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Tuesday Bullets

  • Steve Kerr says the primary reason the NBA is in financial trouble is because salaries "really exploded." The Players' Association, for the record, says negotiated salaries have declined three straight years, despite the greatest free agent class ever, and that total player compensation is up just about three percent annually over the current collective bargaining agreement. Kerr has also been a voice in opposition of a hard salary cap. "In 1999, Steve Kerr was the biggest advocate of the mid-level exception," says Wasserman. "It benefited him enormously. He was one of the loudest voices, among players, in supporting that."

  • Hugely underrated point, concerning Gregg Popovich: There's tremendous value in being a decent, caring human being.

  • Kevin Love is blogging for GQ. Here he talks about his GM, and I suspect he did not mean the implied put-down in the last sentence: "Over the summer, the president of our team, David Kahn, took out a full-page ad in the Minneapolis Star-Tribune, and he wrote an open letter to our fans, in which he said that while our team is young and exciting, we probably won't be contenders again this season. The letter caused a bit of a fuss, but we didn't really pay it any mind. We don't want to worry about what the front office is saying, or what anybody else is saying. We just want to go out and win ball games. They're not going to help us do that."

  • It's against the rules for NBA team staffers to train draft hopefuls. But that doesn't mean it has never happened.

  • Billy Hunter releases a statement, on letterhead, threatening the cancellation of next season. David Stern's response: Essentially to deny Hunter really said that. Amazing cojones. In the same interview, Stern called Jim Rome "a barrel of cherries."

  • That LeBron James commercial ends not with a dunk but a layup. Speculation as to why.

  • There are 84 international players in the NBA right now, which is a record. Turkey has the second-most, with five. But another country has more than double that, with 11 NBA players. Which one? The answer is here, and it's good basketball PR for a country that has certainly taken a hit or two.

  • If the Heat lose, at this Miami bar, the drinks are free. If they get down double-digits in the third quarter, people are going to start some serious binging.

  • Tony Gervino, writing at The Awl: "Individually, LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh are likable enough, with talent to spare, but collectively, they’re a bully, at a time where we've finally all decided that bullies are the greatest menace facing this country." Tony is a tremendous man who gave me my first work as an NBA writer. But is he really putting LeBron James ahead of say, unemployment, heart disease and Al Qaeda?

  • Alex English suggests he was a better offensive rebounder, thanks to following his shot, than a typical player today. This is the kind of thing a stat geek could potentially confirm or deny.

  • Kevin Arnovitz previews tonight's Heat vs. Celtics.

  • Get it right: "Sergeballu LaMu Sayonga Loom Walahas Jonas Hugo Ibaka." Fantastic name.

  • M. Haubs of The Painted Area on the Lakers: "This has quietly become an older team. Every key player other than Andrew Bynum is on the decline, even if ever so slightly (especially considering that the margin of error last spring was not that great). It feels like this could be a long slog of a year for the Lakers, with Bynum still a month away, and with Bryant looking terrible in the preseason, as both recover from knee surgery. Coupled with three long playoff runs, it wouldn't surprise us if L.A. struggles to get it going during the regular season, and has to make its run from a 3 or 4 seed."

  • What would it take for the Timberwolves to really run the triangle offense? An intense video examination.

  • Knicks center Timofey Mozgov, translated from the Russian by Alexander Chernykh on Rush'N Hoops: "One should not forget that if an opponent crashes into you in your paint, in the NBA the foul is on you."