The Magic can’t seem to get a string of good things going for them. They managed to survive all this drama throughout the season with Dwight Howard demanding a trade, then rescinding the request, then changing his mind twice before signing a waiver, and subsequently getting into an awkward situation where his coach admitted that management told him Howard had told them he wanted Van Gundy fired. And through it all, they’ve managed to win enough to cement a spot in the playoffs. After all that, Dwight Howard hurt his back and now things get even scarier.
With Howard suffering a herniated disc in his back, the Magic have set a 10-14 day window of rest for the All-Star center. But considering the nature of the injury, and with only a handful of games in two weeks before the playoffs begin, Stan Van Gundy admitted Sunday that Howard’s availability for the playoffs is far from a sure thing. From the Orlando Sentinel:
Needless to say, if Howard’s out for the playoffs, that would be all she wrote on the Magic’s season. Even after a win Sunday against the tanking-without-tanking Cavs, the Magic know they won’t be winning a first-round series against anyone without their MVP candidate. But they have no choice because of the desperate scenario they’ve put themselves into by not trading Howard. So with a coach they have a complicated relationship with, with their star maybe or maybe not coming back, with a beat up roster facing a losing end to the regular season and an impossible first-round matchup, the Magic go once more in the breach.
In a crazy season, it has been craziest for the Magic.
Don’t make a bet you’re not willing to follow through on. I mean, we all do it — “If Trump wins I’m moving to Canada” — but never really mean it. We don’t follow through.
Except sometimes people do.
Reddit NBA user ‘PARTYxDIRTYDAN’ made a bet that he would eat his shirt if the Warriors repeated as Western Conference champions. Call it a bad beat if you want — he came about as close to winning that bet as he could without actually winning it — but the man was good to his word. He had a little BBQ sauce on it, but he ate his shirt.
He probably shouldn’t make a similar bet in the Finals, no matter how big a Cavs fan he is.
(Hat tip Deadspin)
LeBron James got what he probably wanted deep down — a second chance at Stephen Curry and the Golden State Warriors in the NBA Finals (starting Thursday night). It’s a chance for revenge from last season and to knock Curry off his pedestal.
Except this is a difficult matchup for the Cavaliers and their current style of play, something Kurt Helin and Dan Feldman of NBC Sports get into in this breakdown of what’s to come on the NBA’s biggest stage.
They both foresee a long couple of weeks coming for Kevin Love, and difficulty for the Cavaliers getting enough stops. While the Cavaliers now want to play faster and shoot threes, they may have to change tactics against the Warriors.
As always, you can listen to the podcast below, or listen and subscribe via iTunes, download it directly here, or you can check out our new PBT Podcast homepage, which has the most recent episodes available. If you have the Stitcher app, you can listen there as well.
Golden State is the clear favorites to beat the Cavaliers and repeat as NBA Champions.
But for gamblers, there’s not much money to be made in taking the safe route, where you have to risk a lot to win a little. The money is on the underdog.
Which is why the early cash has gone to Cleveland, something reported by online gambling site Bovada.lv. Here are their current odds to win the series:
Cleveland Cavaliers +175 (7/4)
Golden State Warriors -210 (10/21)
(That means for every $100 bet on Cleveland the gambler would get $175 if they win; where with Golden State it would take a $210 bet to win $100.)
“We opened the NBA Finals at Cleveland +200 (2/1) and Golden State -240 (5/12) and the public pounced on Cleveland, forcing the adjustment of the lines to +175 and -210,” said Kevin Bradley, Bovada.lv Sportsbook Manager. “While the wagering has evened out a bit more on each side, 60% of the public is currently on the Cavaliers.”
This just makes sense as a gambler — why would I risk so much to win with Golden State? I get the much better payoff with a smaller amount bet with Cleveland, even if the outcome is less likely to go my way.
Remember, for a book the goal is often even betting on both sides, so that they rake in their percentage and win regardless of the outcome. That said, the books may be Warriors fans for the next couple of weeks.
Bismack Biyombo made $3 million this season playing for the Raptors.
Next season he is going to make five times that or more playing somewhere. Biyombo is a free agent and the going rate could be $17 million a year.
After a breakout playoffs, Biyombo wants to stay in Toronto with the Raptors and would even consider a hometown discount to make that happen. That’s what he said on Sportsnet 590 The FAN’s Andrew Walker Show. Does Biyombo expect to wear a Raptors jersey next season?
“Honestly, I do. We still have some unfinished business. It was so much fun to see the team go from last year to this year making the Eastern Conference finals. Be it would be fun to go even further next season.”
The Raptors want to bring him back, but the salary cap makes it difficult. The Raptors do not have Biyombo’s Bird rights, so they need to use their salary cap space to re-sign him. The Raptors top priority is bringing back DeMar DeRozan (who will be a max or near max player), and remember they gave Jonas Valanciunas a four-year, $64 million contract extension last summer.
Would Biyombo be open to a discount to stay in Toronto?
“Yeah. Things can always be worked out. I’ve said that to my people, I’ve said that to Masai. When the right time comes I’d be open to figuring something out. At the end of the day it’s for fun, not money. It’s not always about money. Money is great, but at the same time I ask ‘how much fun am I going to have? The city is great, the team is great, and we’re winning.”
The question may be how big a discount are we talking about? Let’s say Team X does offer $17 million a year for four years, would Biyombo start at $15 million to stay? $13 million? Where is that number?
Next season Biyombo is going to make more money than he had in his entire NBA career up to this point. This is set your family up for generations money, and while the sentiment that the game should be for fun is what we as fans of the game want to hear, how much money would you leave on the table in his shoes?
With the Raptors talking about giving Valanciunas a bigger role in the offense next season, how much can they afford to pay his backup? Biyombo could be on the move.