Author: Kurt Helin

Chris Webber

Greg Anthony, Grant Hill and Chris Webber will rotate through Steve Kerr’s spot on TNT broadcasts


No one man can replace Steve Kerr. Apparently.

Kerr was a fixture on one of the TNT Thursday night double header broadcasts, next to Marv Albert every week on a marquee game. Then he gave that all up to coach Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson and the Golden State Warriors.

So who takes his chair next to Marv? Three guys, Turner Broadcasting told Richard Deitsch of Sports Illustrated.

So says Turner Sports, which will soon make the official announcement that Greg Anthony, Grant Hill and Chris Webber will form a three-person rotation as TNT’s top NBA analyst alongside game announcer Marv Albert….

“We have a really deep talent roster and we plan to dig into it and use everybody,” Turner Sports senior vice president Craig Barry told Sports Illustrated last week. “We are in a unique position to be able to work through a rotation with A-grade talent. We are looking at it from a perspective that each guy brings something to the table.”

My guess is eventually one of those guys will get the job permanently. Hill is a rookie so we’ll see how he does, Anthony is solid, but personally I’m a big Webber fan. I like him the studio, I like him on broadcasts, so this makes me happy.

It is unclear when Craig Sager will return to the sidelines from his battle with adult acute myeloid leukemia, We can’t see him back soon enough.

The second TNT game will continue to feature Kevin Harlan and Reggie Miller. Now, if we can get TNT to rotate guys through Miller’s chair then we will have something worth celebrating.

Preseason? Who cares? Paul Pierce, Joakim Noah get into shoving match

Joakim Noah

You’ve got to love Joakim Noah. And Paul Pierce. Meaningless preseason game? Doesn’t matter. They are not going to back down from confrontation.

Noah and Pierce got into a little shoving match during the Washington at Chicago preseason game in the United Center Monday night. It started when Pierce gave a hard foul to Jimmy Butler, then while the officials reviewed it to see if it was a flagrant foul Pierce kept talking to Butler, so Noah stepped in.

Not really much to it… but considering it’s preseason, it’s pretty feisty.

The best part is Tom Thibodeau’s annoyed expression as he has to get in the middle of this.

As a side note, Derrick Rose put up a quick 9 points on 4-of-5 shooting in the first quarter (which is where we are as of this posting. He looks like that time with Team USA to shake off the rust may have done some good.

Quote of the Day: Kevin Garnett was talking to Rasheed Wallace and…

Rasheed Wallace

That is some pretty classic stuff, via Andrew Keh, who covers the Association for the New York Times.

As a reminder, Wallace was out of the league for two years before trying a 21 game comeback with the Knicks in 2012-13, an idea that was just not a great one. The ball don’t lie and it was past his time.

But I love the idea of ‘Sheed sitting on the couch, wearing cutoff sweats, with a headband on, having a beer and watching games, talking back to the referees on television. I could see KG joining him for a night in a couple of years.

Report: Timberwolves offering Ricky Rubio four-years, $48 million, he wants more

Ricky Rubio

The demand for free agent point guards is not quite as strong and certainly not as lucrative as some seem to think. Look at how the Eric Bledsoe negotiation went this summer compared to Gordon Hayward — the lack of demand at the point left Bledsoe scrambling while Hayward had options.

Enter Ricky Rubio in Minnesota.

Rubio can sign an extension to his rookie deal between now and Halloween, however GM that drafted and saw Rubio as his clever pick and future of the team has been sent out to pasture. Flip Saunders is in that chair now and he isn’t as enamored with Rubio.

The two sides are nowhere near a deal, reports Sean Deveney of the Sporting News.

Rubio has been after a five-year contract with the Timberwolves, and though he’d like that deal to be a max, there is no doubt Minnesota won’t go that high. In fact, while it has been reported that the two sides are far apart on a number, you can get a sense of just how far — league sources told Sporting News that the Timberwolves’ best offer thus far has been four years in the range of $48 million.

For the record, a max is going to be in the ballpark of five-years, $85 million (depending on league revenues this season). Rubio is not going to get that. He’s not going to get Kenneth Faried money (five years, $60 million, maybe).

To me four and $48 million is fair. Earlier reports had the Timberwolves offer in the four and $42 million range, so maybe the franchise upped the ante a little.

But they don’t need to go higher, for two reasons.

First, Rubio’s not really worth more. I like his game more than most but his shooting needs work — not just his inconsistent jumper, also last season 40 percent of his shots came within three feet of the rim but he hit just 49.1 percent of those. He has to learn to finish. He obviously has great court vision, plays with flair and is a good defender, but right now he’s just not a max guy.

Secondly, the point guard free agent market next summer could be very crowded. Right now Rajon Rondo, Jeremy Lin, Patrick Beverley, and Kemba Walker will be free agents, and there potentially will be other ball handlers (Monta Ellis can opt out). Rubio is going to struggle to get paid what he wants as teams will have options. They don’t need to overpay.

More and more it looks like Rubio will be on the free agent market next summer, and he may not like what he sees.

NBA players see new TV deal and say owners better not plead poverty now

LeBron James

“There’s never been a better time to be an owner of an NBA team.”

Ya think?

That statement is from Washington Wizards owner Ted Leonsis, something he said on the stage as the NBA announced a new nine-year television package that will pay the league north of $25 billion. Starting with the 2016-17 season each NBA team should receive double the national television revenue they will get for this season — from $35 to $70 million. Enough that, even after a 50/50 split with the players, it would cover the losses of all but one team reporting to have lost money last season (the Brooklyn Nets paid dearly for their spending spree).

Combine that with NBA franchise values skyrocketing — everyone noticed the Clippers sold for $2 billion — and there are a lot of NBA players looking ahead to the next round of collective bargaining and thinking they want something back.

Back in 2011 the owners said the system was flawed, that the 57 percent of league revenue that went to the players was too high, and they couldn’t make money. LeBron James summed up the feelings of a lot people, as reported by Dave McMenamin of ESPN.

Danny Granger said this in Miami:

Thing is, you know some owner will say they still can’t make money, that the system is unfair.

The NBA players feel they gave up too much in the last CBA — seven percentage points of revenue, plus the length of contracts shrunk. A new, heavy tax system was put in to discourage the building of super teams and to flatten out the talent pool (of course, Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert was one of the hardliners on that, and the first chance he got he went out and formed his own super team).

The players want some givebacks from owners. If not percentage points of revenue (the owners are not going to surrender that) they will want some things.

“Our job will be to ensure that the players receive their fair share… and that we do everything possible to maintain the growth and popularity of the game,” National Basketball Players Association executive director Michele Roberts said in a statement, explaining the line the union wants to walk.

If you think the owners will be in a mood to compromise and not go after a hard cap… how many rich people do you know who say “I’ve made enough, I should make sure my workers get more, too?” That’s not how these people got to be billionaires. Some will want to go for the jugular.

It would be nice to think that since everyone is making money both sides will want to find a fair deal in 2017 when the CBA is opened up again. But the players are already pointing to a harder line than they did back in 2011.