Mark Cuban would consider “Dallas Mavericks Network”

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Television money is part of the reason David Stern and the league shut down the first couple weeks of the NBA season. There are some big new television deals on the horizon — the Lakers have a massive one that kicks in next season, the Celtics just modified theirs, then there is the national TV deal that kicks in for 2016 — and the owners don’t want to share that money with the players.

Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban has seen the machinations around a proposed “Longhorn Network” for the University of Texas, and he’s not sure it will work (because UT didn’t get equity in the deal, he has a point there).

But a Dallas Mavericks Network… that might work, he told Multichannel News via the Dallas Morning News.

When asked about creating a Mavs network, Cuban said, “Yeah of course, when my deal is up. Absolutely. I think Time Warner [Cable] is kind of our incumbent [in the Dallas area] and HD Net is not on Time Warner. So will I package the two to get one? Absolutely.”

This ties into another issue in the negotiations — the owners tell the players they have opened their books to them and the league lost $300 million last season. But among the many questions the union has is how owners can use their current NBA ownership to boost their other businesses. In Cleveland, Dan Gilbert got a sweetheart deal to build a couple casinos because of the LeBron-era Cavs popularity. Or in this case, Cuban can use the Mavericks to leverage Time Warner to pick up his HDNet channel.

None of this is happening for a while, the Mavs deal with Time Warner runs through 2017. But the owners are looking that far down the line and how to get more of the revenue that will come in that far away, which is why we are where we are with the lockout.

2017 NBA playoffs have been historically uncompetitive

AP Photo/Elise Amendola
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The NBA Finals so many wanted to see – Cavaliers-Warriors III – is here.

At least it will be.

Today is the first of six off days before the 2017, which begin June 1 in Oakland.

The lengthy delay is the product of an underwhelming postseason featuring few competitive series and numerous blowouts.

Golden State swept its way through the West, and Cleveland dropped only one game (to the Celtics in the conference finals) while winning the East. There have been only two Game 7s, but considering the magnitude, neither felt that compelling. Blake Griffin‘s injury undercut the Clippers against the Jazz, and Celtics over Wizards felt inevitable with home teams winning each game of the series. Between, there have been several lackluster games and series.

There have been just 74 playoff games this year – the fewest before the Finals since since the NBA instituted a best-of-seven first round in 2003:

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That’s 74 of a possible 98 games – 76%, the lowest since 1999 and seventh-lowest ever.

Even if the Finals go seven games, it will be the fewest games in a postseason since 2007. If the Finals go five or fewer games, it’ll be the shortest postseason in this playoff format.

And it hasn’t just been quantity. The quality of games has been lacking, too.

Though there were more blowouts last year by nearly any measure, the 2017 postseason’s average margin in pre-Finals games (13.5) is fifth-highest all-time and second-highest since 1959 (behind 2016, 14.2).

Combine the two factors, and these are the drabbest playoffs in nearly 50 years. Here’s each postseason plotted by average margin in pre-Finals games and percentage of possible games pre-Finals:

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This probably just confirms what you’ve seen: The 2017 playoffs have been in a rut.

We’re all counting on the Cavaliers and Warriors to salvage this postseason, but considering how deep the hole is, anything less than an epic Finals probably won’t cut it.

Kyrie Irving crosses over Avery Bradley, hits 3-pointer (video)

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Avery Bradley got around one screen then, thanks to Kyrie Irving‘s excellent ball-handling, lunged at another that wasn’t coming as Irving hit a 3-pointer.

LeBron James beautifully pass-fakes, makes layup in transition (video)

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LeBron James is a treasure.

Shaquille O’Neal’s big toe is seriously jacked up (PHOTO)

shaq o'neal
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Remember how we we all freaked out when we saw pictures of LeBron James‘ feet back in 2013?

You probably didn’t want to be reminded that it existed, but it does. Still. And apparently jacked up feet is the consequence of a lifetime of playing professional basketball. Once can only assume it has something to do with tight shoes and constant, hard changes of direction in said tight shoes.

We got yet another vision of what basketball shoes can do to feet on Thursday when TNT analyst Shaquille O’Neal showed off his, er, little piggies.

Much to the horror of the Internet in general, it was Shaq’s right big toe that took social media by storm. Mostly because it’s not even close to pointing in the right direction.

I’m going to show you what it looks like. Be forewarned, it might just be NSFL.

Via Twitter:

Oh. Oh … why?

Social media reacted appropriately and proportionately:

Shaq did have issues with that toe during the course of his career, and at one point it was so bad that he had to have surgery to remove bone spurs from the toe in 2002.

That still doesn’t explain why it’s all over your TV and the Internet, but here we are. I am sorry.