Brandon Knight, Jimmy Butler, Draymond Green lead emerging players in contract years

jimmy-butler

Young players having the best seasons in their careers right before they’re due a new contract is hardly a new phenomenon, but it takes on new significance due to the NBA’s current economic situation. A likely escalation in the salary cap this summer will allow free agents to obtain more expensive contracts from a larger pool of teams with newfound cap space. A quartet of these young, emerging stars— Milwaukee’s Brandon Knight, Chicago’s Jimmy Butler, Orlando’s Tobias Harris and Golden State’s

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Bernucca: Who’s Getting Maximum Production From Minimum Veterans?

Leandro Barbosa

In today’s NBA, the formula for winning in recent years was simple: Accumulate as many maximum-salary stars as you can without breaking the bank. But when you start piling up eight-figure salaries against the luxury tax, the bank breaks pretty quickly. So teams fill out their rosters with minimum-salary veterans. And if you look at the top of the NBA standings right now, many teams are getting very productive seasons from veterans signed to minimum-salary deals. The Chicago Bulls added Pau Gasol to Jimmy

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Hubbard: Any Truth to Gloom and Doom Forecasts for Spurs?

popovich3

As good as the Spurs have been during the last 16 years, there is an inevitable point each season when gloomy forecasts surface. We had one here recently. At times, doubts are legitimate. The Spurs have won five titles, but 11 other times, they had problems that kept them from winning, although some of those can be traced to the excellence of opponents. When a team like the Lakers had Shaquille O’Neal and Kobe Bryant in their primes, losing to them was

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Sheridan: Who Will the All-Star Reserves Be in East?

All-StarNYC

Yesterday, we broke down what a crowded field it is in the Western Conference when it comes to picking the seven All-Star reserves. There are easily 10 players who are worthy, maybe more. But what about the East? And let’s start with this quiz: Can you name the starting five on the best team in the East? In fact, can you name the best team in the East? It is the Atlanta Hawks who ascended to that position when the Toronto Raptors

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Sheridan: Who will the All-Star Reserves Be in West?

All-StarNYC

New Year’s Day brought the latest round of All-Star balloting returns, and it’s a safe bet that the five leading vote-getters in each conference will remain there. Stephen Curry and Kobe Bryant lead the West backcourt, with James Harden trailing Kobe by about 180,000 votes. In the West frontcourt, Anthony Davis is a shoo-in, with Blake Griffin and Marc Gasol second and third, and Tim Duncan trailing Gasol by 55,000 votes. In the East, John Wall and Dwyane Wade are No. 1

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Sheridan: New Year’s Resolution’s for all 30 NBA Teams

newyear

The New Year begins with word that Cleanthony Early, Travis Wear and Quincy Acy have decided to give up pork as their New Year’s resolutions. A better idea might have been to play well enough to earn spots on next year’s Knicks team, which is the only thing New Yorkers want to talk about. Yep, just 10 short months until Opening Night, ’15-16. Around here, the idea of giving up bacon, one of the four major food groups, is almost as

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Brumagin: Love Lost as LeBron Sits Out On 30th Birthday

Hawks

ATLANTA — The Cavs may have to re-purpose an old Alfred Lord Tennyson quote:  “‘Tis better to have [Kevin] Love and lost than to never have Love at all.” Not quite what Tennyson had in mind, but one might have asked such a question after the dismal performance the Cleveland power forward gave prior to leaving Tuesday’s marquee Eastern Conference matchup with the Atlanta Hawks. Love made only one of eight shots — a three-pointer — and hit four free throws for

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