Detroit Pistons v Los Angeles Lakers

Report about Rip Hamilton shows players, agents not all unified

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A bunch of agents talked on the phone Wednesday amongst themselves, saying they were looking for ways to help the union in its struggle with the owners. Of course it was not about what the agents wanted, it was about their players and an overriding concern for the greater good. Agents are altruistic like that.

These same agents sent a letter to their clients urging them to not cave to the owners — and not let union head Billy Hunter cave either. No going below 52 percent of “basketball related income.” The players had given enough, the agents said. Trust no one.

Pistons veteran Rip Hamilton reportedly got the letter and then told his agent Leon Rose to back off, according to ESPN’s Chris Broussard on twitter:

Source says Rip Hamilton told his agent Leon Rose he’s upset Rose participated in letter, which is perceived by many as anti-union.

Source adds that Rip told Rose he’ll leave & take other players with him if Rose doesn’t leave the “anti-union” group.

Or maybe not. It didn’t take long before Rip went to twitter himself to shoot down the report.

@Chris_Broussard “Source says Rip Hamilton told his agent Leon Rose he’s upset Rose participated in letter.” 100% UNTRUE. Never happened.

Who knows if Hamilton said this or not, we’ll take his word for it. But the issue illustrates a larger point. The lesson here is not to think that the players are a unified front one way or another (or easily swayed by agents). The same can be said of the owners.

The hardest part of finalizing this deal will be for NBA Commissioner David Stern and union director Billy Hunter to sell the final deal to diverse constituencies who want different things out of these negotiations. The hardliners on both sides want more, some are ready to sign and play yesterday, and others have very specific interests. Neither the owners are players want to pass a deal where they get just over half their members to approve it — both sides need a vast majority to really make this work.

The sides are close, but those last few yards to the goal line are the hardest to get.

Aaron Gordon both legs over the mascot, ball-under-the-legs dunk (VIDEO)

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TORONTO — Zach LaVine won the NBA All-Star Saturday Dunk Contest, but in an epic night for my money this was the single best dunk.

Orlando’s Aaron Gordon broke ground with this one — guys have jumped over mascots and other players before (and a Kia hood), but by splitting their legs apart. Gordon just put both legs over Stuff (that’s the mascot’s name, Stuff the Magic Dragon, I don’t make this up) — and took the ball off the mascot’s head, went under his legs, and threw it down.

Insane.

Gordon deserved a trophy for his performance in this dunk contest.

Zach LaVine edges Aaron Gordon in epic, insane Dunk Contest

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TORONTO — That. Was. Amazing.

In a dunk contest that will go down with the all-time greats — Jordan vs. Dominique, Dr. J from the free throw line — Minnesota’s Zach LaVine defended his dunk contest title. Barely. Because Orlando’s Aaron Gordon was doing dunks nobody had ever seen before.

And LaVine was bringing it just as hard.

The two men advanced to the finals — dismissing Will Barton and Andre Drummond, each of whom had good dunks — and that was when it got wild.

There were four second-round dunks, and four perfect scores of 50. (That was in spite of Shaq, who wanted to give nines for second attempts.)

“I was prepared for four (second round dunks),” LaVine said. “To tell the truth, he came with something that no one else has done. He did two dunks that were just crazy with the mascots, jumping over them. We just kept pushing each other until the last dunk. I’ve got to give it up to my boy Will “The Thrill” Barton. It’s because of him I think I won. Because he said try to go from the free-throw line. I’d never done that before, and I just tried it. So I guess it was a great dunk. I think it was the best one ever.”

The Air Canada Centre crowd was exploding with every dunk. The two men went to a dunk-off — and got two more 50s.

“If I knew it was going to be like that, I would have prepared better and we would have been here dunking all night, going back 50 after 50 after 50 after 50,” Gordon said. “We would have been here all night. I didn’t know it was going to be like that. I was just hoping Zach was going to miss, and it wasn’t going to happen. You could see as my facial expressions when Zach dunks it, it’s like okay, that’s a 50. Like I know we’re going to have to dunk again.”

So they went to a second-round of overtime, where LaVine put up another 50 and won the contest.

Gordon was close to perfect.

Zach LaVine can flat-out fly.

Magic’s Aaron Gordon with the over-the-mascot mad dunk

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TORONTO — Aaron Gordon was giving Zach LaVine all he could handle in the Dunk Contest.

He blew the lid off the Air Canada Centre with this dunk in the first round — and it wasn’t even his best dunk of the night. Never seen this before.

This dunk contest was awesome, so much more video to come.

Zach LaVine opens Slam Dunk Contest title defense with spectacular behind-the-back slam (VIDEO)

during the BBVA Compass Rising Stars Challenge 2016 at Air Canada Centre on February 12, 2016 in Toronto, Canada. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.
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TORONTO — Zach LaVine clearly heard all the talk that Aaron Gordon or Will Barton had a chance to upset him in the Slam Dunk Contest. He came out ready to prove his superiority right off the bat. This behind-the-back slam was his first attempt of the night:

Even better was the reaction, both from Andre Drummond and from LaVine’s Minnesota teammates: