Alec Burks, Andre Miller

Marvin Williams nicknamed Alec Burks ‘Easy 20,’ which makes no sense


Alec Burks scored a career-high 31 points against the Heat on Monday night, so let’s all overreact.

That should be easy for Marvin Williams, who’s been overreacting to his Jazz teammate’s good play for a while. Via Aaron Falk of The Salt Lake Tribune:

“He had a hell of a game,” Utah forward Marvin Williams said afterward. “I’ve been calling him Easy 20. He scores 20 points easier than anybody I’ve seen. I’m gonna start calling him Easy 30 now.”

Easier than anybody he’s seen? Either Williams is terrible at handing out nicknames or playing for one of the league’s worst offenses has skewed his perspective.

It’s nearly impossible to find a measure that shows Burks has anywhere near an easy time getting 20-point games.

He has four 20-point games this season, tying him for 71st-most in the NBA. That hardly qualifies as easy.

But two of those 20-point games came on just 11 shots, which seems pretty, easy right? Well, Wesley Matthews and Chandler Parsons have three 20-point games on 11 or fewer shots, and six other players have two such games.

It’s not like Burks built this reputation in previous seasons. The third-year pro had only one 20-point game in his first two years.

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And don’t get me started on “Easy 30.”

Burks has now joined 52 other players with 30-point games this season, 27 of whom have multiple 30-point games. And judging by shots, Burks’ 31 point on 17 attempts didn’t even have the easiest 30 of the night. The Wizards’ Martell Webster scored 30 points on 13 shots.

So I have no idea what Williams is talking about.

Or maybe this is one of those times you call a tall guy “shorty,” a fat guy “slim” or a blonde “red.”

LeBron James posts photo with Tristan Thompson, sends message to Cavs

2015 NBA Finals - Game Five
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Tristan Thompson is a man without a contract. By not signing the qualifying offer with the Cleveland Cavaliers he put himself in limbo, the rare NBA holdout. Right now his options are to sign the deal on the table (the Cavs still have the five-year, $80 million offer out there), get the Sixers or Blazers to offer him a max contract (which neither team has shown any interest in doing), or hold out and hope the Cavaliers make a better offer. If he holds out for the entire season he becomes a restricted free agent again next summer — exactly like he is right now.

Without signing the qualifying offer and the threat of leaving, Thompson hurt his leverage.

But he has a little leverage. He and his agent Rich Paul had one other card, and it got played Saturday.

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

A photo posted by LeBron James (@kingjames) on

LeBron James and Thompson share an agent in Paul. LeBron has largely remained silent through this process but if he wants something in the Cleveland organization, he usually gets it. And he wants Thompson back at practices.

LeBron’s leverage is going to be put to the test. The Cavaliers have let it leak they are not that concerned about LeBron leaving them next summer over this — and they’re right. The damage to LeBron’s brand if he broke the hearts of Cleveland fans again would be crushing, unless he leaves for a very good reason. Overpaying Thompson is not that reason.

However, LeBron’s comment could push the Cavaliers to try to find a compromise.

For the Cavaliers, a lot of how they view all this comes down to their tax bill. The Cavaliers already have $94.9 million in guaranteed salary on the books, putting them $10.2 million over the luxury tax line, at a cost of more than $16.25 million. What this means if (or when) they sign Thompson is his first $10 million in salary would cost them $28.75 million in tax and every dollar above that for the next $5 million costs them $3.75-to-$1. Look at it this way, by my count $14 million this year to Thompson would cost $43.75 million in tax — the total for Thompson at that price is $58 million. While that’s not all on Thompson it’s a lot of cash, and Thompson wants a max deal that starts at more than $16 million a year.

Owner Dan Gilbert is already going to pay the highest tax bill in the NBA this season, but if he balks at those figures it’s hard to blame him.


Hezonja throws down one-handed dunk in preseason debut

Orlando Magic Introduce 2015 NBA Draft Picks
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Mario Hezonja, the No. 5 pick in this year’s draft, has never lacked for confidence. The Croatian guard made his pro debut in the Magic’s preseason game against the Hornets on Saturday and did this:

Between Hezonja, Elfrid Payton, Victor Oladipo and Aaron Gordon, the Magic have a nucleus of young players that has the potential to be a lot of fun. Even if they’re still a few years away from contending, they’re definitely going to be a League Pass favorite this year.