Winderman: The NBA should contract incompetent owners

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This can’t be what David Stern signed up for.

NBA commissioner? He’s more like Big 12 commissioner.

The Lakers, Knicks, Heat? Those are his versions of Nebraska, Colorado, Texas A&M, teams that want to play big, spend big.

The difference is this isn’t the BCS, and his teams can’t leave for places where the big boys play and pay.

Instead, they’re stuck in the equivalent of a place where the Iowa States, Baylors and Kansas States somehow are calling the shots.

This is where the NBA lockout has delivered Stern.

The problem is he can’t sort his teams into FBS and FCS designations, where those willing to play at a higher level are granted such freedom, while others are allowed to play according to their means.

It has become almost a daily image, that of NBA Deputy Commissioner Adam Silver standing next to Stern and chiming in about creating an equitable system where all 30 teams can contend for a championship.

Yet for all the places this rollercoaster ride of lockout negotiations has taken us, leveling the economic playing field still won’t draw high-profile players away from Los Angeles and Chicago to Sacramento and Indiana. A hard cap won’t provide Minnesota or Milwaukee in dead of winter the warmth of Phoenix or Houston. An onerous luxury tax won’t alleviate the state tax burden in Cleveland and Detroit the way the no-tax burden make Orlando and Miami more attractive.

And beyond all of that, the hardest of salary caps won’t offset incompetent management.

But what will strengthen the sport is eliminating the weakest links, reducing, by simple math, the number of owners who simply have no place in this forum in the first place.

Yes, the contraction reaction.

Currently, not only is the league operating the Hornets, but it is spearheading the Kings’ search for a new arena. Meanwhile, Michael Jordan is earning more from everything non-Bobcats. And the Timberwolves have managed to make themselves matter less than Minnesota’s WNBA franchise.

But it’s not the cities or the franchises as much as the number of teams and the number of owners. Certainly, just a few years ago, plenty of claims could have been made against Miami as a viable NBA market.

No, it’s that amid the bickering from the league’s lesser half of owners, that they can’t make any money, the reality is that in this economy David Stern seemingly can’t find 30 owners willing and able to successfully operate NBA franchises.

But he might be able to identify 28 or 26.

Remove the incompetent, regardless of city, and there might be a workable consensus. And no lockout. Then, relocate, if needed. Even Major League Baseball was able to pull that off with their Montreal-Miami-Washington ownership-switch dynamic.

Right now the NBA is not 30-strong.

And right now, that appears to be the league’s greatest weakness.

Ira Winderman writes regularly for NBCSports.com and covers the Heat and the NBA for the South Florida Sun-Sentinel. You can follow him on Twitter at http://twitter.com/IraHeatBeat.

Klay Thompson, Andre Iguodala questionable for Game 5

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Andre Iguodala missed the Warriors’ Game 4 loss to the Rockets with a leg injury.

It’s not certain he – or Klay Thompson, who played through a knee injury suffered in Game 4 – will be available for Game 5 tomorrow.

NBC Sports Bay Area:

Klay Thompson, who suffered a left knee strain during the first half of Game 4, is listed as questionable, the team announced Wednesday afternoon.

Iguodala missed Game 4 with a left lateral leg contusion and is questionable for Game 5.

Anthony Slater of The Athletic:

Warriors coach Steve Kerr on Iguodala:

He’s feeling a little better today, and he’s out on the floor. Not doing a whole lot, but making progress.

Kerr on Thompson:

Klay is moving around really well. I think Klay is going to be fine.

That sounds better than “questionable” for Thompson.

The Warriors need one, maybe both, of those two on the court. Golden State’s depth, especially on the wing, is looking shaky.

In Game 4, Golden State outscored Houston by 20 in the 31 minutes Stephen Curry, Thompson, Kevin Durant and Draymond Green played together. In the in the 17 minutes they played without even one of those stars, the Warriors got outscored by 23. Nick Young, who received more playing time when Thompson left the court area due to his injury, looked particularly overwhelmed.

James Harden‘s defense is a huge bellwether in this series. The Warriors spend a lot of focus trying to exploit him, and if that fails, the shot clock gets low before they move into another action. If Thompson is even just slowed, that’d make it easier for Harden to keep up.

Milwaukee releases video of police tasing and arresting Bucks guard Sterling Brown

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Bucks guard Sterling Brown was tased and arrestedbut not charged – over a parking violation in January.

As promised, Milwaukee released video of the incident.

Ashley Luthern of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel:

Brown:

Bucks statement:

The abuse and intimidation that Sterling experienced at the hands of Milwaukee Police was shameful and inexcusable. Sterling has our full support as he shares his story and takes action to provide accountability.

Unfortunately, this isn’t an isolated case. It shouldn’t require an incident involving a professional athlete to draw attention to the fact that vulnerable people in our communities have experienced similar, and even worse, treatment.

We are grateful for the service of many good police officers that courageously protect us, our fans and our city, but racial biases and abuses of power must not be ignored.

There needs to be more accountability.

The Milwaukee Police Department and local officials have acknowledged the challenges they are working to address, and we urge them to enact higher standards and more direct accountability. We all want to be able to trust each and every officer serving to protect us.

Incidents like this remind us of the injustices that persist.  As an organization, we will support Sterling and build on our work with local leaders and organizations to foster safe neighborhoods and better our community.

The video isn’t jarring due to its unfortunate familiarity – particularly compared to the many videos we’ve seen of police brutality around the nation. The scene is far too familiar. Police escalate a situation and enact violence upon someone they encounter, disproportionately minorities.

The most shocking element of this incident is the response – how the police chief acknowledges his offers acted inappropriately and how STRONGLY the Bucks stand behind Brown. That is one sharply worded statement from the team.

Hopefully, this sparks change.

Joel Embiid: Aron Baynes (‘Man bun’) ‘in NBA just to get dunked on’

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During the second round of the NBA playoffs, Heat guard Goran Dragic slighted 76ers rookie Ben Simmons. That came after Philadelphia eliminated Miami in the first round.

The procession of disses continues with 76ers center Joel Embiid mocking Celtics center Aron Baynes during Game 4 of the Eastern Conference finals Monday. Boston, of course, eliminated Philadelphia in the previous round.

Embiid:

Baynes has gotten dunked on a lot this year – including by Embiid in the playoffs. The two also got into it during their second-round series.

But Baynes has the big edge: He’s still playing.

Though Embiid would like to be in the playoffs, that’s not his only goal. He also wants attention. So, mission accomplished, I guess.

Watch James Harden demolish Draymond Green with dunk (video)

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It got buried by a – finallyclose finish, but James Harden‘s dunk over Draymond Green in the Rockets’ Game 4 win over the Warriors last night was spectacular.

Because the foul was called early in the play, Green essentially had free reign to do anything sub-flagrant to Harden during continuation. There wouldn’t have been a second personal foul called.

Harden dunked anyway, an amazing display of athleticism and will.