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


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.

Andrew Bogut signs to play in NBL in native Australia

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Back in January, the Los Angeles Lakers waived Andrew Bogut. He had a very limited role on a Los Angeles team that was not making the playoffs, serving as a backup big man against teams who use a traditional center. That’s not much of a role anymore. He’s a center who can pass, shoot from the midrange a little, and knows where to be defensively, but the game has evolved as Bogut’s skills have faded. Bogut tried to latch on with a contender for the playoffs, but could not find a team to take him.

So he is going home.

Bogut is signing to play for the Sydney Kings in Australia’s NBL.

Bogut was the first No. 1 draft pick from Australia when he was selected by the Milwaukee Bucks in 2005. He made the All-Rookie team that season, was All-NBA in 2010, but may be best known for his role as a crucial part of the defense of the NBA champion Golden State Warriors in 2015 (and his injury during the 2016 Finals is an underrated reason Cleveland was able to pull off a miracle comeback).

At age 33 Bogut may not have a spot in the NBA, but in the NBL he both will thrive for a few more years but also be a huge draw and get the welcome home from fans that he deserves.

When Lance Stephenson gets a traveling call, he earns it (VIDEO)

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Yes, guys get away with traveling in the NBA. James Harden on the step back (sometimes, not always), or guys sliding left/right to avoid a closeout at the arc and not bothering to dribble while they do it.

Lance Stephenson got called for traveling Sunday in the Pacers’ loss to the Cavaliers. In a game where Stephenson got under the skin of LeBron James and drew a technical (and tied him up for a jump ball at one point), this was the best Lance highlight of the game. Because if you’re going to travel, you should go all in.

Never change Lance. Never change.

Matthew Dellavedova steals pass, hits wild scoop shot at buzzer (VIDEO)


Matthew Dellavedova is a hustler. Everybody knows that. Well, unless you want to argue he’s more about grit. It’s really your call.

But against the Boston Celtics on Sunday, Dellavedova came through with whatever you want to call it — hustle, grit, moxie, gumption.

As the first quarter wound down and the Celtics tried to inbound the ball, Dellavedova spied his opponents rolling the basketball in order to save time on the clock.

That allowed the Australian native to fly in and do this:

That’s a steal, a scoop, and a score all within 1.2 seconds.

Milwaukee won Game 4 and evened the series with the Celtics, 2-2.

Cavaliers tie series with Pacers in Indiana, 2-2


Sunday night’s game between the Indiana Pacers and Cleveland Cavaliers was raucous. Bankers Life Fieldhouse was rocking, and despite Indiana’s best effort to put back seemingly every offensive board it encountered, LeBron James‘ 32 points was just too much to overcome.

Facing the possibility of going down 3-1 in the first round, the Cavaliers pulled out the win, 104-100, and sent the series back to Ohio for Game 5.

The game came down to the final period following a surge by the Pacers to end the third quarter. The teams were tied several times midway through the fourth, but a tip shot by Thaddeus Young wth 6:13 left gave the Pacers the lead as fans in Indiana went wild.

Cleveland then came roaring back. At the three-minute mark, James drove to the basket and scored. Thirty seconds later, Kyle Korver hit a big-time 3-pointer to put the Cavaliers up by four points, a mark the Pacers couldn’t recover from.

LeBron scored again with 1:52 left, and despite some weird late-game antics — featuring none other than Lance Stephenson — the Cavaliers were able to remain resolute down the stretch.

James finished with 32 points, 13 rebounds, and seven assists. Kyle Korver added 18 points on 4-of-9 shooting from deep, and Kevin Love had five points with 11 boards.

Victor Oladipo struggled for Indiana, scoring 17 points but shooting just 25 percent from the floor. Seven Pacers finished in double-digits, with Young notching an impressive double-double of 12 points and 16 rebounds.

Game 5 will be played in Cleveland on Wednesday, April 25.