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Under the Larry Bird Exception teams can sign their own players to contracts which exceed the salary cap. So then hypothetically the OKC Thunder could have resigned Durant, Westbrook, Harden, Ibaka, and Perkins to whatever deals they wanted and just paid the luxury and repeater taxes for going over the salary cap. In this scenario, the small market Thunder would have to pay HUGE taxes under the new CBA. But one could also guarantee at least 1 title in the next 5 years with multiple division championships, conference finals, and conference semi-final appearances. Doing the math, does it make sense to not pay repeater/luxury taxes to put a very competitive team in the NBA? Or pay these taxes knowing the benefit of having a top 1-2 team in the league for the next 5 years. What would you have done if you were the owner?
It would be easy for me to pop off and say I would pay to keep a contending team like the Thunder completely intact, but that’s an easy statement for me to make since it’s not my money. In general, I think you make a persuasive argument. The one point where I would beg to differ is with regard to your use of the following: “guarantee at least 1 title in the next five years.” Nothing is ever guaranteed in professional sports. In fact, I could construct a strong argument that the Thunder would never have beaten the Heat even if OKC had kept James Harden. If there was a way to actually “guarantee” a title, then sure, pay the piper. Since there isn’t and the luxury tax is so prohibitive, it doesn’t make business sense.
I recall a conversation I had with Mark Cuban a few years back. Fans often look at him as an owner who will spend whatever it takes to win a title. I carried the same narrative into this particular conversation with him. What he told me was that he was always looking to make the team better, but he won’t spend just to spend. A move has to make the team better but it also has to make sense financially.
This brings up a larger philosophical argument about what should be expected of pro sports owners. Andrei Kirilenko once told me about owners of pro teams in Russia. He explained it to me as the owners purchase the teams as a “toy,” meaning they don’t expect to make any money. It’s sort of like when one goes to Vegas. One might set aside a certain dollar amount to gamble knowing that one will likely lose most, if not all of that money. However, it will be one hell of a party doing it. I think many NBA fans wish the owner of their favorite franchise would have more of this kind of mentality, but the reality is it’s much more of a business venture in the US as opposed to a toy.
do you think the mavs can make the playoffs ? i would love to see the lakers miss the playoffs, used to like kobe and dwight, it just shows the 2 are cry babies, they will never grow op! what doyou think about kobe dissing smush and kwame?
I think the Mavs can make the playoffs, but I don’t believe they will.
Also, I believe the Lakers will make the postseason. Even though they have lost three in a row, the talent on the roster is overwhelming. Not sure I would call either Kobe or Dwight a “cry baby.” In short, I think the talent on the roster has been badly mismanaged this season.
Lastly, with regard to Kobe’s comments about Smush Parker and Kwame Brown, I haven’t heard anything recent on this. It would seem that you are bringing up something from the fairly distant past that isn’t particularly relevant now. And if I recall, I believe Smush ran his mouth first. Look, the reality is that Kobe, like many other great competitors in the history of sport, doesn’t deal well with mediocrity. Have there been instances where he probably should have kept his mouth shut? Absolutely, but he wasn’t the first star player to get frustrated with underachieving teammates and he certainly won’t be the last.
Royce White? He’s bouncing back and fourth in every way.
I think the Rocket’s front office brain trust, wishes they had gone elsewhere?
It’s a MAJOR Red Ass dealing with this stuff.
I know he want’s to make a living, and is physically capable of competing in the NBA.
His head isn’t there yet…who has his best interest at heart, family?
People forget that Royce is a rookie and that he has only played a few weeks of pro basketball. It often takes rookies months to adjust to some of the simple differences between the NBA and college game (pace of play, 24-second shot clock, etc). Moreover, the definition of in shape is much different at the NBA level. It often takes guys until their third year in the league to really start to understand how to take care of themselves and maximize their physical potential. Kevin Love is a great example of this. Notice that I haven’t even mentioned anything but basketball related factors thus far. Even if Royce had not taken the very public stand he did with regard to his mental illness, there is no guarantee he wouldn’t be going through the very same struggles on the court. Like with all young players, time and patience will be crucial. A rush to judgement is not in anyone’s best interest.
Shaka Smart…does he leave VCU for greener pasture’s ala Jeff Capel?
Blake Griffin was great for OU, he was inherited from Kelvin Sampson…older Bro Taylor, made that happen? On the other hand “Tiny” Gallon wasn’t good for the program, got Oronde Taliaferro, blacklisted, “so to speak” and Jeff fired. As an OU fan Lon Kruger has been a breath of fresh air…he does things right.
Shaka should take his time….he has a good gig where he is at, and can pick and choose…don’t jump on UCLA, or Minnesota….please.
With Shaka Smart it will all come down to how much money and security VCU is willing to give him. If they play games with their offer of an extension, I think he’s gone.
I hear you with regard to Shaka taking his time. However, that’s easy to say from where we sit. It’s much harder when a program could throw somewhere in the neighborhood of $2 million annually in his direction to coach basketball. In terms of nurturing his coaching career, patience would be a good thing. It’s just so darned hard to pass up the kind of money that a school like UCLA, for example, could throw his way. Even if things went poorly and he only stayed there a few seasons, he would be set up for life financially if he opted to be smart with his money.
When a previously-proven player(plus one for alliteration) goes through a slump, how much of that is a mechanics issue and how much is it a mental/confidence issue, generally speaking?
It really depends on the specific case. Generally speaking, the two are very much related. It can be a chicken or the egg kind of thing. For example, if a guy is struggling at the foul line it may start with bad mechanics. As time progresses, his confidence decreases with each miss and now he’s thinking about missing the shot. The opposite could happen as well. A guy goes to the line in a bad psychological space and then his mechanics get sloppy.
One of the best interventions for the sort of example I just gave above at the foul line is to get a guy out of his head. Get him focused on the minute details of his routine and it can serve as a “thought stopper” for negative thoughts that may have been getting in the way.
You have once again inspired a future article, as this topic deserves more time than I can give it in this space. You seem to be inspiring wonderful ideas with increasing frequency for me. I am in you debt, kind sir.
There has been a lot of talk about the Cleveland Cavaliers choosing Otto Porter with their first draft pick. As much hype as Otto Porter has been getting around Cleveland, I was just wondering what other lottery bound teams had a lot of interest in a SF like Otto Porter?
There will be a number of teams interested in Porter. He’s a lottery pick in terms of raw talent and potential. Hard to say who might draft him at this point simply because teams don’t always draft for need. This is a question that can be addressed in a bit more detail after the lottery and we begin to see where specifically teams will be slotted. He’s very raw in terms of his overall skill level (needs to get physically stronger, too), so I could see a team taking him regardless of what they have at the wing spot now in hopes that he will develop into a big time player down the road.
Hi Travis: Mayor KJ seems to be building a strong case to keep the Kings in Sac. What do you think happens?
Kevin Johnson has done an unbelievable job of trying to keep the Kings in Sacramento. Above and beyond the call of duty. But I guess that’s what you get when you elect a former pro basketball player as mayor.
My gut says the Kings stay in Sac, but the politics and dollars behind the scenes are hard to get a clear read on with all parties involved posturing.
What’s your opinion of the designated hitter rule?
The DH is the biggest sham in pro sports.
By the way, Colin, I am personally offended that you would come to this chat and ask a baseball question. I should get a free scooter for a year from Sportique as a result of your tomfoolery.
Is Derozan ever going to have the ballhandling, shooting and defense to be a near all-star guard?
He has the physical ability to excel in all the areas you noted. The question is whether or not he develops the discipline to demand greatness of himself. Personally, I don’t see it happening. Typically what you see by year three is what you’re going to get. I see DeRozan as being a potentially explosive but also maddeningly inconsistent scorer over the course of his career. I would love to see him spend an entire summer with someone like Kobe to perhaps instill some different habits.
What current players could you see successfully transitioning to coaching roles after they retire? What I wouldn’t give to see KG wearing a suit and bow-tie prowling and scowling on the sidelines. Imagine the half-time interviews!
Interesting question and the kind that keeps me up at night. Yes, I am that kind of NBA nerd.
Let me preface this response by stating that traditionally, great players do not make great coaches. Typically it tends to be guys who were role players without a ton of physical ability but had to outwork or outthink their opponents. Pat Riley, Phil Jackson, George Karl, Scott Brooks, Doc Rivers and Byron Scott are just a few of the names that come to mind. Larry Brown is, of course, one notable exception as he was one hell of a player. Also, guys who were point guards tend to make good coaches since they have to know what every player on the floor is doing at all times. In addition, good coaches have to be good communicators, so just because a guy knows how to play doesn’t mean he knows how to communicate effectively enough to help other people understand how to play.
With that said, here is a list of names of current players who I think could be good coaches in the league: Chauncey Billups, Derek Fisher, Shane Battier, Grant Hill and Luke Walton. I’m sure I’m missing a few, but I have had conversations with all of the aforementioned players in addition to assessing their basketball knowledge and believe all would have what it takes to be successful. It can be tempting to say that someone like Kobe might be a great coach, but I just don’t believe he would have the patience to do it.
How long do you think it will take Paul George to learn to be a more controlled player? Will this off-season be more productive as he will know he is the go to guy as the Granger injury was a surprise?
Experience and film study often lead to a player learning to play more under control. George has just this season been anointed “the man” in Indiana. It will take some time. Also, he’s going to have to learn how to still be effective when teams start game-planning specifically for him in the postseason, as it’s a much different animal than the regular season. This playoff run will likely give him invaluable experience. If he’s willing to look at his failures at different junctures of the postseason and address in the offseason, that will be a sign that he truly wants to be great.
Hello Dr. Heath
10 games from now, my beloved nuggets have what record and what playoff seeding?
It will likely take at least 55, probably 56 to get the third seed. If Ty Lawson comes back tomorrow and is healthy, I truly think the Nuggets can win 8 of the final 10. That would get them to 57 and very likely the third seed. If Ty is not right, though, the situation becomes much more precarious.
The Denver Nugget’s 15 game winning streak went quietly under radar because of the Heat’s, and I am sure they wouldn’t have it any other way. Call me crazy, but with the way they are playing and the pure domination they have in the paint, I see them emerging from the West. They have beat all the top West teams and not one of them has beat them at home this year. Ty Lawson is finally playing with confidence and they have several guys that can blow up any given night. Their speed up and down the court is unreal! Realistically with the way they have been playing I don’t see any team in the west winning a 7 game series against them. Do you agree? If getting out of the West and into the finals I find it very unlikely for any of the East teams to stand a chance against them besides the Heat, who are the only above .500 team to beat them at home. Thought?
It’s been a great run for the Nuggets. I predicted the Nuggets would win 53 games at the start of the season and was told by many that I was delusional. Turns out I may have actually underestimated their potential. But then again, who predicts a 15-game win streak? Those sorts of things rarely happen.
To your question, I think the Nuggets can play with absolutely any team in a 7-game series assuming Lawson is healthy as I noted in the previous question. There are currently three teams that I believe would beat the Nuggets in a 7-game series: San Antonio, Oklahoma City and Miami. Don’t get me wrong, I think Denver could beat either the Spurs or OKC in a 7-game series, but if asked to pick today I would pick against the Nuggets. Prior to the season, I said I thought the Nuggets should make it to the second round, with the Western Conference Finals as their ceiling. I would advance a similar prediction today with the one change being that they could be much more competitive in the conference finals were they to qualify.
What’s really frustrating are the nine games the Nuggets have lost to teams significantly under .500 this season as we discussed on my radio show last night. Think where the Nuggets would be if they had won just four or five of those games. One of the major reasons I would pick against the Nuggets in a series against the Spurs or the Thunder is due to the fact that they wouldn’t have home court advantage. Had Denver not kicked so many games against bad teams the number one seed would quite possible be a reality.
That’s it for me, folks. Thanks for stopping by. Hit me up on Twitter @DrTravisHeath for more discussion.
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Join NBA expert Dr. Travis Heath for his weekly chat this Wednesday at noon EST!
10:30am - Steve Kyler
3:00pm - Yannis Koutroupis
8:00pm - Jessica Camerato
11:00am - Nate Duncan
8:00pm - Bill Ingram
12:00pm - Travis Heath***
8:00pm - Lang Greene
1:00pm - Joel Brigham
3:00pm - Jabari Davis
1:00pm - Moke Hamilton
3:00pm - Larry Coon
8:00pm - Alex Kennedy
11:00am - Susan Bible ***
*** denotes chats that are held bi-weekly