Kurt Helin

Draymond Green

Draymond Green to Kyrie Irving: “Larry O’Brien resides in Oakland, California”

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Cleveland point guard Kyrie Irving spoke for the entire state of Ohio when he said:

“I feel like (the Cavaliers) definitely would have won an NBA championship if we had everyone healthy.”

Golden State’s Draymond Green was asked about that when speaking to the media after signing a new five-year, $85 million contract to stay in Golden State. Green wasn’t going to play the hypothetical “what if Irving and Kevin Love had been healthy” game.

“Larry O’Brien resides in Oakland, California…

“If I was 6-foot-11, I think that I could be like Anthony Davis. But I’m not, and I’m not like Anthony Davis.”

I’m not convinced the series ends differently if Love and Irving play, but the question is moot. No team ever wins a title without catching a couple breaks. Golden State caught theirs this year.

Cavaliers fans will catch theirs in the coming years.

Nominees for first ever NBPA “Players Awards” are out

Houston Rockets v Golden State Warriors - Game Five
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Michele Roberts is giving the players what they want as the new executive director of the National Basketball Players Association  (the NBA players’ union). She knows she needs their loyalty during the looming 2017 lockout, so she’s trying to build up good will now. She’s doing the little things that resonate with players. Like questioning why there are media in the locker rooms before games. Or pushing back against the owners on the age limit.

Or giving the players their own chance to vote on the big NBA awards (most postseason awards, such as MVP or Rookie of the Year, are voted on by the media).

The first ever “Players’ Awards” will take place July 19 at the Rio hotel in Las Vegas (and be broadcast on BET July 21). Every NBA player was given the opportunity to vote in a variety of categories, and Thursday the list of nominees was released.

Here they are:

Best Rookie
Jordan Clarkson
Zach LaVine
Elfrid Payton
Andrew Wiggins

Best Defender
Tony Allen
Jimmy Butler
Anthony Davis
DeAndre Jordan

Global Impact Player
Pau Gasol
Kyrie Irving
Dirk Nowitzki
Tony Parker

Clutch Performer:
Stephen Curry
James Harden
LeBron James
Russell Westbrook

Coach You Most Want to Play For
Mike Budenholzer
Rick Carlisle
Steve Kerr
Greg Popovich

Hardest to Guard
Stephen Curry
James Harden
LeBron James
Russell Westbrook

Best Home Court Advantage
AT&T Center (San Antonio)
Chesapeake Energy Arena (Oklahoma City)
Moda Center (Portland)
Oracle Arena (Golden State)

Player You Secretly Wish was On Your Team:
Stephen Curry
Anthony Davis
Tim Duncan
LeBron James

Most Valuable Player:
Stephen Curry
James Harden
LeBron James
Russell Westbrook

That list looks pretty similar to the media awards, upon first glance. Save for no Kawhi Leonard or Draymond Green as best defenders. Also, no LeBron James or Kobe Bryant in the category naming the players with the greatest global impact?

Whether you think these awards are more fair or accurate than the traditional media ones largely will depend on whether your guy wins in his category. For example, don’t be shocked if James Harden wins the Players Award MVP, so if you were a Harden guy you will think the players got it right after the media screwed it up.

I’ll just say this: Don’t think they are less biased than the media. Players have a lot of agendas — they will vote for guys with the same agent, AAU buddies, their friends, and on down the line. There is plenty of bias to go around.

Report: Deron Williams talking buyout with Nets so he can join Mavericks

Atlanta Hawks v Brooklyn Nets- Game Four
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The Nets wanted out from under the contracts of Joe Johnson and Deron Williams this summer, but D-Will was always going to be the harder to deal. Williams is set to make $43 million over the next two years, which is a lot of money for an erratic 13 points and 6.6 assists per game (his per-game averages last year).

So the Nets may just buy him out.

Then he would go home and sign with the Dallas Mavericks.

That according to Marc Stein at ESPN.

Former All-Star point guard Deron Williams is in talks with the Brooklyn Nets about securing his potential release this offseason to clear the way for Williams to sign with his hometown Dallas Mavericks, according to league sources….

A buyout, if Williams’ representatives and the Nets can come to terms, would be Brooklyn’s preference compared to outright waiving the 31-year-old. The Nets have been adamant since the end of the season that they do not want to simply release Williams via the stretch provision, even though it would allow them to pay out his remaining salary over the next five seasons and reduce their luxury-tax bill, as long as such a measure is executed before the Aug. 31 deadline….

Sources say the Mavericks, by contrast, are very motivated to sign Williams after being spurned in free agency by DeAndre Jordan, provided Williams can extricate himself from the Nets and get to the open market.

Nets GM Billy King previously said there was no chance the Nets would buy out Williams. Apparently he meant no chance until there was zero chance he could trade Williams. Just buying out Williams would still leave the Nets with a pretty hefty salary cap hit they are trying to avoid (they are close to the repeater tax)  so waiving and stretching out his contract (spreading the salary cap hit over five years at more like $8.6 million rather than $21 million this year) is certainly a possibility.

Back in 2012 Williams chose Brooklyn over Dallas when it was time to renew his deal. However, he grew up in Dallas, and as an added draw his former Jazz teammate Wesley Matthews is now a Maverick player. Dallas certainly needs a point guard, and Williams would be an upgrade over Devin Harris and J.J. Barea.

This makes some sense for both sides. The Nets get out from under some salary and can start to rebuild. The Mavericks can be a little better, more respectable and maybe a playoff team in the West (maybe, the West remains stacked).

It’s something to watch. Brooklyn will do what it takes to get out from under this contract.

Dallas Mavericks acquire Zaza Pachulia from Bucks for second round pick

Milwaukee Bucks v Chicago Bulls - Game Two
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He may be a big drop off from the guy they thought they were getting, but if Zaza Pachulia were on the market Thursday, he would have been the best center available.

So the Dallas Mavericks traded for him.

The cost was a second round pick to the Bucks, and the team confirmed the move in its official statement.

Pachulia averaged 8.3 points and 6.8 rebounds a game last season, plus he is a solid, physical defender. He’ll be tough. He’ll play solid minutes.

He’s not DeAndre Jordan, but he’s not bad, considering what is on the board for the Mavericks as they scramnble.

Thunder GM Sam Presti says he plans to match max offer for Enes Kanter

Utah Jazz v Los Angeles Lakers
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Portland giving Enes Kanter a $70 million max offer sheet seemed a move done in part to make the Thunder pay. The Trail Blazers already have Meyers Leonard under contract, then they traded for Mason Plumlee and signed Ed Davis to a free agent deal. Do they need another center? One that doesn’t play much defense?

But the Thunder need scoring inside, and Kanter gives them that. He is a gifted offensive player. Plus, with Kevin Durant’s looming free agency you will not find a team in more of a win-now mode than OKC and they see Kanter as part of that now.

The Thunder have three days to match (until Sunday) and they likely will, GM Sam Presti told Anthony Slater of the Oklahoman.

The Thunder have Serge Ibaka as their starting four with Nick Collison behind him. At the five there would be Kanter and Steven Adams in rotation — they can play for offense or defense — plus they have Mitch McGary.

Kanter is a defensive liability — their defense was 6.5 points per 100 possessions worse when he was on the floor than when he was sitting. The Thunder offense was 3.5 points per 100 better when he was on the court. Overall, OKC was -0.7 points per 100 when Kanter was on the floor — and by the way they still had a terrible defensive rating of 107.5 per 100 when Kanter and Ibaka were paired.

But expect the Thunder to keep Kanter.

This is a market max deal — it’s overpaying under the current salary cap, but as the cap spikes by more than $40 million over the next two years due to the new television deals, that contract will not be so bad.

And in a worst case scenario where Durant (and likely Russell Westbrook behind him) leave OKC, under the new contract will not be as burdensome under the expanded salary cap, meaning it could be traded fairly easily.