<span class="vcard">Kurt Helin</span>

2014 NBA Finals - Practice Day And Media Availability

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

13 Comments

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.

Nope.

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)

10 Comments

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
20 Comments

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)

Tracy-McGrady-looks-toward-the-future.-Getty-Images
3 Comments

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)

Paul Pierce talks about how he ended up with Wizards — he thinks they can reach the finals

Paul Pierce
27 Comments

It was the strangest, most unexpected move of the summer — Paul Pierce to the Washington Wizards.

We’re always going to picture Pierce as a Celtic, so any color any other than green seems strange, but he bolted Brooklyn (or, more accurately, they didn’t try to bring him back) and there were a number of teams interested in him.

But it was then Wizards assistant coach Sam Cassell who sold Pierce on going to the nation’s capital. He’s a fit on paper, but he had to be convinced.

Pierce laid out how it went down speaking with David Aldridge of NBA.com.

“That’s when Sam Cassell gave me a call, shortly after Trevor Ariza signed with Houston. That kind of happened so fast. He signed, and Sam called me, and [asked] what I thought. We both were in Vegas at the time, talking on the phone. Then met him for lunch. Then met him again for dinner. It took some convincing, because I never really thought about Washington. It just wasn’t on my radar. But I started thinking about it, and everything he was telling me, based on what they did last year, the guys they have here, he talked about the culture, he talked about Coach [Randy Wittman], Ernie [Grunfeld, the GM], talked to him. And I started warming up to the idea. Pretty much that same day we talked, I started warming up. This team does have some potential, now that I think about it. They probably should have beat Indiana. Everybody thought they should have beat Indiana. I was like, they have one of the best backcourts in basketball. They’re lacking experience, a guy in the locker room and on the court that can help end games. I was like, I probably can fit in. After LeBron said he was going back to Cleveland, the dynamics of the Eastern Conference, with Indiana, I was like, this is a team that could be in the Eastern Conference finals, or possibly the Finals, based on what’s here. And adding me to some of the other veterans they added, I was like, why not?”

Cassell recruited Pierce then he bolted for the Clippers and Doc Rivers to be an assistant 0n the left coast.

Can the Wizards make the conference finals? Well, if a lot of things go their way. They are arguably the third best team in the East, something that will be true if John Wall and Bradley Beal continue to grow, and if Nene can just stay healthy. Add in the veteran presence of Pierce and there is a lot to like.

Heck, Pierce seems to be fitting in already.

But Pierce and his Wizards are not better than Cleveland (despite the Cavs flaws). If Derrick Rose is 90 percent of MVP Derrick Rose, Chicago is better than Washington, too.

Still, you can see what Pierce is thinking in making this choice. All he needs is things go perfectly.