Winderman: League tells you how to build “Roster of the Future”

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If you didn’t know better (or perhaps if you do), it sure seems as if David Stern’s ultimate goal from the lockout is to reshape his league through some sort of real-life fantasy draft.

Getting beyond Sunday’s Twitter theatrics (we personally believe the answers were provided by some sort of auto-reply-bot or Adam Silver, which might actually be one in the same), perhaps the league’s YouTube slide show spelled it all out.

There, on the final slide, in effect, was the NBA “roster of the future” (our quote marks).

How do you build a roster that conforms to the NBA’s proposal and avoid all the draconian measures of the proposed next luxury tax?

According to the NBA, with:

One “Superstar (max salary)”: $17 million.
One “All-Star”: $14 million.
One “Starter”: $10 million.
Two “Starters”: $8 million (apiece).
One “6th Man”: $5 million.
One “Rotation Player”: $4 million.
One “Rotation Player”: $3 million.
One “Rotation Player”: $2 million.
One “Rotation Player”: $1 million.
Five “Remaining Players”: $3 million (total, $600,000 average, essentially minimum scale).

Go ahead, try to fit any recent championship model into such an alignment.

Taken further, and allowing for NBA-level salary inflation, try to fit the Showtime Lakers, any version of the championship Celtics, or even Michael Jordan’s Bulls into such a model.

And we won’t even get into the current Big Three Heat or Big Three Celtics.

It’s almost as if Stern (which could happen through decertification, at least according to Sunday’s threat), wants to reset the entire landscape, through the aforementioned fantasy-style draft.

The league designates 30 “superstars” (as if there are 30), and each team selects one.

The league then designates 30 leftover “All-Stars” (even  though with 30 “superstars” would any All-Stars be left?), and each team selects one.

From there, a pool of $10 million starters is set, and so on.

We’re not talking parity here; we’re talking a completely new world order.

For months now, the whispers have been about how Stern and the owners were attempting to blow up the league.

Perhaps they are.

Ira Winderman writes regularly for NBCSports.com and covers the Heat and the NBA for the South Florida Sun-Sentinel. You can follow him on Twitter at http://twitter.com/IraHeatBeat.

Elfrid Payton slams chasedown block on LeBron James (VIDEO)

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LeBron James is usually the guy handing out chasedown blocks. He’s famous for them, and has carted out his signature move in the biggest moments of his career.

He’s also not used to having his own shots blocked from behind, and certainly not by opposing point guards.

Enter Elfrid Payton.

During a play halfway through the first quarter against the Orlando Magic on Thursday, LeBron was on a drive to the hole with Elfrid trailing far behind.

Thanks to a pinch by two Magic defenders, LeBron had to try and use brute force a bit deeper in the paint than he wanted to.

That allowed Payton — running at full speed — to catch up and pin The King on the glass.

Cleveland still got the best of the Magic, as Isaiah Thomas hit a clutch free throw to win the game with 11 seconds left, 104-103.

All-Star Joel Embiid doesn’t need Rihanna: “On to the next one”

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For about as long as we can remember, Joel Embiid has famously thirsted after Rihanna on Twitter. Fans have tried to boost his standing with the singer, but it apparently that has not been enough.

In 2014, Embiid mentioned on social media that a “famous girl” — presumably Rihanna — told him to “Come back when you’re an All-Star.”

Well, today is that day.

Embiid is a starter out of the Eastern Conference, and on Thursday night he had his chance to speak to Rihanna (or whomever) via national TV on TNT.

Did Embiid decide to reach out to this famous person? Apparently he’s off it.

Via Twitter:

This is like that scene from Private Parts when Howard Stern hits No. 1 and he tells Paul Giamatti’s character to get lost.

Embiid had the chance to curve Rihanna (or whomever) and took it. Long live The Process.

Here are the weirdest NBA All-Star voting results for 2018

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NBA All-Star voting is over, and now we have the results. The starters are in, and what’s left is for us to wait until they announce the teams after they are picked in double secret ceremony.

Of course, the NBA did release the full voting results via their PR website this week, and as such there are some head scratchers. My boy Patrick Redford over at Deadspin did an excellent job rounding up some of the players who got exactly one (1) vote from other players.

The gag here is that these guys presumably voted for themselves.

Of course, what I found most interesting was actually the guys who got multiple votes from their compatriots without being All-Star caliber players.

My favorite list of player-voted non-All-Stars includes: Michael Beasley (4), Gordon Hayward (2), Boban Marjanovic (2), Jahlil Okafor (4), Quincy Acy (2), Tyler Zeller (4), T.J. McConnell (2), Elfrid Payton (2), Zaza Pachulia (3), Taj Gibson (6), Zach Randolph (5), Maurice Harkless (2), Deyonta Davis (3), Lonzo Ball (9), Mike Conley (3).

There’s a whole smattering of guys in there who either didn’t play enough, aren’t stars, are injured, or who aren’t very good.

That multiple players took time to vote for these guys really speaks to the frivolity of the NBA All-Star Game. At least outside of player contract incentives.

Bring on February!

LeBron James throws behind-the-back, nutmeg pass for assist (VIDEO)

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LeBron James is one of the best passers the NBA has ever seen, but even this is too hard to believe.

During Thursday’s game between the Orlando Magic and Cleveland Cavaliers, LeBron through a ridiculous behind-the-back pass that nutmegged Orlando’s Aaron Gordon.

The result of the play was a bucket for Dwyane Wade.

Via Twitter:

I mean, that’s just … insane.