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Report: Dirk Nowitzki invited to 3-point contest

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There has been talk of getting Vince Carter into the dunk contest during his last season, which is one of those ideas that looks better on paper than in reality. Carter will be 42 during the dunk contest. Though he still dunks well for his age, he’s no longer capable of putting on an intriguing show. It’d be a shame to waste one of four spots on him.

The 3-point contest – with eight participants rather than four – presents a much better opportunity to honor a great player nearing retirement. Like Dirk Nowitzki.

Marc Stein of The New York Times:

It’s not totally clear Nowitzki has accepted. But Stein’s second tweet indicates he has. The Collective Bargaining Agreement also requires Nowitzki to participate if invited, though I doubt the NBA would force Nowitzki to compete if he’d prefer to rest that weekend.

If Nowitzki enters the event, this would be his sixth 3-point contest, behind only Craig Hodges (eight) and Dale Ellis (seven) and tied with Ray Allen (and probably Stephen Curry):

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It’s also worth noting Nowitzki is making just 26% of his 3-pointers this season. If that stands, that’d be one of the worst 3-point percentages ever by someone in the 3-point contest:

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As back-to-back-to-back defending champion, Craig Hodges competed in the 1993 3-point contest despite being unsigned. He alleges the NBA blackballed him.

Rimas Kurtinaitis was a European player brought in for the 1989 contest. He never played in the NBA.

Detlef Schrempf was just 3-for-18 on 3-pointers at the 1988 All-Star break. But he made 47% of his 3-pointers in his previous NBA seasons. That was a time players had more variance in their 3-point percentages, because players had smaller samples of long-distance shots. So, maybe the league figured he’d rebound. But he sure didn’t that season (or the next one, though he regained his touch beyond the arc later in his career).

Tim Legler was just finished recovering from an ACL tear suffered the prior season when he competed in the 1997 contest. He hadn’t even played in an NBA game yet. But he was the defending 3-point-contest champion and arguably the NBA’s top 3-point shooter. Unfortunately for Leger, who returned to play after the All-Star break, he didn’t shoot well from beyond the arc the rest of that season.

So, that’s Nowitzki’s potential company. There’s still plenty of time for him to climb out of his this hole. He made 41% of his 3-pointers last season and has annually finished above league average in recent seasons. But it’s worth acknowledging the 40-year-old might no longer have the legs to consistently hit 3s.

Still, him trying for one night in a fun contest would be welcome.

Nike countersues Kawhi Leonard over “Klaw” logo

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“My mind on my money and my money on my mind.”
—Snoop Dogg

Nike and Kawhi Leonard are going to court over control of his “Klaw” logo, and it’s all about money and brand.

Leonard left Nike last season, eventually signing with New Balance, and he wants to be able to market his Klaw logo as part of his line with his new company. Leonard and his representatives sued Nike for control of the logo, saying Leonard came up with it in his own drawings.

Nike has countersued and said Leonard did not design the logo. Tim Bontemps of ESPN had these quotes from the countersuit itself.

“In this action, Kawhi Leonard seeks to re-write history by asserting that he created the ‘Claw Design’ logo, but it was not Leonard who created that logo. The ‘Claw Design’ was created by a talented team of NIKE designers, as Leonard, himself, has previously admitted…

“In his Complaint, Leonard alleges he provided a design to NIKE. That is true. What is false is that the design he provided was the Claw Design. Not once in his Complaint does Leonard display or attach either the design that he provided or the Claw Design. Instead, he conflates the two, making it appear as though those discrete works are one and the same. They are not.”

TMZ posted the designs.

I’m not about to guess what a judge would decide in this case. Most likely, this gets settled one way or another.

Meanwhile, New Balance is trying to come up with a new slogan for Leonard and his gear. King of the North is now out after his move to the Los Angeles Clippers this summer.

J.R. Smith reportedly met with Bucks Thursday to talk about contract

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After five seasons in Cleveland, the Cavaliers waived J.R. Smith. The 34-year-old veteran wing is not part of the Cavaliers future, and by waiving him before the guarantee date they only had to pay him $4.4 million of this $15.7 million salary.

That makes Smith a free agent.

He sat down with the Bucks on Thursday, according to Shams Charania of The Athletic.

The Bucks can only offer minimum contracts at this point.

Smith will turn 34 before next season starts and his skills are in decline, he shot just 30.8 percent from three last season. The Bucks will likely start Khris Middleton and Wesley Matthews on the wing with Sterling Brown, Pat Connaughton, and Donte DiVincenzo behind them. They have the roster spot to make the addition. The questions are does Smith fit, does he want the small role that’s really available, and how often will he wear a shirt around the facility?

Mark Cuban says NBA player movement reflects job market across many industries

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It’s a question that came up a lot in the wake of a wild summer where eight of the 24 players in the All-Star Game just last February ended up on new teams:

Is all this player movement good for the NBA?

It got asked everywhere from the league’s headquarters to your local bar, from sports talk radio shows to the NBA’s owners meeting in Las Vegas. There’s no easy answer to that. However, the divide seems to be somewhat generational — older fans miss the stability of knowing their stars would be there next year, young fans like the volatility and fast-changing landscape.

Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban had an interesting perspective on all this: What you see in the NBA is what you see in almost every industry now. From Cuban’s blogmaverick.com:

Some feel that the player movement we have seen, particularly players asking to be traded or leaving teams that have the ability to pay them more money is a problem. I don’t. I think it is exactly what we should expect and it reflects what is happening in the job market across industries in our country.

No longer do college students graduate in search of a career where they expect to spend their entire adult lives working for a single company. Just the thought is crazy. I tell college graduates to look for a job where they get to learn about themselves, the business world, adulting and what they love to do and can be good at it. That their first job is just that, their first job. There will be many more…

Your best of the best will be impactful not only within the company, but via social media and other online platforms, visible as the best in their industry. It is important to give them reasons to want to stay. Great employees are effectively always free agents with the ability to move anywhere.

Why should it be any different for the NBA?

It’s interesting to hear from an owner (guys who traditionally want to control the workers). From a player’s perspective, this makes a lot of sense (and Cuban is as player-friendly an owner as the league has).

In a lot of ways, what bothers fans really applies to only the elite players, the guys with leverage, the guys who change the course of a franchise. If Paul George wants out of his contract, the reaction of Thunder management and fans would be different from if Dennis Schroder tried that kind of power move.

However, does this player movement erode the traditional fan base? Fans in Dallas/Miami/Boston/Los Angeles/everywhere want to identify with players, not just the logo across their chest. If the star players are changing teams more often how does that impact that traditional fandom? Do younger players become fans of players more: A LeBron James fan, a Stephen Curry fan, a James Harden fan, and their loyalties follow the player not the franchise? We seem to have more of that with Lebron and Curry. Cuban worked hard to make sure Dirk Nowitzki never left Dallas. (Going back there was a split between Lakers fans and Kobe fans, it’s just their interests largely always aligned.)

Which leads to the original, key question: Is all this player movement good for NBA business?

For the league and owners, the real question is will the undeniable social media buzz of the NBA offseason lead to increased ticket sales, increased viewership (or at least stopping that decline), more purchasing of League Pass packages (in whatever form), more jersey sales and all the rest of it? Can the league monetize this buzz?

Nobody has the answer to that, in part because how we as a nation (and world) consume media is changing so fast. What will the viewing landscape for the NBA’s television and streaming deals look like in 2024? 2029? Nobody knows.

Which means predicting how this player movement impacts the NBA is an unknown.

All the movement is creating a lot of buzz, which is nice, but buzz will not pay the NBA’s bills.

Damian Lillard on shot to beat Thunder: ‘That was for Seattle’

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Damian Lillard is a legend in Portland. He’s a legend in Oakland.

And now he’ll be a legend in Seattle.

The Trail Blazers star’s buzzer-beating 3-pointer wave goodbye ended the season for the Thunder, who moved to Oklahoma City from Seattle 12 years ago.

Lillard on Sports Business Radio Podcast:

What can I say? That was for Seattle.

Just when I thought Lillard’s shot and celebration were as cold as could be.