And-Ones: Scariolo, Player Participation Policy, Silver

At the introductory press conference for new head coach Luca Banchi on Monday, Virtus Bologna’s Massimo Zanetti – the owner of the Italian team – spoke about the decision to dismiss veteran coach Sergio Scariolo just before the 2023/24 season began.

As Orazio Cauchi of relays, Zanetti’s comments suggest he felt slighted by Scariolo’s decision to interview with the Raptors and Real Madrid this offseason while under contract with Virtus Bologna. Zanetti suggested that Scariolo treated the Italian club like a “second-division” team.

It’s unclear what the next step is for Scariolo, who was a Raptors assistant from 2018-21 before returning to the EuroLeague and coaching Virtus for the last two seasons. He has compiled a long, impressive résumé overseas, having also coached Baskonia, Real Madrid, Khimki Moscow, and Olimpia Milano before making the move to the NBA five years ago.

Here are a few more odds and ends from around the basketball world:

  • Jon Krawczynski of The Athletic takes a look at the NBA’s new player participation policy, exploring whether or not it’s the right solution to address the league’s load management issue. As Krawczynski notes, the league is implementing the new rules before completing a new media deal, a signal that it wants to ensure its best product is on the court as often as possible during those negotiations.
  • Sarah Todd of The Deseret News and Zach Harper of The Athletic contend that the player participation policy doesn’t get to the root of the issue, which is that the regular season is too long. Harper suggests a 70-game schedule would be an improvement over the current 82-game slate, but acknowledges it’s extremely unlikely to happen, since it would require teams to sacrifice revenue.
  • Because the new player participation policy was the focus of Adam Silver‘s press conference last week, the commissioner wasn’t asked to address some other key issues, says Marc Stein in his latest Substack article. Specifically, Stein would’ve liked Silver to explain the specific reasoning behind James Harden‘s $100K fine and to discuss the sudden retirement of veteran referee Eric Lewis, whose connection to a burner Twitter account was being investigated by the league. The timing makes it hard not to assume Lewis agreed to resign in exchange for the NBA suppressing the details of the investigation, Stein writes.
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