The 2013 NBA Playoffs

Not too many b-ball fans yet, eh? That's ok.

Here's a piece (not sure whether I agree with it or not, on why the Lakers should release Kobe:

When Kobe Bryant went down in the fourth quarter of Friday night's game against the Golden State Warriors, the immediate concern for the Lakers organization was winning the game and maintaining its tenuous grip on the No. 8 seed in the Western Conference. However, when news broke that Bryant's injury was, in fact, a probable torn Achilles tendon, the confidence built by the Lakers' closing the win without him was quickly negated. "It's just a tough hit, tough blow for everyone and, for the ones who love him and have a great respect for him, even more," teammate Pau Gasol said with tears in his eyes.
The reality is that, even with a healthy Bryant, the Lakers had been doomed to be first-round fodder for, most likely, the Oklahoma City Thunder. Now, as Bryant begins the arduous road to recovery, the franchise seems to be at its lowest point in a season full of low points. But if the Lakers shift their focus from the immediate future to the long term, they'll find that this injury might actually be the best thing to happen.
If it is indeed a torn Achilles tendon that Bryant suffered Friday, the Lakers have to figure out how to make the best of a bad situation.
And it can start with using the amnesty provision on Kobe Bryant.
First, a word about Achilles injuries …

The ruptured Achilles tendon is one of the most devastating injuries in basketball. If Bryant suffered a full tear, the rehab and recovery might last a year.
It likely will be four months before he can start jogging and six months before he can commence on-court drills. Many players return but never recapture their pre-injury levels of production, or return too early and further injure themselves. In a recent example, Chauncey Billups of the Los Angeles Clippers tore his Achilles tendon in February 2012, attempted to come back in late November 2012 and played three games before sitting again until February 2013.
So it is fair to assume that even with an aggressive rehab, we can expect Bryant to be out until about the All-Star break, and even then he might be a shell of his former self. To fully recuperate at his age (almost 35), he probably should take an entire year off, effectively missing the 2013-14 season.
The Lakers' salary situation

If Dwight Howard re-signs for the maximum allowable salary, which would start at about $20.5 million in 2013-14, the Lakers can expect their payroll to top $100 million (assuming Metta World Peace does not exercise his early termination option and the Lakers renounce all other impending free agents, such as Earl Clark and Devin Ebanks).
Under the new punitive measures of the CBA, taxpaying teams will be subject to incremental tax rates; in other words, the further above the luxury tax threshold you are, the more you pay for additional salary. Assuming the luxury tax threshold is $72 million in 2013-14 (which is actually a favorable assumption for the Lakers), L.A. can expect to pay about $85 million in luxury taxes.
To clarify: That's $100 million plus in salary, and another $85 million plus to the NBA for the right to pay its players that much -- almost $200 million cash out for the 2013-14 season alone.
On top of that hefty bill, the Lakers would face other penalties: They would continue to be prohibited from acquiring players via sign-and-trade and would not be able to use the full midlevel exception (worth $5.2 million in 2013-14) or the biannual exception (worth $2.0 million in 2013-14). Additionally, they could open themselves up for possible repeater tax penalties down the line in 2015 or 2016 (yes, an even more punitive tax structure awaits them).
After the Lakers' bitterly disappointing performance so far in 2012-13, and now with Bryant injured, it's easy to see that the costs of moving forward with this roster as presently constructed far outweigh the benefits. The best way to avoid the looming financial wreck would be to miraculously shed roughly $30 million from the official payroll.
The amnesty provision

ESPN Insider colleague Larry Coon has written the definitive document on the NBA's complicated collective bargaining agreement -- the NBA Salary Cap FAQ.
Here is a key passage for the Lakers:
"Amnesty is a one-time opportunity for teams to release one player via the waiver process and remove him from their team salary and luxury tax computations. For a player to be eligible for the Amnesty provision he must be on his team's roster continuously from July 1, 2011 to the date he is amnestied, without any new contract, extension, renegotiation or other amendment to his contract in the meantime."
What this means for the Kobe and the Lakers

So the Lakers could cut Kobe and erase his contract from the books (although they would still have to pay him the $30.4 million remaining on his contract after this season).
Not only would the Lakers save tens of millions of dollars in tax payments but they also would once again have the ability to improve their roster via the full midlevel exception, the biannual exception and sign-and-trade deals. They wouldn't have Bryant, but he likely will spend most of the season rehabbing anyway.
There is a catch, but even that works out in the Lakers' favor, if they want to take advantage of it. When a team "amnesties" a player, it cannot reacquire that player until the expiration date of the contract. For example, the Houston Rockets let Luis Scola go in 2012 with three years remaining on his deal; as such, they are prohibited from reacquiring Scola until 2015 (when his original deal would have expired).
In Bryant's case, his contract would expire just about the time he's ready to return to full health. Therefore, the Lakers would be able to bring him back just at the time he would be worth bringing back, presumably. (We're assuming that he can make it all the way back, but it's not a given, based on the history of NBA Achilles tendon injuries.) And if he can't get healthy, the Lakers wouldn't have to sign him.
Solving the PR problem

Releasing such an iconic player could become a public relations nightmare for the Lakers, among fans and others around the league. But that problem is solved if Bryant cooperates.
By publicly agreeing to depart via the amnesty provision, Bryant could save the Lakers' reputation, their cash and their flexibility to build for the future. In fact, the ideal scenario for the Lakers would be for Bryant to announce that amnesty was his idea -- his way of sparing the Lakers' ownership and front office the scorn of a fan base that otherwise would see this as a slap in the face, to Bryant and to their support for him and the team.
Why would Kobe do this? Well, one incentive could be a tacit understanding with the Lakers that he would be able to rejoin the team in the summer of 2014 as an unrestricted free agent. That's just when the Lakers are expected to have a massive amount of cap room to sign Bryant (at a smaller number) and other free agents.
If the Lakers and Bryant were to have such an understanding, neither party would be able to acknowledge it publicly because the NBA has harsh rules against under-the-table deals with prospective free agents. But the real-world truth of the NBA is that such agreements have been known to happen in the league from time to time -- some would say they happen quite frequently, in fact.
In this scenario, everybody wins: The Lakers get in better financial shape; Bryant gets paid without having to join another franchise; and he comes back to a stronger roster than the one he left behind.
Bryant has vowed to retire a Laker. But it doesn't sound as if he's ready to retire yet, even after Friday night's setback. And we know he desperately wants to win at least one more ring -- his next one will tie him with Michael Jordan. If he and the Lakers can find a way to make amnesty palatable for all concerned, he might just get what he wants.
Where my B-Ball fans at? Anyone want to place some friendly action on the games/series?
I am a huge basketball fan. But my team, the Suns, make it hard to watch right now. :(

Plus side is that tickets are cheap as hell to get. Well, at least for the last home game.

Ouch. A Suns fan is not a fun place to be.

We might as well skip from not to OKC v MIA and just do the finals.
Man, Chicago got smoked. Noah doesn't look healthy enough to make an impact and because of that Lopez will gobble them up.
Also a huge B-Ball fan. I'm a Pistons fan even though I live in nYc. Good thing is one of my boy gets tickets and I should be at one of the games if the Knicks make it to the next round.....
I also live a 10min walk to the Barclays Ctr so I also get to see the Nets...
Man, the Knicks are one ugly basketball team to watch. The Celtics are really suffering w/o Rondo... no easy baskets.
I can't believe Atlanta is shitting the bed like this. ATL shouldn't be anywhere near them.

Also, surprised the Nets have been able to come back.
Go Bulls!

2nd round picks? I've got:

Grizz over Thunder in 6
Heat over Bulls in 5
Knicks over Pacers in 6
And the Spurs over the Warriors in 6
I don't think its possible for the playoffs to have worked out any better for the Grizz
WOW. Just wow. The Bulls are like my favorite team now. Holy shit.

Jimmy Butler defended Lebron James better than anyone I have ever seen. That kid is an incredible defender. James was really shook. It showed when he heisted that long 3 at the end, he just knew he wasn't going to get by him.

I don't think this will last, but goddam it was wonderful basketball to watch. Word is Rose would return during this series.
I don't think Rose should come back at all. He doesn't want to turn into the next Gilbert Arenas.
Go Grizz!

Man, the Knicks really took the Pacers to the woodshed. Indiana just looked hapless tonight.
Interesting trade idea

Looks like the Bulls are itching to get Kevin Love. They have a ton of assets to throw at a deal.

Which of these would you consider expendable if you were the Bulls?

-Carlos Boozer and Nikola Mirotic (if he comes to the US) at PF
-Luol Deng and Jimmy Butler at SF
-Special 1st round pick acquired by the Bulls from Charlotte

Definitely the 1st rounder. Supposed to be one of the weakest drafts in good long while. I doubt that Minny would want Boozer as anything other than an expiring contract. I'd go for both Deng and Butler, but that wouldn't work out for Chicago (they would need one of them). They've been trying to trade Boozer forever. With Kahn at the helm in Minnesota, they'll probably just trade him straight up for Boozer.
No way that deal happens. Chi has no reason to change... Healthy? That's a championship team.
wow, what a shitshow in miami

hoping the spurs game is more entertaining

Bullshit calls all night. Lebron flops, then Nate gets floored... who gets the call? Of course.

The favoritism in that game was so obvious. The league wanted a Miami win. Chicago was within 5 in the 2nd and then, you guessed it, 2 phantom calls in a row.
Heat OWNED the Bulls in game 2. That was just a sad performance. Hopefully it'll swing back to midrange now.

The game one loss was the best thing that could have happened to the Dubs. Really looked more poised during game 2. Klay Thompson was a BEAST.
Man, if Chicago had Deng and Heinrich healthy, G3 would be Chicago. They were visibly tired in the 2nd half. You have to credit the Bulls... some serious heart there.
I don't understand why he won't play Richard Hamilton. What did the guy do wrong? He has to be healthy enough.
The thunder look beat. Their body language is no good. I actually think this is a good thing, without Westbrook they have zero hope against Miami. I think that Memphis is a better matchup against Miami right now and they have the best chance of knocking them off.
Grizz won, to no surprise. But I was a little surprised with how well the Pacers handled the Knicks. This series is all over the place.
I'm not surprised at all, I think the Knicks are much weaker team than most think. If their jump shots arent falling they're sunk. Roy Hibbert did okay. It was some grind it out basketball though.
Grizzlies. They pose significant matchup problems. I don't see another team capable of winning.

Next season, a healthy Bulls team can take it all.
Yep. Or just looking at what happened to Gilbert Arenas.

The Bulls just look worn down. 25% from the field? Thats a BAD sign
Bulls are out, just like I knew they would be. Surprised they lasted that long. Thunder are out. Dubs are out. Things are moving along quite nicely. Now the Pacers just need to close out the Knicks and we'll get to the interesting parts.
Pacers took out the Knicks. So now we're down to the final 4. Who do you guys have?

Grizz over Spurs in 7
Heat over Pacers in 5
Yup. Grizz weren't clicking at all. Game 1 was a fluke. Grizz can beat the Spurs.

I think they can too. Spurs aren't going to shoot that lights out for the whole series. Still, I think it'll go the distance.

Posterized defensively
WOW. The Pacers completely shit the bed there. The whole lane was WIDE open for Lebron to drive down. Gotta give him credit for taking advantage.

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