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NBA increases minor-league salaries to $35,000

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The NBA’s minor-league salaries were $26,000 or $19,500.

So, this is a hefty jump – though not necessarily to a high point.

NBA release:

The NBA G League announced today the salaries for the 2018-19 season: players under NBA G League contracts will earn a base salary of $7,000 per month – or $35,000 – for the five-month regular season.

This applies only to players who sign directly with the minor league. Players on standard NBA contracts will continue to receive their NBA salary while assigned to the minor league. Two-way players, as prescribed by the Collective Bargaining Agreement, will have their minor-league salary increase from $75,000 to $77,250 (which is prorated based on service days in each league). NBA teams can also guarantee a player up to $50,000, waive him then assign him to its minor-league affiliate – a workaround to entice players to play in the NBA’s minor league rather than overseas.

Why aren’t base salaries higher for players who sign directly with the minor league? The main issue is that they’re NBA free agents. NBA teams don’t want to invest significant money and time in players who can just sign with another NBA team at any time.

As the NBA’s minor league grows toward having an affiliate for each NBA team, maybe minor-league players’ rights will be held exclusively by the parent NBA club. That’d increase the demand for securing them – and therefore their salaries, too.

Report: Kawhi Leonard, Spurs agree on rehab program that has him away from team

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The Spurs reportedly cleared Kawhi Leonard. His own medical team obviously hasn’t.

But are both sides actually on the same page?

Shams Charania of Yahoo Sports:

League sources tell me that his doctors and the Spurs medical staff agree to his current rehab program in New York. Both sides collaborated to any decision with his injured right quad. Not a player gone rogue.

If this is the case, Gregg Popovich’s repeatedly referring questions about Leonard’s rehab to Leonard and his camp is a disservice to Leonard. That makes it sound as if Leonard is on a different page from the Spurs and therefore must answer for himself. If everyone agrees on the plan, Popovich could more easily share it himself.

There are reasons to suspect a divide, though. No. 1: Why would the Spurs leak that they’re on the same page as Leonard rather than just saying so themselves?

This sounds like spin out of Leonard’s camp. That doesn’t make it untrue, but it should raise some skepticism. Leonard has been widely criticized for not being with the Spurs as they compete in the playoffs. Even if he’s not playing he could sit on the bench. This rebuts that argument.

How convincingly? That’s debatable.

Russell Westbrook on announcer calling him ‘out of his cotton-picking mind:’ ‘What he said wasn’t OK’

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The Thunder suspended TV announcer Brian Davis for responding to a nice play by saying Russell Westbrook was “out of his cotton-picking mind.”

Westbrook, via Fred Katz of The Norman Transcript:

“Brian has been here for a while. What he said wasn’t OK. We all understand that,” Westbrook said. “But he definitely came in and talked to us. The team has made the decision to do what they need to do. We just have to move on from it.”

This seems like the appropriate response.

We can point out what Davis said wasn’t OK and explain why: The phrase is tangled in a history of slaves picking cotton in the South.

We can also note that Davis denied ill-intent for a phrase many (myself included) hadn’t previously considered and apologized for his insensitivity, learn from this and move on.

Gregg Popovich actually jovial during in-game interview (video)

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Gregg Popovich enjoys making people uncomfortable.

So, just when we’ve become comfortable with his terse and cold in-game interviews, the Spurs coach changed his approach.

Popovich was kind and and insightful in his postgame interview with David Aldridge during San Antonio’s Game 2 loss to the Warriors last night, even closing the exchange with, “It’s been a joy.”

That second question was begging for a one-word answer. Popovich actually gave an illumining response.

Draymond Green: Flagrant foul response to Davis Bertans putting me ‘in a chokehold like I was in the WWE’

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Draymond Green flagrantly fouled Davis Bertans in the Warriors’ Game 2 win over the Spurs last night. Green elbowed Bertans hard and high. It was a no-brainer call.

But Green, of course, casts doubt on his actions and pins blame on Bertans.

Green, via Chris Haynes of ESPN:

“I think it was a little bit of a flop,” Green said at the podium, after producing nine points, five boards and six assists. “I don’t even know if I hit him, but if I did — I’m not saying I didn’t, I don’t know — but if it’s going to be a flagrant foul, shouldn’t it be a double flagrant? Like, I can just get grabbed around my neck? I’m not going to sit up here and say I did nothing. I’ve got to get someone off my neck, though. If you’re going to penalize me, then why not penalize both? That’s really my only thing.”

Green said he’s not concerned about the flagrant point.

“Nah, I don’t care. It is what it is,” Green responded. “Life goes on. There’s more important things in life than worrying about a flagrant point. Maybe it’ll get rescinded. I got choked, put in a chokehold like I was in the WWE or something. So it might get rescinded. Who knows?”

Bertans’ elbow might have touched Green’s neck. That’s nowhere near a chokehold.