Dan Feldman

Brandon Armstrong recreates Tracy McGrady’s 13 points in 35 seconds (video)

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In case the above has you hungry for the real thing:

Shane Larkin says he doesn’t regret opting out of Nets contract despite landing in Spain

NEW YORK, NY - MARCH 22:  Shane Larkin #0 of the Brooklyn Nets reacts after missing a shot against the Charlotte Hornets during their game at the Barclays Center on March 22, 2016 in New York City.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)
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Shane Larkin opted out of a contract with the Nets that paid him $1.5 last season and would’ve duplicated that salary this year. Instead of landing in the NBA with a raise, he signed in Spain.

Larkin, in a Q&A with Jorge Sierra of HoopsHype:

You saw a lot of guys opting out of their contract in free agency and it went well for most of them. You did the same, didn’t go so well for you. Any regret?

SL: Not really. The situation in Baskonia is a better situation than Brooklyn knowing that they wanted to go in a different direction. I could have possibly been in a bad situation with the guards they drafted perhaps playing in front of me because the new management might want to see them play. That situation wasn’t ideal. I don’t feel any regret about my decision. Obviously, it’s not all about the money, but I’m playing for more money this year than I did last year and I’m playing in a good situation where I’m going to have a lot of people watching me play and seeing my improvement. I’ll play in a competition where there’s a bunch of talented players. I think there’s 10 guys that were in the Euroleague that signed NBA deals this summer.

Even if Larkin’s base salary is higher – his claim – it’s hard to believe he’ll come out ahead financially. He won’t receive a shortfall check. He won’t earn a year of service, which leads to a higher minimum salary and better healthcare in retirement.

There’s a reason Larkin changed agents during free agency.

As Larkin said, money isn’t everything. But that’s often something said by people who screw up their finances.

Raptors extend president Masai Ujiri’s contract

Masai Ujiri, Dwane Casey
AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Galit Rodan
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Masai Ujiri’s three years with the Raptors have been the best in franchise history – 48, 49 and 56 wins and Toronto’s deepest playoff run. Part of that is a strong-than-realized roster Ujiri inherited from Bryan Colangelo, but Ujiri has guided the Raptors forward.

So, they want him to stay a while. Like most moves involving Ujiri, Toronto succeeded.

Raptors release:

The Toronto Raptors announced Friday they have signed President Masai Ujiri to a multi-year contract extension and promoted Jeff Weltman to general manager and Bobby Webster to assistant general manager/vice-president basketball strategy. Ujiri will continue to oversee basketball operations as president of the club.

Ujiri re-signed Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan amid heavy outside interest, lured DeMarre Carroll and Cory Joseph to Toronto and absolutely fleeced the Knicks in the Andrea Bargnani trade. That résumé earned him this extension.

Sorry, Knicks.

Report: Sir’Dominic Pointer signing in Israel rather than with Cavaliers

NEW YORK, NY - FEBRUARY 28:  Sir'Dominic Pointer #15 of the St. John's Red Storm points as he cheers and runs down the court after a play against the Georgetown Hoyas during the game at Madison Square Garden on February 28, 2015 in New York City.  (Photo by Nate Shron/Getty Images)
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It’s a prime time to join the Cavaliers.

Cleveland has just 12 players with guaranteed salaries, plus J.R. Smith and/or minus Mo Williams. And the Cavs still have that championship shine that makes everyone associated with the team look better.

Sir’Dominic Pointer, the No. 53 pick by the Cavs last year, is not taking advantage.

Roey Gladstone of Sport 5 (hat tip: Chris Reichert of Upside & Motor):

Pointer already rejected the required tender – a one-year contract, surely unguaranteed at the minimum, teams must extend to second-round picks to retain their rights – last year. To do it again is curious.

If Pointer accepted the tender, he would’ve gone to training camp to compete for one of Cleveland’s three or so available regular-season roster spots. Winning an NBA job would’ve obviously paid more than Israel. Even the worst outcome in that scenario – getting waived – would’ve at least brought the advantage of making Pointer an NBA free agent.

As is, Pointer is doing the Cavs a favor. He’s allowing them to keep his exclusive negotiating rights without paying him (although perhaps they helped arrange his Israeli deal).

At some point, Pointer should consider accepting the tender if the Cavs don’t offer more in a multi-year deal. Even getting waived can jumpstart a player’s NBA career by making him a free agent.

Taking the tender this year made sense with so many roster openings, but apparently Pointer felt otherwise. We’ll see whether he ever gets a better opportunity.

Phil Jackson: Kobe Bryant requested trade during my first Lakers season, Pistons offered Grant Hill

LOS ANGELES - JUNE 4:  Kobe Bryant #8 of the Los Angeles Lakers drives the ball downcourt during Game 7 of the Western Conference Finals against the Portland Trail Blazers at Staples Center on June 4, 2000 in Los Angeles, California. The Lakers won 98-94. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Tom Hauck/Getty Images)
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Kobe Bryant infamously requested a trade in 2007. The Lakers even agreed to terms with the Pistons before Kobe vetoed the deal with his no-trade clause.

That wasn’t the first time – for a Kobe trade request or Pistons offer.

Phil Jackson on 1999-00, via Charley Rosen of Today’s Fastbreak:

Kobe was only averaging about 19 points per game. So Kobe called Jerry West and wanted to know how Jerry and Elgin Baylor both averaged 30 points. Kobe also said that he wanted to be traded. Of course, Jerry told me about the conversation. And, for a few minutes I thought about taking the Pistons up on an offer they made to trade Kobe for Grant Hill. Make that a few seconds.

Hill was still a superstar, before ankle injuries derailed his career. But he was 27 to Kobe’s 21 and in the last year of his contract. Kobe was locked up through 2004.

There’s a reason Jackson didn’t think hard about that offer.

There’s also a reason Kobe stayed in Los Angeles, where he won the first of three straight titles that season. Players make trade requests in frustration more often than realized. It usually passes.

This seems to be one of those minor moments, as opposed to 2007 – when Kobe’s trade saga was very real.