Why the 3-point-shootout field tops the dunk-contest field


Imagine your ideal 3-point-shootout field.

It’d look an awful lot like the actual field: Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, Kyle Korver, James Harden, Kyrie Irving , J.J. Redick, Wesley Matthews and and Marco Belinelli.

Now, imagine your ideal dunk-contest field.

It’d look nothing, or nearly nothing, like the actual field: Giannis Antetokounmpo, Victor Oladipo, Mason Plumlee and Zach LaVine.

Has the 3-pointer replaced the dunk as the premier shot in the NBA? Are 3-pointers now cooler than dunks?

Teams shoot 3-pointers more often than ever, relying on them to generate efficient points and space the floor. As the NBA has loosened defensive rules, the lane has become more packed, limiting dunking opportunities.

But 3-pointers cooler than dunks? No way. A jumper is not more exciting or fun or exhilarating than a slam.

So why don’t we get LeBron James, Blake Griffin and Russell Westbrook in the dunk contest like we do Curry, Thompson and Korver in the 3-point shootout?

The Collective Bargaining Agreement.

The NBA, as negotiated with the players’ union, can require anyone to participate in the 3-point shootout (or skills challenge or shooting stars contest) with two exceptions:

1. The player isn’t injured.

2. The player hasn’t competed in the event the previous two years (unless he’s the defending champ, in which case he can be required to return).

So, Curry and Irving, both of whom participated in the 3-point shootout the previous two years, were the only two exempt healthy players. Luckily for the NBA, Curry badly wants to win the event, and Irving will participate, too.

The dunk contest is explicitly excluded from these stipulations. In fact, the only players the league can require to compete in the dunk contest are Rising Stars Challenge participants.

Unsurprisingly, all four dunk-contest entrants this year are also in the Rising Stars Challenge.

The CBA calls for more money for the dunk-contest winner ($100,000) than the 3-point shootout winner ($50,000*), but that’s not enough to persuade top players to enter the dunk contest.

*Set before the league increase the participants from six to eight last year, so the figure might have been altered.

Ethan Sherwood Strauss of ESPN wrote a good article on the changing nature of the NBA, and as he says, there is a buzz for this year’s 3-point shootout – more than the dunk contest. But I don’t see the NBA’s evolution and this year’s All-Star Saturday Night as closely linked as he does.

Elite players want a break more than that cash. Passing on the dunk contest is more about the contractually negotiated right to do so – a right much more limited for the 3-point shootout – than anything else.






Cavaliers reportedly talking trade sending Kyle Korver to Sixers

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Philadelphia struck out going big game hunting this off-season — LeBron James, Paul George, Kawhi Leonard all ended up elsewhere. The Sixers decided to trade for Wilson Chandler (absorbing him into their cap space) and re-signed J.J. Redick, but they have continued to look for the right trade.

That could involve adding Kyle Korver.

From Keith Pompey of the Philadelphia Inquirer:

According to a league source, the team has had discussions about trading Jerryd Bayless to the Cleveland Cavaliers for Kyle Korver.

That move would enable the Sixers to bring back a fan favorite who’s one of the league’s top three-point shooters.  He would be an upgrade from former Sixer Marco Belinelli, who signed as a free agent  with the San Antonio Spurs earlier this month.

This trade is still in the talking phase.

That this was leaked means an agent of one of the teams involved wants to see the deal done and hopes leaking it puts enough pressure on one or both sides to get it done.

For the Sixers it makes sense on the court, they get out of a contract in Bayless they have tried to trade for a year, and they bring in a sharpshooter who can fit within their system and add bench scoring.

For the Cavaliers, they have to be getting a pick or picks of some kind back in this trade (probably a second round or multiple second-round picks, of which the Sixers have several besides their own in the next couple of drafts).

Something to watch as we head into the weekend, to see if this deal can get done.

Giannis Antetokounmpo doesn’t believe in the NBA 2K cover curse


Milwaukee Bucks superstar at Giannis Antetokounmpo will bless this year’s cover of NBA 2K19. It’s a big deal for the Greek Freak, who has come a long way since be a heralded prospect after being drafted in 2013.

Antetokounmpo is also apparently aware of the noted curse from the 2K franchise. That is, that former players who have been on the cover in years past have notoriously ended up in different jerseys shortly after getting selected for the honor.

LeBron James, Kyrie Irving, DeMar DeRozan, Paul George, and Kevin Durant all left their respective teams shortly after being featured on the cover.

Antetokounmpo signed a contract extension in 2016 that runs through the 2020-2021 season. Unless something goes horribly wrong, there’s no reason to think that he will be gone anytime soon.

But is the cover curse real? People certainly seem to think the Madden one is.

Lakers fan paints another LeBron James mural in Los Angeles (PHOTO)


There was already one LeBron James mural in Los Angeles. Several people decided to attack it with paint, ruining a nice gesture by a local artist in Venice and proving how annoying (presumed) Kobe Bryant fans can be.

Now, there is another mural in LA and this time it paid a little more attention to former Lakers legends. Hopefully this time around the subject matter will help stave off would-be vandals.

Via Twitter:

This LeBron piece was done by another Venice muralist, Gustavo Zermeño Jr., who posted photos of his work. In it, LeBron is seen looking up at Magic Johnson, Kobe Bryant, Wilt Chamberlain, Shaquille O’Neal, and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.

No doubt that should satisfy some Lakers purists around the area, at least enough to keep them from throwing white paint all over it and ruining and impressive piece of artwork that took the artist a long time to create.

Lakers fan should just be happy that LeBron is in their state.

Clippers sign free agent Luc Mbah a Moute for second stint

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LOS ANGELES — Luc Mbah a Moute is back with the Los Angeles Clippers, signing a free-agent deal.

The 31-year-old forward averaged 7.5 points, 3.0 rebounds and 1.18 steals in 61 games for Houston last season.

Mbah a Moute played two seasons for the Clippers from 2015-17, averaging 4.6 points and 2.2 rebounds in 155 games, including 137 starts.

He was selected 37th overall by Milwaukee in 2008 after three seasons at UCLA. Besides the Clippers and Rockets, Mbah a Moute has played 10 seasons with Milwaukee, Sacramento, Minnesota and Philadelphia.

Terms of the deal announced Thursday were not announced.