Anthony Davis will not be highest paid rookie ever

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There is a rookie salary scale in the NBA that makes first round-picks very affordable for owners for the first couple years at least, and really four or five for most players. It makes the truly elite players like a Derrick Rose or Blake Griffin a real steal for the first several years they are in the league.

And traditionally each year, the No. 1 overall pick made a little bit more than the guy before him.

Until this year.

Thanks again, new NBA salary structure. From Darren Heitner at Forbes:

The new collective bargaining agreement also stipulates that Davis will not get an increase in salary compared to last year’s number one overall pick, Kyrie Irving or the prior year’s first pick, John Wall.

Typically, first round picks receive a more favorable rookie contract than the players who were picked in the same slot as them the prior year. However, Irving’s (selected by the Cleveland Cavaliers with the team’s first overall pick in 2011) slot value in his first year of his rookie deal was $4,286,900, as was the first overall slot for the year before, where John Wall, who was taken by the Washington Wizards…

Anthony Davis will not only fail to receive an increase in his rookie year salary from what Irving and Wall garnered in their respective rookie years, he will also receive less money in years two and three of his rookie contract than Wall, who was selected in the same slot two years ago. While Wall’s third year slot is $4,929,900, Anthony Davis’ will be $257,200 lower (at $4,672,700).

We should note that players have a “slotted” salary and can sign a contract up to 120 percent of that slot — and you can bet Davis (and the other top picks) will get that extra 20 percent.

And yes, Davis is still going to make good money. More than a lot of NBA players, more than you and me. But in terms of the revenue he will generate for the Hornets (not alone production on the court) he will be a great value for the Hornets for the first few years.

Victor Oladipo’s practice dunk better than anything he – or maybe anyone – did in dunk contest (video)

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Victor Oladipo has grown into far more than just a dunker.

In fact, in Saturday’s dunk contest, he didn’t look like a dunker at all.

The Pacers star missed all three attempts of his first dunk, and a Black Panther mask was by far the biggest draw of his second. Oladipo was eliminated after the first round.

Maybe Dennis Smith Jr. wasn’t the only eliminated dunker who left something in his bag. This Oladipo dunk – 180 degrees, throwing ball off the backboard with his left hand while in mid-air, dunking with his right hand – while preparing in Los Angeles was awesome.

Larry Nance Jr. had the contest’s best dunk. This would have rivaled it.

Pelicans owner Tom Benson hospitalized with flu symptoms

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METAIRIE, La. (AP) — New Orleans Saints and Pelicans Owner Tom Benson has been hospitalized with flu symptoms.

A statement released Wednesday by the NFL and NBA clubs says their 90-year-old owner is resting comfortably at Ochsner Medical Center, a hospital which also serves as a major sponsor and which owns naming rights to the teams’ training headquarters.

Benson has owned the New Orleans Saints since 1985 and bought the New Orleans Pelicans in 2012.

In recent years, Benson has overhauled his estate plan so that his third wife, Gayle, would be first in line to inherit control of the two major professional franchises.

 

Report: Seattle hosting Kings-Warriors preseason game

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Kevin Durant spent his rookie season in Seattle, before the SuperSonics moved to Oklahoma City and became the Thunder. He has said Seattle fans deserved to see him grow up in the NBA after supporting his promising start.

They’ll get their chance.

Ailene Voisin of The Sacramento Bee:

The Kings and Golden State Warriors have scheduled a preseason game next season in Seattle, according to multiple league sources.

The Oct. 6 meeting between Northern California teams will be the first NBA game in the Key Arena since the Sonics moved to Oklahoma City after the 2007-08 season and became the Thunder.

This game will be loaded with storylines. Not only Durant, but the Kings considered moving to Seattle a few years ago. And of course, the return of NBA basketball to Seattle.

At some point, Seattle will get its own team again. For now, this preseason game creates intrigue there.

Report: Kawhi Leonard cleared medically, seeking second opinion

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Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said he’d be surprised if Kawhi Leonard played again this season, a stark reversal from just a month ago. Back then, even while announcing Leonard was out indefinitely with a quad injury, the San Antonio coach said Leonard wouldn’t miss the rest of the season.

What’s going on?

Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN:

After spending 10 days before the All-Star break in New York consulting with a specialist to gather a second opinion on his right quad injury, All-NBA forward Kawhi Leonard bears the burden of determining when he’s prepared to play again, sources told ESPN.

Leonard has been medically cleared to return from the right quad tendinopathy injury, but since shutting down a nine-game return to the Spurs that ended Jan. 13, he has elected against returning to the active roster, sources said.

The uncertainty surrounding this season — and Leonard’s future which could include free agency in the summer of 2019 — has inspired a palpable stress around the organization, league sources said.

At first glance, this sounds like Derrick Rose five years ago. Even after he was cleared to play following a torn ACL, the then-Bulls star remained mysterious about when he’d suit up. His confidence in his physical abilities seemed to be a major issue, and he was never the same player since (suffering more leg injuries).

But the Spurs famously favor resting players to preserve long-term health. They seem unlikely to rush back Leonard. They might even sit players who want to play more often. And Leonard isn’t Rose.

Still, it’s clear something is amiss in San Antonio. Maybe not amiss enough to end Leonard’s tenure there, but the longer this lingers, the more time for tension to percolate.