LeBron may not have a ring, but he made Heat owners a lot of money

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Heat fans – well, actually mostly Heat haters — were beating up LeBron James after fourth quarter struggles in the finals. The Internet is no fan of the “don’t kick a man when he’d down” axiom.

But the Heat’s management has been nothing but supportive. In part because they know if they want another banner LeBron is key to getting it for them.

And in part because he is making that franchise a lot of money, as Ira Winderman reported at the Sun Sentinel.

“I know the Heat’s franchise value went up $60 million after signing LeBron,” said Dr. Patrick Rishe, who calculated the LeBron Effect for business magazine Forbes. “You had ticket sales going up, sponsorships and local media deals going up. It’s hard to think of any one athlete whose changing of teams [is comparable]….”

Ratings for Heat regular-season games on Sun Sports were nearly twice as high as the previous season. The Heat-Mavericks Finals helped lift ABC to its best summer week in nearly 10 years. No matter that much of the nation tuned in hoping to see King James defrocked.

(Magic VP Pat) Williams recalled the philosophy of Bill Veeck, the late, great sports promoter: “If you’re going to have a rival, have a heated one. Have a hated one. Do it publicly. It’s good for the box office,” Williams said.

Two notes. One is that for all the talk about how much money LeBron (or Kobe Bryant or Dwight Howard, etc.) make on max contracts, they are still a real value to the team. Those elite players generate way more income for the franchise than they are paid.

Secondly, all that momentum, everything that LeBron — love him or hate him — helped sparked would be undercut by a lockout that costs regular season games.

Report: Dewayne Dedmon opts in for $6.3 million with Hawks

AP Photo/Todd Kirkland
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The Hawks’ rebuild got going with big John Collins. Though they’re reportedly eying Luka Doncic with the No. 3 pick, they could easily draft another big – Jaren Jackson Jr., Mohamed Bamba, Marvin Bagley or Wendell Carter.

And then there’s veteran center Dewayne Dedmon.

He no longer fits in Atlanta (never did, really). But he’s not bypassing a chance to earn $6.3 million.

Shams Charania of Yahoo Sports:

There just wasn’t going to be that much money for the 28-year-old Dedmon in a tight market this summer.

Dedmon is a good defender, and he developed his ball skills – as a 3-point shooter and passer – in Atlanta last season. The Hawks could look to trade him. Maybe, in a deal primarily about his expiring contract, he adds extra value to the other team due to his playing ability.

If Atlanta doesn’t move him, Dedmon will be a fine player on a likely tanking team. At least he’s not good enough to subvert the Hawks’ tank, especially with the new lottery format.

Nick Young says ‘everybody needs to do cocaine,’ later insists he was joking

AP Photo/Mary Altaffer
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Nick Young will say and do nearly anything for attention.

Empowered by the Warriors’ championship, he swung for the fences when asked about Canada passing marijuana legalization.

Young, via TMZ:

“I want people to pass cocaine,” the NBA star told TMZ Sports outside 1 OAK on Tuesday night … “Everybody needs to do cocaine!”

Predictably, that caused a bit of an uproar. Then, Young backtracked:

Chill. You know I was just joking

A post shared by Nick Young (@swaggyp1) on

Too late, Nick. People are already asking questions you don’t want asked.

Report: 76ers trade No. 39 pick to Lakers

AP Photo/Chris Szagola
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The 76ers have too many 2018 draft picks – Nos. 10, 26, 38, 39, 56 and 60.

Philadelphia already has 11 players under contract for next season. Plus, the 76ers have the space to add premier players. There just isn’t room for everyone on the roster.

So, Philadelphia unloaded one of those selections.

Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN:

This is good return for the 76ers, who everyone knew had to trade a draft pick. The rebuilding Bulls could easily land a higher second-round pick than No. 39 next year.

Why do the Lakers want an extra second-rounder this year? Second-round picks don’t count against the cap until signed, and they can always slightly sweeten a trade offer. They’re helpful for a team with big plans and little wiggle room.

Kyle O’Quinn opts out of Knicks contract

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The Knicks have the No. 8 pick, and tomorrow’s draft will be the most important part of their offseason.

Will they also have cap space to add talent in free agency? That hinges on Enes Kanter‘s player option.

If Kanter opts out, New York will have even more room to operate thanks to Kyle O'Quinn declining his $4,256,250 player option.

Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN:

The Knicks expected this for a while, and they’re probably not disappointed. Steve Mills and Scott Perry want to put their stamp on the franchise. O’Quinn is a leftover from the Phil Jackson era and a reminder of the recent tumult in New York.

O’Quinn’s combination of block percentage (6.1) and defensive-rebounding percentage (27.8) was unmatched last season. He just really struck a nice balance between contesting shots and remaining in position on the glass. He’s also a smooth mid-range shooter with an improved ability to distribute.

How much is that player worth?

It’ll be a tight market, especially for bigs. For his sake, I hope the 28-year-old O’Quinn already has assurances from other teams. He might get a similar salary or, more likely, a larger overall guarantee on a multi-year deal. But it’s also possible he comes out behind by testing free agency.