Ron Artest isn't buying what Doc Rivers is selling


Thumbnail image for Artest_layup.jpgWe told you yesterday Doc Rivers said the Lakers “still have not beaten our starting five,” implying that if Kendrick Perkins had been healthy for Game 7 the outcome would have been different.

The Lakers were quiet on that. Phil Jackson probably didn’t notice, Kobe Bryant probably mentally filed that away in the “anger/motivation” file to pull out when he needs it. But no public comments.

Until Ron Artest answered the call on twitter.

Boston lost to lakers because of Kendrick Perkins injury. What about in 08 when Bynum was injured. What about this year Bynum was injured

What about Kobe played with a broke finger …. What about Ron artest defense When the Boston staff said Ron artest was too slow

Doc got one million excuses.. Just come back this season a take what you want…

The lakers with Bynum in the playoffs healthy has not lost The same way whoever whatever hasn’t Let’s not mention the stats on lock down

Ron Artest is right. The “what if” injury game is a rabbit hole if you go down it. What if Andrew Bogut had been healthy for the Bucks this season? What if Tracy McGrady and Yao Ming had stayed healthy in Houston? What if LeBron’s elbow had been fine against Boston… okay, bad example there. But you get the idea.

What did Yoda teach us? “Do, or do not. There is no try.” The Jedi master would say the same thing about injuries. And you don’t argue with Yoda.

LeBron James posts photo with Tristan Thompson, sends message to Cavs

2015 NBA Finals - Game Five
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Tristan Thompson is a man without a contract. By not signing the qualifying offer with the Cleveland Cavaliers he put himself in limbo, the rare NBA holdout. Right now his options are to sign the deal on the table (the Cavs still have the five-year, $80 million offer out there), get the Sixers or Blazers to offer him a max contract (which neither team has shown any interest in doing), or hold out and hope the Cavaliers make a better offer. If he holds out for the entire season he becomes a restricted free agent again next summer — exactly like he is right now.

Without signing the qualifying offer and the threat of leaving, Thompson hurt his leverage.

But he has a little leverage. He and his agent Rich Paul had one other card, and it got played Saturday.

Get it done!!!! Straight up. #MissMyBrother @realtristan13

A photo posted by LeBron James (@kingjames) on

LeBron James and Thompson share an agent in Paul. LeBron has largely remained silent through this process but if he wants something in the Cleveland organization, he usually gets it. And he wants Thompson back at practices.

LeBron’s leverage is going to be put to the test. The Cavaliers have let it leak they are not that concerned about LeBron leaving them next summer over this — and they’re right. The damage to LeBron’s brand if he broke the hearts of Cleveland fans again would be crushing, unless he leaves for a very good reason. Overpaying Thompson is not that reason.

However, LeBron’s comment could push the Cavaliers to try to find a compromise.

For the Cavaliers, a lot of how they view all this comes down to their tax bill. The Cavaliers already have $94.9 million in guaranteed salary on the books, putting them $10.2 million over the luxury tax line, at a cost of more than $16.25 million. What this means if (or when) they sign Thompson is his first $10 million in salary would cost them $28.75 million in tax and every dollar above that for the next $5 million costs them $3.75-to-$1. Look at it this way, by my count $14 million this year to Thompson would cost $43.75 million in tax — the total for Thompson at that price is $58 million. While that’s not all on Thompson it’s a lot of cash, and Thompson wants a max deal that starts at more than $16 million a year.

Owner Dan Gilbert is already going to pay the highest tax bill in the NBA this season, but if he balks at those figures it’s hard to blame him.


Hezonja throws down one-handed dunk in preseason debut

Orlando Magic Introduce 2015 NBA Draft Picks
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Mario Hezonja, the No. 5 pick in this year’s draft, has never lacked for confidence. The Croatian guard made his pro debut in the Magic’s preseason game against the Hornets on Saturday and did this:

Between Hezonja, Elfrid Payton, Victor Oladipo and Aaron Gordon, the Magic have a nucleus of young players that has the potential to be a lot of fun. Even if they’re still a few years away from contending, they’re definitely going to be a League Pass favorite this year.