Kurt Helin

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Former All-Star Cliff Robinson to start marijuana business called Uncle Spliffy


Step one of opening a successful business: Know your product. Second: Know your market and who you can sell your product to.

An NBA player getting into the legalized marijuana field? That qualifies.

Former All-Star Cliff Robinson  — nicknamed Uncle Cliffy back in his days with the Portland Trail Blazers — will be addressing the 2016 Cannabis Collaborative Conference in Portland in a few weeks. (Remember, Oregon legalized marijuana.) Robinson is also going to go into a marijuana growing business with partners, called Uncle Spliffy. He spoke with the Portland Business Journal about it.

“It’s an opportunity for me to get out there and tell people a little bit about myself outside of basketball,” Robinson said. “People in Oregon know me as a basketball player, but I want to distill the stigma around cannabis, the misperception that athletes and cannabis are incompatible….

“When you talk about guys playing on a professional level, there’s a lot of physical and mental stress that comes with that, and to have something available to you that has health benefits, I don’t see the issue with it myself.”

He didn’t have an issue with it as a player either, having been suspended one time for testing positive for marijuana use.

For the record, marijuana is a banned substance in the current Collective Bargaining Agreement between players and the league. That said, it’s not treated like “harder” drugs — a player has to test positive for marijuana use three times before he suffers a five-game suspension for his use. The penalties are much stiffer for other drugs.

At least he’s found a business to focus on in his post-career days. It would be perfect if Rasheed Wallace opened up a fast food joint right next door to the Uncle Spliffy storefront, but we can only dream of so much.

Report: Pelicans had preferred to move Eric Gordon, not Ryan Anderson

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In a trade market short on sellers, GM Dell Demps phone is ringing in New Orleans because they are looking to deal. It’s been an injury-filled, disappointing season in the Big Easy and they are thinking about potential shakeups to put a better crew around Anthony Davis.

Everyone is calling about Ryan Anderson.

But the Pelicans are more interested in moving the just injured Eric Gordon, something that will be more difficult now, reports Sam Amick of the USA Today.

“New Orleans is widely known to want to shake up their roster. And a lot of teams would love to get their hands on soon-to-be free agent forward Ryan Anderson. But I’ve been told that if New Orleans had its way they were much more willing to give up Gordon in a deal depending on what was coming back in return. Gordon, like Anderson, is going to be a free agent this summer, that means any team trading for him knows there’s a possibility he’s a rental. Which means they do not want to make a move for him and have him sit on the shelf and not know when he’s going to return.”

Gordon is probably back on the court after the trade deadline, which means moving him is unlikely at best.

Anderson may be a rental, but if a lot of teams come calling and a little bidding war starts, the offers may get too good to refuse (especially if there are some parts the Pelicans can rebuild with long term).

PBT Podcast: Los Angeles Clippers talk with Ben Bolch of the LA Times

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The Los Angeles Clippers are one of the five best teams in the NBA. They have won 10 of their last 11 games.

However, for this core group of Chris Paul, Blake Griffin, and DeAndre Jordan, is that going to be good enough? Could they beat Golden State in the second round and advance to the Conference Finals (and beyond)? If the team flounders in the second round again, what changes should be made?

Ben Bolch of the Los Angeles Times joins PBT’s Kurt Helin to break down Los Angeles, and discuss if the Clippers need to be broken up.

As always, you can listen to the podcast below, or listen and subscribe via iTunesdownload it directly here, or you can check out our new PBT Podcast homepage, which has the most recent episodes available. If you have the Stitcher app, you can listen there as well.

Mark Cuban defends daily fantasy sports industry

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DALLAS (AP) — Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban is defending the daily fantasy sports industry the Texas attorney general considers illegal.

Addressing the Fantasy Sports Trade Association in Dallas on Wednesday, Cuban said Attorney General Ken Paxton’s opinion is nonbinding but still “kind of disappointing.” He dismissed the contention of Paxton and officials of other states that daily fantasy sports are a game of chance.

Cuban says he learned they are a game of skill because he was bad at them and “had no chance of winning.”

Cuban says he invested in two fantasy sports startups, so he regards the industry’s future as bright. He also predicted gambling “as a whole will be made legal.”

But he also noted he wouldn’t want Mavericks players to participate in daily fantasy basketball, saying he wants no question of impropriety.

Five Takeaways from NBA Wednesday: Warriors thrash another top Eastern team

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It was a busy Wednesday night around the Association with 11 games, but we’ve condensed it down to the five things everyone will be talking about today. It wasn’t easy, we left off DeMarcus Cousins scoring 36 and DeMarr DeRozan 34. Here’s what you need to know.

1) Golden State thrashed Chicago, just rolled through two of East’s best.
Golden State is better than everyone in the East.

Which is about as surprising a statement as “Donald Trump likes to be the center of attention.” But the way the Bulls did it was impressive. You can play it down if you want — it is just January. These games are just benchmarks; they are not necessarily predictive of future matchups. Throw any other qualifiers you want on it. The fact of the matter is that two days after steamrolling the East’s best team the Warriors did the same thing to the Chicago Bulls, ultimately winning 125-95. Golden State controlled the tempo, shared the ball (38 assists on the night), and looked like a team that has a shot at the 72-win record (I still don’t think they get there).

If you want some good news Bulls fans, Derrick Rose played his best half of the season scoring 21 in the first 24 minutes and looking sharp. It’s something to keep building on. The problem is despite those numbers the Bulls were down by 15 at the break. That’s what the Warriors do — to everyone. Stephen Curry led the Warriors with 25.

2) Cavaliers bounce back with win, but bigger test comes Thursday. The Cavaliers needed a palate cleanser after the bad taste the Warriors left in their mouth on Monday. Something sweet and easy. The Brooklyn Nets were happy to roll over and provide just that. It wasn’t the Cavs best performance of the season, but they took a little anger out on the Nets. Kevin Love and LeBron James led the way with 17 points each. The best part of the win may be that the starters (save for J.R. Smith) got to rest the fourth, which is important because the Los Angeles Clippers come to town on Thursday, and they are not such a pushover.

3) Hack-a-Shaq — or hack-a-Drummond — turns Pistons’ win over Rockets into farce. With his team nine points at the half, Rockets’ coach J.B. Bickerstaff inserted K.J. McDaniels into the game as a second-half starter with one job — foul Andre Drummond. Six times in the first minute of the game Drummond was fouled off the ball so that the Pistons were in the penalty, and then the hack-a-Dre continued to parade him to the free throw line eight more times (16 shots) in the first three minutes of the second half. It wasn’t basketball, it was a farce. It was gaming the system. It was embarrassing to the sport. And it worked — Drummond was 5-of-16 from the line, he had to be pulled from the game, but because of this the Rockets not only made up their deficit, they took the lead.

It didn’t last because, well, karma. This was the hacking strategy taken to a logical conclusion, the spirit of the rules be damned. If you’re answer is “Drummond should hit his free throws” I would counter asking you to tell me how a guy getting grabbed 50 feet off the ball is basketball. The only good that comes out of this is that the rapid rise of the hacking strategy — ESPN’s Kevin Pelton said 11.8 percent of NBA games this season have seen “hack-a-whoever” — might finally force Adam Silver and the league do change the rules (as international hoops has done for years) and end this bastardization of the game.

4) Hassan Whiteside, Dwight Howard leave games with injuries. It was a rough day for shot-blocking big men. An already short-handed Heat team saw things get worse when big man Whiteside cut across the lane and just collapsed grabbing his side. He was down in pain for a couple of minutes, was helped back to the locker room, and did not return due to a strained oblique. Due to injury, Wednesday night the Heat were without Dwyane Wade, Luol Deng, Goran Dragic, Beno Udrih, Chris Andersen, and then Whiteside. So yes, they lost to the Wizards.

Less than a minute into the Pistons/Rockets game, a little pileup left Dwight Howard with a sprained ankle that sidelined him the rest of the night. The Rockets were pounded inside after this and eventually lost the game — but not before embarrassing the sport.

5) Franchise Value vs. Win percentage. Forbes Magazine released its NBA franchise values report on Wednesday, and the Knicks have moved back into the top spot, worth $3 billion. They were followed by the Lakers, Bulls, Celtics, and Clippers.

But how does all that money relate to wins on the court right now? We have a chart for that.