DA's Morning Tip

Morning Tip Mailbag: Your questions on New Orleans' frontcourt, player contracts and more

David Aldridge

Agreeing to disagree. From Rumar Spencer:

I spotted your NBA article, in regards to Steve Kerr and his personal take on politics and society. Police officers today are watching their backs because they know that they’re targets and people hate them and are coming after them. Lot of officers are losing their lives almost everyday, Officers in general are, but mainly it’s white officers.

In society today, it’s not one-sided at all. The other day, I saw an article on the other side, a black on white incident that took place after this one, in September … and I saw another black on white article, from two weeks ago, So I’m sure you and Steve would agree with me that racial hatred should end on both the white side and the black side. Like I said, it’s not one-sided at all, but it exists on both sides and it’s up to both races to end the hate. All lives matter and at the end of the day, we’re all God’s people.

If you’ve come to your conclusions honestly, Rumar, you’re entitled to them. I do not believe that there is “equal hate” by black people toward white people; I think we’re hated and discriminated against a lot more, and just about any metric you can name shows that. But, to your point: police officer deaths are indeed up this year over last year, and they were higher in 2016 than they were in 2015, according to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund. But the deaths from 2015-17 were lower than they were in 2010 and 2011, according to those same numbers. And FBI data shows that the number of police officers killed has actually dropped dramatically since 1970 — and that’s while there are 250,000 more police officers on duty today than in 1980.

Any death of a police officer in the line of duty is a tragedy and they shouldn’t be reduced to numbers; they have families and friends and loved ones. Their deaths are awful and horrifying. But so is the death of an unarmed motorist, or a motorist who tells the police officer he has a gun in order to de-escalate the situation, or a kid playing by himself in a park, or a guy selling cigarettes on the street. We are all God’s people. He doesn’t want any of us to kill each other, whether we’re civilians or wearing a uniform.

Cory is perturbed. From Cory Morton:

If Boogie and Brow were on the Lakers, Celtics or Knicks, what would the reaction be around the NBA? Top 5 team, top 4? Or if they were both in San Antonio? Hmm … something seems familiar. There haven’t been players of this size and caliber on a team, since David Robinson and Tim Duncan. Those two happened to win a championship in their second year together. Fast forward to now and why can’t Davis and Cousins have the same success? Davis is easily a top 5 player in the NBA with the potential to be the best overall sorry “the Greek Freak.”

Whereas, Cousins is the best center in the game and a top 10 player. Both Davis and Cousins are winners and they voluntarily worked out together all summer. Boogie recruited Rajon Rondo and when he gets back from injury watch out. The Pelicans are going to surprise a lot of teams — my prediction is a spot in the Western Conference finals.

Pretty sure we can round up a few dozen folks in Vegas who’d disagree with your conference finals prediction, Cory. But love the passion. Boogie and the Brow have been great together, though, and credit to Alvin Gentry and his staff for figuring out ways the two of them can play off of each other by allowing both guys to embrace the three and let it fly.

Did they ever figure out who killed that Palmer girl? From Simon Dingwall:

… We hear a lot about rookie contracts providing good value for money, because it only takes two or three seasons (for guards & wings; four or five for bigs) for good players to start producing at a higher level than they are being paid for. We also hear a lot about max contracts and how so many teams have multiple players on max contracts.

So I was thinking, if one was to construct a histogram of NBA player annual salaries, would it be largely a twin peaks chart? Lots of players on rookie and vet minimum deals, lots of players on max or near-max contracts, and a valley in the middle for the few players on various exceptions and role-player money?

This doesn’t seem likely, but it is the impression that you get from the media coverage.

A heck of a question, Simon. Thanks for it. I wish I had time to construct a histogram for this year; maybe one of our great readers with some time could put it together. My guess — and it’s a guess, Simon; I’m no expert on histograms or how to construct them — is that if it was a twin peaks chart as shown here, the peaks would not be rookie deals/max deals, but rookie deals/veteran minimum deals. I say that because while almost every player who enters the NBA does so on a rookie contract — creating the single, isolated peak — only few players by comparison get a max or near max.

The most max or near-max deals you’ll ever see on one team at one time is three — think Miami in 2010 with LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh — or Washington this season with John Wall, Bradley Beal and Otto Porter Jr.. And many teams only have two. By contrast, most every team has at least 2-4 vets on minimum deals them in a given season, and at least a couple of teams a year have half or near half of their squad playing for the minimum.

Send your questions, comments and senior class electives that address the needs of the growing omnivorous, hibernating, blubber-dominant population to daldridgetnt@gmail.com. If your e-mail is funny, thought-provoking or snarky, we just might publish it!

MVP WATCH

(Last week’s averages in parenthesis)

1) Giannis Antetokounmpo (33 ppg, 11.7 rpg, 6 apg, .587 FG, .762 FT): Just watching him gobble up space in transition is…indescribable. Or at least not describable adequately.

2) James Harden (24 ppg, 5.5 rpg, 10 apg, .427 FG, .786 FT): The Trade was five years ago last week.

3) LeBron James (27 ppg, 5 rpg, 11.3 apg, .608 FG, .684 FT): Became the franchise’s all-time leader in games played Wednesday with his 772nd appearance for the Cavs, passing Zydrunas Ilgauskas for number one on Cleveland’s list.

4) DeMarcus Cousins (34.3 ppg, 16 rpg, 6.3 apg, .544 FG, .794 FT): Per Elias, Cousins joined Wilt, Oscar and Elgin Baylor as the only players in NBA history to follow up a 40-point, 20-rebound game with a triple double in his next game. Cousins posted his seventh career triple double (23, 12 and 10) in the Pelicans’ rout of Cleveland Saturday.

5) Kevin Durant (28.3 ppg, 7.3 rpg, 4.3 apg, .565 FG, .840 FT): We’ve all been there, KD. ‘Preciate it.

Dropped out: Anthony Davis, John Wall

BY THE NUMBERS

280 — Consecutive sellouts at Staples Center by the Clippers, a streak that ended last Tuesday in L.A.’s game against Utah. To be fair, the game was played while Game 1 of the World Series in Los Angeles, just up the 101 at Dodger Stadium, was in progress.

7 — Consecutive wins by the Pelicans at home against Cleveland, dating back to March, 2010, after New Orleans routed the Cavs Saturday night behind DeMarcus Cousins’s triple double — making the current score Beignets, French Quarter and Emeril’s 3,498,072-road team du jour 31.

2 — Previous times in the last five seasons that the Magic has won more than three games in a row. Orlando had a chance at a fourth straight win Sunday but lost to Charlotte. Nonetheless, at 4-2, the Magic is off to its best start since beginning the 2011-12 season with a 4-1 mark.

I’M FEELIN’ …

1) Watched Joel Embiid’s drop step in the last minute of a tight game on the road with the Mavericks Saturday night. Sometimes, you see a guy do something — like Bird following up his own miss on the baseline, or Jordan going between his legs before pulling up en route to 63 in the Garden in the playoffs — and you know that the guy is going to be something different and someone special. Had that feeling Saturday night.

2) We are two weeks into the season, and the Bulls are not going to be good — and they have all kinds of off-court drama that doesn’t seem to ever end. But, hopefully, people now see that the Chicago didn’t get robbed when they traded Jimmy Butler to the Wolves for a package of players and picks; that deal netted them the rights to rookie Lauri Markkanen, who is showing that he has the potential to be a very capable scorer and decent rebounder down the road.

3) I love that Malika Andrews, the brilliant young reporter/writer for the New York Times, was talking to Alvin Gentry for her Pelicans piece just when Gentry’s phone rang with a call from Jameer Nelson, whom New Orleans wound up signing last week. Great detail.

4) Okay, now you’re just showing off. But, you should be showing off. That’s incredibly cool.

NOT FEELIN’ …

1) Of course Cleveland will play better defense in May and June. Doesn’t mean it’s enjoyable to watch the Cavs not guarding anyone now.

2) I don’t like hearing “out indefinitely” with anyone associated with DeMatha Catholic High School.

3) We’ll miss you, Brother Fox. Good luck wherever the winds take you!

4) From the people who brought you New Coke!

5) Yuli Gurriel got suspended five games to start next season by Major League Baseball for his racist gesture toward Dodgers pitcher Yu Darvish. Yuli Gurriel should have been suspended for Game 4 of the World Series by his own team, the Astros. Houston had a chance to send an unmistakable message: winning can’t come at the expense of integrity, no matter when we’re playing. It chose to let MLB carry the water, and MLB chose to kick the can down the road. Weak.

TWEET OF THE WEEK

DeAndre Jordan (@DeAndre), Friday, 2:51 p.m., responding to the apology of Houston Texans owner Bob McNair for comments he made during an NFL owners meeting earlier this month that “we can’t have the inmates running the prison” — in reference to NFL players who have knelt during the playing of the national anthem before games to protest police brutality.

Hassan Whiteside Retweeted Joel Embiid

THEY SAID IT

“He said he was at a hair salon … I didn’t believe that to be true.”

— Suns GM Ryan McDonough, to local reporters, explaining why the Suns sent disgruntled guard Eric Bledsoe home while they tried to work out a trade for him. Bledsoe tweeted on Oct. 22 ‘I Don’t wanna be here’ just before Phoenix announced it was firing former coach Earl Watson. Later, Bledsoe claimed he was at a hair salon and the “here” referred to that, setting him up for some meme love.

You know what, hey, people talk about his dad all the time. Hey, I mean, my father left me at two. I would love to have my father around like [LaVar] is around and talk to him and pump me up with confidence. To me, that’s every son’s dream. And for some reason he gets criticized. No question, he’s a little ambitious at times [with] what he says. But he’s around his son. I have no problem with that. And maybe he could temper it a little bit, but I would’ve loved to have my father do that.”

— Wizards coach Scott Brooks, to Candace Buckner of The Washington Post, on what he thinks of LaVar Ball and his advocacy on behalf of his son, Lonzo, the Lakers’ rookie point guard.

“Listen, we’re all men. Stop me from dunking. We’re not trying to hurt nobody. Trying to play hard until the final buzzer. Would it have been OK if he had laid the ball up? Get mad because he threw it off the glass and caught it? Would he have been mad if he threw it off the glass and missed it? There wouldn’t have been no conversation. So, you play the game until it’s over. Yeah he threw it off the glass, dunked it, so what?”

LeBron James, talking about Warriors rookie Jordan Bell’s alley-oop to himself off the glass late in Golden State’s rout over Dallas Monday — viewed by some as rubbing it in the Mavericks’ faces long after the game had been decided.

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MORE MORNING TIP: Harrington finds new career in medical marijuana | DA’s Top 15 rankings | Hawks embrace season of change

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Longtime NBA reporter, columnist and Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Famer David Aldridge is an analyst for TNT. You can e-mail him here, find his archive here and follow him on Twitter.

The views on this page do not necessarily reflect the views of the NBA, its clubs or Turner Broadcasting.

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