Author: Brett Pollakoff

julius erving draft lottery

Dr. J won’t return to represent Sixers at Draft Lottery


Julius Erving represented the Sixers at the Draft Lottery last year, but he won’t return to do so again on May 19.

The reason for this seems logical enough, in that Erving will be out of the country when the proceedings take place.

But given how things played out the last time around, his absence is probably for the best.

From Tom Moore of

Julius Erving won’t be representing the 76ers at the May 19 NBA Draft Lottery because he’ll be in China, according to Sixers CEO Scott O’Neil.

O’Neil said in a Monday text message that the team’s management was “still discussing internally” who it would be. Erving was onstage at the nationally televised event a year ago when the Sixers landed the Nos. 3 and 10 picks. …

Among the candidates to replace Erving are former Sixers star Allen Iverson (O’Neil didn’t respond to a question about Iverson being a possibility) and young big men Nerlens Noel and Joel Embiid.

Erving admitted to not knowing what was going on when the Sixers were revealed to have the 10th pick in the draft, because the team was slated to pick second if the odds remained intact.

What Erving missed was that the Sixers had two first-round picks, thanks to the Jrue Holiday trade the summer before, and 10th was exactly where that second one was supposed to land.

“When I saw 10, I was perplexed,” Erving said. “What the heck? We’ve got the second-most ping pong balls and we’re 10? I almost felt bad, but then (Orlando Magic representative) Pat Williams gave me the light, and when they started announcing what had happened and that we had the tenth pick, then it was OK.”

Let’s hope that whoever gets the nod this year for the Sixers is well-informed of the possibilities.

LeBron doesn’t test sore ankle at shootaround, says ‘I’ll be ready to go’ for Game 5

LeBron James

LeBron James rolled his ankle late in the third quarter of Game 4 against the Bulls, but was able to continue to play and ultimately knock down the game-winner to get his Cavaliers even in the best-of-seven series.

“I rolled it pretty good,” James said afterward “I haven’t had an opportunity to see the replay, but I know I rolled it pretty good when I stepped on D-Rose’s foot in transition. I wasn’t coming out. I felt it on the floor for a while, and I just took my time. I was not coming out not only because of the position our team was in but because of who I am as the leader of the team. I was going to fight through it no matter what.”

James is planning to fight through it again in a pivotal Game 5, and while it’s one thing to tighten up your laces and play through the pain on adrenaline, it’s quite another to try to do so after the swelling has set in following not more than a couple of days’ rest.

LeBron didn’t test the ankle at the morning shootaround, but insisted he’ll be ready by tip-off Tuesday night.

From Dave McMenamin of

“It makes no sense [to test it in the morning],” James said to reporters. He wore sandals, leaving the heavy wrap on his ankle in plain sight. “I’ll give it a test tonight.” …

James said, though, the ankle would not stop him from playing in Game 5. “It’s been better, but it’s been worse,” James said. “So, I’ll be ready to go tonight.” …

“When you’re dealing with injuries, you just find other ways to help the team, and I think we both are going to do that tonight.”

James was referring to himself and Kyrie Irving, the latter of whom is dealing with multiple injuries, but is also planning to play regardless.

Announcement: Play one-day fantasy basketball tonight! Pro Basketball Talk’s partner FanDuel is hosting a $250,000 league for Tuesday’s NBA games. It’s just $5 to join and first place wins $15,000. Starts tonight at 7pm ET. Enter now!

On the Chicago side, Pau Gasol is a gametime decision for the crucial Game 5 contest.

Report: Nets not interested in buying out contract of Deron Williams

Atlanta Hawks v Brooklyn Nets- Game Four

Deron Williams had one stellar playoff game for the Nets, scoring 35 points during an incredible throwback performance that temporarily silenced all of his doubters.

But the resurgence was short-lived.

Williams came crashing back to reality in the games that followed, scoring just 18 points on 7-of-18 shooting combined in his team’s final two contests, both of which were losses to the Hawks that resulted in Brooklyn’s elimination from the postseason.

The Nets need to make changes in order to compete next season, but two contracts in particular seem to have them stuck. Joe Johnson has one year and close to $25 million remaining on his contract, while Williams possesses one even worse.

He’s owed $43 million guaranteed over the next two years, and Brooklyn could get out from under that by using the stretch provision to buy Williams out. But that reportedly isn’t in the team’s plans as free agency approaches.

From David Aldridge of

But a buyout of Williams, while potentially saving the Nets millions of dollars via the “stretch” provision, is not in the cards. The Nets are not interested in giving Williams $43 million to not play. The intriguing question is whether the Nets can deal Joe Johnson and his expiring contract, at $24.8 million next season. For one year, even at that price, Johnson would have suitors.

Devin Kharpertian at The Brooklyn Game broke down exactly how much could be saved by cutting Williams loose.

The primary reason the Nets should do this would be to remain out of repeater-tax territory. The team has claimed to be intent on re-signing Brook Lopez (which would almost certainly require a deal approaching the max), and plans to retain Thaddeus Young, as well — who has a player option for $10.2 million, unless he chooses free agency. Those two moves, with the rest of the current contracts still in place, would push the Nets over next year’s tax line somewhat certainly.

If Brooklyn can shed Joe Johnson’s deal in trade, then paying Williams to go away might not be necessary. That could be the plan for now, which would make sense given the team’s current stance that Williams won’t be bought out anytime soon.