Jusuf Nurkic receives full-scale rookie contract

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Update: Nevermind.

 

In 1995, the NBA (to prevent holdouts) and National Basketball Players Association (to channel money toward voting veterans) createda scale for the salary of first-round picks.

The scale has been remarkably effective on both fronts. Most first-round picks are underpaid, and holdouts are extremely rare.

However, the scale – which prescribes a salary based on pick number and year signed – doesn’t completely eliminate negotiations. Players, in each season of a four-year rookie deal, can sign for between 80% and 120% of scale.

In effect, the wiggle room is meaningless. Nearly everyone gets 120%, to the point it’s noteworthy when someone doesn’t.

Andre Roberson (Thunder) and George Hill (Spurs) come to mind as players who received less than 120%. Xavier Henry and Greivis Vasquez had to fight tooth and nail for the full 120% from the Grizzlies in 2010.

Add Jusuf Nurkic, the No. 16 pick in the 2014 draft, to the rare group who settled for less than 120% percent of scale.

The Nuggets gave Nurkic $1,562,680 next season (about 106% of scale) and $1,642,000 (about 107% of scale) the following season, according to Mark Deeks of ShamSports.com. Nurkic will get the full 120% in the third and fourth seasons of the contract, both option years.

Here’s Nurkic’s actual salary and the 120% of scale he could have earned:

2014-15 2015-16 2016-17 2017-18
120% $1,762,680 $1,842,000 $1,921,320 $2,947,305
Actual $1,562,680 $1,642,000 $1,921,320 $2,947,305
Difference $200,000 $200,000 $0 $0

Deeks:

It is believed that Nurkic, a #16 pick, is the highest drafted player to ever not receive the full amount.

Nurkic nearly didn’t join the NBA this season, and he did only after paying his Croatian team a buyout.

By rule, the Nuggets could contribute up to $600,000 for the buyout without it counting toward the cap. I’m guessing they contributed at least $400,000, the total amount Nurkic gave up on his rookie-scale contract. If that’s the case, Denver is effectively forcing Nurkic to pay that amount out of his own income. The Nuggets just structured the deal so the $400,000 doesn’t count against the cap.

If so, that’s a clever way to keep the buyout burden on Nurkic while getting a little cap savings in the process.

In all likelihood, the $200,000 savings won’t matter either year. The Nuggets are above the salary cap and below the luxury-tax now regardless, and they might be in the same situation next summer. But this is a potential edge, .

Nurkic gives up a little money on his contract, but depending how buyout negotiations went, he might have broken even – or even come out ahead. Besides, he could have sacrificed much more.

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

AP Photo/Ronald Cortes
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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.”