San Antonio Spurs center Tim Duncan spreads his arms during a stop in play during their NBA basketball game in San Antonio, Texas

Tim Duncan took a serious pay cut to get Spurs under tax line


Last year, Tim Duncan was the third-highest paid player in the NBA at $21.5 million.

Next season he is going to make $9.65 million. Three other guys on the Spurs will make more than Duncan. And he’s good with that. He signed a three-year deal with raises from that level.

In an age where Andrew Bynum says he will play anywhere they have a bank, Duncan did the old school, very Duncan thing of taking a serious pay cut to help out the organization. Mike Monroe of the News-Express breaks it down on his Spurs blog.

By accepting an $11.5 million cut from the $21.15 million salary he earned last season, Duncan enabled the club to re-sign its most coveted free-agent players, add 2009 draftee Nando De Colo and still drop below the NBA’s projected luxury-tax threshold for next season….

A two-time NBA Most Valuable Player, the 36-year-old Duncan will see his salary rise to $10.36 million for the 2013-14 season. The team captain is guaranteed $10 million for the 2014-15 season, but he has an opt-out clause.

All of it was done quietly. Without fanfare. It was all very Duncan.

By the way, before you say “why doesn’t Kobe/LeBron/Howard/whoever do this to help out their team?” know that they cannot. Under the terms of the CBA, players cannot renegotiate existing contracts downward. You can’t do what you see quarterbacks in the NFL do and rework a contract to take less in the short term so the team can sign a decent receiver. NBA rules prohibit that.

But Duncan was a free agent and could sign whatever deal he wanted. And so he chose to do something very Tim Duncan. We are going to miss having this guy in the league in a few years.

LeBron says “get it done” message was for both Cavaliers, Thompson

LeBron James
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Everything LeBron James does and says gets magnified and scrutinized.

So when he put out this photo on Instagram standing shoulder-to-shoulder with Tristan Thompson and the caption “get it done” it seemed a message to the Cavaliers.

Get it done!!!! Straight up. #MissMyBrother @realtristan13

A photo posted by LeBron James (@kingjames) on

LeBron clarified that on Sunday, saying this has become a distraction, and the message was for both sides to bend, as reported by Dave McMenamin of ESPN and Chris Haynes of the Plain Dealer.

When Thompson didn’t sign the qualifying offer he surrendered a lot of leverage, the Cavaliers don’t have to raise their five-year, $80 million offer — but reportedly they still would, a little. Thompson and his agent Rich Paul have pushed for a max contract, but that’s not happening.

At some point, the two sides will come to an agreement. For the Cavaliers, this is a distraction, their star is unhappy with that, and ultimately if they are going to make a title run they need the energy and rebounding Thompson brings (even if it is just off the bench). For Thompson, he can’t make up a year of lost salary, he has to come in and start getting paid at some point.

The two sides will get it done. Eventually. Likely before the season tips off.

China basketball qualifies for 2016 Olympics

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China has secured the ninth and final Olympic men’s basketball berth awarded this year.

China earned the bid to the 2016 Rio Games with a 78-67 win over the Philippines. 2016 first-round draft prospect Qi Zhou had 16 points and 14 rebounds, setting up the Olympics to be his big introduction to American fans.

Former NBA player Yi Jianlian won tournament MVP by averaging 16.7 points, 8.8 rebounds, 1.4 assists and 1.2 blocks per game.

This will be China’s ninth straight Olympic appearance.

The Philippines, who got 17 points from Andray Blatche in the final, will still go to an Olympic Qualifying Tournament next summer with a chance to reach Rio.