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Ivan Johnson agrees to deal to play in China

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A couple weeks ago Ivan Johnson gave NBA teams an ultimatum: give me a decent offer of I’m going to play overseas next season.

Nothing came and Johnson was true to his word — he reached a deal to play next season in China, reports Chris Vivlamore of the Atlanta Journal Constitution. He will play with Zhejiang Chouzhou (that was Eddie Curry’s team).

Johnson  is a four/five with good size, he is a strong rebounder and a big body in the paint. Last season he played fairly well in a limited role for the Hawks, averaging 6.6 points on 52 percent shooting, But his reputation makes teams hesitant — he was banned from the Korean league after a gesture to a referee, led the D-League in technical fouls, and last season was fined and sent home during a road trip by the Hawks after he got in a bench spat with coach Larry Drew.

Still it is likely we see Johnson in the NBA late in the season — the Chinese season ends in February and Johnson will be an unrestricted free agent at that point. You can bet after some injuries and the grind of the long NBA season some teams will be jumping to add an NBA quality big man to the roster at that point.

Gilbert Arenas: Caron Butler’s version of gun incident ‘false’

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Caron Butler recently detailed the Gilbert Arenas-Javaris Crittenton gun incident.

In a since-deleted – but screenshot-captured – Instagram post, Arenas gives his description:

The biggest differences between Butler’s and Arenas’ versions:

1. Arenas claims he wasn’t the one who owed Crittenton money, that the feud escalated over Arenas prematurely showing his hand during a card game.

2. Arenas says he told Crittenton to pick a gun to shoot Arenas with – not to pick a gun he’d get shot by Arenas with.

Players’ union, NBA to set up cardiac screening for retired players

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First it was Darryl Dawkins. Then it was Moses Malone.

Two all-time great players who recently died — and at t0o young an age, 58 and 60 respectively — from undiagnosed heart conditions. Even before that, recognizing the issue the NBA players union and the league itself were setting up supplemental health coverage to provide cardiac screening for retired players, something ESPN’s Jackie MacMullan recently broke.

The joint effort between union executive director Michele Roberts and NBA commissioner Adam Silver — at a time when there still may be potentially acrimonious labor negotiations looming for their sides — is intended to ease the health concerns of its retired players.

Roberts said action from the players’ association on providing screening for its retired players is “imminent.”

“I wish I could give you an exact timetable, but we have to make sure all the components are in place,” Roberts told ESPN recently. “I will tell you we hope to have something sooner than later.”

The Cardiologists are affiliated with the NBA already, and some of the money will come from the league, while the union is both pitching in a chunk of cash and is the one organizing this, according to the report.

It’s good to Roberts and Silver working together on this. While you’d like to think this would be the kind of no-brainer move that the league and union would work together on, in the past the relationship didn’t always facilitate this sort of cooperation even on the obvious.

I’d like to think this bodes well for future labor talks, but I’m not willing to completely draw that parallel.