Dan Feldman

BET Presents The Players' Awards - Backstage

Players union awards to be announced on social media today

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The players union created its own awards last year, even presenting them on a TV special on BET.

After little fanfare, the awards return this year – on a smaller stage.

National Basketball Players Association release:

The National Basketball Players Association (NBPA) announced today that 2016 Players Voice Awards will be revealed exclusively via social media today beginning at 3:00 p.m. ET.
The Players Voice Awards are voted on solely by NBA players

the NBPA created video packages celebrating each winner and featuring testimonials captured in the offseason from dozens of NBA players. These videos will be shared via social media in conjunction with the announcement of the winners. The awards and videos will be revealed via @theNBPA on Twitter beginning at 3:00 p.m. ET today, and NBPA.com will curate all of the content throughout the afternoon.

These sure haven’t supplanted the NBA’s awards, which are mostly voted on by media. They haven’t even proven to be a respected complement to the traditional awards.

Not even players are convinced of the awards’ value, many players skipping last year’s show.

Needless to say, a Twitter rollout isn’t a step toward prominence.

That said, I – and I’m sure other hardcore NBA fans – are still curious. Here’s the full slate of honors to be named today:

  • Best Rookie
  • Comeback Player of the Year
  • Best Off the Bench
  • Best Defender
  • Toughest to Guard
  • Player You Secretly Wish Was On Your Team
  • Best Dressed
  • Home Court Advantage
  • Coach You’d Most Like to Play For
  • Clutch Performer
  • Best Social Media Follow
  • Most Influential Veteran
  • Global Impact
  • Most Valuable Player
  • Best Teammate (one per team)

Why Thunder probably won’t sign Steven Adams, Victor Oladipo and Andre Roberson to contract extensions

ORLANDO, FL - JANUARY 18:  Victor Oladipo #5 of the Orlando Magic drives against Steven Adams #12 and Andre Roberson #21 of the Oklahoma City Thunder during the game at Amway Center on January 18, 2015 in Orlando, Florida. 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 Sam Greenwood/Getty Images)
Sam Greenwood/Getty Images
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Victor Oladipo, Steven Adams and Andre Roberson are all eligible for contract extensions.

The Thunder probably won’t extend any of the three.

Russell Westbrook‘s renegotiation-and-extension gives Oklahoma City an extra year persuade Westbrook he should stay, but he’ll still be an unrestricted free agent in 2018. The clock is ticking, and the best course to upgrading the roster involves beginning the 2017 offseason with Oladipo, Adams and Roberson unsigned.

If one of the three fourth-year players were to sign an extension, his cap number on July 1 would be his 2017-18 salary. If they forgo extensions, their cap number will be a percentage of their previous salary. For each, that’d be:

  • Oladipo: $13,105,921
  • Adams: $7,851,293
  • Roberson: $5,457,681

All three are likely to command a salary above their cap hold – maybe even up to their projected max of nearly $24 million for Oladipo and Adams. So Oklahoma City can count those players at their cap holds, use its cap space then exceed the cap to re-sign them using Bird Rights.

But that was always the case. What does Westbrook’s extension change?

Theoretically, Oladipo, Adams or Roberson could’ve accepted less over the course of a long-term extension to outweigh the Thunder’s cap-space reduction in 2017. But with Westbrook still headed toward free agency so soon, 2017 becomes a much bigger priority than 2019 or 2020.

The Thunder must impress Westbrook before he can leave in 2018.

With Oladipo’s, Adams’ and Roberson’s cap holds, Oklahoma City would be an Enes Kanter trade and one other small deal from offering a max contract next summer to someone with fewer than 10 years experience – say Oklahoma native Blake Griffin.

It might not be easy to trade Kanter. It might not be easy to swing a second salary dump without downgrading the roster too greatly. It might not be easy to lure Griffin or anyone else.

The salary cap could change from the latest projection. The entire Collective Bargaining Agreement could change.

But by not extending Oladipo, Adams and Roberson, the Thunder maximize their 2017 flexibility. And Oklahoma City would face only limited risk of losing those players. All three will be restricted free agents.

If the Thunder strike out in 2017, it might be time to trade Westbrook before he hits 2018 free agency.

But, before it comes to that, Oklahoma City can take its best swing next summer by not extending Oladipo, Adams or Roberson now.

Watch Blake Griffin’s hilarious standup-comedy routine (video)

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Once you’re somewhere you can listen to swearing and a discussion of strip clubs, watch Blake Griffin‘s fantastic standup-comedy performance.

(hat tip: Ananth Pandian of CBSSports.com)

Report: Cavaliers sign DeAndre Liggins

DeAndre Liggins
AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki
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The Cavaliers’ starting small forward (LeBron James) and shooting guard (J.R. Smith) remain unsigned.

LeBron has already committed to re-signing, and Cleveland will likely take of Smith. After all, Smith is represented by LeBron’s agent, Rich Paul.

In the meantime, the Cavs are adding another wing – DeAndre Liggins.

RealGM:

DeAndre Liggins has signed a camp deal with the Cleveland Cavaliers.

No matter what happens with LeBron, Smith and likely-to-be-signed second-rounder Kay Felder, Liggins could make the team. Liggins’ D-League rights are already held by the Sioux Falls Skyforce. So this isn’t about the Cavaliers waiving him to assign his rights to their affiliate. They presumably want to give him a tryout for the regular-season roster.

Liggins is a standout defender, winning D-League Defensive Player of the Year last year and in 2014. That’ll be his ticket back to the NBA.

After being drafted by Orlando No. 53 in 2011, Liggins has played for the Magic, Thunder and Heat.

Liggins faced particularly ugly domestic-violence charges in 2013, but the felony charges were dropped when the alleged victim refused to cooperate. Oklahoma City waived him when he was arrested. Miami signed him after the incident.

Report: NBA finalizing New Orleans as host of 2017 All-Star game

NEW ORLEANS, LA - FEBRUARY 16:  Western Conference Stephen Curry #30 of the Golden State Warriors moves the ball across mid court during 2014 NBA All-Star game against the Eastern Conference at the Smoothie King Center on February 16, 2014 in New Orleans, Louisiana. The East defeated the West 163-155.  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 Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Christian Petersen/Getty Images
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After the NBA moved the 2017 All-Star game from Charlotte, New Orleans quickly became favored to host the event.

New York, Chicago and Las Vegas also emerged as contenders, but it seems nowhere eclipsed the Big Easy.

Scott Kushner and Brett Dawson of The New Orleans Advocate:

New Orleans officials are closing in on a deal with the NBA to host the 2017 All Star Game and are in the process of ironing out details, multiple league sources told The Advocate on Tuesday.

If everything goes to plan, there is a formal announcement expected to take place early next week, sources said.

I’m all for it. New Orleans is a great city with desirable February weather.