Kurt Helin


Report: Nets, YES Network near massive new TV deal

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Which NBA team has the worst local television ratings per capita in the entire NBA? The Brooklyn Nets. Last season, the Nets drew 0.55 percent of the New York market to watch their games on the YES Network, a number that was down 29 percent from the year before.

None of that matters. In what may be the best evidence yet of the growing popularity of the NBA — and the value of live sports television programming — the Nets and the YES Network are nearing a new, massive local television deal, reports the Sports Business Journal (via Nets Daily).

The Nets used a contractual “reset” that occurs every five years to get YES Network’s majority owner Fox Sports to increase its rights fee to an annual average of around $40 million, starting with 2017-18 season, according to sources.

This deal would include both broadcast and digital rights.

The Nets ratings are not likely to go up this season — after buying out Deron Williams this summer this team is likely to take a step back in quality of play. They didn’t sign any big stars that will draw eyeballs. They are sliding into a rebuilding era and have yet to capture the hearts and minds of the majority of Brooklyn hoops fans.

And still, that’s worth double what they were getting for local broadcast rights. For the YES Network, the Nets are an important part of their winter lineup (while they wait for baseball season to start).

The Nets are not alone, the Clippers are in the midst of a renegotiation and owner Steve Ballmer — whose team draws considerable fewer viewers than the Lakers, even with the latter’s recent troubles — is not going to settle for double what he was getting.

Mirotic slams for Spain, Antetokounmpo can’t stop it

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Giannis Antetokounmpo is going to rack up a lot of chase down blocks over the course of his career, but he wasn’t getting this one.

That is the Bulls’ Nikola Mirotic with the dunk — right through the block attempt of Antetokounmpo.

It was the top highlight from Spain’s win over Greece Tuesday, advancing the Spaniards to the final four of EuroBasket (the top two teams get an automatic bid to the Rio Olympics next summer). Greece will now have to win a consolation game to ensure they get to take part in one of the pre-Olympics tournaments next summer, which fills out the final three spots in the Rio Games lineup.

Rockets’ Harrell helps save guy in overturned car

2015 NBA Rookie Photo Shoot
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Houston’s Montrezl Harrell is a good Samaritan, too.

The rookie second-round pick of the Rockets is a former Louisville player and was in the city when he came upon a nasty accident. University of Louisville sports information director Kenny Klein tweeted out what happened next (hat tip NBA reddit).

Well done.

Harrell, a 6’8″ power forward, impressed at Summer League, averaging 14 points and 6.7 rebounds a night, showing off his high-motor game. He’s going to have a little trouble cracking the rotation on a very good Houston team, but his energetic style may make it hard for Kevin McHale to keep him on the bench.

Olajuwon credits Moses Malone for teaching him game

2013 NBA Draft
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Future Hall of Famer Hakeem Olajuwon was a young student at the University of Houston, and a member of their high-flying basketball team Phi Slamma Jamma (along with Clyde Drexler).

Moses Malone was a member of the Houston Rockets and was racking up NBA MVP trophies.

And they used to go at it on the practice court in some epic battles where the veteran taught the young star the game. On the occasion of Malone’s passing, Olajuwon looked back on how Malone shaped his game, speaking to Fran Blinebury of NBA.com.

“I would never have accomplished what I did if I did not play against Moses at Fonde,” Olajuwon said before his own Hall of Fame induction in 2008. “I knew the rules. I knew the basics of the game and what you were supposed to do. But he is the one that taught me how to do it.

“With Moses there were no rests, no breaks. He was working every time down the court — scoring, rebounding or just making you feel his body. He would laugh when he slammed into you. If you tried to take a breath, he went by you or over you. There was no stop….

“I usually couldn’t go through Moses, because he was just so strong,” Olajuwon said. “So I had to learn to use speed and agility to go around him. That’s how I built my game.”

Olajuwon added a series of moves and counters, and soon enough was going around everyone in the NBA. A decade after those pickup games and lessons in Houston, Olajuwon was winning an NBA title.

And Moses Malone deserves a little credit for all of it.

DeMarcus Cousins hits three near center court logo

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Stephen Curry would be embarrassed to take that shot.

That is Kings’ center DeMarcus Cousins, arguably the best center in the NBA (I’d have him second behind Marc Gasol), playing this weekend in a University of Kentucky alumni vs. University of North Carolina alumni exhibition.

Cousins has been working on his jumper this summer, allowing him to step out and space the floor as George Karl calls for in his system (and as Cousins is going to need to if paired with rookie Willie Cauley-Stein at all). He hit all five threes in this game, which you don’t want to read too much into because your pickup game on the blacktop this weekend had better defense played. Still, leave him alone and he can hurt you. From some pretty ridiculous range.

Hat tip to Eye on Basketball for finding a good video of the shot.