Month: April 2017

Adam Silver Officially Becomes Commissioner

Adam Silver has officially assumed the role of NBA commissioner, replacing David Stern, who steps down 30 years to the day after he inherited the position from Larry O’Brien. The move was first announced in October 2012, giving Silver ample time to transition from his post as deputy commissioner, which he’s held since 2006. That job now goes to Mark Tatum, who had been serving as the NBA’s vice president of global marketing partnerships.

Stern, 71, oversaw a period of remarkable growth, inheriting the NBA just as Larry Bird and Magic Johnson were entering their primes and a few months before Michael Jordan would enter the league. The game has continued to grow since their retirements, despite a pair of lockouts and four franchise relocations. The league’s annual revenue has risen from $165MM to $5.5 billion during Stern’s tenure, while the average player salary has gone from $290K to an estimated $5.565MM. He served longer than any other commissioner in the history of the NBA, National Football League and Major League Baseball.

Silver joined the NBA in 1992 and held numerous executive roles within the league until his appointment as deputy commissioner. There’s widespread uncertainty about just how Silver will govern, as Ken Berger of CBSSports.com notes, but his track record suggests he’ll focus on the business and marketing side of the game in an attempt to continue revenue growth. Silver was involved in negotiations with the players union during the 2011 lockout, and the next battle on that front will likely come after the 2016/17 season, when the NBA and the union both possess options to terminate the current collective bargaining agreement.

Pacers Planning To Sign Andrew Bynum

SATURDAY, 9:22am: The Pacers have made the signing official via a team press release. No details of the contract were released per team policy.

SATURDAY, 9:07am: Bynum will sign with the Pacers today, per Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports. Bynum is in Indiana with agent David Lee, and a resolution to his new destination appears close, over a month after his initial suspension with the Cavs. Five teams were still in the hunt the center’s services, according to a tweet from ESPN’s Chris Broussard.

FRIDAY, 10:04pm: The Pacers are planning to sign Andrew Bynum, according to Brian Windhorst of ESPN.com (via Twitter).  While there’s no deal in place yet, talks are very serious, according to Windhorst (link).

Candace Buckner of the Indy Star first reported that the Pacers were meeting with Bynum and agent David Lee tonight.  Sam Amick of USA Today (on Twitter) adds that a deal could be completed by the morning.

The Pacers may not have a major need for Bynum but the desire to block the Heat from signing them could be part of their motivation.  Meanwhile, the Heat aren’t willing to pay more than the minimum salary which could prove to be a serious sticking point.  Most Hoops Rumors readers believe that Bynum will remain unsigned through the season according to a recent poll.

Odds & Ends: Bynum, Bulls, Rondo, Sixers

The Bulls are getting calls from clubs as the trade deadline approaches, but that’s no big deal to coach Tom Thibodeau.  “The way that works is, when something gets close, they will come to me,” Thibodeau said, according to Teddy Greenstein of the Chicago Tribune. “But every conversation they’re having I don’t know about, nor do I want to know about. It’s important for me to focus on the guys we do have.”  More from around the Association..

  • Andrew Bynum and his agent are in Indianapolis to meet with the Pacers, writes Candace Buckner of the Indianapolis Star.  However, agent David Lee says the big man hasn’t signed with anyone yet.  As of earlier this week, Bynum is still seeking more than the minimum.
  • Rajon Rondo says he’s “intrigued” by free agency, but Celtics GM Danny Ainge isn’t sweating it.  “Come on, man! They’re talking about Kevin Durant‘s free agency in 2016 already; Carmelo Anthony. It’s ridiculous,” Ainge told A. Sherrod Blakely of CSNNE.com. “It becomes a story because not very many people understand what free agency brings to Carmelo and Kevin Durant and [Rondo]. It gives them (the potential for) five-year max contracts which are way more significant than two-year extensions, three-year extensions. And they have to say these things. From my perspective, it’s like, ‘duh.’ If you’re around the NBA, those are like obvious things.
  • The Sixers have sputtered since their hot start to the season but Hawks big man Elton Brand says they’re working hard and no one could accuse them of tanking, tweets Tom Moore of Calkins Media.
  • Zach Harper of CBSSports.com wonders if Kansas star Andrew Wiggins is starting to justify the hype.

Nate Robinson Out For Season

Nuggets guard Nate Robinson underwent surgery for a torn ACL and will be out for the remainder of the season, according to Christopher Dempsey of the Denver Post (via Twitter).  The diminutive guard suffered a left knee injury during Wednesday’s game against the Bobcats and was forced to exit early, but the injury wasn’t known to be quite this severe.

The Nuggets’ backcourt is now in disarray with Robinson done for the year, Ty Lawson sidelined thanks to shoulder trouble, and Andre Miller stuck in limbo.  With Danilo Gallinari also done for the year, it’s hard to see the .500 Nuggets living up to the expectations set out for them at the beginning of the season.

With their backcourt seriously thinned out, it’ll be interesting to see how the Nuggets approach the trade deadline.  At the very least, it would be surprising if Denver didn’t scope out the free agent market for a guard in the coming days.

Western Notes: Ledo, Casspi, Jazz

The Mavericks have dominated the Kings when playing in Dallas for more than ten years, but DeMarcus Cousins looked to be their kryptonite earlier this year.  Dallas won 15 of 16 home games against Sacramento dating back to 2003 before losing 112-97 on December 9th when Cousins led the way with 32 points and 19 rebounds.  Unfortunately for Sacramento, they don’t have Boogie in action tonight in Dallas thanks to his sprained ankle.  Here’s tonight’s look at the Western Conference..

  • The Mavs announced that they have recalled Ricky Ledo from the Texas Legends of the D-League.  The rookie has been assigned to the D-League three times this season and averaged 13.6 points, 6.2 rebounds and 2.6 assists in 29.1 minutes per contest across 18 games.  In eleven games for the Mavs this season Ledo is averaging 1.7 points in just three minutes per game.  He could see action tonight as the club will be without Shawn Marion.
  • Omri Casspi is enjoying a career resurgence with the Rockets, but things didn’t go quite as smoothly with the Cavs.  The forward spoke with Jodie Valade of the Plain Dealer about the tougher times with Cleveland and how he’s enjoying things in Houston.
  • Former NBA coach Avery Johnson likes what he sees when he looks at the Jazz but he says that it’s crucial that they re-sign Gordon Hayward this summer. “He’s what I call a valuable asset. The worst thing you can do with a valuable asset is allow a valuable asset to walk without any compensation,” Johnson told Aaron Falk of The Salt Lake Tribune. Meanwhile, Johnson says that Julius Randle would make sense for Utah in the upcoming draft.

D-League Notes: Hairston, Faverani, Siva

Earlier today, Chris Mannix of SI.com reported that executives around the league believe the Cavs are hesitant to send No. 1 overall pick Anthony Bennett to the D-League because they think it would look like an admission of failure on their part.  Meanwhile, the forward still hasn’t turned things around for the Cavs’ varsity squad.  Here’s tonight’s look at the D-League..

  • P.J. Hairston is impressing scouts and his stock is rising, according to Chad Ford of ESPN.com (via Twitter).  Now with the Texas Legends, the former UNC standout is averaging 27.4 ppg and shooting 43% from three-point range in five D-League games.  Hairston is currently ranked No. 26 on the most recent mock draft from DraftExpress.
  • The Celtics announced that they have assigned center Vitor Faverani and guard Vander Blue to the Maine Red Claws of the D-League.  Faverani, a 6’11” center, has appeared in 37 games for the Celtics this season and has recorded 4.4 points, 3.5 rebounds, and 0.7 blocks in 13.2 minutes per game.  Blue, a 6’5” guard, has appeared in three games for the Celtics this season and has totaled five points, three rebounds, and an assist in 15 minutes of play.  Faverani is expected to be back with the Celtics on Sunday, according to Gary Washburn of the Boston Globe (via Twitter).
  • The Pistons announced today that the team has re-assigned rookie guard Peyton Siva and rookie forward Tony Mitchell to the Fort Wayne Mad Ants of the D-League.  Siva averaged 12.0 points, 2.8 rebounds, 5.8 assists, and 2.6 steals in five games during his first stint with the Mad Ants from December 28 through January 8.  In six games with the Mad Ants, Mitchell averaged 6.8 points, 6.5 rebounds, 1.0 assists, and 1.5 blocks in 22.1 minutes per game.  They’ll likely be there for two weeks, according to David Mayo of MLive.com.

Pacific Notes: Suns, Bledsoe, Warriors, Kobe

Amazingly, Suns big man Emeka Okafor could be one of the most intriguing trade chips in February even though he’s probably done for the season.  Earlier today, our own Chuck Myron examined Okafor as a trade candidate and explained what his sizable expiring contract could do for the club that acquires him.  Here’s more from the Pacific Division..

  • Eric Bledsoe refused to confirm or deny whether he had a significant operation performed on his torn meniscus in a talk with Shams Charania of RealGM.  For a guard with his explosion, a major repair procedure of the meniscus part would bring long-term benefits but would also rule him out for the rest of the year.  Meanwhile, it would behoove him to return to the court this season before he hits restricted free agency in the summer.  For their part, the Suns have said that they expect the guard to be back in action some time after the All-Star break.
  • About a dozen NBA scouts watched Arizona practice at the Warriors‘ facility today, according to Marc J. Spears of Yahoo (via Twitter).  Big men Aaron Gordon and Brandon Ashley are getting most of the attention and about 20 NBA GMs have seen at least one Wildcats practice (link).  Colleges are now allowed to practice at NBA facilities and scouts are taking full advantage.
  • While Phil Jackson admitted during a TV appearance that the Lakers‘ two-year, $48.5MM contract extension for Kobe Bryant was more than he would have given, he also said that he expects the future Hall of Famer to return to prominence, writes Dave McMenamin of ESPNLosAngeles,

Odds & Ends: Stern, Nuggets, Marshall

Agent David Falk believes outgoing commissioner David Stern has set the league up for long-lasting labor peace, as he tells Ken Berger of CBSSports.com.

“I think the TV revenues are going to grow dramatically in the next agreement,” Falk said. “And it’s so damaging to the business of the NBA to shut it down. Personally, I think it was irresponsible for Billy [Hunter] to have allowed it to be shut down twice. The players lost $1.25 billion that they’ll never make up and they got nothing for it. And why would the owners shut it down? To get 5 percent more? The potential for where the league should be at the end of the current agreement is so high — if it’s done properly — that to be greedy to try to steal a few percent is foolish.”

Falk also told Berger that Stern said he envisioned drastic changes to the schedule and starting up a separate, NBA-caliber league in Europe or Asia when he took over as commissioner 30 years ago. None of that happened, of course, but Stern did get around to plenty during his tenure, which ends today. Here’s more from the league he helped mold:

  • The Nuggets aren’t sure Nate Robinson will play again this season because of an ACL injury, notes Terry Frei of the Denver Post, who believes the team should turn to Andre Miller in his absense. The Nuggets are considering that, but it’s still unlikely that Miller will suit up for Denver again, writes fellow Post scribe Chris Dempsey.
  • Kendall Marshall uses slights that date back to his recruitment to the University of North Carolina as motivation, and he finds it odd that so many were quick to label his NBA career a bust, as the Lakers point guard tells Rick Bonnell of the Charlotte Observer“I’m 22 years old. I’m still evolving as a player,” Marshall said. “Look at a guy like Ty Lawson – he’s 26 and he’s still getting better. So much of this is about opportunity.”
  • Scouts tell Chad Ford of ESPN.com that they continue to rank Marcus Smart as a better point guard prospect than Syracuse’s Tyler Ennis, but Ennis is nonetheless a fast riser, as Ford and Kevin Pelton examine in an Insider-only piece.

Lakers, Wizards, Bobcats Ask About Taj Gibson

The Lakers, Wizards and Bobcats all made preliminary inquiries about Taj Gibson recently, but the Bulls weren’t satisfied with any of the proposals, reports Joe Cowley of the Chicago Sun-Times. Still, there’s a “growing possibility” the team will deal the power forward before the deadline, Cowley writes, and it’s a signal that the Bulls might be willing to try to clear cap room for a run at Carmelo Anthony.

Bulls executive vice president of basketball operations John Paxson said this week that he’s “not necessarily” going to engineer a pursuit of a star this summer, but he didn’t rule it out. Anthony reportedly sees Chicago as an intriguing free agent destination, but it would take some maneuvering for the Bulls to be able to sign him this summer. Chicago has $63MM in commitments for next season, almost equal to the projected amount of the salary cap for 2014/15. They could amnesty Carlos Boozer‘s $16.8MM salary to clear space, but they’d have to open more room to accommodate a maximum-salary contract for Anthony, which would have a starting salary of $22,458,402 for next season.

Gibson will make $8MM next season, the second year of a four-year extension he signed with the Bulls in the fall of 2012, so depending on how much salary the Bulls take in return, trading him could clear the way for Anthony. Gibson makes $7.55MM this season, and while he’s primarily been a bench player, he’s averaging career highs in minutes (28.6) and points per game (12.2). It’d be a little surprising if he wound up with the Lakers, who have mostly shied away from long-term commitments, but the Bobcats will reportedly be buyers at the deadline, so Gibson would make sense for Charlotte. The same is likely true of the Wizards, who began the season with playoff aspirations but hold only a three and a half game lead on the ninth-place Knicks in the Eastern Conference.

Central Rumors: Irving, Martin, Rose

The leading story in the Central Division, and around the NBA, surrounds Kyrie Irving and his alleged discontent with the Cavaliers. It’s in the team’s best interests to mend fences with the star point guard, as multiple Cleveland-area writers have written, but the Cavs still wield most, if not all of the leverage. Irving would be a “raving lunatic” if he passed up a max extension from the team this summer, opines Sean Deveney of The Sporting News. Here’s more on the Cavs and their Central Division rivals:

  • The Bulls have no immediate plans to re-sign Cartier Martin, whose second 10-day contract expired this week, but Tom Thibodeau won’t rule out the idea of bringing him back later this season, notes Joe Cowley of the Chicago Sun-Times.
  • In the same piece, Thibodeau admits that Derrick Rose could begin practicing with the team later this season. The Bulls have maintained that Rose is out for the season, but Rose has left the door open for a return during the playoffs.
  • Executives around the league believe the Cavs are hesitant to send No. 1 overall pick Anthony Bennett to the D-League because they think it would look like an admission of failure on their part, according to Chris Mannix of SI.com.
  • With landing the No. 1 pick seemingly the best-case scenario for the Bucks this year, Matt Velazquez of the Journal Sentinel explains that it’s no panacea.
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