Houston Rockets v Portland Trailblazers - Game Six

Report: Damian Lillard’s new adidas contract in excess of $100 million

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Adidas has bet big on Damian Lillard, bet that the dramatic game winner that sunk the Rockets was not the last big playoff shot we’ve seen from the second-year guard.

How big? Sam Amick of the USA Today has some numbers.

When it comes to the business of basketball and one man’s brand, no one has won in these playoffs quite like the Blazers’ second-year point guard whose Adidas deal is believed to be the third largest in the entire NBA. The contract — which his agent, Aaron Goodwin of Goodwin Sports Management, told USA TODAY Sports could be “well over $100 million” with very-reachable incentives and is expected to eventually include a signature shoe and apparel — was seen by some as a head-spinner when it was first revealed on April 14.

Adidas is counting on a lot more big shots.

That said, guards/wing players sell shoes (not big men, even Shaq never moved the product). Adidas has bet big on Derrick Rose and Lillard to help them cut into Nike’s overwhelming share of the market.

Why Lillard?

The key decision-making factors in a shoe contract, according to Norman, range from the player’s market to his character, personality and style as well as the position he plays. In Lillard’s case, he just so happens to be based in the city where both Adidas and their No. 1 rival, Nike, call home. And with Adidas’ top basketball athletes, the Chicago Bulls’ Derrick Rose (two season-ending knee injuries) and the Houston Rockets’ Dwight Howard (negative publicity relating to his Aug. 2012 exodus from Orlando), having fallen on such hard times in recent years, Adidas’ competitors in the industry understood that the time was right for them to take a calculated risk on Lillard.

Lillard is a good guy. He’s exciting to watch. Fans relate to the “little guy” playing amongst the trees of the NBA — and Lillard interacts with them often on social media.

If you’re going to gamble, this was about as good a gamble as adidas could take. There are no sure things (see Rose’s injuries) but just like you in Vegas, you make the best calculated risk you can then hope it pays off. Sometimes he does, sometimes he doesn’t.

For Lillard’s sake, I hope this gamble pays off.

Karl-Anthony Towns fakes out Luke Babbitt with spin move (VIDEO)

ATLANTA, GA - NOVEMBER 09:  Karl-Anthony Towns #32 of the Minnesota Timberwolves reacts after hitting a basket against the Atlanta Hawks at Philips Arena on November 9, 2015 in Atlanta, Georgia.  NOTE TO USER User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
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Since he came into the league, Karl-Anthony Towns‘ offensive footwork has been unusually advanced for a rookie. He showed off his impressive moves again on Monday night, getting to the basket around Luke Babbitt with this spin:

Kobe Bryant throws down old-man breakaway dunk (VIDEO)

INDIANAPOLIS, IN - FEBRUARY 8:  Paul George #13 of the Indiana Pacers defends against Kobe Bryant #24 of the Los Angeles Lakers in the first half of the game at Bankers Life Fieldhouse on February 8, 2016 in Indianapolis, Indiana. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using the photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
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Once upon a time, Kobe Bryant was one of the best in-game dunkers in basketball. Age and injuries have sapped him of his explosiveness, which makes it rare these days that he dunks at all. On his final trip to Bankers Life Fieldhouse, Pacers fans got a special treat of sorts, even if it was nothing like what we’ve seen from Kobe over the past two decades.

NBA local television ratings up, led by spike in Warriors viewship

PHILADELPHIA, PA - JANUARY 30: Klay Thompson #11, Draymond Green #23, Harrison Barnes #40, Shaun Livingston #34 and Stephen Curry #30 high five one another in the game against the Philadelphia 76ers on January 30, 2016 at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)
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Everyone wants to watch Stephen Curry and the Golden State Warriors.

Local television ratings for Warriors games on Comcast Sportsnet Bay Area have spiked 120 percent since last season, according to data compiled by the Sports Business Journal. An estimated 209,000 people tune in to CSN Bay Area for the games (plus the numbers of subscribers streaming Warriors’ games through CSNBayArea.com also has spiked this season).

It’s all part of an overall upward trend in ratings for the league, although about half the league’s markets have seen ratings fall.

Overall, as the NBA enters its All-Star break this weekend, the league’s local telecasts are up 6 percent year over year, according to Nielsen. Eleven teams have seen gains in their local ratings this season, while 15 have dropped. Denver Nuggets games on Altitude are flat with last year….

Golden State’s average rating is high enough to rank third in the NBA, an impressive achievement for a big-market team. Three of the top four teams as measured by ratings play in small markets: Cleveland, San Antonio and Oklahoma City. Additionally, with a league-best 209,000 households on average watching Warriors games locally this season, Golden State is far outpacing the New York Knicks for their games on MSG (160,000 households) and the Cleveland Cavaliers for their games on FS Ohio (141,000).

Interestingly, ratings for the Lakers are down 16 percent year-over-year, despite this being Kobe Bryant‘s final season, according to the report. That impacts the Lakers in that their massive cable television deal with Time Warner does have ratings ties — the Lakers could get a little less out of this deal than anticipated. Still, the average Lakers’ broadcast draws 92,000 viewers, fifth largest in the league.

LeBron has Cavaliers ratings up 36 percent over a year ago. The three biggest drops in ratings percentage wise are Atlanta (33 percent), New Orleans (33 percent), and Washington (34 percent). The average Pelicans game draws 7,000 viewers, according to the report.

That discrepancy in local television viewership — and the money that affords teams in local television deals — you can be sure is something the owners will fight about more in the upcoming Collective Bargaining Agreement discussions. There already is some sharing of that revenue, but as the gap grows you can expect a push from smaller markets to grow that sharing model (the only time rich owners suddenly want socialism in their lives). Expect the players’ union to bring it up as well when the owners cry poverty.

 

Love returns to Cavaliers’ lineup after missing 1 game

Cleveland Cavaliers' Kevin Love, right, drives past Phoenix Suns’ P.J. Tucker during the second half of an NBA basketball game Wednesday, Jan. 27, 2016, in Cleveland. The Cavaliers won 115-93. (AP Photo/Tony Dejak)
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CLEVELAND (AP) — Cleveland Cavaliers forward Kevin Love will return to the lineup Monday after missing a game because of a bruised left thigh.

Cleveland hosts Sacramento on Monday night.

Love sat out for the first time this season on Saturday in a win over New Orleans. He was injured in the third quarter of Friday’s loss to Boston and didn’t return.

He is averaging 15.9 points and 10.5 rebounds.

Love participated in Monday’s shootaround. He is nearing a pair of career milestones, needing three points to reach 9,000 and three field goals to hit 3,000.