Brett Pollakoff

LeBron James plays ‘Faceketball’ with Jimmy Fallon (VIDEO)


The description of this clip from Tuesday’s Tonight Show says it best: “Jimmy and LeBron slip mini basketball hoops on their heads and compete in a shootout.”

The contest appeared to be more difficult than it looks, considering the fact that (SPOILER ALERT) Fallon was able to beat LeBron in a game that involved (some form of) basketball.

By the way, did you notice how LeBron dropped a couple of Samsung references after he said his kids were always asking him for iPads and iPods? He caught himself nicely, as Samsung is one of the NBA’s significant sponsors. After all, he wouldn’t want to needlessly upset them.

Cavaliers coach David Blatt thought coming to the NBA ‘was going to be a breeze’


When the Cavaliers hired David Blatt to coach the team last summer, it was a very different job than the one he ultimately got.

Blatt was hired long before LeBron James made the decision to return to the franchise, so Blatt believed he’d be charged with rebuilding around Kyrie Irving, Dion Waiters, and the first overall pick in last year’s draft, Andrew Wiggins.

Things changed immediately once James came to town, obviously, and the Cavs started adding pieces around him that would put them in a position to contend for a title, and do so immediately.

Because of the franchise’s sudden change of course, Blatt encountered a far more difficult transition to the NBA than he had initially envisioned.

From the Associated Press (via SLAM):

Blatt — a wildly successful coach in Europe before getting his long-awaited chance to lead an NBA team for the first time last season — was a panelist on Monday at a scouting school in Las Vegas, part of a group that was discussing some of the ways coaches prepare for games at various levels. And he detailed several differences between the European game and the NBA one.

“When I came to the NBA I was under the impression that this was going to be a breeze,” Blatt said. “I’ve been coaching for 23 years at the highest level in Europe. I coached in the national-team environment, coached professional teams, coached Euroleague teams and I thought I thought I knew basketball and I thought I knew how to coach. Which, in my mind, I did.

“But I realized that when I came over here it was a very, very different game with a whole new set of problems and a whole slew of things to deal with inside and outside of the game.”

That “outside of the game” part is what was likely the biggest issue.

Blatt was forced to try to manage the ego of the game’s greatest player, and by most accounts, he failed miserably. LeBron threw him under the bus and diminished his coach’s importance more than once, which forced Blatt to do what he could, while acquiescing to his star player consistently.

The Cavaliers did get to the Finals, though, and Blatt will be back on the sidelines next season — which means he was more than smart enough to eventually figure things out.

NBA projecting a $500 million shortfall payout to players after the 2016-17 season


Adam Silver met the media in Las Vegas on Tuesday, and the dollars of league business were discussed more than anything else.

Despite a record broadcasting rights deal that will bring in excess of $2 billion, there are still individual teams that are losing money on an annual basis. And with the players guaranteed about 50 percent of the revenue, and with a salary cap in place that puts artificial limits on player salaries, that means owners will need to cut a check to the players to make up the difference.

Ken Berger of

Silver revealed Tuesday after meeting with league owners that the NBA is projecting that it will have to write a nearly $500 million shortfall check to the players after the 2016-17 season. There was a shortfall in the players’ guaranteed 50 percent of revenue for this past season, and there could be another one after ’15-’16, as well.

“That’s not, of course, the ideal outcome from our standpoint,” Silver said. “It’s not something we predicted when we went into this collective bargaining agreement.” …

The upshot is that, in the last three years before either side can opt out of the CBA, players’ negotiated contracts will come in lower than their guaranteed share of 50-51 percent – significantly lower in ’16-’17. And, as one league source told me hypothetically, there are going to be a lot of owners who will look at those numbers and say, “If they’re only worth 46 percent, why the hell are we paying them 50?”

That last part may be the reason that ownership opts out of the current collective bargaining agreement to lock out the players in 2017.

A lot of this is rhetoric, of course — the same type that has been used by NBPA director Michele Roberts on more than one occasion. But if a large segment of owners truly believe that continuing to give the players 50 percent of revenues seems like a rip-off, then a work stoppage of some length would seem to be unavoidable a couple of years from now.

Adam Silver: It’s our ‘hope’ for Bucks to stay in Milwaukee


The Bucks need a new arena in order to remain in Milwaukee. Adam Silver has made that clear, and the team’s president recently told lawmakers that the team would be moved to Seattle or Las Vegas if a funding plan for a new building wasn’t put into place.

Adam Silver spoke at the NBA’s Summer League in Las Vegas on Tuesday, and said he’d like the team to remain in Milwaukee. But he did reiterate how important it was to get a new arena constructed in order for that to make sense.

Check out the commissioner’s remarks by watching the video clip above.


Vlade Divac says Kings ‘stole’ Rajon Rondo in free agency


The Sacramento Kings had a tough time getting free agents to take their money this summer. But one of them didn’t have much of a choice.

At least three separate players reportedly turned down more money from the Kings in order to play somewhere else, mainly due to the dysfunction the organization has been mired in over the past several months.

Rajon Rondo, however, happily took a one-year deal worth $9.5 million to sign in Sacramento. It was an overpay by any reasonable standard given the way things ended in Dallas, along with his diminished level of production.

Vlade Divac, of course, sees things differently, and believes he got quite a deal in grabbing the point guard who has four All-Star appearances on his résumé.

It’s hard to steal something that no one else wants.

Rondo’s game, when combined with his behavior, wasn’t worth nearly what the Kings were willing to pay, even as a one-year risk. He could ultimately prove the doubters wrong by playing well and making the pieces in Sacramento fit, but for now just about everyone around the league will wisely reserve judgment.