less than an epic Finals probably won’t cut it.

Kyrie Irving crosses over Avery Bradley, hits 3-pointer (video)

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Avery Bradley got around one screen then, thanks to Kyrie Irving‘s excellent ball-handling, lunged at another that wasn’t coming as Irving hit a 3-pointer.

LeBron James beautifully pass-fakes, makes layup in transition (video)

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LeBron James is a treasure.

Shaquille O’Neal’s big toe is seriously jacked up (PHOTO)

shaq o'neal
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Remember how we we all freaked out when we saw pictures of LeBron James‘ feet back in 2013?

You probably didn’t want to be reminded that it existed, but it does. Still. And apparently jacked up feet is the consequence of a lifetime of playing professional basketball. Once can only assume it has something to do with tight shoes and constant, hard changes of direction in said tight shoes.

We got yet another vision of what basketball shoes can do to feet on Thursday when TNT analyst Shaquille O’Neal showed off his, er, little piggies.

Much to the horror of the Internet in general, it was Shaq’s right big toe that took social media by storm. Mostly because it’s not even close to pointing in the right direction.

I’m going to show you what it looks like. Be forewarned, it might just be NSFL.

Via Twitter:

Oh. Oh … why?

Social media reacted appropriately and proportionately:

Shaq did have issues with that toe during the course of his career, and at one point it was so bad that he had to have surgery to remove bone spurs from the toe in 2002.

That still doesn’t explain why it’s all over your TV and the Internet, but here we are. I am sorry.