Author: Kurt Helin

Michael Jordan

Michael Jordan’s signed 1997-98 $33 million contract up for auction


Michael Jordan was fortunate to have played in an era when superstars were not pressured by owners and fans to take pay cuts to “help the team.”

Back in 1997, at the end of his Chicago career, Jordan signed what would be the largest single year contract — $33 million (making up for some years of being underpaid by the Bulls). No player has ever made more in one year (and it will be a long time before that record is broken). That year the Bulls went on to the finals, Jordan got away with a push off to hit the game winner, and won his sixth title.

Now you can own Jordan’s actual contract.

It is up for auction, reports Darren Rovell at ESPN.

The contract is signed by Jordan, himself, and initialed by him on each of its 24 pages. It’s also signed by Jerry Krause, former Bulls general manager, and Irwin Mandel, the man in charge of the Bulls’ finances. It also includes a two-page cover letter from Mandel to the NBA.

The original estimate for the contract’s value by the company auctioning it, Dallas-based Heritage Auctions, was $30,000, but with a week remaining until the bidding closes next Thursday night, bidding has already topped $28,000.

“It’s hard to compare this to anything we’ve sold,” said Chris Ivy, the company’s director of sports auctions. “It’s Jordan, who is in a class by himself, and, to our knowledge, this is the only Jordan playing contract to ever surface.”

If you’re looking for the perfect gift for someone who loves contract law….

As far as memorabilia goes, it’s interesting. There are a lot of Jordan jerseys in circulation, he’s not signing another $33 million contract.

But a contract is 24-pages of lawyer language. It’s about as interesting to read as the assembly instructions of an Ikea bookshelf. I

If that’s your thing, and it is worth north of $30,000 to you. If so, more power to you. Spend away.

Cavaliers officially sign Andrew Wiggins, putting 30-day hold on him being traded

Milwaukee Bucks v Cleveland Cavaliers

If Kevin Love is being traded to the Cleveland Cavaliers, it’s not happening until late August at the earliest.

The Cleveland Cavaliers announced they have formally signed Andrew Wiggins to his rookie contract. This was expected to come this week.

This is a standard No. 1 pick rookie deal, which starts at $5.5 million. The Cavaliers (or whatever team has his rights) can offer an extension after his third season but it would not kick in until his fifth — he will play at least four years on rookie scale.

Under the terms of the Collective Bargaining agreement once a player signs his deal he cannot be traded for 30 days. That doesn’t mean the two sides cannot continue to talk or even come to an agreement, but nothing can be executed.

Wiggins has been at the heart of trade talks between the Cavaliers and Timberwolves that would send Love to Cleveland for a package that would include Wiggins, Anthony Bennett (or maybe Dion Waiters), at least one future first round pick and maybe some other pieces. The trade likely will be more involved than that, with the Cavaliers taking on Kevin Martin or J.J. Barea’s contract as well and sending expiring deals back to Minnesota. Working out the exact form of the deal has been part of the issue in why talks have dragged out.

Still, multiple reports have said the Cavaliers’ Wiggins offer is the best and leading offer right now, but the Cavaliers can use the next 30 days or longer to leverage a deal. The Chicago Bulls have tried to get in a deal and Minnesota President Flip Saunders has tried to leverage Klay Thompson out of Golden State, but to no avail. (Love has some leverage here as he doesn’t have to re-sign where he is traded, teams that cannot keep him wouldn’t give up as many quality assets to get Love.)

Wiggins told ProBasketballTalk at Summer League he’s just trying to keep his head down through all of this.

“I let my agent and my support system handle that, I just love playing the game of basketball and I know the NBA is a business…” Wiggins said. “ I just play basketball man wherever I go.”

The Cavaliers also signed second-round pick Joe Harris to a contract Thursday, a three-year, $2.3 million deal with the first two years fully guaranteed, reports Brian Windhorst of ESPN.

Is Paul George changing numbers?

Miami Heat v Indiana Pacers - Game 5

Paul George has worn No. 24 through four NBA seasons, including two trips to the All-Star Game.

But is he about to change numbers?

Trece is 13 in Spanish.

If he does this, his nickname instantly becomes PG-13, which is great if you’re a Disney movie but a bit odd for an NBA player. That said it is catchy, I guess.

Maybe this is something else entirely, but it feels like a number change is coming.

Famous Pacers who wore 13? Mark Jackson. George can surpass that Pacers’ legacy.

Lakers deny rumor they are waiting around for Doc Rivers to be coach

Los Angeles Clippers v Boston Celtics

Like nature itself, the Internet abhors a vacuum.

So if a team leaves a vacuum of information on a topic — let’s say, just for example, the Lakers taking three months to hire a coach and not really speaking about it with the media — then the Internet and its vast array of users will fill in the gaps in information with rumor and speculation. Sometimes wild speculation.

The latest around the Lakers, as promoted by ESPN’s Bill Simmons and Jalen Rose: The Lakers haven’t hired a coach yet because they are waiting for Doc Rivers to leave the Clippers because of Donald Sterling, then come down the hall and coach the Lakers.

There are just so many things wrong with that.

First, the Lakers deny it, as reported by Mark Medina at the Los Angeles Daily News.

Amid all the unanswered questions who the Lakers will hire as their next head coach and when, two team sources strongly disputed that any delay stems from waiting out to see if Clippers coach Doc Rivers will become available because of embattled owner Donald Sterling prolonging a costly litigation battle.

Of course the Lakers deny it, you say, and you’re right they would.

The problem with the rumor after that is just logic.

From sources I spoke with the core of the Clippers — both players and staff — do not want to leave the organization. They realize they are contenders, a team with a legit title shot and a locker room where they like each other, and they do not want to blow it all up. Did the current CEO of the Clippers Dick Parsons say in the Sterling trial Rivers could leave if Donald Sterling were given control of the team? Yes. He’s trying to promote a doom and gloom scenario for the judge, he did that. All that doom and gloom is exactly why the league will never let Sterling be in charge of the team again (if he wins in court they just vote him out as an owner, throwing him out of the club, and that happens starting mid-September if the courts are still dragging out rulings).

But the bigger issue with this rumor is the Lakers’ side: With the Clippers Rivers is team president and coach, the guy with final say on player/personnel moves. Do you think Jim Buss is going to give up his job, step aside for Rivers and put someone in over long-time trusted Lakers GM Mitch Kupchak? Really?

The smart money is Byron Scott, he of the three interviews. The guy who sources said was the front runner from the start. Just a couple more and he should have the job.

Anthony Bennett breathing much easier after having tonsils out

Cleveland Cavaliers v San Antonio Spurs

We’ve told you that Anthony Bennett looked a lot better at the Las Vegas Summer League than expected — he was in shape and with that played with a real constant energy on the boards and on defense.

Another r for the surprise performance? He was breathing easier.

Literally. He had his tonsils out and is breathing easier, he told Jessica Camerato of Basketball Insiders.

“Since [having] my tonsils out, my adenoids, I have a lot more room to breathe,” Bennett said during the NBA Summer League in Las Vegas. “It was hard, definitely, with my tonsils in. I feel like taking them out was a huge step….

“Since [having] my tonsils out, my adenoids, I have a lot more room to breathe,” Bennett said during the NBA Summer League in Las Vegas. “It was hard, definitely, with my tonsils in. I feel like taking them out was a huge step.”

The good news, he did not eat all the ice cream he wanted during his recovery from a tonsillectomy.

This ties back into his conditioning — he was able to sustain a level of activity and energy that he could not during the NBA season. Bennett just needs what happened in Vegas not to stay in Vegas.