Heat owner speaks his mind on twitter, then thinks better of it

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We’ve known for a while that Miami Heat owner Micky Arison is a dove — he wants his team to start playing basketball again, he’d pretty much take the players deal on the table right now and roll with the season. As fans who want to see basketball, he’s our guy. Start the games. But as we know, hardliners are driving the bus.

When NBA labor talks blew up again on Friday, NBA fans were rightfully frustrated and lashed out on twitter. At players, at owners, at just about anyone.

Arison — the owner of Carnival Cruise Lines and someone active on twitter — got some of that backlash. One fan tweeted:

“How’s it feel to be apart of ruining the best game in the world? NBA owners/players don’t give a damn about fans … and guess what? Fans provide all the money you’re fighting over … you greedy (expletive) pigs.”

Arison’s reply: “Honestly u r barking at the wrong owner.”

We’d show you the actual tweet, but Arison took it down within the hour. Which you can bet came at the urging of the button down NBA league office. You can also bet that Arison — who is not button down, he looks like you think a rich guy in Miami should, tan and without a tie — has a fine coming, because he wasn’t done.

He retweeted one fan’s tweet that read: “Heat ratings proved that fans want to see super teams in big markets instead of a ton of small-market teams each with one (star).”

Another fan tweeted that to expect competitive balance from all “all 32 teams” was “unrealistic and stupid,” Arison re-tweeted it with a smiley face. Arison later said the smiley face was laughing at the 32 teams (the league only has 30). Right.

When one tweeter asked “are you allowed to comment about ur feelings on the small market/big market issues some of the owners bring up?” Arison replied, “no.”

This all undercuts the image Stern and his right hand man Adam Silver are working very hard to present — that the owners are a unified front. They are not. Yes they all wanted a better labor deal and were willing to push for it, but at this point some think they have enough and need to start playing. Others want the players to miss paychecks and break the union. And so here we are, with what should have been opening day Tuesday and no games scheduled, no talks even scheduled.

We need some unity. And Arison has reminded us of one thing that we all can agree on — owners, players and fans alike. It is my favorite tweet from his mini-rant.

source:

We can all agree, nobody likes Sterling.

Rumor: Bulls’ belief in Zach LaVine waning

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Zach LaVine was the centerpiece in the Bulls’ return for trading a star. Chicago was reportedly willing to match a max offer sheet for LaVine in restricted free agency.

But maybe the Bulls have at least somewhat soured on him.

Nick Friedell of ESPN:

I don’t know why the Bulls would be down on LaVine now. I also don’t know why they were so high on him the first place.

LaVine is a good 3-point shooter and impressive dunker. But, despite his athleticism, his all-around contributions are lacking. He also hasn’t looked completely over his February 2017 ACL tear.

This leak could just be strategy. Instead of trying to scare off teams with the threat of matching any offer to LaVine, Chicago could be trying to dissuade suitors by projecting its own reluctance.

The Bulls don’t want to overpay LaVine. But they also don’t want to lose him for nothing.

Will anyone make a hard push for the 23-year-old? He surely wants a lucrative long-term contract, whether he re-signs directly with Chicago or gets an offer sheet. But, if the Bulls aren’t sold on him, I’m not sure any team will is.

LaVine’s qualifying offer will be $4,333,932. That might wind up his next salary.

PBT Extra: Grading the top of the NBA Draft

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The Phoenix Suns got it right at the top of the draft — they took Deandre Ayton.

But what of their move to trade for Mikal Bridges, the No. 10 pick, surrendering a valuable pick and the potential of Zhaire Smith for what should be a solid “3&D” wing to go with their athletic stars?

How did the Kings do at No. 2? What about Dallas’ big trade up to land Luka Doncic at three, or the Atlanta bet on Trae Young?

In this PBT Extra, I grade the top 10 picks in the draft, from the moves I like (I think Dallas did well) to ones I’m not sold on (sorry Chicago).

 

Have questions leading up to free agency? Submit your questions via e-mail for our PBT Mailbag feature. Drop us a line at pbtmailbag@gmail.com.

Lakers’ recruiting pitch for Paul George leaks

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LeBron James doesn’t want elaborate pitches in free agency.

Paul George never said that, though.

So, the Lakers are apparently planning to put some showbiz into their recruitment.

Robin Lundberg of Sports Illustrated, citing a “Hollywood source,” revealed a Lakers pitch for George. The direction:

Less Morgan Freeman/Denzel Washington, and more Jamie Foxx. A bit more edge an attitude to their voice, and a bit less aspirational

The text:

When you were just a kid

In your room
Dreaming from Palmdale

We were dreaming too.

While you dreamt, we built – built for your arrival

And while we dreamt, you built too
Becoming one of the world’s greatest.

Life’s most powerful dream are the one we realize ourselves.

The ones that turn us into legends.
That kid from Palmdale always knew it
Now the world will, too

Who wrote this, noted storyteller Kobe Bryant?

My bigger question: Did or did not the Lakers, who’ve gone to great lengths to make their interest in George known, want this to leak before the official start of free agency?

Report: No divide between Chris Paul and Rockets over contract

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That rumor of tension between Chris Paul and the Rockets over his contract?

Sam Amick of USA Today:

As for the recent report from Fox Sports’ Chris Broussard that there are rising tensions between the two sides because Paul wants the full max and isn’t sure if he’ll get it, two people with knowledge of the situation refuted the idea there is any friction between the sides.

Remember, everyone who leaks something has an agenda. But I find this report far more credible than the initial rumor.

Paul’s max projects to be about $205 million over five years. That’s a lot to commit to a 33-year-old, but Paul took a discount to facilitate an opt-in-and-trade to Houston last year. He expects to be made whole.

Until Broussard’s report, all indications were the Rockets would appease him. Barring more information, that should remain the expectation.