One man puts together the entire NBA schedule. And you thought a Rubik's Cube was hard.

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puzzle-piece-and-amounts-uid.jpgThis makes a 1,000 piece puzzle of a polar bear on a snowy landscape look like child’s play.

Matt Winick makes the NBA schedule. Him and a computer. No team of guys slaving over diagrams and flipping through reems of information. Well, there are reems of information, but just one guy.

Kevin Arnovitz did a fascinating intervew with Winick over at TrueHoop. What follws are a few of the best answers. But if you think Will Shortz is cool, you should follow the link and read the entire interview.

You start by getting dates from the various arenas. There’s a certain number of dates that each arena must provide. That’s your starting point.

What’s your next building block from that?

The games against the other conference, because they normally involve long road trips. You look for gaps in the home schedule when the building is not available and you try to schedule the longer road trips during that time when the team can’t play at home. So if a team from the east is going to be out of their building for 8-10 days, you look to send them west….

Nothing is easy. The computer program is great. It puts everything together in an orderly way and makes it as easy as possible, but there are no easy schedules….

You send a team to Golden State on a trip, yet they can’t go to Sacramento. You have to send them on another trip when they go to Sacramento and people say, “Why?” Well, the two times they were going west, Golden State wasn’t available one time and Sacramento wasn’t available the other. You’d like to schedule orderly trips as much as you can, but if the buildings aren’t available, they aren’t available. In Los Angeles, this coming season, the Lakers have four games at home in February and the Clippers have two. Well, the Grammies are in Staples Center for 10 days followed by a week when the building is unavailable because of the NBA All-Star Game. If teams can’t play at home, they have to play on the road.

Mark Cuban suggests supplemental draft for undrafted free agents

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A lot of people around the NBA have ideas to improve the draft, free agency and the D-League, and Mavericks owner Mark Cuban has never been shy about sharing his. His latest idea seems pretty logical: a supplemental draft for undrafted free agents.

Via Hoops Rumors:

“I would have a supplemental draft every summer for undrafted free agents of the current and previous 3 years,” Cuban wrote in an email to Hoops Rumors. “If you are more than 3 years out you are not eligible and just a free agent.”

The supplemental draft would have two rounds, and teams would hold the rights to the players they select for two years, Cuban added. Players can opt out and choose not to make themselves eligible, but those who get picked would receive fully guaranteed minimum-salary contracts when they sign, according to Cuban’s proposal.

“That would make it fun a few weeks after the draft and pre-summer league,” Cuban wrote. “It would prevent some of the insanity that goes on to build summer league rosters.”

It’s an interesting proposition. Most undrafted players who sign during the summer don’t get guaranteed contracts, so when deciding to enter this supplemental draft, they would have to weigh the value of having guaranteed money versus getting to decide where they sign. It’s unlikely that anything like this could happen anytime soon, because of all the hoops to jump through to get the league and the players’ union to sign off on it, but it’s a worthwhile idea that deserves some consideration in the next CBA negotiations.

Kevin Love to practice with Cavs on Saturday

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The Cavaliers’ training camp has so far been filled with bad news and uncertainty, from Tristan Thompson‘s continuing contract holdout to Iman Shumpert‘s wrist injury (which will sideline him for up to three months) to Kyrie Irving continuing to be limited. But here’s some good news: Kevin Love will fully participate in practice with the team on Saturday for the first time since suffering a shoulder injury in last year’s first-round series against the Celtics.

From’s Chris Haynes:

Head coach David Blatt announced on Wednesday that power forward Kevin Love will make his first full practice debut on Saturday. The three-time All-Star has been rehabbing ever since undergoing shoulder surgery in May.

“He’s coming along real nice,” Blatt said.

On Monday Love was cleared to participate in 3-on-3 basketball workouts. Prior, he was only allowed to do individual work that consisted of absorbing contact from a pad in the post.

It’s unclear when Love will be able to play in a game, but the fact that he’s been cleared to return to practice is undoubtedly a good sign for Cleveland, and there’s hope that he’ll be able to play on opening night against the Bulls on October 27. With all the bad breaks the Cavs have caught this summer, it’s nice to see some good injury news for once.