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Report: Chris Paul unpopular as union president, because he has prioritized stars

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The NBA’s 2017 Collective Bargaining Agreement helped star players.

A new super-max contract allows players with eight or nine years experience to earn more money than they would’ve otherwise. The regular max increased. The over-36 rule became the over-38 rule, which applies to everyone, but stars are far more likely to get offered long-term deals that deep into their career.

The National Basketball Players Association president: Chris Paul. Two members of the executive board at that time: LeBron James and Carmelo Anthony.

Paul and LeBron were too experienced to benefit from the super max. But they signed larger max deals last summer than they could’ve under the previous system – Paul with the Rockets, LeBron with the Lakers.

With Paul getting traded to the Thunder for Russell Westbrook, players don’t exactly sound enamored with their union president.

Ethan Sherwood Strauss of The Athletic:

The reign of CP3 is not popular with the NBA’s lower classes

Some players around the league laughed when union president Chris Paul and his massive contract got dealt to the rebuilding Thunder for Russell Westbrook. Why? Because Paul’s regime is not viewed as one devoted to serving the NBA’s middle and lower classes.

“They advocate for the interests of max players and super-max players,” one veteran player said of Paul and company. “Basically, the CBA has helped the whole banana boat crew from back in the day. It’s taken from the midlevel. I think middle-tier players aren’t getting that mid level money anymore.

“I think just that huge super max has had cost. Teams are putting all their eggs in one basket to keep that super-max guy. It’s dried up the salary cap. I don’t see it as sustainable long term.”

Players collectively receive a certain percentage of revenue. Two major questions in CBA negotiations: What percentage of revenue should that be? How should players divide that share?

This griping is about the second question.

If no there were no individual max salary, superstars would get paid even more. They’re so important – both on the court and as marketing forces. A single player can swing a franchise far more in basketball than any other major team sport.

The CBA already restricts stars’ earnings, leaving more money for middle-class players.

Legitimate questions exist about whether stars should face even stiffer restrictions. There are far more middle-class players, after all. In a one-person, one-vote union, the middle-class majority holds more power. They could use it to out-vote Paul and other stars on anything. They could even oust Paul.

But don’t get it twisted: Stars are already sacrificing so middle-class players can earn more.

Knicks rookie R.J. Barrett out at least a week with right ankle sprain

R.J. Barrett
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NEW YORK (AP) New York Knicks rookie R.J. Barrett will miss at least a week with a sprained right ankle.

Barrett was hurt during the Knicks’ loss to Phoenix on Thursday. On Friday, he had X-rays, which were negative.

The Knicks announced afterward that Barrett will be re-evaluated in a week.

The No. 3 pick in the draft from Duke is averaging 14.1 points.

Heat: Justise Winslow out at least two more weeks

Justise Winslow
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MIAMI (AP) — The Miami Heat say Justise Winslow will miss at least two more weeks while recovering from a back injury.

Winslow has played only once since Dec. 4 and is slated to be out for at least the remainder of January. The team originally called Winslow’s injury a back strain, then updated the diagnosis to a bone bruise.

Winslow played off the bench in Miami’s win at Indiana on Jan. 8. The team said the back problems reappeared after that game. He has not played since.

Friday’s game in Oklahoma City is Miami’s 41st of the season and the 30th that Winslow has missed. He’s averaging 11.3 points, 6.6 rebounds and 4.0 assists for the Heat this season.

Kevin Huerter’s 3-pointer gives Hawks first win in San Antonio in his lifetime (video)

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The Hawks beat the Spurs in San Antonio on Feb. 15, 1997.

The next year, Kevin Huerter was born.

Atlanta’s next win in San Antonio came Friday, when Huerter hit the game-winning 3-pointer in a 121-120 win.

The Hawks’ losing streak in San Antonio spanned Tim Duncan’s entire lengthy career – and continued a few seasons beyond that. The only reprieve came during the lockout-shortened 1999 season, when Atlanta didn’t visit San Antonio. So, the skid lasted 21 games.

Buddy Hield on Kings getting booed at home: ‘That’s how Sacramento fans are’

Kings guard Buddy Hield
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Buddy Hield is quite familiar with frustration amid the Kings’ disappointing season.

Sacramento fans showed theirs Wednesday, booing the Kings during their home loss to the Mavericks.

Buddy Hield, via James Ham of NBC Sports California:

“Everybody is frustrated, it’s not even them, we’re trying to figure it out too,” Buddy Hield said following the loss. “But it’s the home team and we get booed…we don’t agree with it, but they’re going to voice their opinion.

“I understand their frustration, but like I said, I’m going to keep shooting the ball,” Hield continued. “When I make a three they like me, when I don’t, they hate you. That’s how Sacramento fans are, man, so you’ve got to embrace it.”

Hield seemingly isn’t looking to pick a fight with fans. He made a point to empathize with their frustration.

But I don’t think he’s being fair, either.

Kings fans are far more loyal than swinging between love and hate depending whether or not a shot falls. They’re fed up after 13 – going on 14 – straight seasons missing the playoffs. This year has been particularly discouraging, as Sacramento has backtracked from fun and fast to sad and slow. Losing to Luka Doncica particular grievance – only adds to the irritation.

The Kings’ problems have spanned multiple owners, executives, coaches and players. So, booing this group isn’t totally fair, either. But this is who’s in front of the fans.

If this Sacramento team plays hard and together, fans will embrace it – and stick with it through thinner times.