About the players not getting paychecks… they are about to

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One of the theories on why the owners were going to get the best of the players in this round of NBA labor negotiations was the old “millionaires vs. billionaires” premise. Basically, the owners have more money, the players make a lot of money but spend a lot of money. Once the players missed a paycheck, they’d cave.

Except, they are about to get a paycheck.

It was money still owed NBA players from last season, but it is a payday, as Chris Sheridan explains at

The money represents the 8 percent of each player’s salary that was withheld from their paychecks last season under the NBA’s escrow tax system, which was put in place to ensure that the players received no more than 57 percent of basketball related income in the 2010-11 season.

A total of $161 million in escrow funds were withheld last season, and the league office sent a stack of more than 350 checks to the Players Association last week to begin issuing the refunds, SheridanHoops has learned.

For Kobe Bryant, that is $1.9 million. But that is also a drop in the bucket for him. Where it matters more is guys like Knicks rookie Landry Fields — he made $473,604 last season. Which is good money, but when you take out taxes and factor in the cost of living in New York, he’s not living the crazy high life of some NBA players. The check he gets for $37,888 matters. That staves off some money crunch for him.

All of which is to say if this labor negotiation goes sideways and loses its apparent current momentum, both sides can hold out for a while. Which means only we fans lose.

PBT Extra: How did Thunder, Pacers move up in PBT Power Rankings?

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As they do every Monday during the season, the PBT Power Rankings came out and while the top three remained the same there were some climbers.

Specifically, the Thunder at No. 4 and the Pacers at No. 5.

Why they are there is the latest PBT Extra topic with Jenna Corrado. The simple answer is they are both excellent teams. Russell Westbrook, Kevin Durant, and Paul George are all playing like Top 10 players.

PBT Podcast: We’re back talking Kobe, 76ers, Warriors, Pistons, more

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The ProBasketballTalk NBA podcast is back.

Sure we’re a month into the season, but we’re going to get this podcast rolling again and you can expect us on each Monday and Thursday, with a variety of guests talking everything around the NBA.

Today NBC’s own Dan Feldman joins Kurt Helin to talk Kobe Bryant‘s retirement announcement, and what that means both for the Lakers going forward this season and beyond, but also what that could mean for Byron Scott’s future as the Lakers’ coach.

We also delve into the “showdown” between the Lakers and Sixers on Thursday, talk about the job Brett Brown is doing there as coach (a good one), we talk some Warriors, some Draymond Green, Pistons, Spurs and Pacers to round it all out.

Listen to the podcast below or you can listen and subscribe via iTunes.


Sacramento’s DeMarcus Cousins probable to play against Dallas Monday

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It’s this simple: The Sacramento Kings are 5-5 when DeMarcus Cousins plays this season, 1-7 when he sits. (And that win number is a big misleading, they looked like they would have beaten Charlotte with him, but when he left with back pain they lost, they could easily be 6-4 with him.)

So it’s good news that Cousins is expected to return to the Sacramento lineup Monday night. Well not good for Rick Carlisle and the Mavericks, but good for the Kings, as reported by James Ham at CSNBayArea,com.

This season Cousins is averaging 27.9 points and 11.2 rebounds a game, he has a true shooting percentage above the league average (56.3 percent for Cousins) and he has a PER of 27.1 which is sixth best in the league.

Combine him with the numbers Rajon Rondo has put up lately the Kings become much more dangerous. They’d be even scarier if everyone stayed healthy and George Karl would settle on a lineup.

PBT Extra: Kobe Bryant understands now is time to walk away

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It was expected Kobe Bryant would retire at the end of this season.

It was not expected Kobe would make that official on Nov. 29 — it’s caught the media at Staples Center Sunday (of which I was one) and the fans by surprise.

In this PBT Extra, I talk with Jenna Corrado about the mood inside Staples Center Sunday.

More importantly, I discuss the sense I got that Kobe understands it’s time to walk away, and he is at peace with that.