Al-Farouq Aminu Los Angeles Clippers v Charlotte Bobcats

Some NBA players set up contracts so they get paid during lockout

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Al-Farouq Aminu is still getting checks from the Los Angeles Clippers.

Anticipating a potentially nasty lockout that dragged on, a few guys set up special contracts in recent years that stretched out their payments from last season into this year, according to the USA Today (via CBSSports Eye on Basketball):

Aminu, a rookie last season, is one of four clients of agent Raymond Brothers who spread their 2010-11 NBA salaries over 18 or 24 months to continue receiving paychecks if the league-imposed lockout forces the cancellation of games.

Memphis Grizzlies forward Zach Randolph, Dallas Mavericks forward Caron Butler and Detroit Pistons guard Ben Gordon, all Brothers clients, have similar setups.

Smart. Everyone and their brother knew this lockout was coming for a couple years now, the only question was how long it would last. Brothers was smart and spread out the payments so the checks keep rolling in and his players wouldn’t feel the pinch during a lockout (this is money paid for services already provided last season).

Other agents as well as the union itself has been preaching for a couple years now to players to save up some money for this lockout.

There are some owners who think the players union will cave once players start missing a few paychecks (their first one wouldn’t be until Nov. 15, then most players are paid bi-weekly through the regular season). The longer the players can hold out, the more the owners have reason to compromise as they are not getting in any revenue from games and they still have expenses.

But bot sides are dug in from a long battle. And a few NBA players still have checks coming in.

Kobe Bryant with spin move around LeBron James (VIDEO)

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The game itself went about how you’d expect one between a title contender and a high lottery team to go — the Cavaliers 120-111 win over the Lakers was never really in doubt.

But the fans in Cleveland wanted to see some vintage Kobe Bryant, and they got it late when he spun around LeBron James and hit the reverse lay-up.

LeBron had 29 points on the night, and Kyrie Irving had 35. Kobe finished with 17 and got a standing ovation from the Cleveland crowd.

Suns’ Markieff Morris, Archie Goodwin get in scuffle on the bench

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Just another magical day in the Valley of the Sun, where clearly Jeff Hornacek was the problem….

During an early timeout in the Suns’ game at Golden State, Markieff Morris tried to explain something to Archie Goodwin, who is seated. This conversation gets heated quickly, and teammates eventually have to step in and separate the two teammates.

The Suns have shopped Morris around as the trade deadline approaches, this isn’t going to help his value.

After the game, Morris said the two are close (which is true) and this was just like two brothers having a fight — they will get over it quick.

Kawhi Leonard drains game winner to beat Orlando (VIDEO)

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This is how much Gregg Popovich trusts Kawhi Leonard on offense now: Tie game with 13.3 seconds remaining, and the play design is a 1-4 flat isolation for Leonard. It’s the kind of play teams will call for LeBron James or Kevin Durant. Popovich just called it for Leonard.

And he was rewarded with a game-winning bucket.

Leonard finished with 29 points, LaMarcus Aldridge had 21, and the Spurs head into the All-Star break with a 45-8 record, on pace to win 70 games this season. And that still would only get them a two seed.

Hornets’ Michael Kidd-Gilchrist suffers shoulder dislocation, leaves game

Michael Kidd-Gilchrist
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Michael Kidd-Gilchrist had been back just six games after suffering a torn labrum in the preseason that required surgery. The Hornets had won four of those six, were playing improved defense, and looked like a potential playoff team in the East.

Now this.

He went straight to the locker room and did not return to the game (the Pacers got the win).

You can see the injury above. In a scramble for a loose ball, the Pacers’ Ian Mahinmi falls on MKG’s arm, dislocating his shoulder.

We don’t know the severity of all this and if MKG is going to miss time beyond this game. But it isn’t good.