Jun 26, 2012, 4:41 PM EDT
Here is our regular look around the NBA — links to stories worth reading and notes to check out (stuff that did not get its own post here at PBT) — done in bullet point form. Because bloggers love bullet points.
• There’s a great post from Mike Prada at SBN that starts to explain why traditional big-spending teams — Lakers, Knicks, Celtics, Mavericks — are making moves now to lower payroll, because they are scared of the increased taxes that will kick in starting in 2014. He has a great paragraph explaining the implications:
As an exercise, consider the Los Angeles Lakers. Last year, they had a payroll of nearly $86 million. Under the old system, which was in effect, the Lakers owed just under $16 million in luxury-tax fees. Under the new system, though, they would have owed $7.5 million for the first $5 million over the tax, $8.75 million for the next five million, $12.5 million for the next five million and $3.25 million for the final $1 million. Right there, that’s a $32.25 million tax bill. In addition, since the Lakers were over the tax in four of the past five years, they would have owed an additional $5 million at each juncture. That leaves them with a tax bill of over $52 million for being $16 million over the threshold.
• Despite the future tax implications, James Harden expects to sign a new contact with Thunder this summer. Nobody doubts he will, but there is a big bill coming for the Thunder down the line and they will make changes.
• My take on those last two notes — the owners fought hard to have this heavy tax and flattening of payrolls in the NBA, thinking it would flatten out the salary levels (it will) and give more teams a chance. To force some parity. But what it will do — whether you built your team like the Heat or Thunder did — is force you to break it up sooner or have stars with no real talent around them. Is that good for the league? Especially a league that sells stars? I think it backfires.
• Tyler Zeller talks about going through the workout process leading up to the draft with Zach Lowe at SI. And they talk fashion.
• As expected, the Blazers extended a qualifying offer to Nicolas Batum. Other teams like him but the Blazers will not let him go.
• Tyreke Evans has told the Sacramento Kings he doesn’t want to play the small forward next year. The smart money is he doesn’t play for the Kings next year — his name comes up in all kinds of trade rumors.
• As was expected, San Antonio Spurs guard Patty Mills has been named to the Australian Olympic basketball team.
• However, Bobcats big man Byron Mullens will not play for Great Britain in the Olympics due to a toe injury.
• LeBron is back being active on twitter and has more followers than you.
• With Danny Ferry signing on to be GM of the Hawks, the 76ers are scaling back their search for the guy who will take over for Rod Thorn.
• Danny Ainge talks about how the Celtics overachieved this year. His word, not mine.
• By the way, Thorn said the 76ers would be drafting the best player available regardless of position. Every team should do this (or use a tier system). Drafting for need works in the NFL, but the NBA draft is a different animal.
• Thunder co-owner Aubrey McClendon is having some business troubles.
• RIP to Ted Luckenbill, the former University of Houston college star who played in Wilt Chamberlain’s 100 point game.
- Amar’e Stoudemire still thinks Knicks’ front court trio can work 7
- Report: Dwight Howard not going to Clippers… did we need a report for that? 9
- Alonzo Mourning says Scottie Pippen says LeBron would “kick Jordan’s ass” 34
- Spurs shut down Zach Randolph in Western Conference Finals’ first major strategic move 2
- Report: Terrence Williams arrested in domestic violence case involving threats with a gun 8
- Report: Dwight Howard will consider multiple teams in free agency, is said to be most intrigued by the Rockets (95)
- Knicks predictably drop Game 4 to Pacers, fall behind 3-1 (93)
- Kobe Bryant responds to Michael Jordan comparison from Phil Jackson (84)
- Bradley Beal said he’d lose respect for a teammate who acted like Derrick Rose (67)
- LeBron James shrugs off claims he’s a flopper (64)
- Once the best, Pujols now irrelevant
- Dickey goes 8, beats Rays for 2nd straight win
- PST: Mourinho officially leaving Real Madrid
- PHT: Stalberg returns to Hawks' lineup for Game 3
- PHT: Hawks look to boost intensity vs. Wings
- PFT: Brady says he's 'never felt better' throwing the ball
- PFT: Chad Johnson arrested for probation violation
- Play Video: Grizzlies ready for 'running' Spurs
- Play Video: Durant won't 'compromise himself' like other stars
- Play Video: Knicks avoid elimination
- Play Video: Heat finish off Bulls, James 'has no energy left'
- Play Video: Health woes make Heat vulnerable
- Play Video: Good news for Sacramento, Kings stay