Dallas forward Nowitzki kisses the NBA Larry O'Brien Championship Trophy during media day at the team's headquarters in Dallas, Texas

Mavs players ask for championship rings even Cuban thinks are too pricy


There is bling. And then there is what Dirk Nowitzki and Jason Kidd think a championship ring should look like.

On Christmas day the Dallas Mavericks will raise a championship banner to the rafters — while LeBron James and the Heat look on — but they will not get championship rings. That will come later.

There are a few reasons for that, but one is that the money key Mavericks wanted to spend was so much it violated league rules, reports the Dallas Morning News (via Ball Don’t Lie).

A few players had a little more say than others. Dirk Nowitzki, Jason Kidd, Jason Terry and Shawn Marion all had a hand in on the final choice. Cuban admitted that when he initially asked Nowitzki and Kidd how much they wanted him to spend on the rings, they responded $150,000-$200,000 each.

Unfortunately for them, that’s against league rules.

“I’m like, ‘OK, you do know the NBA has a limit on how much we can spend, right?’ And it’s not 150 grand, trust me,” Cuban said. “I’m not going to tell you the exact amount but it’s nowhere near. The NBA, because they don’t want salary cap violations, puts a limit on how much you can spend on any given ring for any player.”

I had no idea there were league rules on how much you could spend on a championship ring. I bet only Phil Jackson knew that.

So the Mavericks are not going to spend that much, but you still know the thing will have enough bling to ‘lil Wayne double take.

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.