Arenas magic

Eight guys likely waived under new CBA amnesty clause


Next time you’re positive you know who is going to get cut with the coming NBA amnesty clause, remember this: In 2005 it was nicknamed the Allan Houston clause after the wildly overpaid Knicks guard. Except the Knicks didn’t cut him.

We don’t know who will get cut this time around, but we have heard an amnesty clause that allows a team to wipe a player off the official payroll (luxury tax and salary cap) is almost a certainty in the new labor deal. It’s a one time shot.

Remember — the players will still get paid. The amnesty will wipe a player’s salary off the official books, but this is a signed contract and the checks will keep flowing. Chris Bernucca at Sheridan hoops is right — this is essentially a do-over for the wealthy teams and gives overpaid players a chance to still get paid and sign with a contender for less. But if you were smart with your contracts and managed your budget, this doesn’t help you at all. As always, the owners just want protection from themselves.

Here are our guesses for the eight guys most likely cut, plus one interesting scenario in the Pacific Northwest.

Richard Hamilton, Detroit Pistons. He is owed two years, $25.3 million. In theory they could keep him around to trade him, but there hasn’t been much of a market for him in the past year — and the market will shrink with the new labor deal.

Rashard Lewis, Washington Wizards. He is owed two years, $43.8 million. He may be the poster child for the amnesty clause. He also can still contribute and some team is going to get him for a song and he will help them (Miami may be the most likely).

Gilbert Arenas, Orlando Magic. He is owed three years, $54.3 million. They have a few choices, such as Hedo Turkoglu (three years, $34.8 million), but Arenas has the worst deal. Orlando needs to shed salary and bring in talent if they have any hope of keeping Dwight Howard after next summer.

Baron Davis, Cleveland Cavaliers. He is owned two years, $28.6 million. I know he is excited to mentor Kyrie Irving, but the Clippers were desperate to get rid of him (giving up the pick that became Irving) to stop him from mentoring their young team.

Brendan Haywood, Dallas Mavericks. He is owed five years, $45.3 million. The Mavericks gave him a big deal, then it turned out Tyson Chandler was the big deal they really needed. Dallas will bring back Chandler and let Haywood go, but he is still a solid center who can help some teams.

Luke Walton, Los Angeles Lakers. He is owed two years, $11.4 million. Another guy with NBA game that can help another team. He was a good triangle fit but may not work with the Mike Brown offense, plus the Lakers are going to need to trim salary whatever the new system is.

Travis Outlaw, New Jersey Nets. He is owed four years, $28 million. That he played just shy of 30 minutes a game last season in New Jersey speaks to the Nets roster issues. He is not part of the future and the Nets could use the cap space to maneuver.

Andris Biedrins, Golden State Warriors. He is owed three years, $27 million. He was going to be the center of the future, but his confidence fell apart faster than his free throw form. Or maybe they collapsed together. Either way, this franchise needs a change in the middle.

The biggest amnesty question is:

Brandon Roy, Portland Trail Blazers. He is owed four years, $68.4 million. His knees have robbed him of a game that was worth that money. He was one of the franchise’s anchors, but while he can still deliver spectacular playoff fourth quarters he can’t deliver every game any more. On paper this seems an easy cut, but there are emotional ties here in Portland that make it more difficult. This will be owner Paul Allen’s call.

Watch LeBron James’ speech after getting his ring in Cleveland

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“At this point, if you’re not from here, live here, play here, dedicate yourself to Cleveland, then it makes no sense for you to live at this point — Cleveland against the world!”

And with that, the Q went nuts.

LeBron James and the Cavaliers got their rings and raised a banner in Cleveland — the first title banner in that city in 52 seasons (although the Indians are trying to have their say on the matter across the street). It was emotional for everyone in the building, and particularly the hometown boy LeBron.

Check out the full ring ceremony.

Best foot forward: 76ers’ Embiid set for long-awaited debut

Philadelphia 76ers center Joel Embiid (21) shoots against Memphis Grizzlies center Marc Gasol, of Spain, during the first half of a preseason NBA basketball game Tuesday, Oct. 11, 2016, in Memphis, Tenn. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)
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PHILADELPHIA (AP) With a dunk contest, half court shots and “Juju on that Beat ” dancing contest finished, Joel Embiid turned back toward Philadelphia 76ers fans at an open practice.

Instead of scurrying off to the locker room, Embiid stuck around for selfies with fans sitting on all sides of the court, stretching mobiles high over his 7-foot-2 frame to squeeze as many fans as he could into each snapshot .

Embiid even entertained in 1-on-1 games – against little kids.

Embiid has the joyous personality of a kid himself. Social media posts include him crushing on Rihanna or teasing an Australian-born teammate that he’ll get deported if Donald Trump is elected president of the United States. The 76ers posted a Vine last season of Embiid throwing down a between-the-legs dunk at warmups that blew up NBA-centric Twitter feeds and offered fans a fleeting look at the potential ahead.

“Philadelphia’s going to love him,” coach Brett Brown said.

The city has waited 29 months to love the 22-year-old Embiid for his impact on the court.

The Sixers have stripped the bubble wrap off Embiid and the No. 3 overall pick of the 2014 draft is set to make his debut Wednesday night against Oklahoma City after two foot surgeries, countless days of rehab, gallons of Shirley Temples and inherited expectations that he is the savior for a woebegone franchise that has made a farce of competitive basketball.

Embiid, who grew up playing soccer and volleyball and didn’t play basketball until 2011, is no longer the raw project out of Kansas. He’s grown 3 inches and beefed up to about 275 pounds to better handle the daily grind of battling the NBA’s biggest big men.

“Where I was three years ago, I’m not even close to what I am right now,” Embiid said. “My game has gotten so much better. The past three years, if you watch the game tape, I’m not the same guy.”

Embiid had a fantastic freshman season with the Jayhawks, averaging 11.2 points and 8.1 rebounds. He blocked 72 shots to earn Big 12 defensive player of the year honors.

He might have been the No. 1 overall pick in `14 – a spot that went to Minnesota’s Andrew Wiggins – had he had not suffered from a balky back and needed surgery for a stress fracture in his right foot shortly before the draft. Embiid, who knew only his native Cameroon before college, failed to really adjust to life without daily organized basketball. His weight ballooned, and he was booted from a road trip because of a petulant attitude. Part of his weight gain was blamed on a junk food diet washed down with that mix of ginger ale and a splash of grenadine garnished with a maraschino cherry commonly known as a Shirley Temple .

His personal life was rocked in October 2014 when his 13-year-old brother Arthur died in a car crash in Africa.

“It’s been really hard,” Embiid said.

Embiid was expected to anchor the rebuild in 2015 for a Sixers organization that had scorched their roster and abandoned a competitive season in hopes of gobbling lottery picks. But a second surgery of the navicular bone on the right foot in August 2015 cost him his sophomore season.

Embiid was devastated but handled his time off with greater seriousness in his workouts and a mission to return as a dominant center. The 76ers even shipped Embiid to a sports science facility and sports medicine hospital in Qatar to rehab.

“When I left college, I felt I wasn’t ready for NBA life,” Embiid said. “But since I’ve been in the league, the support I’ve had around me from (former president) Sam Hinkie, the coaching staff, they’ve just been on me. That’s what I usually need. When somebody’s on me, I can usually do better.”

The Sixers played it safe this year and held Embiid out of summer league. Brown, in his fourth season, entered training camp with a cautious plan to limit Embiid’s minutes and games when the schedule is packed.

Embiid, well, he left his training wheels in the dust.

He averaged 11.6 points over all seven preseason games. Embiid played 20 minutes a game as the preseason ended and Brown said he would consider playing his starting center more often. Brown would ideally lessen Embiid’s load early and help him avoid the same fate of other centers who had careers curtailed by foot injuries, like Yao Ming and Zydrunas Ilgauskas.

In the preseason, Embiid flashed some wow moments that had his teammates hooting and hollering on the bench. But Embiid sometimes tried too hard to be the showstopper and was a turnover machine.

“At times, he just reminds me of a yearling, trying to find his balance,” Brown said. “He wants to score. He wants to dominate. How about the passion he plays with? You can’t coach that. And he has `it.”‘

So who plays with him? The Sixers have had more key players out with injuries under Brown than they have had competing for playing time.

Ben Simmons, the No. 1 overall pick this year, is sidelined indefinitely with a broken bone in his right foot. Nerlens Noel, the No. 6 pick in the `13 draft, is out at least a month after surgery on his left knee. Starting point guard Jerryd Bayless is sidelined with a ligament injury in his left wrist. Jahlil Okafor, Philadelphia’s leading scorer and rebounder, is restricted as he recovers from surgery on his left knee.

The Sixers went 10-72 last season and have won 27 games in Embiid’s two seasons on the bench.

“Having to sit on the bench and watch us lose almost every night has been hard,” Embiid said.

Embiid took note of the hype that happened across the street during one of his visits to the Philadelphia Eagles sideline. Carson Wentz went from unknown rookie to whipping fans into a “Wentzamania” frenzy with his quick start.

“I think it’s our turn,” Embiid said.

WWE’s The Undertaker is at Cavaliers ring/banner celebration

NEW YORK, NY - AUGUST 23: The Undertaker recovers during his fight against Brock Lesner at the WWE SummerSlam 2015 at Barclays Center of Brooklyn on August 23, 2015 in New York City.  (Photo by JP Yim/Getty Images)

Remember during the NBA Finals LeBron James and a number of the Cavaliers players were wearing WWE star shirts? LeBron in particular wore an Undertaker shirt before Game 5, then had on The Ultimate Warrior shirt after Game 7.

Well, guess who is going to be at the ring and banner ceremony Tuesday night in Cleveland?

The Undertaker is there is full regalia — Cavs fans are going to love this.

Who was most excited to meet The Undertaker? The Birdman, of course.

(Hat tip

Carmelo Anthony, Chris Paul, other NBA stars talk “togetherness” in new video


Carmelo Anthony and other NBA players have talked about wanting to take the conversation created around the national anthem protests and turn that into action in their communities.

A new video featuring Anthony, Chris Paul, Kyle Korver, Dwyane Wade and other NBA stars is along those lines — it speaks to unity. It’s about we as a nation learning to talk to each other again — to listen and have empathy, not just talk at each other.

It’s a step. One of many we all need to take.