Doo-doo-doo… just waiting to see if the NBA loses games…

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The NBA and NBPA began meetings roughly two hours ago around 6PM EST. There’s no telling when they’ll break, or how things are going. They could leave the room in a huff any time, they could be in there overnight. Here’s what we do know.

  • Glen Taylor, Jeanie Buss and Mo Evans joined the talks, but that still makes it a “small meeting.” Even if they were able to get a deal on the table, the owners,  and players (plus, by extension, their agents) would have to approve even the framework before the i’s could be dotted.
  • Yahoo! Sports reports that league executives doubt the players’ resolve. Which will inevitably anger the players and make them dig in deeper. Sometimes silence is golden, guys.
  • As far as the 50/50 split goes, the New York Times reports that the league did not soften on 50/50, they’re trying to work around it. However, that doesn’t mean it wasn’t dropped as a precondition, according to’s Ken Berger. So basically, the owners are willing to talk, but want it known they still want 50/50. Pretty basic negotiating tactic.
They could be in there talking to themselves and glaring. They could be eating in awkward silence. They could be locked in a death battle. They could be calling constituents to see if they have the votes to agree to a deal.
We’ll know eventually. Right now? We wait.

LeBron James posts photo with Tristan Thompson, sends message to Cavs

2015 NBA Finals - Game Five
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Tristan Thompson is a man without a contract. By not signing the qualifying offer with the Cleveland Cavaliers he put himself in limbo, the rare NBA holdout. Right now his options are to sign the deal on the table (the Cavs still have the five-year, $80 million offer out there), get the Sixers or Blazers to offer him a max contract (which neither team has shown any interest in doing), or hold out and hope the Cavaliers make a better offer. If he holds out for the entire season he becomes a restricted free agent again next summer — exactly like he is right now.

Without signing the qualifying offer and the threat of leaving, Thompson hurt his leverage.

But he has a little leverage. He and his agent Rich Paul had one other card, and it got played Saturday.

Get it done!!!! Straight up. #MissMyBrother @realtristan13

A photo posted by LeBron James (@kingjames) on

LeBron James and Thompson share an agent in Paul. LeBron has largely remained silent through this process but if he wants something in the Cleveland organization, he usually gets it. And he wants Thompson back at practices.

LeBron’s leverage is going to be put to the test. The Cavaliers have let it leak they are not that concerned about LeBron leaving them next summer over this — and they’re right. The damage to LeBron’s brand if he broke the hearts of Cleveland fans again would be crushing, unless he leaves for a very good reason. Overpaying Thompson is not that reason.

However, LeBron’s comment could push the Cavaliers to try to find a compromise.

For the Cavaliers, a lot of how they view all this comes down to their tax bill. The Cavaliers already have $94.9 million in guaranteed salary on the books, putting them $10.2 million over the luxury tax line, at a cost of more than $16.25 million. What this means if (or when) they sign Thompson is his first $10 million in salary would cost them $28.75 million in tax and every dollar above that for the next $5 million costs them $3.75-to-$1. Look at it this way, by my count $14 million this year to Thompson would cost $43.75 million in tax — the total for Thompson at that price is $58 million. While that’s not all on Thompson it’s a lot of cash, and Thompson wants a max deal that starts at more than $16 million a year.

Owner Dan Gilbert is already going to pay the highest tax bill in the NBA this season, but if he balks at those figures it’s hard to blame him.


Hezonja throws down one-handed dunk in preseason debut

Orlando Magic Introduce 2015 NBA Draft Picks
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Mario Hezonja, the No. 5 pick in this year’s draft, has never lacked for confidence. The Croatian guard made his pro debut in the Magic’s preseason game against the Hornets on Saturday and did this:

Between Hezonja, Elfrid Payton, Victor Oladipo and Aaron Gordon, the Magic have a nucleus of young players that has the potential to be a lot of fun. Even if they’re still a few years away from contending, they’re definitely going to be a League Pass favorite this year.