New Jersey Nets v Atlanta Hawks

Are NBA teams giving out “foolish” contracts? Yes. Lockout couldn’t stop that.


NBA fans are shaking their heads when they see Jeremy Lin about to get $25 million over three years. Or when they see Brook Lopez getting a max contract. Or JaVale McGee not signing a $50 million deal while seeking more. Or countless more deals since the start of free agency. Fans thinking pretty much what George Karl told Sam Amick of Sports Illustrated.

“This summer has kind of been, I don’t know what the word is other than foolish,” said Karl, who has been outspoken against the league’s star culture that he was once a part of before Carmelo Anthony was traded to New York two seasons ago. “I just think there’s some wild and crazy mentalities going on out there.”

They also are asking this:

“Wasn’t the lockout supposed to stop this kind of spending?”

Actually, no. It was supposed to contain it. It was supposed to give the owners quicker outs of the bad deals they were about to offer.

The lockout was always about the owners wanting a CBA that protected themselves from themselves. They wanted a CBA that forced fiscal constraints on themselves because they knew they couldn’t just do it through discipline.

Once the feeding frenzy of free agency starts teams are going to overpay. Some team always will. Maybe it’s the only way they can get a free agent to a smaller market, maybe a team overpays on potential, maybe teams overvalue what they have. There are as many reasons for bad contracts as there are bad contracts.

But the lockout was never going to bring good decision making to the NBA.

What the owners wanted and got were constraints — max deals are now one year shorter. There are all kinds of new restrictions on the exemptions that teams over the cap can spend.

Most important of all, the owners won back a whole lot of “basketball related income.” Nearly 7 percent of a nearly $4 billion business. That is money in their pockets (that can go to the rest of the business or to stem losses). It’s about the money.

Now those bad contracts are a little bit less expensive (and teams can spend less on other players after one). Plus they end more quickly. It makes the bad moves less painful for owners. And fans.

But there is nothing the owners could do to legislate out foolishness.

Spurs to give Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobili Friday night off in Denver

Manu Ginobili, Harrison Barnes, Tim Duncan
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The Spurs are 12-3 and comfortably in second place in the West, they have the best defense in the NBA allowing just 93.8 points per 100 possessions, and they have a top-10 offense to go with it.

So, time to start making sure guys are rested.

That is the first night of a back-to-back, with former Spurs’ assistant coach Mike Budenholzer and his Atlanta Hawks coming to San Antonio on Saturday. Popovich is saving his two veterans for that game.

Duncan and Ginobili have looked like they found the fountain of youth this season. Duncan is taking on less of the offense but has been very efficient in those moments. Ginobili has the impact he did a few years back in his bench role.

What Gregg Popovich cares about is them playing like that come the postseason. So they will rest on Friday.

Brandon Armstrong impersonates Ray Allen (video)

2014 NBA Finals - Game Five
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Ray Allen is retired-ish, but he’ll always be running through screens – in our mind and in this video.

Celtics draft pick Marcus Thornton gets beer dumped on head during Australian game (video)

Marcus Thornton, Will Cherry

The Celtics drafted Marcus Thornton with No. 45 pick in the 2015 NBA draft. That essentially entitled him to the required tender – a one-year contract offer, surely unguaranteed at the minimum.

Thornton rejected that, which is almost always a mistake.

Rejecting the tender is a favor to the drafting team, which gets to keep the player’s exclusive rights for a year. If Thornton tries to join the NBA now, he’s stuck negotiating with only the Celtics.

By accepting the tender, the player typically gets one of two outcomes. He either plays on that contract and draws an NBA salary or he gets waived. But even getting waived is better than rejecting the tender, because at least the player becomes a free agent and can negotiate with any team.

Players who reject the tender go to another league and play for less money. In Thornton’s case, that mean Australia.

How’s that going?

(Almost) never reject the required tender as a second-round pick.

Byron Scott says they just have to get Kobe Bryant better looks

Kobe Bryant, Joe Johnson, Byron Scott

Kobe Bryant is averaging 15.2 points a game at age 37. It’s just taking him 16.4 shots per game to get there. After his 1-of-14 shooting performance against the Warriors the other night — with too much isolation and too many plays run just for him — there has been a lot of talk about his shot. With reason, this is his shot chart so far this season.

Kobe shotchart season

So what do the Lakers’ do? Get Kobe to shoot less and get the ball in the hands of the young stars they supposed to be developing more? Nah.

They just need to get Kobe better looks, Scott told the Los Angeles Times.

“I know his mentality is that he can still play in this league,” Scott said. “And we feel the same way….

“Obviously he’s struggling right now with his shot, and I think everybody can see that,” Scott said. “So it’s trying to get him in better position to be able to have an opportunity to knock those shots down on a consistent basis. That’s No. 1.

“I don’t know if it’s his legs. I don’t think so. Again, our conversations are pretty blunt. … He tells me when he is tired and he tells me when he’s not tired. And the last few days, he said he feels great. So, I don’t think it’s a matter of him being tired or his legs being tired. I think it’s a matter of his timing being a little off.”

Yes, how could it be his legs? It’s not like he’s a 37-year-old with more than 55,000 NBA minutes played, and coming off an Achilles rupture and major knee surgery.

Honestly, I hope the Lakers and Kobe find a balance soon, because they have become just hard to watch. And I don’t want Kobe to go out this way.