Wednesday Bullets

  • Larry Coon investigates whether the Big Three formula can survive under the NBA's new Collective Bargaining Agreement (Insider): "Though the NBA announced late Tuesday night that the salary cap will remain the same as it was in 2011-12, the luxury tax will become much more punitive beginning in 2012-13. Under previous collective bargaining agreements, teams paid $1 for each dollar they went over the tax line. Those salad days are just about over. Starting next season, the rate goes up to $1.50 for each dollar, and that's just for the first $5 million. The rate goes up to $1.75 per dollar for the $5 million after that, and increases again with each $5 million -- to $2.50, $3.25, and beyond. For repeat taxpayers -- teams paying the tax in at least three of the four previous seasons -- the tax rate will double beginning in 2015. The potential effects are staggering. For example, the Orlando Magic were $20.1 million over the tax line in 2010-11, consequently paying $20.1 million in tax. But in 2013-14, being $20.1 million over the tax line will lead to a tax bill of more than $65 million, on top of a potential revenue-sharing payment if the team is in a big market. If such a team is a repeat taxpayer, then the tax bill doubles to $130 million. That's enough to give even the richest teams pause."

  • James Harden's beard, moments before it becomes self-aware.

  • When surrounded by two wing shooters like Ray Allen and Rashard Lewis, Miami's Big 3 has absolutely crushed the opposition. Related: An excellent illustration of just how Ray Allen opens up space for his teammates with those sprints along the baseline.

  • Ray Allen hasn't spoken to Rajon Rondo since deciding to play for Miami.

  • Raphael Uehara for The Basketball Post with a primer on the Timberwolves new Russian shooting guard, Aleksey Shved: "He’s a terrific playmaker off the pick-and-roll, featuring great court vision and awareness to identify passing lanes and tremendous skill to deliver passes on target. He should be just as a great a fit with Pekovic (who shot 69.7% and averaged 1.33 points per possession on pick-and-rolls, per Synergy Sports) as Rubio was. Shved is athletic and in the EuroLeague Final Four, he did show the ability to play above the rim but there are doubts of his ability to finish inside at the NBA level as he shot 59.6% in the lane in EuroLeague play."

  • What is Ryan Anderson, who plays the same position as Anthony Davis, going to bring to New Orleans?

  • Oklahoma City's Reggie Jackson, talking about what it means to have his Thunder teammates watching the Summer League squad in Orlando: "I believe that’s a tradition they’ve built here in Oklahoma City. I think you come back, you watch, you want to see what the young players are doing, if you can help once you sit down and talk at dinners, in the hotel rooms. Guys are trying to help me when I was coming to the bench. That’s the kind of teammates we are. It’s a college atmosphere. We all enjoy each other’s presence and being around each other. We’re always trying to help each other get better. I think that is what makes us kind of a unique team and helped us get where we were last year. I think we’re all trying to improve. As one person improves, the whole team improves. You’re only as good as your worst guys, so that’s why I believe they come back and try to help us learn quickly."

  • Andrew Han explores a very interesting question regarding the Lamar Odom deal on ClipperBlog: "If the Clippers are in a position of power with Dallas AND facilitating the entire transaction, how is it they give up more than any team and only have Odom to show for it?"

  • Ricky Rubio flashing that smile on his road to recovery from knee surgery.

  • On HoopSpeak, Ian Levy digs into Phoenix rookie Kendall Marshall's unique college career: "Marshall had more assists than turnovers this past season, not surprising for a top-flight collegiate point guard. He also had more assists than rebounds. And steals. And blocks. And personal fouls. And field goal attempts, three-point attempts, free throw attempts and points. Of all the basketball statistics which are counted, Kendall Marshall did nothing quite so often as pass the ball to a teammate who scored. Marshall averaged 10.7 assists per 40 minutes, pace adjusted this past season. In the last 11 seasons no collegiate player has entered the NBA with a higher assist average. Marshall averaged 1.56 assists for every field goal attempt this past season, a number that is also unmatched over the past 11 years of brand new NBA players."

  • If there's one thing Pacers rookie Miles Plumlee can do, it's catch on the baseline and finish with authority.

  • The Spurs have re-signed pretty much everyone from last year's team, which won 20 straight games but couldn't get past the Oklahoma City Thunder. Not satisfied? Andrew McNeill of 48 Minutes of Hell offers solace: "If that rotation leaves you wanting (I know you want the Spurs to get rid of Matt Bonner), look at it this way. By bringing back these players, the Spurs have given themselves arguably the most flexible roster in terms of trade pieces. The Spurs can offer nearly every type of contract and player for a team looking to trade. San Antonio can offer a team any size of contract in a deal whether it’s large (Stephen Jackson, $10 million next season), medium (Tiago Splitter, $3.9 or Matt Bonner, $3.4) or small (Blair, $1 million or Neal, $850K). They’ve also got expiring contracts (Manu Ginobili, Jackson, Blair, Neal) and unguaranteed ones (Blair, Neal) that could be appealing to a team looking to shed salary at the trade deadline in February."

  • Enjoy the last three seasons of Tim Duncan's brilliant career.