Report: Richard Jefferson opts out of deal; Spurs fans believe it is a miracle

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NBA_jefferson1_250.jpgIf you are Dirk Nowitzki, it makes a lot of sense to opt out of the last year of your deal. You’ll lose a little money in the short term to make it back in the long haul over the next few years.

Richard Jefferson used that logic in opting out of his deal with the San Antonio Spurs. But the same rules of supply and demand do not apply to him, and he’s about to learn that the hard way.

Jefferson opted out the $15.2 million he was due next year, according to KSAT news in San Antonio. This came as a surprise to just about everyone.

Jefferson is going to find the market unforgiving. After an unimpressive season where he his scoring dropped by seven points a game, his three point shooting fell way off and his PER dropped below the league average, there is just not going to be a lot of demand for Jefferson’s services. He has not really wowed for a couple years, and teams are going to be hesitant to spend on him.

It is very easy to picture Jefferson getting no better offer than the mid-level exception, about $5.6 million. He’ll probably get an offer for about three years, all of which combined barely covers the $15.2 million he would have made just this one year.

Jefferson just threw away a lot of money if this report is true. Maybe he did it because he wasn’t really happy, just not fitting in with San Antonio. Maybe. But that’s still a lot of money to leave on the table.

Spurs took a gamble on him last year and felt let down by the results, but now they get bailed out of paying the steepest price. They also just dropped below the salary cap by about $5 million and have a little more room to maneuver to improve a team that needs to get more athletic. If they were to trade Tony Parker to the Knicks just for cap space, they would suddenly have bout $14.7 million to play around with. Not that they plan to move Parker, but the number of options available to the Spurs just increased dramatically.

Free agency hasn’t even started and RC Buford feels like he’s won.

Quinn Cook signing two-year contract with Hawks

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The Hawks began last season with just two point guards, one fewer than most teams – especially notable because neither starter Dennis Schroder nor backup Malcolm Delaney was experienced for his role.

Schroder and Delaney return, but Atlanta is adding another option – Quinn Cook.

Shams Charania of Yahoo Sports:

Cook is a borderline NBA player. He might not make the regular-season roster. He also might supplant Delaney for a rotation spot.

A 24-year-old who has spent most of the last two years in the D-League (also getting stints with the Mavericks and Pelicans), Cook is a good outside shooter. He’s also steady, if unspectacular, in his lead-guard duties.

This is a solid flier at a position the Hawks could use depth.

Knicks sign Xavier Rathan-Mayes and Jamel Artis

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The Knicks signing Nigel Hayes leaked first.

But New York didn’t stop there.

Knicks release:

The New York Knickerbockers announced today that the team has signed forwards Jamel Artis and Nigel Hayes and guard Xavier Rathan-Mayes.

Like Hayes, Artis (Pittsburgh) and Rathan-Mayes (Florida State) went undrafted this year – making them eligible to be waived and assigned to the Knicks’ minor-league affiliate. That’s likely all three’s fate.

But first, each will have an opportunity to make the regular-season roster. The Knicks have just 14 players with guaranteed salaries, leaving one roster spot for someone on a standard contract. Chasson Randle (unguaranteed) is the incumbent choice, but these three could supplant him.

O.J. Mayo says abusing prescription painkillers triggered NBA ban

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Last year, O.J. Mayo was banned from the NBA for at least two years due to a drug violation. Aside from stating a plan to come back, Mayo didn’t say much publicly.

Until now.

Ben Golliver of Sports Illustrated:

He acknowledged smoking marijuana and abusing a prescription pain medication that triggered his two-year ban because it is on the NBA’s “drugs of abuse” list. (He emphatically denied testing positive for hard drugs like cocaine.)

Mayo also concluded that he had been “overwhelmed” by a string of difficult life events: his father, high school basketball star Kenny Ziegler, was sentenced to more than 10 years in prison for distributing crack cocaine, his brother was placed in juvenile lock-up, a close friend went to jail, and another was killed. “I was bred to play basketball and I thought I could balance everything,” he said. “I couldn’t.”

That’s part of an interesting feature on Mayo, who’s training for his come back. Golliver’s story makes it easy to pull for Mayo.

But the guard will be 30 when he’s eligible to apply for reinstatement, and he played lousily in his last three seasons with the Bucks.

Hopefully, Mayo has and keeps his personal life in order. But returning to the NBA will be an uphill battle.

James Harden throws alley-oop to Chris Paul, pair puts on show at Houston charity event

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What chemistry problem?

There are legitimate questions about how Chris Paul and James Harden will share the backcourt and ball with the Rockets, but none of those were on display on Sunday. That’s when CP3 joined his new teammate in Harden’s charity game (raising money for Harden’s charity, which helps children from single-family homes get a higher education), a kind of pro-am with some names thrown in to draw a crowd.

Harden and CP3 put on a show for the fans.

This is a charity event, not every team is going to defend like this or the Phoenix Suns. It’s going to be harder when the games matter.

But the Rockets are going to be entertaining to watch this season. No doubt.