Dan Feldman

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Report: Shabazz Muhammad rejected four-year, $40 million contract extension last year


Bazz Muhammad – back when he went by Shabazz Muhammad – had his qualifying offer pulled by the Timberwolves then re-signed on a minimum contract last summer.

If he’d been more proactive the prior offseason, he apparently would have been far better off.

Zach Harper of FanRag Sports:

He turned down a four-year, $40 million extension before the 2016-17 season. Sources say Muhammad believed a strong year plus a crazy flow of free-agency money would lead to him commanding as much as $20 million per season in his next deal.

This is a consequence not having cap smoothing in 2016, when the salary cap skyrocketed under new national TV deals. Many players expected huge windfalls, but only 2016 free agents took the biggest advantage.

Muhammad probably wouldn’t have gotten $20 million annually if he were a 2016 free agent. But he likely would have gotten far above the minimum.

Unfortunately for Muhammad, the cap environment has changed. It’s probably too late for the 25-year-old to ever recoup the money he passed up.

In a league that especially values 3-point shooting and defense from wings, Muhammad does neither well. His overall game has fallen off this season, and he has fallen out of the rotation.

Muhammad has a minimum-salary player option ($1,795,015) for next season. He ought to at least consider exercising it.

Boston Celtics have never hosted Christmas game

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The Celtics are one of the NBA’s original franchises and have played 30 Christmas games in their storied history.

But all 30 have been on the road or at a neutral site. Boston hasn’t hosted a single Christmas game.

That’ll change tomorrow, when the Celtics have a home game against the Wizards.

What took so long?

Chris Forsberg of ESPN:

The NHL’s Boston Bruins routinely skated at the Garden on Christmas Day, playing 34 games at home between 1928 and 1971. The Bruins, who own TD Garden and have priority, were home for Christmas during each of the Celtics’ first 19 holiday games starting in 1948.

In recent years, the Disney On Ice crew would load in on Christmas Eve and set up the staging for its extended holiday run that typically kicked off with an afternoon show on Dec. 26. The tour made its final late December visit in 2012, and Christmas has been an available date to the NBA in each of the past four years.

This such a remarkable oddity. It’s like the Bucks’ three-decade streak of opening on the road – just much more distinguished. The Celtics are a flagship franchise, and Christmas is the NBA’s premier regular-season date.

Considering the Celtics’ bright future, at least Boston should be in the regular rotation for Christmas games now.

DeMar DeRozan: ‘No excuse’ for Raptors not to play on Christmas

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Seven NBA teams have won more than 60% of their games over the last five years – Warriors, Spurs, Rockets, Clippers, Raptors, Thunder and Cavaliers. Six of those seven teams have had at least three Christmas games in that span.

The lone exception: Toronto, which played its only Christmas game in franchise history in 2001.

Raptors guard DeMar DeRozan, whom Toronto drafted in 2009, via Marc J. Spears of The Undefeated:

“We’ve won. We’ve been one of the best in the league the past few years. To not get that look is definitely crazy. … There is really no excuse. We’ve proven we are a top team in the league for a reason,” said DeRozan

“It has gotten to the point where you just sigh and say, ‘Another year …’ That’s crazy. I always wanted to say that I’m playing on Christmas,” DeRozan said.

The league prioritizes large-market teams like the Lakers and Knicks for these marquee games, which squeezes teams like the Raptors. DeRozan might not like that, but it’s sound business for the NBA.

The Raptors are borderline deserving of a Christmas game. They win consistently, though they’ve underachieved in the playoffs. They play in a large market, though in Canada. They have multiple All-Stars in DeRozan and Lowry, though neither is a huge name.

Nobody would think twice if the NBA highlighted Toronto on the premier regular-season date. But few would notice if the Raptors were omitted.

Except DeRozan. He wants the recognition – and that’s fair from his perspective.

It’s just hard to rally support for his cause outside Toronto fans.

Daryl Morey: Rockets obsessed with Warriors; Steve Kerr: We don’t think about them

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The Warriors are one of the best teams of all time.

The Rockets have built a roster that matches up with Golden State relatively well.

That’s not a coincidence.

Rockets general manager Daryl Morey, via ESPN:

“It’s the only thing we think about,” Morey said on ESPN Radio’s The Ryen Russillo Show on Thursday. “I think I’m not supposed to say that, but we’re basically obsessed with ‘How do we beat the Warriors?’

“Last year, the Spurs knocked us off, so we’re very worried about the Spurs. They’re always one step ahead of every organization and guard us better than anyone. But we calculated it — it’s like 90 percent if we’re gonna win a title, we’ve gotta obviously beat the Warriors at some point. So we’re extremely focused on that. A lot of our signings and what we do during the year is based on that.”

In response, Warriors coach Steve Kerr, via Logan Murdock of The Mercury News:

“I don’t wake up in the morning and think about them,” Kerr said. “I think about what I’m going to have for breakfast. I also think about lunch, what we’re going have to do at practice, what movie my wife and I are going to watch that night.”

This is just another version of, “If Daryl Morey wants to run his own one-man campaign for James Harden, he can do that.” It’s also an implicit ode to this iconic Mad Men scene: