Thunder Nets Basketball

60th overall pick and Nets draftee Cory Jefferson. (AP)

Since 1976, the last pick in the NFL draft has been referred to -- with tongue firmly planted in cheek -- as  "Mr. Irrelevant." The dubious honor even comes with some hardware, "The Lowsman Trophy," a play on the Heisman with the player fumbling a football.

The NBA's version of Mr. Irrelevant has changed quite a bit over the years. The most recent king of irrelevancy is Brooklyn draft property, as the Nets selected Cory Jefferson with the 60th and final selection in the 2014 draft with a pick that they bought from the San Antonio Spurs. The 6'9" Baylor product has a legitimate chance to make the Nets roster, and if he does he would be the third Mr. Irrelevant in four years to make the NBA following Isaiah Thomas (2011, Kings) and Robert Sacre (2012, Lakers).

It hasn't always been number 60. From 1948 to 1986, the draft did not have a limited number of rounds, with teams picking until they did not want to pick any longer. This system produced Mr. Irrelevants like Willie Horton -- no, not THAT Willie Horton -- in the 21st round of the 1968 draft, and Steve Martin -- not that Steve Martin either -- with the 202nd overall pick in the 1979 draft. Like virtually all Mr. Irrelevants of this era, neither ever played in the NBA.

The NBA drafts of yesteryear were so long that Carl Lewis -- actually, yes, THAT Carl Lewis -- was drafted 208th overall by the Chicago Bulls in 1984, despite never playing high school or college basketball. But even with basketball absent on his CV, the ten-time Olympic medalist in track and field wasn't Mr. Irrelevant, as 20 players were taken after.

The probability of a Mr. Irrelevant making an NBA roster increased exponentially as the NBA draft was curtailed to seven rounds in 1987, then three rounds in 1988, and finally the current two-round system in 1989. While more Mr. Irrelevants have made NBA rosters since the late 1980s, their relevancy has not increased all that greatly, with only one player averaging over 7 points per game in an NBA uniform.

In honor of Mr. Jefferson, let's look at the non-illustrious history of the top three "Mr.Irrelevants" in NBA history.

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AP

AP

Who was the most cost-effective team in the league this season? Who was the least?

With the latest luxury tax information, we've learned that the Brooklyn Nets spent a ridiculous amount of money this season, and it added up to 44 wins and a second-round exit. But just how much were those wins -- and that payroll -- worth?

To figure that out, I put together two very simple charts. The first is "cost per win" -- which is, quite literally, how much each win cost a team in NBA salary plus luxury tax. That accounts for how much the team spent on their roster in total, not just on the players.

So how'd they do?
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Four-time MVP and two-time NBA champion with the Miami Heat LeBron James released a letter today through Lee Jenkins of Sports Illustrated announcing his intention to return to the Cleveland Cavaliers, where he played the first seven years of his career.

Here's an excerpt from the letter, which you can read in full here:

I always believed that I’d return to Cleveland and finish my career there. I just didn’t know when. After the season, free agency wasn’t even a thought. But I have two boys and my wife, Savannah, is pregnant with a girl. I started thinking about what it would be like to raise my family in my hometown. I looked at other teams, but I wasn’t going to leave Miami for anywhere except Cleveland. The more time passed, the more it felt right. This is what makes me happy.

James's return to Cleveland makes them the odds-on favorite to win the NBA Championship, according to Bovada odds. They are currently 4-1 odds, with the Spurs second at 5-1.

Though this isn't directly Nets news, it was widely believed that James's decision is what held up the rest of free agency. With the Nets hoping to have a decision on Paul Pierce's status soon, coupled with Pierce's exit from the World Series of Poker last night, the dominos may begin falling quickly today.

 

Jason Kidd

Jason Kidd, new Bucks coach. (AP)

If there were awards given out for self-awareness, Jason Kidd would wonder why he hasn't won one yet.
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Brooklyn Nets free agent guard Shaun Livingston will head to the Golden State Warriors for a three-year deal worth approximately $16 million, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports. The deal is for the full mid-level exception.

It was unlikely that the Nets would retain Livingston, given their ability to only offer him the taxpayer mid-level exception, worth roughly $10 million over three years. Brooklyn's inability to sign Livingston to a bigger deal was a major factor in his departure, according to David Aldridge:

The third deal is partially guaranteed, according to a report by USA TODAY SPORTS.

Livingston had the best season of his career in Brooklyn, averaging 8.3 points, 3.2 rebounds, and 3.2 assists in 26 minutes per game. He also put up career highs in games played, games started, steals, steals per game, points, and player efficiency rating.

Go get 'em, Livingston. For Warriors fans, check out our exclusive feature with Livingston, in which he explains how his upbringing as a biracial kid in a city largely separated on the lines of racial and social classes, below. He also breaks down how he sees the floor in real time.

The Anatomy of Perspective: Shaun Livingston, the visionary

 

AP

AP

From daily reports to Doc Rivers?... MORE →

 

So the Nets didn't win the NBA Finals. I guess that was predictable. Zombies can only stagger so far before someone shoots the head off.

But if you stopped watching in the second round, you missed some more incredible basketball. Max Frishberg (known on YouTube as MaxaMillion711) put together this six-minute goosebump-inducing compilation of every round of the playoffs.

You'll see the Nets a few times in this (and hear Ian Eagle once, for a non-Nets call), but all I can say is: enjoy the whole thing.

(h/t Ball Don't Lie)

 

AP

AP

LeBron. Bosh. Carmelo? ...Wade?
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AP

AP

On June 9, 2013, the Brooklyn Nets formally announced the hiring of coach Jason Kidd, the former New Jersey Nets legend who had retired from the NBA less than ten days earlier. The contract was reportedly for four years and $10.5 million, with three years and $7.5 million guaranteed.

Fast-forward 361 days, and multiple outlets have reported that the New York Knicks, run by president Phil Jackson, will hire Jackson's former player Derek Fisher, a point guard facing retirement, to a five-year deal worth -- get this -- $25 million:

It is immediately unclear whether the fifth year is guaranteed or includes a team option. Fisher’s deal matches the five-year, $25 million agreement Kerr reached with Golden State, but is less of a commitment than what New York initially offered Kerr to become its coach.

Fisher’s coaching staff is expected to include Bill Cartwright and Kurt Rambis, sources told Yahoo Sports.

All share longtime coaching or playing experience with Jackson, and Fisher plans to run Jackson's famed triangle offense with the Knicks.

via Yahoo! Sports -- Sources: Derek Fisher finalizing $25 million deal to coach Knicks

So we've now got a new wrinkle for Nets-Knicks game: two bald former point guards in New York City who turned coaches immediately after retiring, one to join forces with his former franchise, and one to join forces with his former coach.

Fisher, to his credit, is one of the league's elder statesmen and a respected player league-wide. But he's nowhere near the Hall of Fame talent Kidd ever was, and Kidd's on-court basketball IQ is one of the best in league history. Nonetheless, Fisher's deal adds up to $5 million per season, while Kidd is slated to make an average $2.6 million per year if his final year gets picked up by the Nets.

After Steve Kerr, another former player, spurned the Knicks for an identical 5-year, $25 million deal this summer to coach the Golden State Warriors, Kidd's contract looks like a bargain.

Of course, it's not like Kidd needs the money: Fisher only made over $5 million in a season four times in his career, while Kidd made nearly $200 million in NBA salary. It's also possible that the Knicks felt the need to out-bid the Los Angeles Lakers. But it'll cost them $5 million per season, for a coach who hasn't formally announced his retirement as a player yet.

 

Quincy Miller, Jerry Stackhouse

Jerry Stackhouse (right) (AP)

Jerry Stackhouse is many things -- NBA All-Star, scoring champ, former Brooklyn Nets guard, entrepreneur, basketball analyst in Detroit, Ophiotaurus. But there's another title Stackhouse is looking to add to the list:... MORE →

 

LBJ Clap

The scope of the NBA shifted when the Miami Heat's "Big 3" of LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, and Chris Bosh joined forces in the summer of 2010. Since that summer, they're the only team that has gotten out of the Eastern Conference and into the NBA Finals (although the Pacers are currently giving it their best shot).

But could that change next season? It all depends on... MORE →

 

Rochelle & Donald Sterling (AP)

Rochelle & Donald Sterling (AP)

Disgraced Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling has agreed to let his wife Shelley negotiate a forced selling of the Clippers franchise after Sterling ownership was banned for life from the NBA, according to a report from Ramona Shelburne at ESPN.com.
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