Add Barkley to list of people saying “just pay Thibodeau”

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Tom Thibodeau remains in contract negotiations with the Chicago Bulls. The Bulls have picked up his contract for this coming season, but if they don’t work out an extension, he could walk next summer.

They’ll work out an extension. They will.

But negotiations — especially talks that separate Jerry Reinsdorf from his profits — are rarely quick or smooth. So the Bulls Thibodeau talks drag out and the fine folks of Chicago don’t like it. They want the man paid (because fans freely spend money that is not theirs).

You can add Charles Barkley to the list of people who want to see Thibs get paid, as he told the Waddle & Silvy Show” on ESPN Radio in Chicago (as transcribed at ESPNChicago.com).

“I don’t understand why they are not paying Thibs,” Barkley said… “He’s a terrific coach. Seems like a great guy. I’ve only bumped into him a couple times. I don’t know him, but he seems like a great guy and is a hell of a coach. Let me tell you this, he’ll have a job within a week if they don’t take care of him. He’s done a fantastic job.

“You look at that Bulls team, he’s not winning with the best players. He’s not winning with LeBron James and Dwyane Wade. For the Bulls to have the best record (the past two seasons) and be really competitive without Derrick Rose basically for a year, he’s doing a hell of a job. He deserves more credit than the Bulls are giving him.”

That sentiment is prevalent in Chicago. And it’s not wrong — that team has taken on Thibodeau’s grinder personality. The Bulls out work you.

But Thibodeau wants to win and he knows with Rose in Chicago he has a chance unlike just about any other place he’s going to land as a coach. He isn’t looking to leave. Bulls management doesn’t want him to leave, they know they have something special.

It’s just about the Benjamins. They’ll figure it out. But it may take a while.

LeBron James passes Kareem to become all-time leader in playoff made field goals

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LeBron James is already the NBA’s all-time leading playoff scorer, having passed Michael Jordan last postseason.

However, LeBron racked up his buckets in the era of the three-point shot (as did Jordan, to a lesser extent), so Kareem Abdul-Jabbar was the all-time leader in field goals made in the postseason. A lot of them beautiful skyhooks that still give Celtics fans nightmares.

Monday night, LeBron made history passing Abdul-Jabar for the top spot in NBA playoff made field goals.

Just add that to the already insane resume.

Kevin Love with insane touchdown outlet to LeBron James for bucket

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Not sure what part of this was better.

Was it Kevin Love‘s length-of-the-court outlet touchdown pass that was right on the money, where only the receiver could get it?

Or was it LeBron James, with a catch in a crowd that would make Julio Jones’ draw drop?

Either way, this first quarter bucket from the Cavaliers may well be the play of the game.

Spurs disbanding all-female dance team in favor of co-ed hype team

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Is this the wave of the future?

Since then newly-minted owner Jerry Buss started the Laker Girls’ in 1979, all-female dance teams have become standard around the NBA. However, with how things are now viewed through the prism of the #metoo movement, and reports on how NFL cheerleaders were treated in places such as Washington and Miami, a lot of professional sports teams are re-thinking the concept of female dance teams.

The Spurs are apparently doing away with theirs, to be replaced by a 35-person co-ed “hype team.”

The Spurs have not said officially that this is the end of the Silver Dancers. “Lack of interest” is an odd reason to give — is there suddenly less interest now than there was five years ago? A number of teams have both female dance teams and co-ed “spirit” or “hype” teams.

Far more likely, this is about perception in what is a conservative state and marketplace.

The question is will this become a trend, both around the NBA and professional sports. As the teams try to evolve and make more dynamic their in-arena experiences, are the dance teams going to fade from view?

Just something to keep and eye on going forward.

Just a reminder: Spurs hope to repair relationship with Kawhi Leonard, offer-him $219 million

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It’s everyone’s favorite parlor game around the NBA: Where will Kawhi Leonard play next season? Philadelphia? Los Angeles? Somewhere else? Fans of 29 teams are posting their trade scenarios online, while GMs of 29 teams privately have tried to come up with offers that could tempt San Antonio.

The most likely answer: San Antonio.

While the relationship between Leonard and the Spurs is frayed — and with the people close to Leonard and in his ear seemingly trying to push him out the door — the Spurs would rather keep one of the five best players in the NBA (when healthy) in-house. From Tom Osbourne of the San Antonio Express-News.

Still, the Spurs hope to meet with Leonard and his representatives soon in a bid to mend fences and pave the way for Leonard to come to terms on a five-year $219 million supermax contract that he will be eligible to receive starting July 1. If attempts to patch up the relationship fail, the Spurs will be forced to explore trading a player coach Gregg Popovich once labeled “the future face of the franchise.”

The timing of that meeting has been slowed in part because of the death of Popovich’s wife and everyone involved understandably giving him all the space wants. It will happen.

Can the relationship be salvaged? Maybe, $219 million can mend a lot of fences. There are things the Spurs can and would be willing to do to promote Leonard more (although that all starts with him getting out of his comfort zone and building his brand, starting with speaking more in public). Also, Gregg Popovich was able to sooth LaMarcus Aldridge‘s ego when the big man demanded a trade, and not only did the player stay he had an All-NBA level season. Popovich and Leonard still have a strong relationship.

Is that enough? Time will tell, but people around the league think at best it’s a coin flip. Things are not good right now. However, the Spurs will get the first crack at fixing this before they are forced to consider a trade.