Author: Kurt Helin

Phoenix Suns Media Day

Suns’ Alex Len re-fractures finger, will miss some time


Last season Alex Len was the No. 5 pick of the Suns but missed half of his rookie season after he had ankle surgery. Then in summer league he broke his pinky finger on his right hand.

Now he has re-fractured that same finger, but in a different place, the Suns announced on Tuesday. The injury happened in practice when Len went to dunk and Tyler Ennis tried to block the shot, according to Paul Coro of the Arizona Republic. That’s just unlucky.

The Suns gave no timetable on Len’s return, other than that he will be re-evaluated next week (Oct. 15). He could return with a split on the finger at that time.

Len is expected to back up Miles Plumlee at the five spot this season, although the Suns like to go small and will play some Markeiff Morris at the five (with a three-guard lineup).

Ray Allen’s agent says client has not signed with Cleveland, not even sure he will play this season

2014 NBA Finals - Practice Day And Media Availability

Rumors started flying out of Cleveland this morning — with apparently some local writer “confirming” it — that Ray Allen had signed with LeBron James and the Cavaliers and would soon join the team in training camp.


Not yet anyway.

My sources said there was nothing there as of this morning (hence no stories at PBT), something just a number of respected NBA writer also tweeted out. But internet rumors have more lives and improbably comebacks than Freddy Krueger. So now Allen’s agent Jim Tanner of Tandem Sports tweeted out this statement.

If Allen signs anywhere it will be with Cleveland, to chase a ring with LeBron.

But as far back as this summer I had heard Allen was undecided on whether he wanted to go through the grind again, and if he wanted to leave his Miami-based life and family to chase a third ring at age 39. He might, but it was far from a sure thing with a lot of factors he had to consider. Allen’s skills showed decline last season but he can still make the corner three like it’s a layup.

Don’t be shocked if Allen waits until mid-season, skipping the grind of training camp and games in 2014, jumping on board for the second half of the season and the playoffs. That option is certainly in front of him, he’s not coming back for the cash.

Five-year old boy with leukemia breaks ankles, dunks for Jazz in scrimmage (VIDEO)


That, ladies and gentlemen, is JP Gibson.

The 5-year-old battling lymphoblastic leukemia was signed to a one-day contract with the Utah Jazz and took part in the team’s blue and white scrimmage Monday (along with taking part in a full Utah Jazz day). And the kid showed some moves, just breaking the ankles of Steve Novak, blowing by Dante Exum and throwing it down by using Rudy Gobert as a human trampoline (or crane, I guess).

That is a great moment. And a very classy move by the Jazz.

Kevin Durant is right, top NBA players are underpaid with max salaries

NBA All-Star Game 2013

It’s kind of hard to get your head around this in the sense that the NBA minimum rookie salary is likely more than most of us will make in a year ever. Let alone saying a guy making $20 million or more is underpaid.

But the NBA’s true elite max players are underpaid.

Not your Gordon Hayward kind of max deals, I’m talking the games real draws — LeBron James, Kevin Durant, Kobe Bryant, Carmelo Anthony and a handful of others. It’s not a question of what Kobe might bring the Lakers on the court anymore, it’s a question of what he brings the Lakers as a business — filled expensive seats and luxury boxes, sponsors flocking to the team, frankly that massive Lakers cable deal doesn’t exist without him in Lakers colors. Even has the highest paid player in the league, Kobe is likely brings in three times his salary to the Lakers.

LeBron James has hinted at some in the union wanting to do away with max contracts, and Kevin Durant chimed in on that Tuesday, as reported by Anthony Slater of The Oklahoman.

“Look at it like this,” Durant explained. “Kobe Bryant brings in a lot of money to Los Angeles, that downtown area. People go to watch the Lakers. Clippers are getting up there, Chris Paul, Blake Griffin and those guys are bringing in a lot of money as well. Look at Cleveland, look at Miami when LeBron was there. These guys are worth more than what they are making because of the amount of money they bring to that area. That’s a conversation you can always have, but until it’s changed you never know what will happen to it.”

Kobe has said the same thing.

They’re right, the elite players in the NBA are underpaid, which allows for a real (but shrinking) “middle class” in the NBA.

If the max contract is removed what you will see is a handful of very highly paid guys and a lot of other guys on minimum or near that deals, there will be no middle class of the NBA, few guys getting $4 million to $8 million a year. But some NBA players want that max contract idea removed.

Some owners are okay with this. Why? Because if you really want to do away with “super teams” of players getting together (like with LeBron in Miami and now Cleveland) then you let LeBron get paid what the market will bear. In LeBron’s case that would be north of $40 million a year right now, and with a salary cap of $63 million this season you simply couldn’t put a good team around him anymore. Even with the cap going up under the new TV deal a GM would have one hand tied behind his back (and as that cap goes up the value of LeBron/Durant/etc. to a franchise goes up).

My guess is in the next deal you may see the percentages of the cap allowed to go to a max player go up, but I doubt the max salary number goes away. The NBA owners also don’t want to be handing out baseball-sized contracts.

Tracy McGrady knocks down game winning three in China (VIDEO)


That is vintage Tracy McGrady. The basketball player version (we’re trying to repress memories of the baseball version).

Isolate him on the wing, pound the ball into the court while the clock ticks down to the final seconds, use your strength and quickness to create a little space, then knock down the shot.

McGrady is part of the USA Legends Tour in China (other names you might know include Jason Williams and Aquille Carr) and with the game on the line it was T-Mac who had the ball. Which made for a fun trip down memory lane.

(Hat tip to SLAM)