2013 Global Games - Shanghai

Mark Jackson, Andrew Bogut and the media in a weird controversy triangle


Mark Jackson is mad at the media. Andrew Bogut was mad at Jackson. And the media is probably mad at the pregame food spread.

Bogut has missed the Warriors’ last three games, and before the third game, Jackson discussed the injury. Diamond Leung of the San Jose Mercury News:

Jackson said before the game he did not know how Bogut got hurt before offering these comments:

“As far as I know, it was not on the court,” Jackson said. “It wasn’t in practice. It wasn’t in a game. I’m not really sure. It may have been sleeping, and I say that in all seriousness, but it’s important for us to make sure we continue to treat him, it’s legitimate, and then let’s be smart with it. We’re looking ahead at a whole week of rest and recovery, and we need him.”

So, of course, the reporters then went to Bogut. Bogut, via Rusty Simmons of SFGate:

“I just wanted to address that the sleeping comment is absolutely ridiculous. I don’t know where it came from. I don’t know if I should read between the lines with it. The frustrating thing is: I don’t know when I hurt it against Utah (on Jan. 31). I just know after that game, it was a little sore. It hasn’t gotten better.”

“I don’t know where (the sleeping comment) came from or if he heard that from the trainer or from somebody, but it’s definitely not the case,” Bogut said. “It’s not like I just woke up after sleeping on my shoulder wrong. I have a bone bruise and swelling in my shoulder. That coming from sleeping is very highly unlikely, I believe.”

You can see why Bogut would be upset. He’s suffered multiple serious injuries and has developed a reputation for being injury prone – maybe even fragile. If people believed he got hurt sleeping, he’d look even worse.

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After the game, Jackson addressed the back-and-forth.

Jackson, via Bay Area Sports Guy:

I made a statement about Andrew Bogut. My statement said ‘legitimate.’ My statement said I had the same thing. My statement said that he was hurt. Please don’t twist my words. Understand this also — you will never see a problem in my locker room. You will not see a problem in my locker room, with my group.

Jackson later said he’d spoken with Bogut and that the issue was nothing, and I’ll take his word on that.

I’ll also guess Jackson will get over his gripes with the media, because it seems he’s just blaming the media to distract fans. As far as I’ve seen, the media didn’t spin Jackson’s comments to describe Bogut’s injury as phony (though, it’s possible a question to Bogut did just that and elicited his strong reaction).

But here’s what I can’t wrap my head around: Why was Jackson speculating Bogut hurt himself sleeping in the first place? Even if Jackson shouts from the rooftops that the injury is legitimate, I can’t imagine Bogut enjoys that theory being floated – especially if, as Bogut claims, it’s not true.

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.