Denver Nuggets v Brooklyn Nets

Nets get $5.25 million disabled player exception approved for injured Brook Lopez


It’s been well-documented that the Nets will have the league’s highest payroll this season when including luxury tax costs, a bill that will total in the neighborhood of $180 million when all is said and done.

The league offered Brooklyn a small amount of relief on Tuesday, granting the Nets a disabled payer exception worth $5.25 million that the team can use to replace the injured Brook Lopez if it chooses to do so.

From Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports:

After the season-ending injury to center Brook Lopez, the NBA has approved a $5.25 million disabled player exception for the Brooklyn Nets, a league source told Yahoo Sports.

For Brooklyn to use the full exception and pay the ensuring luxury-tax bill, it would cost the Nets approximately an additional $20 million on top of the $180 million-plus in roster salary and taxes they’re already paying this season.

The Nets have until March 10 to use the exception through a free-agent signing or a trade. The Nets have a full roster of 15 players, so they would need to clear a roster spot to make use of the exception.

Multiple reports have the cost of adding an additional player with the exception to be in the $16-$20 million range, and with the championship aspirations seemingly out the window now that we’ve seen exactly how little Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett appear to have left, it doesn’t make sense to spend all that money for a player who may or may not ultimately affect the team’s immediate future.

Andrew Bynum is an interesting name, of course, but it’s unclear if there would be mutual interest in a pairing at any price. Bynum wasn’t engaged in Cleveland, and it may take a championship or bust situation to truly pique his interest.

Most reports say the Nets won’t use this exception to add additional talent, due to the prohibitive cost. But they applied for it and it has been granted, so it’s at the very least something to watch.

Kevin Love names NBA players he thinks could play in NFL

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The majority of guys in the NBA are not built for the NFL. Blake Griffin the tight end makes a huge target for a free safety to line up. Kevin Durant is a little thin. Carmelo Anthony? Come on now.

But there are a few guys who might be able to, and on his show Dan Patrick asks Kevin Love about it today (see the video above). Then DP tries to take the obvious call of LeBron James off the table.

Nate Robinson as a DB? He’s athletic enough but at his height he would be a target for tall receivers. I like Dan Patrick’s suggestion of Russell Westbrook the free safety — he is certainly athletic enough.

Love also picked himself as a QB. Um, no. I’m not sure his outlet passing skills translate.

Hawks’ Thabo Sefolosha on not guilty verdict: “Justice was served”

Thabo Sefolosha
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Friday morning, a New York jury found Atlanta Hawks guard Thabo Sefolosha not guilty of misdemeanor obstructing government administration, disorderly conduct, and resisting arrest. The charges stemmed from the night in the final weeks of last season when Sefolosha and then teammate Pero Antic went to a New York club after arriving in town, and while there Pacers’ player Chris Copeland was stabbed outside the club. In his clash with police, Sefolosha suffered a broken leg that required surgery and kept him out of the playoffs.

The New York prosecutor tried to make this go away with a plea deal of just day of community service and six months probation. But Sefolosha had the means and mind to fight the charges, got his day in court and won. This is what he said in a statement after the verdict, released by the Atlanta Hawks.

“This morning’s verdict ended a long and emotional period for me.  Justice was served and for that I am eternally grateful to the judge and jury for their quick and deliberate decision….

“It’s troubling to me that with so much evidence in my support that this case would even be brought to trial and that I had to defend myself so hard to get justice. It pains me to think about all of the innocent people who aren’t fortunate enough to have the resources, visibility and access to quality legal counsel that I have had.

“It was important to me as a man, a father to two young girls and as a role model, to stand up for what I believe in and have my name cleared of any wrongdoing.  Today’s verdict will not make up for the pain and trauma my family and I have suffered over the past six months or bring back the opportunity to have played in the Eastern Conference Finals and have a shot at an NBA title, but it does bring me some peace and closes a painful chapter in my life.

“Now I look forward to returning to the team and focusing solely on my rehabilitation for the upcoming season so that I can get back to playing the game I cherish so much.”

While Sefolosha says he is focusing “solely” on his rehab, the win in the criminal case would bode well for a potential civil case if he wanted to sue regarding his treatment and the broken leg.

Hawks’ coach Mike Budenholzer — who testified at the trial and was amused by parts of it — released this statement:

“Thabo is a man of great character and we are proud that he took a principled approach to proving his innocence. We are extremely happy for him and his family, and we are very pleased with today’s verdict in his favor.”