Darius Miller, Richard Jefferson

Pelicans sign Darius Miller to compete with John Salmons


Jrue Holiday-Eric Gordon-Tyreke Evans-Anthony Davis-Omer Asik, on paper, is an awesome starting lineup. It features five talented players, and they seem to fit very well together.

Behind them, Ryan Anderson is a Sixth Man of the Year candidate. As long as he comes back healthy from a scary neck injury, he brings a key dimension with his shooting.

The Pelicans truly go six deep.

Beyond that, though, they’re extremely thin.

New Orleans signed John Salmons to a one-year, $2 million contract, according to John Reid of The Times Picayune. But considering Salmons is better known now for his previous partially guaranteed contract than what he brings to the floor, the Pelicans didn’t just hand the 34-year-old a rotation spot.

John Reid of The Times Picayune:

Small forward Darius Miller has agreed to re-sign with the New Orleans Pelicans, a league source confirmed Thursday night.

Miller, the No. 46 pick in the 2012 NBA draft out of Kentucky, didn’t receive the $1,115,243 qualifying offer necessary to make him a free agent. Considering how the Pelicans viewed him then and how little outside interest he received as an unrestricted free agent, Miller probably receive a minimum contract ($915,243).

In two pro years, Miller has shown only brief spurts of deserving a rotation spot. However, he improved substantially from his rookie year, and maybe the Pelicans believe the 24-year-old will continue progressing.

If he does, there might be a spot for him in this rotation. If not, Salmons is the baseline option.

LeBron says “get it done” message was for both Cavaliers, Thompson

LeBron James
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Everything LeBron James does and says gets magnified and scrutinized.

So when he put out this photo on Instagram standing shoulder-to-shoulder with Tristan Thompson and the caption “get it done” it seemed a message to the Cavaliers.

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

A photo posted by LeBron James (@kingjames) on

LeBron clarified that on Sunday, saying this has become a distraction, and the message was for both sides to bend, as reported by Dave McMenamin of ESPN and Chris Haynes of the Plain Dealer.

When Thompson didn’t sign the qualifying offer he surrendered a lot of leverage, the Cavaliers don’t have to raise their five-year, $80 million offer — but reportedly they still would, a little. Thompson and his agent Rich Paul have pushed for a max contract, but that’s not happening.

At some point, the two sides will come to an agreement. For the Cavaliers, this is a distraction, their star is unhappy with that, and ultimately if they are going to make a title run they need the energy and rebounding Thompson brings (even if it is just off the bench). For Thompson, he can’t make up a year of lost salary, he has to come in and start getting paid at some point.

The two sides will get it done. Eventually. Likely before the season tips off.

China basketball qualifies for 2016 Olympics

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China has secured the ninth and final Olympic men’s basketball berth awarded this year.

China earned the bid to the 2016 Rio Games with a 78-67 win over the Philippines. 2016 first-round draft prospect Qi Zhou had 16 points and 14 rebounds, setting up the Olympics to be his big introduction to American fans.

Former NBA player Yi Jianlian won tournament MVP by averaging 16.7 points, 8.8 rebounds, 1.4 assists and 1.2 blocks per game.

This will be China’s ninth straight Olympic appearance.

The Philippines, who got 17 points from Andray Blatche in the final, will still go to an Olympic Qualifying Tournament next summer with a chance to reach Rio.