Kurt Helin

Chris Paul goes to crossover, Damian Lillard trips (on Griffin) and hits floor

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It would be so so much more fun to say “Chris Paul drops Damian Lillard with a crossover.”

Except, that’s not really what happened Thursday night in the Clippers 109-108 preseason win.

CP3 went with a behind-the-back dribble (which is not a classic crossover), then as Lillard first slid to his right Blake Griffin popped out to set a pick — Lillard steps on Griffin’s foot, and that causes him to fall. It’s not fair to say the crossover dropped him, although it did get Lillard out of position. Still, it makes a good highlight.

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(Hat tip Eye on Basketball)

Watch D’Angelo Russell drop 31 on Kings (with 11 dimes) in Laker loss

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The Lakers’ D'Angelo Russell is quickly starting to come into his own as a very dangerous pick-and-roll point guard.

Thursday night in Las Vegas he also showed a very nice catch-and-shoot touch on his way to scoring 31 points on 10-of-14 shooting for the night, including 5-of-6 from three. He also dropped 11 dimes. From Summer League through the preseason the former No. 2 pick has shown real development into a point guard who can score off the pick-and-roll in a variety of ways — stepping back for the three, pushing into the lane and using a floater, plus his drive-and-kick game is strong.

And he’s just 20.

The Kings won the game with Darren Collison‘s 20 points leading six Kings in double figures.

Report: NBA revenue to remain “50-50” split in new CBA; Players want money for retired players

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The last NBA lockout in 2011 — which almost cost the league a season and ended up shortening it by 16 games, pushing the start date back — was all about money. The players had been getting 57 percent of the league’s “Basketball Related Income” (BRI) and the owners drew a hard-line trying even that up. The owners won, pushing the split back to a roughly 50-50 (it’s complicated).

This time around, the two sides agreed early on that the current 50-50 split would stay, and that has the sped up negotiations on a new Collective Bargaining Agreement to the point the sides are on the brink of a new deal before either side even opted out of the old one, reports Jon Krawczynski and Tim Reynolds of the Associated Press.

The NBA and its players have agreed that the next CBA will include new league-funded programs to help retired players with education and medical expenses, four people with knowledge of the situation told the AP. The people spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity because talks are ongoing.

In exchange for those programs, and pending full approval from both sides, the split of basketball-related income would remain the same “50-50” deal as it is in the current agreement.

Those programs for former players are something LeBron James said was important, more important to him and others than trying to get some percentage of BRI back and drag out the talks.

“We got a group of guys that are in there that know the negotiations, so any way to give back and try to help our former teammates and help former players and things of that nature,” James said. “Because we’ve all built this league together. No matter how big of a guy you were or if you were the 15th guy on the bench, we all built this league into what it is today. But it’s not just my idea. I’m not taking any credit for that. But it’s all part of the process.”

Report: Knicks to re-sign Cleanthony Early, push him to D-League to start

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Cleanthony Early has struggled his way through 56 games with the Knicks over the past two seasons, shooting just 34.6 percent from the floor, but also showing flashes of potential.

Enough flashes that the Knicks are going to re-sign him — then send him to the D-League to get healthy and develop. From Shams Charania of The Vertical at Yahoo Sports.

Part of the challenge for Early has just been getting and staying healthy, and that includes right now.

If he can show an improved jump shot, everything else should open up for him. Early is long, athletic, a willing passer (who needs to reduce turnovers), and he has real defensive potential. It feels like there is a rotation NBA player in there, if he can just get it out. The Knicks are giving him another shot.

Damian Lillard on winning a ring: “I’d rather do it with the team I have. I’d rather build it up”

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Damian Lillard said it before: Kevin Durant did what he did this summer choosing to help form a superteam in Golden State, but it was not something he could do. Lillard didn’t mean it as a shot at Durant, although it sort of came off as one.

Lillard went on The Jim Rome Show on CBS Sports Radio Thursday and tried to clarify that he was not firing a shot across the bow of KD, but he also didn’t back down from what he said the first time.

What I was saying was about myself, it wasn’t about anybody else. I was saying joining other big time players and joining a team like Golden State is that something I couldn’t see myself doing. We play this game to win and if that’s what somebody is willing to do to win and if that’s what they want to go and do then that’s fine, it’s not against the rules we can’t be mad at anybody for joining whatever team they want to join but what I was saying I’d rather do it with the team I have. I’d rather build it up and to being a championship team.

Little discussed fact: Rome has developed into one of the best interviewers in the business. He turned this into a discussion of Lillard saying what he thinks, not resorting to cliches and bland soundbites.

No I’m going always going to say what I feel and say what I think…. But I think that’s also a problem in sports sometimes when you don’t allow to say what they feel, or when guys tell the truth about what they think about something or what they feel about something it becomes an issue and it’s like he shouldn’t have said this or this guy said that or you kind of force people into wanting to give you a cliché answer or just like a you know what I mean, they don’t give you details because every time they say something it gets twisted and turned into something that it’s not….

Even when I do speak I’m not going to go say nothing crazy about anybody or nothing off the wall, so its I mean whatever.