Mark Cuban goes to Dyckman… for about thirty seconds before lockout rules made him leave

2 Comments

DyckmanPark has been as much of a hangout for NBA players opening classrooms on streetball courts as anywhere else. So much so that Mark Cuban decided to make a pit-stop by the place to see some basketball.

For about thirty seconds.

From ESPN.com:

The standing-room only crowd showed Cuban love as he entered with security flanking his every step. Cuban shook hands with the fans that were lined up behind a bench and the scorers table. The owner of the defending NBA champions posed for pictures and sat for a few minutes in a beach chair before departing.

As he was escorted out, the game’s emcee told the crowd on hand that because of NBA rules, Cuban was not allowed to stay any longer.

“I love anywhere where there’s basketball. Anywhere where there’s people coming out and having fun is always a good thing, man,” Cuban said as he exited the park. “I’m glad Greg (Marius, CEO of the EBC) brought me out to be apart of it. I wish I could stay.”

via Mark Cuban made an appearance at the Dyckman League in Washington Heights on Friday. – ESPN New York.

So, it’s really great that Cuban’s making an appearance and promoting basketball and willing to cross the line to where he knew there would be NBA players, even he was forced to leave.

Except…

Thing is, there have been published reports on how Cuban is part of the contingent of owners who have pushed hardest for the lockout, the relatively new owners who want to guarantee profitability by shifting the league’s course in terms of player salary structure to a hard cap and essentially enact nuclear winter to get what they want. The NBA’s official position, of course, is that the system is simply not sustainable and that a roll-back of the 57% BRI under the previous deal is part of what they have determined is necessary to stop the bleeding. Even if Cuban’s not part of that contingent, that’s the leading force from the owners, of which Cuban is a part of. So in the boardroom Cuban’s pushing to keep the players locked out and consequently the game on hold from the fans, and in front of the cameras, he’s hanging out with the Mavericks at the ESPY’s and making appearances at Dyckman Park before leaving as if it’s not his choice and he’s just doing what he’s told.

Listen, no one thinks more of Cuban as an owner than I do. He’s a smart, engaging personality that has pumped millions of dollars into the Mavericks to make them a winner. Seeing him with the trophy at the Finals in Miami after Game 6 was a highlight, it was validation to everyone who supports things like sports psychologists, advanced metrics, and entertaining owners who have their eye on the future. But Cuban seems to want to play both sides. The, pardon this, maverick owner who plays by his own rules and flirts with fines because of how close he is with his players, and the billionaire owner looking to kill a season in order to get what he wants, which is what he feels is a fair share of the pie.

If the reports are off, and Cuban’s not a part of that contingent, if he thinks the league should back off its hard line and settle a deal in the middle with the players, then this is totally off. But we’ll never know that because we don’t know where the owners stand. Transparency weakens their position, and it’s not something they should engage in. But that obtuseness comes with a price, and that price seems to be Cuban looking a little hypocritical.

But hey, I’m sure the hot dogs were nice.

(HT: IAmaGM.com)

Rumor: Spurs won’t trade Kawhi Leonard to Western Conference team

Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images
2 Comments

Kawhi Leonard reportedly wants the Spurs to trade him, ideally to the Lakers or Clippers.

Chris Sheridan of Get More Sports:

He is not going to Los Angeles…or any other destination in the Western Conference, sources are telling GetMoreSports.com.

Leonard has some leverage in that he can tell any non-L.A. team that he has no interest in signing an extension after his current deal expires in a year, and that may end up diminishing the value of offers Eastern Conference teams are willing to make.

But if you think that bothers Popovich, you don’t know Popovich. The guy would gladly take 75 cents on the dollar for Kawhi if he could ship him out of the West — even if that upsets Kawhi.

There are two choices here:

The Spurs are a well-run organization that will manage this crisis as effectively as possible.

or

The Spurs will outright refuse to trade Leonard to a Western Conference team.

It can’t be both.

If the Spurs trade Leonard, they should take the best offer they get – no matter who makes it. Teams like the Celtics and 76ers have better assets to dangle. But if the Lakers and Clippers are the only team with assurances Leonard will re-sign next summer, they could offer more, even assembling a package from a shallower pool of assets.

The Spurs shouldn’t worry where Leonard lands. But that doesn’t mean they won’t worry where Leonard lands.

Report: Celtics believe Kyrie Irving happy in Boston

Maddie Meyer/Getty Images
2 Comments

Chris Mannix reported Kyrie Irving, when he played for the Cavaliers, told teammates of his desire to play for the Knicks. In the same discussion, Mannix speculated on the Celtics’ fear of Irving leaving in 2019 unrestricted free agency. Asked about his future in Boston, Irving gave a cryptic answer.

There’s just no good way to resolve this until summer 2019. As Irving knows, a contract extension is illogical. The largest extension he could sign, beginning July 1, would be four years, $108,053,240 ($27,013,310 annually). If he waits until 2019 free agency, he could re-sign for a projected $188 million over five years (about $38 million annually) – and even more if he makes an All-NBA team next year. In that case, his max would project to be $219 million over five years (about $44 million annually).

So, the Celtics must ride this out – or trade Irving before he gets to free agency. How do they feel about his future with Boston?

Adam Himmelsbach of The Boston Globe:

A league source said Friday that the Celtics believe Irving is happy in Boston and would like to be with the team long-term, but that there are no certainties.

This is probably correct. Irving clearly wanted out of Cleveland, so him longing for a spot on the Knicks made more sense then. Overall, Irving seems happy in Boston. A noncommittal answer from someone whose brand is mysterious ideas doesn’t set off alarms.

That said, also file this under: What else are they supposed to say? The Celtics maximize Irving’s trade value if everyone believes he’s happy and not a flight risk who should be preemptively traded.

The Celtics must closely monitor Irving’s satisfaction with them. If it seems he might leave, they ought to look hard at trading him first.

But it really seems the Celtics aren’t anywhere near that point. If they are, they’ve bluffed well.

J.R. Smith’s Game 1 Finals jersey up for auction

Getty Images
2 Comments

It was the moment that defined the 2018 NBA Finals.

The score was tied with 4.7 seconds left when George Hill missed his second of two free throws, but J.R. Smith made an impressive play to get the offensive rebound — then tried to dribble out the clock like the Cavaliers were ahead.

Now, you can own Smith’s Game 1 jersey — the one he was wearing when he made a play so thoughtless LeBron James broke his own hand punching a whiteboard in frustration over it. It’s available on the NBA auction site. The bidding goes on for three more days, until June 21.

As of Monday morning, the current bid is $3000.

A Warriors’ fan is going to buy this thing, not a Cavaliers fan. They are still trying to repress this memory.

Kevin Durant’s dad wrote him a nice letter for Father’s Day

Getty
1 Comment

Kevin Durant and his father didn’t have the best relationship growing up. Wayne Pratt, father of the Golden State Warriors star, left Durant and his family when the sharpshooting Finals MVP was just one year old.

Pratt was in and out of Durant’s life, and eventually they reconciled. Now, Pratt is important part of Durant’s career and business decisions.

As several players decided to celebrate their fathers and the national day of recognition on social media, it was actually Pratt who decided to write a letter to his son. In a post on The Undefeated, Pratt spoke about how he was grateful to have Durant as a son and to have reconciled with him.

Via The Undefeated:

I regret missing out on your first day of school, your first haircut, holidays and the first day you picked up a basketball. But I thank God daily for creating the opportunity for us to reconnect. I’m so thankful for you opening your heart at such a tender time. Every parent-child relationship has its ups and downs and we are no exception. I feel fortunate that we have learned how to successfully navigate life’s mistakes. Thank you for forgiving me and allowing us to have the great relationship we have today.

Go back and read the full letter, it’s worth it. Seeing the vulnerability between two grown men living a real, complicated, and adult situation like this is humanizing. Plus, it appears to have had a positive ending for Durant and his pops.

Hope all you dads out there had a good one on Sunday.