Andrew Bynum, Stephen Jackson top list of players waived Tuesday

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Today was essentially cut-down day in the NBA. Any player on the roster come Jan. 10 has his contract guaranteed for the full season (even if he is let go), and as it takes 48 hours to clear waivers players have to be let go of Tuesday (5 ET) to make that deadline.

There were expected names at the top of the list of who got waived and cut loose on Tuesday, but here is a list of all the players waived at the last minute.

• In a surprise to nobody, the Chicago Bulls waived Andrew Bynum. This is why they traded Luol Deng to Cleveland, for the rights to get Bynum and cut him loose, ultimately saving the team $15 million in salary and taxes and getting them under the tax-line threshold. Certainly the Bulls become worse on the court with this move, Tom Thibodeau can’t be happy, but with Derrick Rose out and with it any real hopes of contending this was the smart move by Chicago.

• The Los Angeles Clippers waived veteran Stephen Jackson. This also was somewhat expected — with Chris Paul out for another month or more the Clippers need to carve out roster space for guys that can help them create shots. That’s not Jackson anymore. The Clippers are going to bring back Maalik Wayns on a 10-day contract for now in that roster slot.

• The Los Angeles Lakers waived forward Shawne Williams. Early in the season he looked like one of those guys who could come out of nowhere and thrive in Mike D’Antoni’s system, even started 11 games and put up 20 points against the Pistons. However, he still was averaging just 5.2 points a game on 37.7 percent shooting, he wasn’t an integral part of the team and the Lakers want to give his minutes to rookie Ryan Kelly to see if he can develop as a stretch four (he has shown some promise).

• Also as expected out of the Bynum trade, the Boston Celtics have waived Ryan Gomes. He was traded to them from Oklahoma City as the Thunder are looking to clear a roster spot for a bigger move and the Celtics wanted to save a little green, so to speak.

• Utah waived Mike Harris, a forward who had played a limited role for them getting in just 20 games. Utah has young front line guys it wants to play big minutes, which make Harris expendable.

• The Philadelphia 76ers have waived big man Daniel Orton, who had played in 22 games for the team this year. It will be interesting to see if another NBA team will give the former Kentucky big man another chance.

•  Atlanta cut loose reserve guard Cartier Martin, a player that has lived on the fringe of the NBA for years.

Underdog Cavs insist they have plenty of bite for Finals

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INDEPENDENCE, Ohio (AP) — They are defending champions and decided underdogs.

The Cleveland Cavaliers, however, say they aren’t using any snubs to get ready for the NBA Finals.

Set for a third straight championship matchup against Golden State, the Cavs are ignoring the Las Vegas odds makers and others who don’t think they have a shot at beating Stephen Curry, Kevin Durant & Co.

Cavs coach Tyronn Lue doesn’t feel his team needs the underdog label for inspiration, saying being in the NBA Finals is “enough motivation alone.”

Kevin Love was reminded that Warriors forward Draymond Green said earlier this season that he wants to “destroy and annihilate” the Cavs in the Finals. Says Love said: “He wanted us, and he has us starting next Thursday.”

 

Check out Kawhi Leonard’s highlights from this past season (VIDEO)

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Russell Westbrook and James Harden were putting up the bigger numbers, they were drawing more attention. And while MVP is a regular season award, nobody has boosted their MVP credentials more in the postseason than Kawhi Leonard.

He had a really impressive regular season, too. Since we’re on a long break between games, enjoy the highlights of Leonard’s season. He may enter next season as the MVP favorite.

Kevin Love on Cavaliers: “I don’t feel like we’re underdogs”

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Kevin Love and Las Vegas bookmakers do not see things the same way.

In Vegas, the Golden State Warriors are heavy favorites to win the title — bet $100 on them to win and you get back $41.7 (or less). Cleveland is a heavy underdog.

Love sees a confident team that is the defending NBA champions, as he told Dave McMenamin of ESPN.

“The whole underdog thing is funny to me, because, yeah, at the end of the day we are defending our title,” Love said Saturday after the Cavs’ first practice in preparation for the Warriors since clinching a spot in the Finals. “We’re trying to repeat, which is so hard to do. I think we will use it as fuel, we will use it as motivation, but the idea of playing into it? It’s tough for me to say that is the case. I don’t feel like we’re underdogs. We match up well with them, and I think they’d say the same about us.”

What else was he going to say?

More than any other team in the league, the Cavaliers are built to give Golden State trouble. The Cavaliers can exploit mismatches, be physical on defense, and they have LeBron James, Love and Kyrie Irving. Three NBA stars.

Is that enough against four NBA stars is the question.

Mike Brown still waiting on Tyronn Lue to pay up overdue bet

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OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — Mike Brown is ready for Tyronn Lue to pay up on a nearly two-decade-old bet. Yep, Lue owes him $100 and Brown plans to accept it at long last – perhaps even during the NBA Finals when they see each other.

All this time Brown never wanted the money he earned by beating Lue in a shooting contest when the Cavaliers coach was an NBA newcomer, yet Golden State’s acting coach – who spent two stints leading Cleveland – joked how Lue can surely afford it these days.

“I’m glad he finally admitted that he owes me money because for many years he wouldn’t admit that he owed me money. He does owe me $100 and since he got his new deal hopefully he can afford to pay me now,” Brown said Saturday post-practice. “I asked him many time for it but he’s denied it. He’s denied that the game ever took place.”

Lue insists he has tried to pay up – time and time again, to no avail.

“Mike, I owe him $100 from when I was a rookie. That’s all I ever know about Mike,” Lue said Saturday. “I tried to pay him and he wouldn’t take the money so he says I always owe him. He’s always been a great guy.”

The 40-year-old Lue was rewarded with a contract extension after the Cavs’ championship run last June for the city’s first major sports title in 52 years. Cleveland overcame a 3-1 Finals deficit to the Warriors, and now the teams are preparing to face off for a third straight year.

“I think what it has to do with, it has to do with the fact he’s got a nice, long, fat contract with the Cavs and he realizes that he can finally afford to pay me the money that he owes me for the shooting game back in 2000 or whenever it was,” Brown said with a grin.

Brown acknowledged he cannot recall any other details such as how many shots each man made, saying: “I don’t even remember, that was back when I was in shape and a good shooter. He’d kill me now”

“Yeah, he was with the Spurs and I was with the Lakers and we had a little shooting contest and I lost,” Lue said. “He wouldn’t take the money so from now on 19 years in a row always says, `You owe me $100.’ He won’t take the money. Always been close to Mike and I like Mike a lot, respect him a lot.”