Austin Rivers shouldn’t be limited by rule to lower salary with Clippers


Austin Rivers’ stock has never been higher.

He had some nice moments in the playoffs, and his dad is the boss.

In these conditions, Rivers and the the Clippers are negotiating a new contract.

Shams Charania of RealGM:

Rivers is an unrestricted free agent, because the Pelicans declined the fourth-year option on his rookie-scale contract.

New Orleans traded him to the Celtics, who flipped him to the Clippers. Rivers getting dealt is key to his earning potential – at least in terms of Collective Bargaining Agreement rules.

It has commonly been reported the Clippers can pay Rivers next season only up to what he would have made in the fourth season of his rookie-scale contract – $3,110,796.

I think that’s incorrect, at least based on a literal reading of the CBA. The relevant passage:

Notwithstanding anything to the contrary in this Agreement, if a player is a Veteran Free Agent whose last Contract was a Rookie Scale Contract and whose Prior Team did not exercise the first Option Year to extend such Contract for a third Season or whose Prior Team did not exercise its second Option Year to extend such Contract for a fourth Season, then any new Player Contract that the player and Team with whom the player was under his Rookie Scale Contract enter into may provide for Regular Salary, Likely Bonuses and Unlikely Bonuses in the first Salary Cap Year of up to the Regular Salary, Likely Bonuses and Unlikely Bonuses, respectively, that the player would have received for such Salary Cap Year had his Prior Team exercised its first or second Option Year (as applicable).

The CBA also defines Prior Team:

“Prior Team” means the Team for which a player was last under Contract prior to becoming a Qualifying Veteran Free Agent, Early Qualifying Veteran Free Agent or a Non-Qualifying Veteran Free Agent.

The Clippers are Rivers’ Prior Team. The Pelicans did not exercise the option.

This rule should apply only when the Prior Team (in this case, the Clippers) didn’t exercise the team option. Because the Pelicans were the team that didn’t exercise the option, I’d argue the rule doesn’t apply here.

Of course, I’ve ignored a hugely important question: Is Rivers worth more than $3,110,796 anyway?

Perhaps not. But a few points:

1. Rivers is just 22 and has improved every season he has been in the NBA.

2. The Clippers have his Bird Rights, so they can exceed the cap to sign him. It’s unlikely they could land a more valuable player on a minimum contract.

3. His dad is the freaking boss.

I don’t know what Rivers can draw, but he shouldn’t settle for $3,110,796 just because some people think the CBA mandates it.

Marcus Smart announces he recovered, cleared of coronavirus

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Marcus Smart stepped forward and self-identified as having tested positive for the coronavirus. He wasn’t showing any symptoms and went into self-quarantine, and last we heard was doing well.

Sunday, Smart said that two days ago he was cleared and has fully recovered from the virus.

Most importantly, this is excellent news for Smart and his friends and family (and, by extension, the Celtics). His health is the most important thing in this story.

The NBA has asked recovered players to donate plasma because scientists are hoping to use the blood — which has developed immunities — to help create a vaccine or medicine to slow COVID-19. It’s optional, but the league is encouraging players to help.

There have been 10 players and five NBA off-court staff — including Knicks owner James Dolan — who have tested positive for the disease. Fortunately, none of them have shown any advanced symptoms that required hospitalization.

Colorado junior forward Tyler Bey declares for NBA Draft

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University of Colorado forward Tyler Bey has declared for the 2020 NBA Draft:

The junior averaged 13.8 points, 9.0 rebounds and 1.1 blocks per game for the Buffaloes. Bey shot 53% from the field overall and 74.3% at the free throw line.

Bey also extended his range a bit in his third year at Colorado. He knocked down 13-of-31 three-pointers (41.9%) on the season. At just six-foot-seven, he’ll need to be able to score from behind the arc to find a place in the NBA.

Most draft analysts have Bey pegged as an early second-round pick. Some thought he could play his way into the back-end of the first-round with strong pre-draft workouts. With the pre-draft process up in the air, NBA front offices may have to make their decisions based on what they’ve already seen in person and on tape.

Stephon Marbury has arrangement to procure 10 million medical masks for New York

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Former NBA player Stephon Marbury told The New York Post that he’s arranged a deal to deliver 10 million N95 medical masks to New York. These masks are much-needed among healthcare workers battling the COVID-19 pandemic.

Marbury is having the masks produced at cost in China, where he played the last seven years of his career.

Although Marbury currently lives in Beijing, China, he said “At the end of the day, I am from Brooklyn. This is something that is close and dear to my heart as far as being able to help New York.”

While growing up, Marbury starred at Abraham Lincoln High School in Brooklyn and on New York City’s famed playgrounds. After one year at Georgia Tech, Marbury left for the NBA. The high-scoring guard played for five teams during his 13-year NBA career, including his hometown New York Knicks.

After sitting out for two seasons, Marbury signed to play for the Beijing Ducks in 2011. The move was initially seen as a way for Marbury to prove he could still play at an NBA level. Instead, Beijing became home-away-from home for the New Yorker.

Marbury averaged 21.6 points per game in 271 contests spread over seven seasons with the Ducks.

Georgetown sophomore Mac McClung declares for 2020 NBA Draft

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Georgetown sophomore Mac McClung told ESPN Jonathan Givony that he’s declaring for the 2020 NBA Draft.

McClung first came to national prominence when his high school highlights blew up on YouTube:

In his second season at Georgetown, McClung averaged 15.7 points and 1.4 steals per game. A foot injury in late-January kept McClung out of the lineup for nearly a month. He returned for one game in late-February, but played just eight minutes off the Hoyas’ bench.

The six-foot-two guard is known for his deep shooting range and his highlight dunks. McClung’s shot is inconsistent however, as he shot under 40% in each of his first two seasons at Georgetown. McClung’s defense also needs work.

McClung projects to be a point guard in the NBA, due to his size. To make it as a lead guard, he’ll need to work on his ballhandling and playmaking. With those question marks, McClung is seen as a stretch to be drafted in the second round.

McClung stated he’s signing with an NBA/NCAA approved agent. That will allow him to keep his college eligibility as he goes through the pre-draft process.