Kevin Durant on Mark Cuban suggesting players could give up guaranteed contracts: ‘Nah, I don’t think so’

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Once the details of the NBA’s lucrative new broadcast rights deal became available, players seemed eager to begin to figure out ways to get some of that newfound wealth flowing in their direction.

Part of it is guaranteed to a certain extent, thanks to the built-in salary cap increases that are a direct function of league revenues. But players’ earnings are still restricted by max contracts, which is something Kevin Durant floated as being an issue worth addressing the next time a new collective bargaining agreement is negotiated.

(That will happen in 2017, because either side may opt out of the current deal at that time, and it may very well be the players choosing to go that route to attempt to get a bigger piece of the pie.)

Mavericks owner Mark Cuban immediately fired back at Durant’s assertion, suggesting that if players want to eliminate max contracts, they’d have to give up something in return — like fully guaranteed deals, which the players’ side will never cave on under any circumstances. Durant said as much when asked about Cuban’s response.

From Tim MacMahon of ESPN Dallas:

“I don’t think that makes sense,” Durant said Friday. “Give up guarantees? Nah, I don’t think so. Why? Why would we do that? Just because we asked for … I’m not going to talk about this, man.”

Durant said he had a lot to say on the subject, but said it wasn’t the appropriate time for him to express those thoughts publicly.

It doesn’t make sense, but Cuban is engaging in Negotiating 101 — never give up anything without asking for a concession in return from the other side.

Eliminating max contracts may seem like a wise thing for the players to pursue on the surface, but the reality is that it would be a terrible idea for the vast majority of NBA players. There are a maximum of 450 guys on rosters league-wide in a given season, and we’re talking about the top three or four percent that may be able to command in excess of what the current max deals are worth.

Assuming the salary cap remained in place, that would leave less money available for every other player on the team if they happen to be on the same squad as a Durant or a LeBron James. There would be no middle class in this situation, which would mean it would be irresponsible for a union representing all players to try and negotiate something that would only benefit an extremely small portion.

The salary cap shouldn’t go anywhere, because it really does create as much parity as is possible in a league where stars can still choose where to play when all is said and done. Fully guaranteed contracts should similarly be here to stay, to protect players from injury going through what is becoming an increasingly grueling regular season schedule.

(Also of note, as pointed out by Nate Duncan of Basketball Insiders, guaranteed contracts except for rookie deals aren’t mandated by the collective bargaining agreement. Teams could offer non-guaranteed deals, it’s just that fully-guaranteed contracts have become so customary that no player would agree to sign without a guarantee being firmly in place.)

These are major topics which aren’t likely to be focal points of the next round of negotiations, in part because of just how passionate those invested are about not wanting to see changes in these areas. But anytime a player of Durant’s stature begins to speculate on the future of how the league shares its dollars with the players, you can expect a savvy owner like Cuban to retaliate with a surgical strike.

Paul George disputes the idea that he’s already moved out of his house in Indiana

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Rumors spread on social media this week as moving trucks were found outside of Indiana Pacers star forward Paul George‘s house. But were they really his?

The user posted photos of giant moving trucks outside of a house in George’s neighborhood to Snapchat. People began speculating wildly that George, the subject of trade rumors for the last few weeks, could be on the move.

Now, the Pacers start has taken to Twitter to dispute the moving trucks as his. So whose were they?

According to George, they were there to move his neighbors.

Via Twitter:

Well I guess that settles that.

The other obvious answer is that they were George’s and NBA players simply move to new locations during the summer. Half of the NBA it seems lives in the Los Angeles area come the off-season, or at least train there, so seeing moving trucks outside of his house would not have been an anomaly if you ask me.

We are past the 2017 NBA Draft and still we have no deal for George. But the NBA off-season is long, and free agency is just around the corner. I am sure that we will see a new landing spot for George in the coming months.

Then we can send somebody on over to see if there are moving trucks at his house.

Hornets’ GM slips up, introduces Dwayne Bacon as Dwyane Wade

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It’s a slip that would have made Freud proud.

Charlotte had a good draft night. In the first round, Kentucky shooter Malik Monk fell to them at 11 and they grabbed him. In the second round, they took a smart risk with Florida State wing Dwayne Bacon.

Friday came the usual team press conference with the GM introducing his players and Charlotte GM Rich Cho made a mistake, introducing Bacon as “Dwyane Wade.”

I love Bacon’s reaction.

Cho instantly realized his mistake and laughed it off, then later said: “Actually, I think they have some similarities.” Hornets fans can only hope.

Kevin Durant trolls Westbrook, haters with cupcake hat — now topped with a ring

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Back when Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook were breaking into the NBA together and learning how to win together, one of their veteran mentors was tough guy Kendrick Perkins. When Perkins thought someone was acting soft, he called that player a “cupcake.”

When news broke on the Fourth of July last summer that Durant was leaving OKC for Golden State, the NBA world freaked out. Except for Westbrook. He just posted one Instagram photo that day — a tiered tray of red, white, and blue cupcakes. It was meant as a subtle jab at Durant, but when word got out (via Lee Jenkins of Sports Illustrated) what it meant, Thunder fans embraced it and had cupcake signs and clothing made for Durant’s return to Oklahoma City.

Durant had the last laugh — he’s got a new hat with a cupcake on it, topped by a ring.

Well played Durant. Well played.

Another report Rockets “aggressively” trying to clear cap space to chase Chris Paul

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Daryl Morey is big game hunting. Again.

The Rockets, with James Harden running Mike D’Antoni’s offense, made a leap up to the NBA’s second tier last season — then landed with a playoff thud. The team should be better the second season in the same system, but to get past the Warriors, the Rockets need more talent.

Hence the Rockets are going to chase Chris Paul. That’s not new news to anyone paying attention, but Chris Haynes laid it out in more detail in on SportsCenter.

The Rockets need talent and Chris Paul is unquestionably that. He and James Harden could figure out how to play together.

The problem is money. Chris Paul is going to demand max or near-max money, so close to $30 million. The Rockets enter the summer with about $10 million. The Rockets need to clear cap space and are ready to deal so long as they don’t take contracts back. Lou Williams will make $7 million next season, so even moving him and Patrick Beverley is not enough to land a Chris Paul or Paul Millsap. Moving Ryan Anderson ($19.6 million) or Eric Gordon ($12.9 million) helps much more.

That Morey is being aggressive isn’t the news, the question is can he find a willing partner to lower some money off his cap and give him a sense of what is to come. CP3 is going to meet with a lot of teams, but the Clippers do have advantages and are the favorites to retain him.