Here are your top-10 NBA highest-paid players for 2012-13

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The NBA salaries are basically set for next season, minus a few tweaks for late pickups and drops. While there are a few good players still out there as free agents, said players are discovering right now the market is pretty dry. I hope they all like the veteran minimum.

So who is going to make the most money next year? Glad you asked. The fine folks at Hoopsworld (Eric Pincus in particular) have that salary info handy and compiled this list.

1. Kobe Bryant (Lakers) $27,849,149
2. Dirk Nowitzki (Mavericks) $20,907,128
3. Carmelo Anthony (Knicks) $20,463,024
4. Amare Stoudemire (Knicks) $19,948,799
5. Joe Johnson (Nets) $19,752,645
6. Dwight Howard (Lakers) $19,536,360
7. Pau Gasol (Lakers) $19,000,000
8. Chris Paul (Clippers) $17,779,458
9 (T). Chris Bosh (Heat) $17,545,000
9 (T). LeBron James (Heat) $17,545,000
(Bonus) 11.Dwyane Wade (Heat) $17,182,000

A few thoughts on the list:

• Unlike recent years, there are no massive duds on the list (Gilbert Arenas, Rashard Lewis type contracts). You can thank the new CBA’s amnesty provision for that. But just wait, there will be future bad contracts handed out to make these lists. Be patient.

• Kobe will make nearly $7 million more than anyone in the league in salary.

• There are three Lakers in the top 10, three Heat (if you count Wade at No. 11), and a couple of Knicks. But sure, small market competitive balance is alive and well.

• I think it needs to be repeated: When you talk about oversized NBA contracts, these are not the guys to point at. (If you want to say as a society we overvalue entertainers and undervalue teachers and firemen and librarians, etc., then by all means go ahead. But that is not the debate at hand.) Kobe is paid handsomely but what he generates for the Lakers in terms of ticket sales (and with that beer sales, parking, etc.), sponsorships, television rights revenue and so on vastly outweighs what he gets paid. Same with basically everyone on this Top-10 list. What hurts is more the upper middle class of the NBA — Jose Calderon making $10.5 million, Hedo Turkoglu making north of $11 million. Those are the kins of salaries that hurt teams bottom lines.

Remembering Notre Dame, Laker legend Tommy “the hawk” Hawkins

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Tommy Hawkins passed away recently at the age of 80.

The former NBA player was the first black athlete to earn All-America honors in basketball at Notre Dame (he still holds the school’s total rebounds record), was drafted in the first round, and went on to have a 10-year NBA career playing for the Minneapolis/Los Angeles Lakers as well as the Cincinnati Royals. Los Angeles fans may also remember him as the long time director of communications for the Los Angeles Dodgers after his playing days ended.

The NBA put together this well done video look back at Hawkins’ career.

Celtics’ Brad Stevens said early September tests will show if Thomas ready for camp

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Isaiah Thomas said he expects to be ready for the Celtics’ training camp next month. The guard’s All-NBA season came to an early end in the playoffs when he aggravated a labral tear in his right hip initially suffered back in March. At least the injury did not require surgery.

Players are also about the worst judges of when they will recover from an injury. They pretty much all think they are invincible and will be healthy faster than doctors predict.

Coaches tend to be more pragmatic. Take Boston’s Brad Stevens, who told Chris Mannix on The Vertical Podcast that tests in a couple of weeks will show if Thomas is ready for camp.

“He has another follow-up and another scan in the early part of September. Obviously, it’s been a lot of appropriate rest, a lot of rehab. There have been some good strides here certainly in the last month or few weeks, but we’re not going to know that until after that early September timeframe.”

The Celtics are understandably going to be cautious with Thomas, while Thomas wants to prove he is healthy and has no ill effects from the injury as he enters a contract year (one where he expects to get PAID). Also, the Celtics could use him in camp as they start to figure out how he and Gordon Hayward can share playmaking duties.

Still, from the outset, the timelines have suggested he should be ready for camp in late September. Coaches are just cautious on these things by nature.

Allen Iverson predicts LeBron James will win MVP

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LeBron James has four NBA MVP trophies in his case. (Does he keep that case in his home in Akron or the one in Los Angeles… that’s a question for another day.) Only Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (six) and Michael Jordan (five) have more.

Could LeBron James add a fifth to his case this season?

Allen Iverson said yes at last weekend’s Big3 playoffs in Seattle.

LeBron was fourth in preseason odds to win the MVP at 15/2, behind Russell Westbrook, Kevin Durant, and Kawhi Leonard.

To me, LeBron could be a good bet. If/when Kyrie Irving is traded, the chances of LeBron getting the MVP go up. If LeBron puts up impressive numbers (again) and leads a depleted Cavaliers team to a top two seed in the East, he is certainly going to be in consideration. And should be.

It’s a long season, and personally, I think you need to get midway through the season before seriously considering the year-end awards. But history says LeBron will be in the mix, and Allen Iverson could be proven prophetic.

Phoenix Suns with quality solar eclipse joke on Twitter

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With the cooler-than-I-expected solar eclipse on Monday came a lot of bad solar eclipse jokes on Twitter. Because that’s what Twitter does. Especially the NBA Twitterverse. We knew a lot of “where on the flat earth will Kyrie Irving watch the eclipse?” jokes were coming.

There were a couple of good ones, however.

Appropriately, the Phoenix Suns won the day.

One personal favorite here, an old meme that never goes out of style.