Month: September 2023

NBA Agrees To Gaming Partnership With MGM Resorts

NBA commissioner Adam Silver announced on Tuesday that the league has reached a deal with MGM Resorts to make the company its official “gaming partner,” according to reports from The Associated Press and Darren Rovell and David Purdum of

MGM Resorts will pay the league for official data, which will be used in determining outcomes of bets. MGM will also gain the ability to use NBA highlights, names, logos, and the league’s direct data feed. Plus, MGM will be able to market itself as the official gaming partner of the NBA and WNBA.

According to Rovell and Purdum, industry sources say the three-year agreement will be worth over $25MM.

The partnership arrives in the wake of a Supreme Court ruling that overturned America’s federal ban on sports gambling. While most states have yet to take formal steps to legalize sports betting, more and more states are expected to do so in the coming years. MGM’s sports betting app will be available in states that approve online sports betting.

While the agreement won’t stop other gaming companies from taking bets on NBA games, the direct data feed from the league figures to improve the live-betting product for MGM, since the company won’t have to rely on third-party data.

Silver and the NBA have talked in the past about wanting to institute an “integrity fee” on legalized sports gambling, which would give the league a small percentage of the money bet on its games. It’s not clear if the NBA’s agreement with MGM features any such fee, per ESPN’s report. The idea of an “integrity fee” has been strongly opposed by bookmakers and state legislators.

Bulls Re-Sign Ryan Arcidiacono

JULY 31: The Bulls have officially re-signed Arcidiacono, the team announced today in a press release.

JULY 28: The Bulls will re-sign Ryan Arcidiacono to a one-year deal with a partial guarantee, tweets Shams Charania of Yahoo Sports.

Arcidiacono was restricted when free agency began, but Chicago rescinded its qualifying offer in mid-July, changing his status to unrestricted. Although he was free to sign with anyone, Arcidiacono wasn’t able to find a deal better than the partially guaranteed one to stay with the Bulls.

He appeared in 24 NBA games last season as a two-way player, averaging 2.0 points in nearly 13 minutes of action. He posted a 13.8/4.5/8.6 line in 37 G League games.

Arcidiacono’s signing will give Chicago 17 players under contract. Rawle Alkins currently occupies one of the team’s two-way slots, while the other remains open.

Latest On Unsigned 2018 NBA Draft Picks

We’re a month into the 2018/19 NBA league year, and nearly all of this year’s draft picks have deals lined up for the coming season. Of the 60 players selected on draft day in June, 52 have signed NBA contracts, while three intend to play overseas. That leaves just five unsigned 2018 NBA draft picks whose outlook for the ’18/19 season remains unclear.

Here’s a quick breakdown of those players, along with their options:

43. Orlando Magic: Justin Jackson, F (Maryland)

The highest draft pick without a contract in place, Jackson doesn’t necessarily have a clear path to a roster spot in Orlando.

The Magic only have 14 players on guaranteed contracts, but 15th man Isaiah Briscoe received a partial guarantee and a three-year contract, suggesting Orlando doesn’t simply plan to waive him once the preseason ends. Additionally, both two-way contract slots in Orlando have been accounted for now that the club has reached a deal with Amile Jefferson.

Josh Robbins of The Orlando Sentinel recently tweeted that he expects Jackson to play in the G League with the Lakeland Magic in 2018/19 after missing most of last season with a torn labrum. Robbins didn’t specify what sort of contract Jackson will get, but perhaps he’ll follow the Isaiah Hartenstein route — last year’s 43rd overall pick spent a season with the Rio Grande Valley Vipers, Houston’s NBAGL affiliate, before signing a standard contract with the Rockets this summer.

46. Houston Rockets: De’Anthony Melton, G (USC)

The Rockets will still have multiple roster spots open even after signing Carmelo Anthony later this week, so Melton should sign with the team at some point and spend the year on Houston’s 15-man roster. The club may be exploring the trade market in an effort to put the finishing touches on its roster before making things official with its second-round pick.

When Melton does sign, it’s possible he’ll get a portion of the Rockets’ taxpayer mid-level exception. That would allow the team to give him a three-year deal rather than a two-year pact.

49. San Antonio Spurs: Chimezie Metu, F/C (USC)

The Spurslooming decision on Brandon Paul may have an impact on Metu’s future. If Paul is retained and has his 2018/19 salary guaranteed, it would give San Antonio 15 players on guaranteed contracts, and it’s hard to see who Metu might replace, barring a trade.

Still, it’s worth noting that – according to ESPN’s Bobby Marks – the Spurs used their bi-annual exception to sign Dante Cunningham rather than using the rest of their mid-level exception to complete the signing. That’s a signal that the team has plans for its MLE — perhaps a three- or four-year deal for someone like Metu, since the BAE only would’ve allowed for a contract up to two years. If Paul is waived, Metu looks like the favorite to be the Spurs’ 15th man.

If the Spurs determine there’s no room on their 15-man roster for Metu, a two-way deal could be a possibility. San Antonio has yet to officially sign any players to two-way contracts for 2018/19.

53. Oklahoma City Thunder: Devon Hall, SG (Virginia)
57. Oklahoma City Thunder: Kevin Hervey, SF (Texas-Arlington)

Even after signing Hamidou Diallo last week, the Thunder have a pair of second-rounders without contracts. It will be interesting to see if Oklahoma City is willing to enter the season with a full 15-man roster, given the club’s luxury tax concerns. Carrying just 14 players would save some money, but would mean signing neither Hall nor Hervey.

Currently, counting Diallo and recently-acquired wing Abdel Nader, whose salary will become guaranteed on Wednesday, the Thunder have 15 players on guaranteed deals. They could reduce that number to 14 by waiving Kyle Singler.

If the Thunder opt not to add Hall or Hervey to their NBA roster, a two-way contract would probably be in play for one of the two — the club has already given one two-way deal to Deonte Burton. The odd man out in that scenario could play overseas or sign a G League contract, with OKC retaining his NBA rights.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Grizzlies’ Hollinger Talks Offseason, Evans, Brooks, Tax

After winning just 22 games in 2017/18, the Grizzlies entered the summer as a capped-out team with limited resources to make major upgrades. Still, the club made use of its lottery pick, the mid-level exception, and various trade assets in an effort to improve its roster and return to playoff contention for 2018/19.

Grizzlies executive vice president of basketball operations John Hollinger spoke to Peter Edmiston of The Memphis Commercial Appeal about the club’s offseason, addressing Memphis’ major personnel moves, the decision not to bring back Tyreke Evans, the team’s proximity to the tax line, and more.

The conversation is worth checking out in full, particularly for Grizzlies fans, but here are a few highlights from Hollinger:

On whether the Grizzlies’ achieved their primary offseason goals:

“People have this idea that you come in with a plan, when you really need about 20 or 30 different plans that are contingent on other things that may or may not happen. I’d say the outcome here was close to our best- or better-case scenario. We were able to get a player we really wanted (Jaren Jackson Jr.) with our pick, using our mid-level exception to get what we see as a long-term piece in Kyle Anderson. Those were two huge things for us, not just for the present but for the future of this team. I guess it’s too early to say whether we nailed those or not, but we feel pretty good about the outcomes we had from that. Those were probably the primary goals and we achieved them.”

On the Grizzlies’ decision not to trade Tyreke Evans at last year’s deadline because they planned to re-sign him:

“Hindsight is always 20-20. You make the best decision you can with the information you have at the time. We had no idea that MarShon Brooks was going to emerge as a potential bench scorer for us that could make it easier for us to go in a different direction and go after someone like Kyle with our mid-level.

“I look at it like it was a stock option. We knew there wasn’t a 100% chance we were going to be able to re-sign Tyreke. There was some percentage chance we had to estimate based on the factors in the market, and we had to weigh that relative to the return that we were looking at on trading him, which was likely to be pretty paltry. 

“When you’re dealing with second-round picks in the 50s that end up on playoff teams, now you’re getting into a scenario where there’s been six rotation players picked in the last 10 years, so you’re getting into pretty low odds you can get anything out of that.”

On the impression Brooks made on the Grizzlies late in the 2017/18 season:

“There’s obviously an eye test element to this, because we’ve all seen people do things in April that aren’t necessarily replicable in November. But at the same time, these weren’t garbage games for our opponents on most nights. Minnesota’s fighting for a playoff spot, and he’s basically our go-to guy in the fourth quarter to help win that game. Utah, at Utah, is playing for seeding with their best players, an elite defensive team, and he’s getting buckets.”

On the Grizzlies’ team salary currently sitting narrowly below the tax line:

“We’re comfortable where we’re at, there may be one or two small moves still coming as we optimize things a bit, but I don’t really see any haymakers coming. I think we’re pretty happy with how our offseason has gone, and the types of guys we’ve brought in. The luxury tax dance is one I’m familiar with — this is my seventh season, and in six of them we’ve danced right up to the line, so this is not unfamiliar territory.”

Longest-Tenured NBA Head Coaches

After a 2017 offseason in which no NBA teams replaced their head coaches, that brief period of league-wide stability came to an end early in the 2017/18 regular season, when the Suns fired Earl Watson after just four games. Since then, eight more teams have made head coaching changes, ending some of the longest-term marriages around the league.

Dwane Casey (Raptors) had been the league’s fourth longest-tenured head coach, while Mike Budenholzer (Hawks) had been sixth on that list and Steve Clifford (Hornets) was seventh. All three of those head coaches now have new jobs with other clubs.

Of course, some of the NBA coaching changes in recent months have involved head coaches who weren’t with their teams for long. When we examined the league’s longest-tenured coaches a year ago, David Fizdale (Grizzlies) and Jeff Hornacek (Knicks) represented two of the three most recent hires. Both men have since been replaced.

Given all the turnover in the head coaching ranks, it’s time we updated our list. Here’s the current breakdown of the NBA’s longest-tenured head coaches by team, sorted by the date they were hired:

  1. Gregg Popovich, Spurs: December 1996
  2. Erik Spoelstra, Heat: April 2008
  3. Rick Carlisle, Mavericks: May 2008
  4. Terry Stotts, Trail Blazers: August 2012
  5. Doc Rivers, Clippers: June 2013
  6. Brad Stevens, Celtics: July 2013
  7. Brett Brown, Sixers: August 2013
  8. Steve Kerr, Warriors: May 2014
  9. Quin Snyder, Jazz: June 2014
  10. Billy Donovan, Thunder: April 2015
  11. Alvin Gentry, Pelicans: May 2015 (remained Warriors assistant through playoffs)
  12. Fred Hoiberg, Bulls: June 2, 2015
  13. Michael Malone, Nuggets: June 15, 2015
  14. Tyronn Lue, Cavaliers: January 2016
  15. Kenny Atkinson, Nets: April 2016 (remained Hawks assistant through Atlanta’s playoff run)
  16. Tom Thibodeau, Timberwolves: April 20, 2016
  17. Scott Brooks, Wizards: April 26, 2016
  18. Luke Walton, Lakers: April 29, 2016 (remained Warriors assistant through playoffs)
  19. Dave Joerger, Kings: May 9, 2016
  20. Nate McMillan, Pacers: May 16, 2016
  21. Mike D’Antoni, Rockets: June 2016
  22. J.B. Bickerstaff, Grizzlies: November 2017
  23. Igor Kokoskov, Suns: May 2, 2018
  24. David Fizdale, Knicks: May 7, 2018
  25. James Borrego, Hornets: May 10, 2018
  26. Lloyd Pierce, Hawks: May 11, 2018
  27. Mike Budenholzer, Bucks: May 17, 2018
  28. Steve Clifford, Magic: May 30, 2018
  29. Dwane Casey, Pistons: June 11, 2018
  30. Nick Nurse, Raptors: June 14, 2018

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Johnny O’Bryant To Play In Israel

Former Bucks, Nuggets, and Hornets forward Johnny O’Bryant will continue his playing career overseas. According to an announcement from the team (hat tip to Sportando), O’Bryant has signed a one-year contract to join Israeli club Maccabi Tel Aviv.

“Johnny is a great addition for our team” Maccabi head coach Neven Spahija said in a statement. “He has experience in the NBA and he will a key role in the roster. I hope that together with him we’ll make another jump this season. He’s a hard worker and a great man.”

O’Bryant, a second-round pick in the 2014 NBA draft, spent two seasons with the Bucks before being waived. After a training-camp stint with the Wizards in 2016, the former LSU standout signed multiple 10-day contracts with the Nuggets and Hornets in 2017, eventually landing a multiyear deal with Charlotte.

The 6’9″ forward averaged 4.8 PPG and 2.6 RPG in 36 games (10.5 MPG) for the Hornets last season before he was included in the deadline deal that sent Knicks big man Willy Hernangomez to Charlotte. Having been acquired by New York in the trade, O’Bryant was subsequently waived.

This will be O’Bryant’s first stint overseas.

Atlantic Rumors: Lessort, Fizdale, Ojeleye, LeVert

Sixers’ draft-and-stash prospect Mathias Lessort has signed a two-year deal with Spain’s Unicaja Malaga, according to The 6’9” Lessort, 22, played in Serbia last season for Red Star Belgrade and averaged 8.5 PPG and 5.7 RPG in 30 games. Lessort was the 50th overall pick in 2017.

In other news around the Atlantic Division:

  • The Knicks’ brass is thrilled over coach David Fizdale’s five-day visit with star player Kristaps Porzingis in Latvia, Marc Berman of the New York Post reports. The front office has been impressed by Fizdale’s ability to connect with the young players, Berman continues. No one in the Knicks’ front office visited Porzingis in Europe last summer and there were lingering concerns about his feelings toward the organization after his fallout with previous team president Phil Jackson, Berman adds.
  • Celtics swingman Semi Ojeleye is focused on becoming a more consistent offensive threat, Spencer Davies of Basketball Insiders writes. “Definitely knocking down open shots,” Ojeleye said of his offseason focus. “Just gotta do a better job being consistent with that. Then offensively, I think making more plays.” Ojeleye was an afterthought in the Celtics’ attack last season, even though he appeared in 73 games as a rookie. He averaged 2.7 PPG in 15.8 MPG while shooting 34.6% from the field and 32% from long range.
  • Nets guard Caris LeVert has received little attention this offseason but he could be poised for a breakout season, Brian Lewis of the New York Post opines. LeVert averaged 13.8 PPG on 46.5% shooting, including 44.1% on 3-point tries, heading into the New Year last season before minor injuries piled up. LeVert generated more trade interest before the February deadline and prior to this year’s draft than any other Brooklyn player, Lewis continues, but the organization chose to hold onto him. “For me it’s just staying healthy and continue to maximize my potential. I’m not really worried about anybody else but myself, honestly,” LeVert told Lewis.

And-Ones: Kelly, O’Bryant, Leonard, Booker, Curry

Former Lakers and Hawks forward Ryan Kelly has signed a contract to play for SunRockeres Shibuya of Japan next season, according to a Sportando report. Kelly spent last season with Real Betis in Spain and averaged 13.3 PPG and 4.5 RPG.

Kelly, 27, last appeared in the NBA during the 2016/17 season with Atlanta, when he saw action in 16 games. He spent his first three seasons with the Lakers. The 6’11” power forward has averaged 6.0 PPG and 3.1 RPG in 19.2 MPG in his 163-game NBA career.

In other basketball news domestically and overseas:

  • Maccabi Tel Aviv is close to signing power forward Johnny O’Bryant, according to another Sportando report. O’Bryant, 25, played 36 games last season with the Hornets, averaging 4.6 PPG and 2.8 RPG in 10.5 MPG. O’Bryant, 25, was traded to the Knicks in February and then waived. The 6’9” O’Bryant has also played for the Nuggets and Bucks, who selected him 36th overall in the 2014 draft.
  • Kawhi Leonard, Devin Booker, Victor Oladipo and Ben Simmons are among the dark-horse candidates to win the Most Valuable Player award, according to Kevin O’Connor of The Ringer. A healthy Leonard would quickly become a prime MVP candidate, O’Connor opines, while Booker could have a breakout campaign after showing steady progress in his first three seasons.
  • DeMarcus Cousins (Warriors) and Isaiah Thomas (Nuggets) are obvious choices as the best bargains in free agency but as Rob Mahoney of Sports Illustrated notes, there are several other players who could fall into that category. Ed Davis (Nets), Seth Curry (Trail Blazers) and Brook Lopez (Bucks) should all provide production that far outweigh the deals that they signed, in Mahoney’s view.

Rockets Pursuing Hawks’ Kent Bazemore?

The Rockets are interested in dealing for the Hawks’ Kent Bazemore, according to Kelly Iko of RocketsWire.

While the addition of Carmelo Anthony after he clears waivers seems like a foregone conclusion, the Rockets are in the market for a defensive-minded wing. Bazemore fits that bill but Houston would have come up with a package that would interest the Hawks.

Presumably, the Rockets would deal Ryan Anderson’s contract to make the numbers match up, but they’d have to attach a draft pick and/or young player to entice Atlanta’s front office. Anderson has two years and $41.7MM left on his deal with no options; Bazemore has two years and $37.3MM left on his contract but holds a player option for the final year.

A package of Anderson, Chinanu Onuaku and a 2019 first-rounder would be feasible financially but Atlanta doesn’t view Onuaku as a ‘move-the-needle’ player, according to Iko.

Bazemore averaged 12.9 PPG, 3.8 RPG, 3.5 APG and 1.5 SPG in 65 starts with Atlanta last season.

The Pelicans are also looking at Bazemore, according to Iko, but Atlanta doesn’t want Solomon Hill as part of the deal.

Western Notes: James, Batum, Katsikaris, Jones

LeBron James seriously considered joining the Sixers and Rockets before signing with the Lakers. In an extensive interview with ESPN’s Rachel Nichols that was relayed by Dave McMenamin, James addressed a variety of topics, including which teams he considered during free agency.

“I definitely thought long and hard about the possibilities of lining up alongside Ben [Simmons] and [Joel] Embiid or lining up aside [James] Harden and Chris [Paul],” he told Nichols.

The Sixers had the salary-cap space to sign James but the Rockets would have likely required a sign-and-trade with the Cavaliers to acquire his services. James also insisted he doesn’t see next season as a rebuilding year for the Lakers.

“We have an opportunity to do something that a lot of people don’t think we can do, and we love the notion of it’s another rebuilding year and we don’t have enough. So that will motivate the guys that we have anyways.”

We have more from the Western Conference:

  • The Rockets are actively seeking a defensive-minded player on the trade market and are willing to take on a long-term contract, according to Brian Windhorst of ESPN in comments relayed by digital journalist Ben DuBose. Houston would presumably move forward Ryan Anderson, who has two years and $41.7MM left on his deal. The Hornets’ Nicolas Batum would be a logical target, as Bryan Kalbrosky of HoopsHype notes. Batum has three years and $76.7MM remaining on his contract, which includes a player option in the final year.
  • The Jazz have hired Fotis Katsikaris as an assistant to Quin Snyder, the team announced in a press release. Katsikaris becomes the first-ever native Greek NBA assistant coach. He was a head coach in Spain last season and served as head coach of the Greek national team from 2014-16.
  • The Warriors are unlikely to pick up center Damian Jones‘ fourth-year option, according to Anthony Slater of The Athletic. Golden State must make a decision on the $2.3MM option prior to the start of the season. If it’s declined, Jones will be an unrestricted free agent next summer.