DeShawn Stevenson is frustrated, rips Billy Hunter

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Dallas Mavericks players maybe more frustrated with the lockout than anyone. This season was to be their coronation — Dirk Nowitzki and Jason Kidd and a team full of guys who worked hard, won an NBA title and…

No banner to the rafter. No rings. Just lost momentum.

A couple of them spoke with Marc Spears of Yahoo and vented that frustration — nobody more so than DeShawn Stevenson.

“For me, personally, I don’t think there will be a season,” Mavericks guard DeShawn Stevenson said recently at Drew Gooden’s Make-A-Wish charity game. “Right now there is just a lot of bad blood and [the owners] keep putting offers out that we’re rejecting. So we’re not going anywhere….

“I felt like we should have decertified in July,” Stevenson said. “I feel like Billy Hunter is doing a horrible job because basically now [the owners] know our hand. The media knows our hand. The owners know our hand.”

Stevenson, I get your anger and frustration. But I think it’s misplaced here.

It would be a mistake to assume that it was Billy Hunter’s plan to answer David Stern’s ultimatum with a “disclaimer of interest.” Here is the thing — Hunter works for the players (the same way David Stern works for the owners). At the end of the day, he has to do what they want. If he wants to send a counterproposal to David Stern and the 30 team representatives say, “no, we want the disclaimer of interest” then the disclaimer it is.

In the end, the player reps voted unanimously for the disclaimer. If Stevenson wants to be angry with someone, it should be Mavs team rep Jason Terry who voted for this plan of action. And Terry told Spears he’d do it again.

One reason why Terry was glad the players rejected the owners’ most recent offer: Under it, he thought the Mavs would have a tough time keeping some of their core contributors. While Nowitzki, Terry, Shawn Marion and Jason Kidd are under contract, the Mavs have a long list of free agents that include Stevenson, center Tyson Chandler, guard Jose Juan Barea and forwards Caron Butler, Brian Cardinal and Peja Stojakovic.

“Look at our roster,” Terry said. “Free agency is going to hit us hard. We don’t know what our team is going to look like.”

The fact is now nobody is talking. Maybe the union’s attorneys will call the league attorneys soon and set up a settlement conference, if not that a judge will force the two sides to talk again, a source close to the negotiations told PBT.

But when that happens the attorneys — including Stern and Hunter — have to strike a deal both sides will ratify. And right now they can’t get their people to a middle ground compromise.

LeBron James: ‘I still got Pandora with commercials’

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Dwyane Wade revealed last year that LeBron James refuses to use his phone internationally unless he’s on Wi-Fi.

LeBron’s friend and new Cavaliers teammate again brought up that claim, and LeBron confirmed – then went even further about his own cheapness.

LeBron in a joint interview with Wade on ESPN:

No. I’m not doing that. I’m not turning on data roaming. I’m not buying no apps. I still got Pandora with commercials.

LeBron – he’s just like us!

As funny as that line is, keep watching to see LeBron hilariously explain how his hairline affects his interviews.

PBT Extra: LeBron as MVP and other NBA postseason award predictions

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Last year, Russell Westbrook had a historic season on his way to the MVP award, with James Harden and Kawhi Leonard right on his heels. But heading into this season, the dynamic for MVP — and many of the NBA awards — feels very different and wide open.

In this latest PBT Extra, I lay out my preseason predictions for every award — LeBron James for MVP, Ben Simmons for Rookie of the Year, and on down the list. There are a few leaps and surprises in there (predicting Most Improved or Sixth Man before the season is a crap shoot, so why not gamble).

Now the predictions season is over, let’s get on to the games.

Jazz: Dante Exum undergoing surgery after shoulder injury

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Jazz point guard Dante Exum hurt his shoulder in a preseason game – an injury that immediately looked like it could be season-ending.

Though Utah doesn’t outright say Exum is done for the year, this doesn’t engender much hope.

Jazz release:

The following is a medical update on Utah Jazz guard Danté Exum who suffered a separated left shoulder on October 6 vs. Phoenix.

After further evaluation, Exum (6-6, 190, Australia) has elected to undergo surgery to stabilize the AC joint of his left shoulder. The surgery is scheduled to take place Tuesday, October 24 in Los Angeles. Further updates will be provided when appropriate.

Exum (obviously) didn’t receive a contract extension before today’s deadline, so he’ll become a free agent next summer. After one full missed season already and two years of limited effectiveness, it’s not even clear Utah will extend Exum a qualifying offer to make him a restricted free agent. The former No. 5 pick almost certainly won’t meet the starter criteria, which means his qualifying offer would be worth $4,333,931 (down from $6,619,903 based on his draft slot).

The Jazz will start Ricky Rubio, and Raul Neto will be the primary point guard behind him. Wings Rodney Hood, Alec Burks, Donovan Mitchell and Joe Ingles can all share facilitating duties.

Utah will probably be just fine without Exum this season, which speaks to his marginal place long-term.

Sprained ankle has LeBron James questionable for opener vs. Celtics

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INDEPENDENCE, Ohio (AP) — LeBron James‘ playing status for Tuesday’s season opener against Boston remains unclear.

James has been slowed by a sprained left ankle for more than two weeks and it’s still not known whether he’ll be on the floor when the Cavaliers take on the Celtics and Kyrie Irving, who asked to be traded by Cleveland this summer.

Following Monday’s practice, Cavs coach Tyronn Lue said “I really don’t know” when asked if James will play.

James took part in some post-practice shooting drills with teammates. He did not speak with the media as the Cavaliers prepared for their opener, a rematch of last year’s Eastern Conference finals.

James has never missed an opener in his NBA career, and teammate J.R. Smith doesn’t expect him to miss this one.

“Oh, he’s going to go,” Smith said. “He’s going to go, trust me that. I don’t care what he’s got to do, he’s going to play.”