And-Ones: RSNs, Kerr, Curry, 2024 FAs, Media Rights, More

Speaking in court on Wednesday, lawyers for the NBA, MLB, and NHL aimed “pointed criticism” at Diamond Sports Group and expressed skepticism about the company’s ability to produce a viable business plan to emerge from bankruptcy, according to reports from Evan Drellich of The Athletic and Alden Gonzalez of ESPN.

Diamond, which controls the “Bally Sports”-branded regional sports networks, has yet to reach a new agreement with Comcast, its third-largest distributor, following the expiration of their previous contract, prompting Comcast to pull the Bally networks off the air earlier this month. Diamond will also need to make a new linear cable and digital rights deal with the NBA after its previous contract expired. Fifteen NBA teams aired their games locally on Bally Sports networks last season.

“We simply cannot afford to have our next season disrupted by the uncertainty as to whether Diamond will or will not have a viable business,” NBA attorney Vincent Indelicato said on Wednesday.

A confirmation hearing is scheduled for June 18. If the hearing isn’t postponed, the court will decide at that time whether to approve Diamond’s restructuring plan.

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

  • A pair of Warriors were honored by the Professional Basketball Writers Association this week (Twitter links). Head coach Steve Kerr received this season’s Rudy Tomjanovich Award, which is related to a coach’s “cooperation with the media and fans,” while star guard Stephen Curry won the Magic Johnson Award, given to the player who “best combines excellence on the court with cooperation and grace in dealing with the media and fans.”
  • Frank Urbina and Raul Barrigon of HoopsHype have ranked this summer’s free agents by position. James Harden tops the list of point guards, with Tyrese Maxey (shooting guards), Paul George (small forwards), Pascal Siakam (power forwards), and Nic Claxton (centers) also at No. 1 for their respective positions.
  • Ben Koo of Awful Announcing rounds up a handful of reports from various outlets breaking down where things stand in the NBA’s media rights negotiations. As Koo outlines, Warner Bros. Discovery (TNT Sports) has reportedly sought to exercise its matching rights on reported bids by NBC ($2.5 billion) and Amazon ($1.8 billion), but the NBA isn’t recognizing those matching rights because Amazon’s package is a new one and NBC’s includes an over-the-air broadcast network. The league is said to be seeking $2.8 billion from TNT if it wants to match NBC’s offer and get the same package of games. Former Fox Sports Networks president Bob Thompson provides a few more details (via Twitter).
  • In an in-depth story for The Ringer, Mirin Fader checks in on the NBA’s female coaching pipeline and considers whether the league is any closer to getting its first female head coach.
  • In the wake of the Jontay Porter betting scandal, David Purdum of ESPN explores how the NBA and other major sports leagues are pushing for U.S. sportsbooks to tweak the betting options and limits they offer, especially for specific players.
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