Hornets owner Michael Jordan has become a powerful player in the NBA’s ongoing labor talks, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical on Yahoo Sports. Jordan is a member of the owners’ labor-relations committee and has been leading the fight for small-market teams. His place on that powerful committee has been kept secret until now, and it’s a sign of his rising status among NBA owners. Other signs are the Hornets’ newfound success on the court and the upcoming All-Star Game in Charlotte next season. Wojnarowski says some players and agents complain that the Hornets cut expenses unnecessarily, but the organization’s reputation is improving in that area. The NBA and the union have divided into groups to discuss aspects of the collective bargaining agreement after weeks of covert negotiations between the sides, Wojnarowski reports. Either side can opt out of the current 10-year deal in 2017 and create a potential work stoppage.
There’s more from around the world of basketball:
- LSU’s Ben Simmons, who officially declared for the NBA draft earlier today, has withdrawn from school and will move to Phoenix to prepare, reports Adam Zagoria of SNY.tv. The 6’10” freshman has been projected as either the first or second pick in June’s draft.
- Duke’s Brandon Ingram and Oklahoma’s Buddy Hield are the only top 13 prospects left in the NCAA Tournament, writes Chad Ford of ESPN.com (insider account). Ford notes that Ingram’s continued presence in the tourney will help his case for being the first player selected.
- High school senior Jayson Tatum is the top pick in the 2017 mock draft posted by Jonathan Givony of DraftExpress. The 6’8″ Tatum, who projects as a small forward in the NBA, has committed to Duke for next season.
- Restricted free agents could be the biggest beneficiaries of the shortening of the free agent moratorium, writes Eric Pincus of Basketball Insiders. This year’s moratorium was scheduled to run through July 11th, and with three days to match an offer, that would have left even the best restricted free agents in limbo for nearly two weeks.
- Orlando Johnson, whose 10-day contract with the Pelicans expired over the weekend, is back with the Austin Spurs in the D-League, tweets Chris Reichert of Upside and Motor.