Kurt Helin

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Andre Iguodala says if Kerr doesn’t start him then trade him β€” it was a joke, relax

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For a couple minutes, some corners of the Internet and the Warriors fan base started to freak out.

Warriors’ coach Steve Kerr spoke with the San Jose Mercury News and said he planned to bring Andre Iguodala off the bench again next season. No shock β€” they won 67 games and a ring with that strategy. Don’t fix what isn’t broken.

The fun started when Iguodala tweeted this:

WHAT? All through the Finals Iguodala said he just wanted to win and was good coming off the bench to make that happen, that he was team first, and now this? There were some turned heads around the Web.

Then came the follow-up:

Iguodala wasn’t done joking.

The Junior’s cheesecake is legit. I’d have gotten that in my contract.

ABC to debut Saturday Night NBA games in January; no more Sunday doubleheaders

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NBA Saturday Night is coming to your big screen.

Once college football stops dominating every sports network on Saturday nights, ABC is going to turn its attention to the NBA, the network and ESPN (both owned by Disney) announced.

“Beginning in January, ESPN on ABC will launch a new, weekly prime-time NBA series with the debut of Saturday Night NBA on ABC. The exclusive, eight-game schedule – featuring the sport’s biggest stars and most compelling matchups – will begin January 23, 2016 with weekly game telecasts at 8:30 p.m. ET. NBA Countdown – ABC’s and ESPN’s NBA pre-game show – will precede the games at 8 p.m. The announcement was made today by ESPN President John Skipper and Disney/ABC TV President Ben Sherwood.”

We do not yet know what games will be broadcast (the NBA schedule will be released in the next few weeks), but this could end up being like the Thursday night TNT games, where the league can showcase its best matchups on a big stage. With what ABC is paying under the new television deal, if they want big games they should get big games.

For the network this makes some sense β€” Saturday night is a dead zone for scripted shows. They can only show so many Modern Family reruns.

With that Saturday night game, ABC will no longer do the Sunday doubleheaders. There will be just one showcase game (and expect the NBA to put a few potential games on the schedule that day and allow ABC to pick potentially another if the marquee game has lost its attraction due to injuries or whatever other reason.

MRI shows Blazers’ guard Allen Crabbe with severe ankle sprain

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LAS VEGAS β€” It was clearly pretty nasty when it happened β€” Blazers’ guard Allen Crabbe was yelling and in pain. Then he was taken off the court on a stretcher.

The doctors have had a good look at him, and while it could have been a lot worse, his Summer League is over.

Crabbe has played 66 games over the last two seasons in Portland but was tearing it up in Summer League β€” 15.5 points a game (second on the team) on 53 percent shooting overall and 43 percent from three. He played like a guy who is going to demand another look and maybe a few more minutes come the fall.

That 4-6 week timetable means he should be okay for the start of training camp.

Players’ union director Roberts fires back at Adam Silver’s claims about league finances

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The question isn’t, “Will there be a lockout in 2017?” The question is, “Will we lose games β€” or an entire season β€” because of the 2017 lockout?”

While there are some optimistic that all the money on the table will get the sides to agree to a deal before some or all of the season is lost, the posturing and rhetoric two years out shows two sides trying to control the narrative and seeming pretty far apart.

On Tuesday, after the NBA owners meetings, NBA Commissioner Adam Silver bemoaned that “a significant” number of NBA teams are losing money, that the 50 percent of the Basketball Related Income (BRI) that goes to the players is out of the NBA gross, and that the league would need to write a nearly $500 million check to the players union because the league did not meet its payroll floor under the current agreement.

Thursday, in a letter to media members, National Basketball Players Association executive director Michele Roberts challenged those assumptions (hat tip Ken Berger at CBSSports.com).

Virtually every business metric demonstrates that our business is healthy. Gate receipts, merchandise sales and TV ratings are all at an all-time high. Franchise values have risen exponentially in recent years, and the NBA has enjoyed high single-digit revenue growth since 2010-11.”

Regarding the idea teams are losing money: “We agreed not to debate the finer points of negotiation in public, and aren’t going to change that approach now, in response to some remarks by the commissioner on Tuesday. We are, however, going to take him up on his offer to share the audited financials with the union. We also want to ensure that everyone understands the facts of this business.”

And that the players share of BRI comes out of the gross NBA revenues: “We do not have a gross compensation system. The players’ 50 percent share is calculated net of a substantial amount of expenses and deductions.”

She also went on to challenge Silvers’ comments that arena leases and deals are harming some teams, noting that a lot of teams get “generous” loans and subsidies from a variety of levels of government to help with those costs.

Going into the last lockout the NBA owners behind David Stern controlled the narrative β€” the players got 57 percent of the BRI, and the owners needed changes to the system to be profitable. Whether it was true or not is moot, the owners controlled the storyline, and eventually dominated the negotiations. Then union director Billy Hunter was forced out of his job not long after that.

Roberts, the new union director, isn’t about to let Silver and the owners control the storylines β€” and she’s got a strong case to make. With the Clippers selling for $2 billion and other teams’ values through the roof, plus a new national television deal that basically doubles that massive revenue stream, the owners cries of poverty can be more easily met with “well, that’s on you for how you choose to run your business, not just the players’ salaries.”

Right now both sides are trying to control the spin.

What will matter come the summer of 2017 is not as much the spin but just one thing β€” BRI. Who gets how much of the pie. Everything else β€” from the age limit through drug testing β€” is window dressing.

Reports: Josh Smith to sign with Los Angeles Clippers

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Depth along the front line was a serious issue for the Clippers last season. There was Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan, then… Spencer Hawes.

Now the Clippers are going to have a couple very nice reserves, they are expected to bring back Ekpe Udoh.

Now come reports that the Clippers have landed Josh Smith. Michael Scotto of Sheridanhoops.com had it first, others have since confirmed.

The Clippers could only sign him for the league minimum (all they had left) but Smith was good with it since the Pistons still will pay him $5.4 million as part of their waiving and stretch of his contract. (What the Clippers will pay him will be offset from the money Detroit owes him.)

At that price, Smith is a steal.

Smith has his flaws, starting with his love of the three ball β€” he’s a career 28 percent shooter from three who last season knocked down a barely passable 33 percent with Houston. But coming off the bench, Smith is a massive upgrade for the Clippers β€” he provides physicality and defense, plus he can still get points and rebounds and defend at a quality level. He brings some legit depth and versatility to the Clippers front line, plus he has stepped up in the playoffs.

Doc Rivers the GM has really helped out Doc Rivers the coach this summer. The formerly anemic Clipper bench will now have Jamal Crawford, Lance Stephenson, Udoh (probably) and Smith (plus guys like Austin Rivers that will get some run).

When you talk serious NBA title contenders next season, do not leave the Clippers off the list.