NBA owners had to write the players another check… that won’t help things

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At the time the old Collective Bargaining Agreement was signed by NBA owners and players, it was perceived as a win for the owners — they had capped how much money the players would get each season.

Players would get 55 percent and eventually 57 percent of the gross Basketball Related Income the league pulls in (everything from ticket sales to television contracts to concessions in the arena). Not a penny more, not a penny less. The owners at least knew that expense.

For the past six years, the owners have got to keep a little bit of players salaries back because the players were set to make more than their 57 percent.

Not this year. Figures released Friday showed not only did the owners have to give back all the money in their escrow funds (the money kept back then returned in part to get to 57 percent), they had to write a supplemental check for $26 million to get to that percentage, reports Ken Berger at CBSSports.

What does this mean? Well, to some degree, it means that owners became more judicious in the contracts they doled out. On another level, it means that many teams — like the Kings and Timberwolves, who hovered near the league-minimum salary, and the Pistons, who did not make a single roster transaction last season — simply folded up the tents in anticipation of the lockout, a looming ownership change, or both.

Neither league nor union officials would address the details behind the BRI numbers released Friday, but I can already tell you what the NBA’s point about this would be: 1) negotiated salaries are irrelevant when the BRI guarantee gives the money to the players anyway, and 2) the costs to generate that 4.8 percent increase in revenues are so steep that the league can’t do business anymore.

Or, you can look at it this way: What the owners are saying is that despite them all being multi-millionaire or billionaire business men, a bunch of players — most of whom did not finish college if they even went — got over on them at the negotiating table. And they don’t want it to happen again.

The other thing to remember going forward — watch the BRI split in the negotiations. And how they define BRI (the owners want to take out certain expenses, they want it to be more net than gross). BRI is what really matters. All the talk of hard caps and guaranteed contracts and the rest of it are all slaves to the BRI split. What matters is how much of the pie you get, not how you divide up your share.

Bulls claim PG Kay Felder off waivers

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The Bulls’ point-guard position is a quagmire.

Kris Dunn and Cameron Payne are both injured (and not necessarily good). Jerian Grant is maybe an adequate backup pressed into starting. Ryan Arcidiacono is on a two-way contract.

Enter Kay Felder.

Bulls release:

The Chicago Bulls announced today that the team has waived forward Jarell Eddie and center Diamond Stone, and claimed guard Kay Felder off waivers.

Felder was waived by the Hawks, who acquired him in a salary-dump trade from the Cavaliers. Cleveland drafted Felder No. 54 last year, but ran out of roster spots this year.

Felder is only a moderate prospect. He impressed in the D-League, but at 5-foot-9, he has significant limitations. (His size also makes him incredibly fun to watch when he gets rolling.)

For Chicago, he’s a quite-noteworthy addition.

LeBron James: ‘I still got Pandora with commercials’

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Dwyane Wade revealed last year that LeBron James refuses to use his phone internationally unless he’s on Wi-Fi.

LeBron’s friend and new Cavaliers teammate again brought up that claim, and LeBron confirmed – then went even further about his own cheapness.

LeBron in a joint interview with Wade on ESPN:

No. I’m not doing that. I’m not turning on data roaming. I’m not buying no apps. I still got Pandora with commercials.

LeBron – he’s just like us!

As funny as that line is, keep watching to see LeBron hilariously explain how his hairline affects his interviews.

PBT Extra: LeBron as MVP and other NBA postseason award predictions

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Last year, Russell Westbrook had a historic season on his way to the MVP award, with James Harden and Kawhi Leonard right on his heels. But heading into this season, the dynamic for MVP — and many of the NBA awards — feels very different and wide open.

In this latest PBT Extra, I lay out my preseason predictions for every award — LeBron James for MVP, Ben Simmons for Rookie of the Year, and on down the list. There are a few leaps and surprises in there (predicting Most Improved or Sixth Man before the season is a crap shoot, so why not gamble).

Now the predictions season is over, let’s get on to the games.

Jazz: Dante Exum undergoing surgery after shoulder injury

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Jazz point guard Dante Exum hurt his shoulder in a preseason game – an injury that immediately looked like it could be season-ending.

Though Utah doesn’t outright say Exum is done for the year, this doesn’t engender much hope.

Jazz release:

The following is a medical update on Utah Jazz guard Danté Exum who suffered a separated left shoulder on October 6 vs. Phoenix.

After further evaluation, Exum (6-6, 190, Australia) has elected to undergo surgery to stabilize the AC joint of his left shoulder. The surgery is scheduled to take place Tuesday, October 24 in Los Angeles. Further updates will be provided when appropriate.

Exum (obviously) didn’t receive a contract extension before today’s deadline, so he’ll become a free agent next summer. After one full missed season already and two years of limited effectiveness, it’s not even clear Utah will extend Exum a qualifying offer to make him a restricted free agent. The former No. 5 pick almost certainly won’t meet the starter criteria, which means his qualifying offer would be worth $4,333,931 (down from $6,619,903 based on his draft slot).

The Jazz will start Ricky Rubio, and Raul Neto will be the primary point guard behind him. Wings Rodney Hood, Alec Burks, Donovan Mitchell and Joe Ingles can all share facilitating duties.

Utah will probably be just fine without Exum this season, which speaks to his marginal place long-term.