Dan Feldman

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Report: 76ers to extend Robert Covington’s contract Wednesday

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The 76ers signed Robert Covington to a Hinkie special – a long-term contract at or near the minimum with latter seasons unguaranteed. It’s the ultimate form of team control, and Philadelphia reaped the rewards with Covington.

Soon, three years after he signed, it’ll be time to reward him.

Marc Stein of The New York Times:

The 76ers can use their $15,120,873 in cap space to renegotiate Covington’s salary this season from $1,577,230 to $16,698,103. Better to pay him more this year, when Philadelphia doesn’t have other uses for the money, and save more in future seasons. His salary could decrease by 40% in 2018-19 then 8% each year thereafter in an extension that could add up to four years. So, Covington’s deal could look like this:

  • 2017-18: $1,577,230 $16,698,103
  • 2018-19: $10,018,862
  • 2019-20: $9,217,353
  • 2020-21: $8,415,844
  • 2021-22: $7,614,335

That’d add $50,387,267 of new money and four years to Covington’s contract.

Will he allow his salary to decline the maximum amount annually? Covington’s renegotiation-and-extension could add up to $95,912,975 in new money. So, maybe he demands more to eschew free agency.

The terms have probably been set for a while. The 76ers saved cap space for this. Soon enough, we’ll learn the exact structure of the deal.

John Wall posterizes Brook Lopez (video)

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After dunking on Brook Lopez, John Wall explained what happened:

Report: Lakers expected amnesty in new CBA

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The Lakers signed Luol Deng (four years, $72 million) and Timofey Mozgov (four years, $64 million) last summer to contracts that have become significant impediments to Los Angeles’ ability to upgrade its roster.

The Lakers had to include D'Angelo Russell to dump Mozgov, and now they’re trying to unload Deng – which will also surely require massive sweeteners.

What were they thinking?

Eric Pincus of Basketball Insiders:

It wasn’t hard to look around the league and see that few teams would benefit from an amnesty clause. Though the previous two Collective Bargaining Agreements allowed teams to amnesty a single player (removing his salary from the cap and luxury tax), a rapidly rising salary cap reduced most teams’ desire for that out. The votes just weren’t going to be there.

Why didn’t former Lakers executives Jim Buss and Mitch Kupchak, who were in charge in the summer of 2016, realize that? Maybe because communication broke down between them and controlling owner Jeanie Buss, who would have been more involved in negotiating the CBA.

Even if there were an amnesty, it’d be beyond dumb to overpay someone with the intent of amnestying him. Far better to save it for an unintentionally bad contract. The Lakers were bound to have one of those.

After all, there has never been more than one amnesty allowed in a CBA, and the Lakers signed both Deng and Mozgov.

I’m not sure we completely understand what Jim Buss and Kupchack were thinking with Deng and Mozgov. But this is just more evidence these signings defied all reasonable logic.

Draymond Green incredulous at the idea Stephen Curry is ‘peaking’ (video)

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Stephen Curry is playing very well.

The Warriors have outscored opponents by 174 points with him on the floor through just 12 games (+14.5 per game). That puts him on pace to break Draymond Green‘s plus-minus record for a single season (+1070 in 2015-16).

So, is Curry peaking?

Green, via NBC Sports Bay Area:

I’m with Green on this. Curry won Most Valuable Player one year then contended for Most Improved Player the next. This isn’t his peak.

He’s just on a great team with Kevin Durant, Green and Klay Thompson. Durant (+143) isn’t far behind Curry, and Golden State is also blitzing opponents with Green (+86) and Thompson (+62 on the floor). Curry’s plus-minus must be contextualized.

Curry is a great player, and many others would kill for this to be their peak. But by the standard he set during his back-to-back MVP seasons, Curry is just coasting now.

Report: Julius Randle ‘very unlikely to continue with Lakers’

AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill
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The Lakers have made no secret of their plan to chase two max free agents next summer.

LeBron James? Paul George? DeMarcus Cousins?

Los Angeles wants to be in the mix.

A wrinkle: Julius Randle will be a restricted free agent with a $12,447,727 cap hold.

Adrian Wojnarowski on ESPN:

One player whose future is very unlikely to continue with the Lakers is Julius Randle.

Randle is arguably the Lakers’ best player right now, and he’s just 22. He shouldn’t be hastily cast aside.

Still, when the prize could be LeBron and George, renouncing Randle would be a small price to pay. That’s the simplest route to clearing major cap space.

In an ideal world for the Lakers, it wouldn’t come to that. They could trade Randle before February’s deadline for value. Knowing he might no longer fit in Los Angeles will drive down the Lakers’ return, but there’s still value in acquiring his Bird and matching rights. The Lakers could get a future draft pick that wouldn’t count against the cap next summer and might even be useful for unloading Luol Deng and/or Jordan Clarkson or even trade Deng and/or Clarkson with Randle now.

But what if the Lakers strike out on major free agents? They’d regret selling low on Randle now.

So, the Lakers could keep him into the summer as a hedge. If LeBron, George, Cousins, etc. sign elsewhere, the Lakers could re-sign Randle. But there’s always a chance Randle is unwilling to wait around for those stars to decide and presses the issue with an offer sheet. Even in the best-case scenario with keeping Randle past the trade deadline, two stars picking Los Angeles, the Lakers would lose Randle for nothing.

Now, it’s just a matter of the Lakers determining how aggressively they want to pursue outside free agents. They could go all-in and trade Randle before the deadline or hedge by waiting until the offseason to determine how to handle him.