City of Seattle

And-Ones: Tomjanovich, Cooper, Hezonja, SuperSonics

Rudy Tomjanovich, who won two NBA titles as head coach of the Rockets after a long playing career in Houston, is this year’s recipient of the Chuck Daly Lifetime Achievement Award from the National Basketball Coaches Association, per ESPN. Tomjanovich led the Rockets to championships in 1994 and 1995, becoming one of just nine coaches with consecutive titles. At a press conference Sunday, he admitted being moved to tears after learning about the award from NBCA president Rick Carlisle.

“And the reason is, when something like this happens, I’m not thinking about the championships,” Tomjanovich said. “I’m not thinking about all the good stuff. I’m thinking about the dark days — the days when I doubted myself. Much like the coach here in Boston (Joe Mazzulla), I got a job out of the blue. Didn’t know what was going to happen.”

Tomjanovich touted two of his former players in his acceptance speech, pushing for Celtics assistant Sam Cassell to get a head coaching job and for Robert Horry to be voted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.

“He’s proven it time and time again,” Tomjanovich said of Horry. “He’s made so many teams champions playing a role, and that’s so important. It isn’t about just the stats. It’s about getting results. I pray that one day he’s going to be able to stand up there and accept that honor.”

There’s more from around the basketball world:

  • Former Lakers great and WNBA head coach Michael Cooper talked to Mirjam Swanson of The Orange County Register about his upcoming Hall of Fame induction. Cooper, who won five NBA titles in L.A., sees his career as proof that flashy numbers aren’t necessary to earn a place among the game’s legends. “The Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame is not about how many points you had or how many dunks, it’s about what you’ve done to improve this game and help grow it,” he said. “And I’ve had an opportunity to do that at almost every level.”
  • Mario Hezonja is denying a report that he’s close to a contract extension with Real Madrid, Eurohoops relays. Speaking with ONDA Cero’s Radioestadio by Alberto Pereiro following Game 1 of the ACB Finals, the former NBA forward said, “It’s a lie. We are trying to reach an agreement, but now it’s not the time to talk about that.”
  • In a video segment for ESPN (Twitter link), Michelle Steele examined whether there’s an NBA future for the Seattle SuperSonics, who could be revived if the league decides to expand. A spokesperson told Steele that the arena the team would share with the NHL’s Kraken is NBA-ready, and Kraken co-owner Samantha Holloway “will pursue an (NBA) team when the time is right.”

Adam Silver Discusses Media Rights, Expansion, More

Speaking to reporters prior to Game 1 of the NBA Finals on Thursday, commissioner Adam Silver didn’t give a firm timeline for when the league’s ongoing media rights negotiations would be completed, but he did address why the process is so complex, writes Tim Reynolds of The Associated Press.

It’s complicated for several reasons,” Silver said. “One is the advent of new platforms, particularly streaming and the interest of streaming companies and in the traditional media companies also carrying our games on streaming platforms. It’s complicated because with multiple partners, all seeking similar assets in many cases, you’re just figuring out the right way to balance those games as they go to different partners.”

The Wall Street Journal recently reported that the NBA continues to move closer to finalizing a media rights deal with ABC/ESPN, NBC, and Amazon. The new agreement would be worth approximately $76 billion over 11 years. The current deal, which expires after the 2024/25 season, was worth about $24 billion over nine years, Reynolds notes.

We tend to do long-term deals,” Silver said. “We think that’s good for the stability of the league. But it means to a certain extent you’re trying to predict the future, which is of course impossible. Part of it is a bet on the partners that we’ll ultimately align with and their ability also to adjust the times and their willingness to continue to invest in media and to become global, which is very important to the league as well.”

Here’s more from Silver’s press conference:

  • Silver apologized to TNT employees affected by the media rights negotiations. “I will say directly from me (to) the people that seem to be most impacted right now — the folks at Turner Sports — I apologize that this has been a prolonged process,” Silver said, per Sam Amick of The Athletic. “I know that they’re committed to their jobs. … No one likes this uncertainty. And I think it’s on the league office to bring these negotiations to a head and conclude them as quickly as we can.” Michael McCarthy of Front Office Sports reported on Thursday that TNT was still negotiating with the league for a fourth, smaller package of games, but he characterized those efforts as a “long shot.”
  • Silver said that the NBA will be focused on exploring the viability of expansion once the media rights talks conclude, according to Dave McMenamin of ESPN. “It’s not preordained that we will expand this time, but I know there’s an enormous amount of interest out there,” Silver said. “And to me, yes, there are wealthy individuals, institutions that would like to invest and buy NBA teams, but I think it’s on the league to look holistically because there is the dilution, of course.” The “dilution” Silver was referring to was potentially adding another 36 players — two full teams — to the league’s player pool, McMenamin adds. “I feel great about where the talent is right now in the league, but those players have to come from somewhere,” Silver said.
  • While Seattle and Las Vegas have been frequently cited as the most likely cities for expansion, Silver also said the league was focused on finding markets that could optimally “grow the game” in the future, per McMenamin. “At some point, we’d like to look outside the United States, in addition to Canada,” Silver said. “This may not be the right moment to do that, but I’m thinking long term, as well.”
  • Silver also discussed the 65-game rule and the potential of automating certain in-game calls in the future, among other topics. Those quotes can be found in McMenamin’s article as well.

Adam Silver On Wolves Dispute, Porter Investigation, More

Speaking to the media on Wednesday following a two-day meeting of the league’s Board of Governors, commissioner Adam Silver said the NBA likely won’t get involved in the Timberwolves‘ ownership dispute between current majority shareholder Glen Taylor and minority stakeholders Marc Lore and Alex Rodriguez, writes Chris Hine of The Star Tribune.

It’s not clear whether there will be a role for the league to get involved,” Silver said. “… They have a purchase agreement and there’s a dispute now in the purchase agreement and in their purchase agreement, they, in essence, pre-agreed to a dispute resolution mechanism that includes mediation and arbitration, and that’s where it stands.

There is no role for the league in that process.”

At Taylor’s request, Lore and Rodriguez agreed to buy the Timberwolves in three parts over multiple years. Lore and Rodriguez made the first two payments and currently control a 36% stake in the franchise, but Taylor voided the contract when he said the duo didn’t complete their final purchase option for another 40% on March 27. Silver suggested the unique structure of the deal may not permitted in future ownership transactions.

It’s certainly not ideal to have a stepped transaction like this,” Silver said. “I mean, it met our rules from that standpoint. And it’s what Glen Taylor wanted and it’s what they were willing to agree to at the time. But I think once the dust clears on this deal, it may cause us to reassess what sort of transactions we should allow.”

Here’s more from Silver’s press conference, which covered several other topics:

  • Raptors big man Jontay Porter, who is on a two-way deal, is under league investigation following multiple instances of betting irregularities related to his on-court performance. According to Brian Mahoney of The Associated Press, Silver said Porter could be permanently barred from the NBA if what he’s accused of is discovered to be true. “I have enormous range of discipline available to me,” Silver said. “It’s cardinal sin what he’s accused of in the NBA. The ultimate extreme option I have is to ban him from the game. That’s the level of authority I have here because there’s nothing more serious.” Porter has been listed as out for personal reasons for the past 10 games.
  • The NBA has multiple partnerships with gambling companies. Silver suggested the incident may cause the league to reevaluate those relationships going forward, per Tim Bontemps of ESPN. “At the end of the day, there’s nothing more important than the integrity of the competition,” Silver said. “And so, any issue raised around that is of great concern to me and to all commissioners, to all people who are safeguards, who are all people who are in a position and have a responsibility to safeguard the game. Again, this is a burgeoning industry in the United States. It’s been legal in other places in the world for decades. There’s lessons to be learned from the way that sports betting is monitored and regulated in other jurisdictions. And again, I think as these unfortunate examples come along, we may have to adjust our rules and our partner gaming companies and those companies that aren’t our partners may have to adjust their behavior as well.”
  • Silver said foul calls are down about four per game since the All-Star break and that’s something the league is pleased about, Mahoney writes. “I think there was a sense earlier in the season that there was too much of an advantage for the offensive players,” Silver said as part of a larger quote. “But again, the context is two fouls per team per game, and the end result, most importantly, we think is a better game.”
  • According to Mahoney, Silver once again reiterated that expansion won’t be on the table until the league finishes a new media rights deal. While Seattle and Las Vegas have long been rumored as frontrunners to land new teams, Silver said no talks have begun and “no one has an inside track to getting a deal done.”
  • Silver said star players have averaged 15% more games played this season with the additions of the player participation policy and 65-game requirements, tweets Jeff Zillgitt of USA Today. The NBA will set an attendance record in ’23/24 as well, Silver added.

Adam Silver Talks Expansion, Two-Day Draft, More

Appearing on SiriusXM NBA Radio on Tuesday, NBA commissioner Adam Silver confirmed that the league intends to seriously weigh the possibility of expansion once it completes its next media rights deal.

“Our current national deals with ABC, ESPN, and TNT go through the end of next season. And the reason we wanted to get those deals done, no secret, is we want to have a better understanding of what the economics would be going forward,” Silver explained (Twitter link via Keith Smith of Spotrac). “If you’re dividing up your national or international television money by 30 teams, that’s one check that you’re writing the teams. If it’s by – let’s say we expand by two teams – 32 teams, that’s a different one. And so you want to understand what the economics are you’d be delivering to new teams that came into the league.

“We’ll see what the timing is on those national television agreements. We don’t have to wait until the end of (next) season to get those done, but once we do, we’ll turn back to expansion.”

Silver has put off the topic of expansion for years in the hopes of finalizing a new Collective Bargaining Agreement – which got done earlier this year – and a new media rights deal. He also admitted that he feels more comfortable about the level of talent around the league now — and more confident that adding new teams to the mix wouldn’t dilute the level of competition.

“I think that had we expanded back a number of years ago, I think we may have seen more dilution,” Silver said. “I think now when you think of the global pool of players – as we move towards 30% of NBA players who were born outside the United States, including obviously some of our very best players in the league – I think that the timing will work out when we’re done with our media deals and we start looking to expand. I think we could potentially add two more teams to this league that could be very competitive.”

As for which cities might be the frontrunners to get expansion teams? Silver didn’t explicitly identify Las Vegas and Seattle as the favorites, but he did confirm they’ll be among the markets that receive serious consideration from the NBA.

“I made no secret out of it, Las Vegas is one of those markets we’re going to look to. I know that the fans in Seattle have wanted us to get back there forever,” Silver said. “No commitments to anyone, but we’ll certainly be looking at those two markets.”

Here’s more from Silver’s SiriusXM appearance:

  • After a report last month stated that the NBA is mulling turning its annual draft into a two-day event, Silver confirmed on Tuesday that the idea is under serious consideration, adding that the league just needs to work through the specifics with its broadcast partners and the players’ union (Twitter video link). “The talent goes so deep now and the interest is so great (that), to me, both rounds deserve prime time,” Silver said. “… To me it essentially seems like a no-brainer. … I’m hoping to get there, actually, for this season, for this June, and move the second round to its own night.”
  • Assuming the NBA does add a second night to the draft, Tim Reynolds of The Associated Press (Twitter link) believes the event would take place on a Wednesday and Thursday, rather than a Thursday and Friday.
  • Asked about the incident in which Gregg Popovich grabbed a microphone during a Spurs game to ask the home crowd to stop booing Clippers forward Kawhi Leonard, Silver called it a “unique” situation that didn’t require any action or response from the league, per Tom Orsborn of The San Antonio Express-News (subscription required).
  • Silver doesn’t want to draw any conclusions about the league’s first in-season tournament until after this week’s final four in Las Vegas, but has been encouraged by what he’s seen so far from the event. “So far, so good,” he said (Twitter video link).

And-Ones: Whitsitt, Seattle, Brazdeikis, Australia

Former SuperSonics and Trail Blazers executive Bob Whitsitt is among the many NBA figures who support having a team in Seattle again, writes Sam Yip of HoopsHype. In an upcoming book, Whitsitt looks back on his experiences in the city and contends that everything is already in place for a successful NBA franchise.

That includes Climate Pledge Arena, where the new team would be based. Whitsitt, who served as a consultant during remodeling work on the facility, said his job was to make sure it has everything the NBA would look for in a home arena. He says NBA executives have already made several trips to Climate Pledge, with another one coming at an October 10 preseason game, and the arena owners are willing make any modifications the league might request.

He also notes that the Sonics had strong support from their fans until the move to Oklahoma City, adding that Seattle residents are eager to get their team back.

“So all we need is the NBA to say they’re willing and wanting to expand, and I believe the Seattle market will be at the top of the list,” Whitsitt said. “It will be a phenomenal market. I believe the team will be super well-supported. Bringing the Sonics back is something that fans have wanted since 2008. I live in Seattle, I hear it every day, I’m asked the question every day. And all I can tell them is yes, I’m 100 percent all in and I’m gonna do everything I can, in a big way or even in a small way, whatever is required to help make that happen.”

Here’s more from around the basketball world:

  • Ignas Brazdeikis has confirmed that he plans to join Greek powerhouse Olympiacos, according to a report from Eurohoops. He’s expected to sign a two-year deal, and Kaunas, where he played last season, will get a buyout worth 500K Euros. Brazdeikis, 24, had brief stops with the Knicks, Sixers and Magic during his time in the NBA.
  • Former Kentucky guard Isaiah Briscoe has signed with Maroussi BC in Greece after playing in Italy last season, tweets Adam Zagoria of Zagsblog. The 27-year-old appeared in 39 games with the Magic during the 2018/19 season.
  • Lachlan Olbrich of the Illawarra Hawks looked like the best NBA prospect during this week’s NBL Blitz in Australia, observes Olgun Uluc of ESPN. The 6’10” forward averaged 14.7 PPG and made 19 of his 22 shots from the field during the event. Uluc shares several highlights from the Blitz, including Matthew Dellavedova‘s return to Melbourne United, whom he played for in 2021/22.

And-Ones: Seattle, Carlesimo, Germany, Bone, Von Nieda

P.J. Carlesimo, the last coach the SuperSonics had before moving to Oklahoma City, is confident that the NBA will return to Seattle soon, writes Gary Washburn of The Boston Globe. Carlesimo still lives in Seattle, which is considered among the favorites to land a team in the next round of NBA expansion. However, the league doesn’t have any immediate plans to expand, and it’s not expected to happen until after the next television package is in place.

“I have no inside info, but I’m very, very confident. Have been for a long time, but more so now than ever that we will get a team,” Carlesimo said. “I think there’s a very good chance and a better chance that it’s expansion than (a team) moving. Either way we’re going to be on top of the list. The building, now called Climate Pledge (Arena), is ready to go.”

It’s been 15 years since the Sonics left town, but Carlesimo said they’re still a prominent topic of conversation among city residents. He believes the new team will have a solid fan base waiting whenever it returns.

“I just think for so many years it was a great franchise,” he said. “A week doesn’t go by during the year that I don’t see somebody and they say, ‘I can’t believe we’re not in Seattle anymore.’ I think yeah, we’re going to get a team. It’s going to be sooner rather than later, but who knows the timetable?”

There’s more from around the basketball world:

  • Appearing on FIBA’s Talk Show, Pau Gasol said Germany’s success in the World Cup is the result of a long commitment to its basketball program, per Cesare Milanti of Eurohoops. Gasol cites the contributions of Dirk Nowitzki in making the nation relevant in basketball circles and says Germany has shown over the past six years that it can compete with anyone. “They’re taking steps forward with the same guys,” Gasol added. “It’s a process, it’s all about making steps in terms of growth.”
  • Former NBA guard Jordan Bone has left Vanoli Cremona before playing a game with the Italian Lega Basket Serie A club, according to Sportando. A second-round draft pick in 2019, Bone had brief stays with the Pistons and Magic. He spent last season in the G League before signing with Vanoli Cremona in July.
  • NBA pioneer Stanley “Whitey” Von Nieda died Wednesday, The Associated Press reports. He had been the oldest living former player at age 101, having spent time with the Tri-Cities Blackhawks and Baltimore Bullets during the 1949-50 season.

And-Ones: Kerr, Expansion, Team USA, Giles, Barea

Warriors head coach Steve Kerr, who is currently guiding Team USA as it prepares for the upcoming World Cup, is enthusiastic about the possibility of NBA expansion, particularly to Las Vegas and Seattle, writes Tim Bontemps of ESPN.

It feels right,” Kerr said. “Obviously it’s not my department, but Vegas and Seattle seem to be such smart franchises. It’s a shame that we ever lost the Sonics in the first place. But as you look forward and you think of what we need, we need a couple of Western time slots. Think about all the doubleheaders on TV you have where the second game is starting at 8:40 central time. We lost a couple of West Coast time slots back when Seattle and Vancouver left the league. It hurt the TV schedule, which hurt the whole league schedule.

You factor in Vegas for the time slot. But also just how great of a venue this is for summer league, USA Basketball, the fans here have proven they’ll come out, they love the Aces. The Knights just won the Stanley Cup, the Raiders are filling it up every Sunday. So this seems like a really good next team.”

Here’s more from around the basketball world:

  • The U.S. Select Team outplayed Team USA in a scrimmage on Friday, emerging victorious by a final score of 47-39 after two 10-minute periods. According to Joe Vardon of The Athletic, Kerr was unfazed by the senior team’s defeat. “It’s a time-honored tradition of USA Basketball,” Kerr said. “Everybody knows the Grant Hill, Bobby Hurley story from ’92 (defeating the Dream Team in a scrimmage ahead of the Barcelona Olympics). In 2019, for the last World Cup, the Select Team came in, kicked our butts, and that’s the whole point. You want to get great talent to come in and challenge you and that’s what the Select Team did today.”
  • Harry Giles‘ agent, Daniel Hazan, tells Ian Begley of SNY.tv that the free agent big man recently worked out for the Magic and has a workout scheduled with the Warriors next week (Twitter link). Giles will be in Miami on Saturday working out for Brooklyn. The former first-round pick is eligible for a two-way contract and all three clubs have at least one two-way spot available, as our tracker shows. Giles, who dealt with major knee injuries early in his career, last played for Portland in 2020/21.
  • Former NBA veteran J.J. Barea will be the new head coach of Puerto Rico’s Guaynabo Mets, reports Shams Charania of The Athletic (via Twitter). It will be the longtime guard’s first coaching stint, Charania adds.

And-Ones: Expansion, I. Thomas, Rubio, K. Chandler

NBA commissioner Adam Silver once again addressed the possibility of expansion during a press conference on Monday, telling reporters – including Mike Vorkunov of The Athletic – that the league will more seriously consider that possibility after completing the next media rights deal. The current media deal expires after the 2024/25 season.

Silver acknowledged that Las Vegas and Seattle are two markets the NBA will consider if and when the time comes, but stressed that the league hasn’t started that process and that it would involve more than just those two cities.

“We will look at this market,” he said from Vegas. “There’s no doubt there’s enormous interest in Seattle. That’s not a secret. There are other markets that have indicated interest. For the people who hear or read about this interview, we are not engaged in that process now. We’re not taking meetings right now with any potential groups. What we’re saying to everyone, privately is the same thing I’m saying publicly that there’ll be a very open process at the time already to consider expansion. But that’s not yet. That’s not yet now.”

Silver also addressed several other topics during his press conference in Las Vegas, including the influence of gambling on the sport and sovereign wealth funds purchasing stakes in NBA franchises. Tim Reynolds of The Associated Press and Tim Bontemps of ESPN have quotes from Silver on those issues, among others.

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

  • As first tweeted by Jamal Crawford and later confirmed by the guard himself, Isaiah Thomas is among the veteran free agents conducting workouts for teams in Las Vegas as he looks to get back into the NBA. John Wall, Dion Waiters, and Harry Giles are a few of the other free agents who have worked out for NBA clubs in Vegas.
  • Could this be Ricky Rubio‘s last season in the NBA? According to a report from Spanish outlet Mundo Deportivo, the veteran point guard is considering returning to his home country and playing for Barcelona in 2024. Rubio is under contract with the Cavaliers for two more seasons, though his ’24/25 salary is only partially guaranteed.
  • After being waived by Memphis last season, guard Kennedy Chandler is owed guaranteed salaries for the next two seasons. However, he’s not satisfied to simply cash those pay checks, telling Brian Lewis of The New York Post that he’s determined to get back on an NBA roster in 2023/24. “I don’t really care that they still have to pay me for two years. I really don’t care about that because I want to get paid more,” he said. “It’s not just about the money. I could say ‘Nah, I’m good.’ I could sign a regular G-League, or a two-way. But I want to push myself and get back on a contract with another team and get back to what I used to do and be me, be myself.”
  • Speaking to Howard Beck of GQ, veteran agent David Falk – who represented Michael Jordan and Patrick Ewing, among other stars in the 1990s – explained why he finds NBA free agency “a little bit boring” these days. In Falk’s view, the league’s cap and contract rules have limited agents’ ability to get creative when they negotiate contracts. “The nature of being an agent, it’s become so restrictive that it doesn’t require a lot of skills,” he said. “Mathematically, only 30 percent of the contracts are negotiated. And I think that most players really don’t need agents today.”

LeBron James Reiterates Desire For NBA Team In Las Vegas

After playing a preseason game in Las Vegas’ T-Mobile Arena on Wednesday, Lakers star LeBron James once again made it known publicly that he wants the NBA to expand to Las Vegas, and that he wants to be part of that expansion team’s ownership group, per Dave McMenamin of ESPN.

“I would love to bring a team here at some point. That would be amazing,” James said, before directly addressing NBA commissioner Adam Silver. “I know Adam is in Abu Dhabi right now, I believe. But he probably sees every single interview and transcript that comes through from NBA players. So, I want the team here, Adam. Thank you.”

James previously expressed a desire to own an expansion team in Las Vegas during an episode of his show ‘The Shop: Uninterrupted.’

Las Vegas has been arguably the fastest-growing U.S. sports city in recent years, getting an expansion franchise in the NHL (the Golden Knights) and serving as the new home base for the NFL’s Raiders, who relocated from Oakland. Basketball also has a significant presence in the city — in addition to hosting the NBA’s annual Summer League, Vegas is the home of the 2022 WNBA champions, the Aces.

“I remember a day when you barely knew the NBA was in the city during Summer League,” Lakers head coach Darvin Ham said on Wednesday, according to Dan Woike of The Los Angeles Times. “Now it’s a huge extravaganza. It’s a whole rollout, a whole layout of excitement and entertainment built around those 14 or 15 days the guys are here. I think Las Vegas is a hotbed for entertainment, obviously, and having the Raiders here now and the Aces.

“… I think it’s only a matter of time before Jerry West shows up permanently — that logo is on the jersey representing the city of Las Vegas. I think it’s a great city, the natural organic energy that’s here built into the city, it goes hand in hand with the level of sports that have been considered to be placed here. … It’s a no-brainer. Down the road, I don’t want to speak for the NBA or the commissioner, but I think at some point you’ll see a permanent NBA team here calling Las Vegas home.”

While Las Vegas and Seattle have been the subject of expansion rumors for years, Silver and the NBA have consistently pushed that conversation down the road. According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski (Twitter link), the league intends to negotiate its new television deal and Collective Bargaining Agreement before seriously considering expansion. So while the prospect of expanding to Vegas and Seattle is legitimate, it’s probably still a few years away.

That timeline would work out well for James, who is under contract for at least two more years, with a player option for the 2024/25 season. He would have to be retired as a player in order to own a team, according to McMenamin, who notes that LeBron would also need to link up with a deep-pocketed partner — the longtime NBA star reportedly has a net worth exceeding $1 billion, but a new NBA franchise would cost significantly more than that.

As James makes a public push for expansion to Vegas, Andrew Greif of The Los Angeles Times explores where things stand in Seattle, another city that is hosting NBA preseason games this fall. Those preseason games are being played at the Climate Pledge Arena, which was developed by the Oak View Group at the site of the SuperSonics’ old home, KeyArena. CEO Tim Leiweke believes the building is ready for an NBA team, but said he doesn’t want to pressure Silver and the league into making a decision.

“You don’t want to get ahead of the league, you don’t want to force a decision,” Leiweke said. “You don’t want to think at the end of the day that you have leverage or you have the ability to force an issue like this. You don’t. This is really first and foremost if and when Adam and the Board of Governors want to even consider it.”

And-Ones: Extensions, Breakout Players, X Factors, Seattle

Why the sudden surge in two-year extensions for players such as Steven Adams and Larry Nance Jr.? It has a lot to do with the expiration of the league’s national TV contracts after the 2024/25 season, as Bryan Toporek of Forbes.com explains. The salary cap is expected to rise significantly the following season after those rights are negotiated. That provides incentives for veteran players to enter free agency again that summer.

We have more NBA-related topics:

  • What do Franz Wagner, Cade Cunningham and Nic Claxton have in common? They are some of the young players cited by ESPN Insiders as having potential breakout seasons, like the one Ja Morant enjoyed last season.
  • Then there are some veteran players whose presence on new teams could change the fortunes of those franchises. The Ringer’s Kevin O’Connor examines those X-factors, including the Mavericks’ Christian Wood, the Trail Blazers’ Jerami Grant and the Timberwolves’ Rudy Gobert.
  • The Clippers and Trail Blazers are playing a preseason game in Seattle and that has renewed the discussion of the NBA eventually having another franchise in the city, Law Murray of The Athletic writes. The state-of-the-art Climate Pledge Arena – the rejuvenated version of KeyArena, where the SuperSonics played – sparks hope that the NBA will give the city an expansion team.