On Grantland, Bill Simmons and Jonathan Abrams look at who each team could use with an amnesty clause. Here’s OKC: Abrams: No one. If they need to save money, they could free themselves of Thabo Sefolasha’s contract ($11.6 million through 2014) and hand the two-guard spot completely over to James Harden. Simmons: Sam Presti is a better man than me. I’d be holding press conferences and saying things like, “Really? Otis Smith overpays Rashard Lewis by $50 million, then makes it worse by trading him for Arenas … and we’re throwing him a freaking life jacket? Really? REALLY?????? You know who I’m using my amnesty on? ROYAL IVEY! HE MAKES 10 F*CKING DOLLARS AN HOUR! YOU GUYS SUCK! F*CK YOU!!!!!!!!!!”
Ken Berger of CBSSports.com: “What is there to think about? That is the $1.9 billion question. At last check, that’s how far apart the two sides appeared to be on the economics as they prepared to tread on the hallowed ground of system issues — the hard salary cap vs. the existing system with a plethora of exceptions and a luxury tax. Sources have told CBSSports.com that both sides have signaled a willingness to negotiate system issues, with one person connected to the talks saying that a deal is “there for the taking.” Asked whether Tuesday’s session was dedicated to the economic split or the system, Fisher and Stern said they discussed both.”
Tom Haberstroh of ESPN.com says Nick Collison should be in NBA Rank’s top 100: “The superb defender does all the little things that go unnoticed (cliché alert!). But here’s why that statement isn’t just sportswriter fluff: The big man perennially ranks among the league’s best in adjusted plus-minus. Top players over the last two seasons in that category? LeBron, Durant, Nash, Chris Paul, Dirk and & Nick Collision. He’s doing something very right.”
Chris Sheridan on the current state of negotiations: “One of the concepts the players have resented most during these negotiations is that the sides are assuming 4 percent annual growth per season, but the players would not get any of those additional revenues because the owners were asking them to accept an offer that flatlined player salaries at $2 billion over the first seven seasons of the proposed 10-year deal.”
KD on his tattoos: “It was just like so what? I was wondering why people were so worried about me getting a tattoo. It doesn’t change the type of person I am. It doesn’t change how I look at things. It’s just ink. And I like ink. It’s something I always wanted to get. I was a little nervous of getting them because of needles. But I was going to get them sooner or later … I’m going to try to stay away from my arms. Once I have kids and a family, that’s when I’ll kind of get my arms done maybe. But I was just a big fan of tattoos always growing up, and I wanted something cool that symbolizes what I’ve been through in my life and everything on my chest and my back is like a collage. Like it or not, it’s staying.”
Also: KD said he’s looking at potentially organizing a charity game in OKC.
TBJ on the worst player in NBA 2K12: “That honor goes to the Bulls’ Brian Scalabrine and the Thunder’s Byron Mullens, both of whom have overall ratings of 40 in this year’s iteration of the game. For reference, a 40 means that a player can barely walk two steps without turning the ball over, rolling an ankle and losing several hundred thousand dollars in a bad investing deal.”