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If the players are just posturing about this overseas thing, they’re putting their all into it

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If you’re not really going to Europe but you want it to seem like you are, this is the playbook. Release lots of media info, get one big guy to go, tell every reporter who asks that every member of your side is “considering it” and do as many exhibitions in other countries to generate revenue as you can. This is the perfect play to con people into thinking you’re serious about doing it.

It’s also the exact same playbook if you’re actually, you know, going to Europe. Or China. Or the Philippines, since apparently you’re a god there.

There will be no telling until players actually sign elsewhere, or don’t. But reports are coming out, like the latest from Sports Illustrated, that the players are serious about these offers, that there’s more to it than just individual players chasing salary money. It’s about hitting the owners where it hurts to move them off the hard line, it’s about leveraging the endorsement money, capitalizing on the tax-free status, and taking a cohesive approach. From SI: 

It’s the unofficial kind, of course, but sources on the players’ side confirmed the obvious in recent discussions: This isn’t merely about making money, but enjoying a slice of autonomy and sending a message to the owners that their league could be forever changed if they don’t start moving off their draconian collective bargaining mark.

According to one agent of a bona fide NBA star who said he is learning more about this new landscape every day, this is just the beginning. While so much of the public focus is on the individual players and where they might sign, there are private discussions about adding components that could make it even more appealing for the game’s stars to follow in Deron Williams’ path.

via NBA stars looking abroad in earnest – Sam Amick – SI.com.

We’re left to decipher whether this is rhetoric or actual movement, if we care. The reason we should care is that if this is rhetoric, and it is revealed as such, it’s yet another nail the owners will put in the players’ coffin. If it’s real movement, if it’s legitimate, it’s an actual strategy that might work. If it works, the owners might feel a shiver up their spines in those comfy, seat-warmed recliners of theirs. That can move the league off the front line and into the negotiations tent, which is where this thing should be kept anyway.

The big issues revolve around whether this is feasible. Most believe it’s not. It’s incomprehensible. How can a player risk his career like this? Well, considering they don’t have a career if the owners don’t get off the line, that’s not so much of a risk. The teams won’t actually pay the players, right? So they’re all going to fail to pay, all of them, all at once. Thats’ the idea?

This is becoming more possible every day, in theoretical terms. But skeptics won’t start to believe it until they see backs in jerseys in foreign languages. Only they’re not foreign there. Okay, you get what I mean.

Al Horford shows he still has hops dunking on Solomon Hill (VIDEO)

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That’s just nasty.

Atlanta’s Al Horford gets the ball out high, but within his range, so when he pump fakes Indiana’s Lavoy Allen goes flying by. That opens up the lane and Horford attacks it, Solomon Hill tries to cut him off, but Horford just finishes threw him.

Pacers and Hawks played an entertaining, close game Friday night.

Dwyane Wade shows he still has hops with dunk on Hornets (VIDEO)

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Dwyane Wade still has some springs.

In what may be his best dunk in recent memory, he shoulders Michael Kidd-Gilchrist to create space in transition, then gets up and throws it down before Nicolas Batum can get there for the block.

Not sure even Wade saw that one coming.

Reigning dunk champ LaVine: ‘I’ve got tricks up my sleeve’

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MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Minnesota Timberwolves guard Zach LaVine is heading back to All-Star weekend to defend his slam dunk title. And he says he has “a few tricks up my sleeve” after dominating the event last year.

LaVine will compete against Detroit center Andre Drummond, Denver swingman Will Barton and Orlando forward Aaron Gordon in Toronto next weekend.

LaVine was one of the breakout stars of All-Star weekend last year with his electric performance in the dunk contest. He says he debated about coming back and made his decision after strong encouragement from his fans.

If LaVine wins, he will become the fourth player in the 31-year history of the event to repeat as champion. Michael Jordan, Jason Richardson and Nate Robinson are the others.

Report: Blake Griffin has second procedure on hand, timeline remains unchanged

Blake Griffin
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Blake Griffin will still return to the Clippers some time in March (barring any setbacks).

That said, he had a second procedure this week to repair the boxer’s fracture in his right hand, reports Ramona Shelburne of ESPN.

Clippers forward Blake Griffin underwent a second procedure this week on his broke right hand, sources told ESPN. The procedure was a part of the original surgery last week, so sources said the 4-6 week timeframe for his return remains unchanged.

This might help explain why Griffin’s hand looked so swollen and scarred this week. But to be clear, this was a planned second procedure, not a setback.

Griffin suffered the fracture punching a Clippers’ equipment manager while everyone was out to dinner in Toronto recently, while Griffin was still sidelined with a quadricep injury. The Clippers have moved on, but it is likely the league will tack on a couple of game suspension for Griffin upon his return to health.

And no, the Clippers are not looking to trade Griffin in spite of this. So stop asking.