Dan Gilbert

Pacific Notes: Suns, Sarver, Lakers, Davis, J. Green, Ballmer

After handing Robert Sarver a one-year suspension and a $10MM fine following the investigation into the Suns owner’s workplace misconduct, NBA commissioner Adam Silver told some concerned players that he considered having the league’s Board of Governors vote on Sarver’s fate, but had some legal concerns about the process, report Baxter Holmes and Ramona Shelburne of ESPN (Insider link). Instead, Silver repeatedly spoke directly to Sarver in an effort to encourage him to sell the franchise.

As Holmes and Shelburne outline, Sarver was upset by his punishment and questioned why it was more severe than the one Mark Cuban received following an investigation into the Mavericks’ front office in 2018. Silver explained that the differences stemmed from the fact that Cuban wasn’t accused of misconduct himself.

While persistent nudging from Silver may not have been enough on its own to convince Sarver to sell, the Suns were facing the prospect of losing several key sponsors if he remained on as the team’s owner. Sources tell Holmes and Shelburne that nearly 30 sponsors are up for renewal after the coming season, including PayPal, which issued a statement calling for Sarver’s removal. There were indications that many companies would follow PayPal’s lead and put out similar statements.

“The walls were closing in on (Sarver),” a source close to the process told ESPN. “A group of sponsors were all moving towards this common position.”

After Mike Vorkunov of The Athletic reported last week that a “high-end estimate” for the sale price of the Suns could be $3 billion or more, ESPN’s duo is hearing the same thing. Multiple sources who spoke to Holmes and Shelburne, noting that the NBA has rebounded well from the impact of COVID-19 and has a new TV deal around the corner, predicted that the franchise could sell for more than $3 billion.

Here’s more from around the Pacific:

  • As he preaches defensive effort and intensity to his new team, Lakers head coach Darvin Ham said on Tuesday that he likes the fact that multiple starting lineup spots are for grabs in training camp, according to ESPN’s Dave McMenamin. LeBron James and Anthony Davis are locked in as starters and Russell Westbrook will “absolutely” join them if he shows the effort Ham is looking for on defense, but that would still leave two spots open. “I think it adds a little spice to camp, and LeBron and AD, they are who they are, as well as Russ, those guys are going to go at them,” Ham said. “That’s only going to make everybody better. It’s a controlled competitive environment.”
  • Davis told reporters on Wednesday that he was affected last season by a wrist injury that he suffered in January, tweets Jovan Buha of The Athletic. The Lakers‘ big man added that it’s not an excuse for his poor three-point shooting (18.6%), but that it affected the follow-through on his shot.
  • According to head coach Steve Kerr, the Warriors viewed JaMychal Green as a “critical” offseason addition because he adds some much-needed veteran experience to a young bench. Dalton Johnson of NBC Sports Bay Area has the story.
  • Steve Ballmer of the Clippers remains the richest owner in sports, according to a report from Forbes, which estimates Ballmer’s net worth at $83 billion. Robert Pera of the Grizzlies ($17.6 billion) and Dan Gilbert of the Cavaliers ($17.3 billion) are the other NBA owners who rank in Forbes’ top 10.

Central Notes: Bulls, Cavaliers, Gilbert, Joseph

The Bulls are 3-8 since adding five new players in two big trade-deadline moves. Darnell Mayberry of The Athletic assesses the players club’s new additions in an extensive piece.

Though All-Star center Nikola Vučević has produced offensively, the team is struggling to cling to the No. 10 seed (and thus a play-in tournament opportunity) in the East.

Vučević’s biggest weakness on offense is a low free throw rate, but otherwise he has been in line with expectations thus far. Daniel Theis, too, has been a helpful contributor right away. Troy Brown Jr. has shown flashes of promise, while Javonte Green and Al-Farouq Aminu have not cracked the team’s rotation, and have shown why when they have seen playing time.

There’s more out of the Central Division:

  • The Cavaliers anticipate that they will add a player via their newly-opened two-way player slot “soon,” reports Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com. Lamar Stevens held that spot until he was promoted to the 15-man roster this week.
  • Though Pistons point guard Cory Joseph looked like a throw-in as part of a trade deadline deal with the Kings that netted Detroit two second-round draft picks, he has turned into a helpful mentor for Detroit’s players, according to Rod Beard of The Detroit News. “Cory’s been through it,” head coach Dwane Casey said. “His style of play, his personality and his leadership, everything rubs off and he’s doing the same thing with Killian [Hayes] and Saben [Lee] and that group.” Joseph has also proven that he has something left in the tank, averaging 11.7 PPG and 6.1 APG since the deal.
  • Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert has bought out former majority owner Gordon Gund‘s remaining 15% minority share in the franchise, writes The AP’s Tom Withers“Gordon will remain part of the Cavaliers family and we thank him greatly for his leadership, dedication and long-standing support of the franchise,” the Cavaliers said in a statement.

Eastern Notes: Wizards, Gordon, Nets, Gilbert

Bradley Beal remains content to stay in Washington, and the Wizards don’t appear headed for a major deal before Thursday’s deadline, according to Ava Wallace of The Washington Post. There’s no sense of panic even though the team has dropped to 13th place in the East after losing eight of its past 10 games, with one rival executive saying Washington’s front office is “operating as if they’ve got time on their hands.”

The Wizards aren’t considered a definite buyer or seller heading into the deadline, Wallace adds. Washington is just three-and-a-half games out of the 10th spot, and Davis Bertans is expected to return from a calf strain in about two weeks. The team could use a third scorer and an upgrade on defense, but there’s no urgency to get anything done right away.

“We’ve got some young players that need experience, and when you (also) have some high-level players on your team, it’s a fine line,” coach Scott Brooks said. “You have to find the sweet spot. I think we’re doing a fairly good job. We’d like to have some more wins. A lot of the things that’s happened to us, we can’t control. … (General manager Tommy Sheppard) is going to look. … If there’s something out there, we’re definitely going to look.”

There’s more from the Eastern Conference:

  • Magic forward Aaron Gordon is very likely to be traded by the deadline, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski (video link). Orlando will listen to offers for Gordon and the Celtics will be in the mix, adds Woj, who expects the Magic and Raptors to “set the tone” for this year’s trade deadline.
  • The Nets will try to move injured guard Spencer Dinwiddie, but they don’t want to take on any guaranteed salary past this season, Wojnarowski said in a trade deadline discussion hosted by Rod Perez on Twitter Spaces (hat tip to NetsDaily). The Nets are also focused on Cavaliers center Andre Drummond and Pelicans guard J.J. Redick in the buyout market, according to Woj, along with Heat forward Maurice Harkless.
  • In his podcast, ESPN’s Brian Windhorst indicated that the Nets are interested in acquiring Raptors forward Norman Powell. Windhorst doesn’t expect the Nets to pursue Spurs big man LaMarcus Aldridge if he gets bought out, suggesting there’s not a need for Aldridge after adding Blake Griffin.
  • With Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert still recovering from a 2019 stroke, his 23-year-old son Grant Gilbert could eventually be in line to run the team, according to Jason Lloyd and Joe Vardon of The Athletic. The younger Gilbert is already in the organization as director of content and brand strategy.

Central Notes: Bledsoe, Cavs, Boylen, Bulls

Like most other NBA head coaches who have been asked about players not yet in attendance at the league’s Orlando campus, Bucks head coach Mike Budenholzer was somewhat cagey on Sunday when asked about Eric Bledsoe‘s situation. However, as Matt Velazquez of The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel writes, Budenholzer sounded optimistic about his point guard, who recently tested positive for COVID-19.

“The NBA has protocols that I think are trying to keep us all in our best place, our safest, to have a positive experience,” Budenholzer said. “When he clears those and when there’s something new to share with you guys we will, but we do feel like he’s on the closer end of the spectrum (to returning) than the longer.”

According to Velazquez, the expectation is that Bledsoe will be able to rejoin the Bucks before they resume play on July 31, though it will likely take him a little more time to get up to full speed. George Hill and NBA G League MVP Frank Mason III figure to handle point guard duties until Bledsoe is ready to go.

Here’s more from around the Central:

  • Jason Lloyd of The Athletic explores how Dan Gilbert‘s decision to take Quicken Loans public could impact the Cavaliers, noting that there’s no indication Gilbert has any intention of selling the franchise. Within the story, Lloyd adds that the Cavs owner is “turning up the pressure” on the team to show improvement next season in the third year of its rebuild.
  • Bulls head coach Jim Boylen said last week that he’s encouraged by his relationship with the team’s new top executives (link via WGNTV.com). K.C. Johnson of NBC Sports Chicago takes a closer look at Boylen’s comments, noting that the head coach dined with Arturas Karnisovas and Marc Eversley in Chicago earlier this month, and both execs have been watching the individual voluntary workouts taking place at the Advocate Center. Boylen’s status for 2020/21 remains unclear, but the longer the Bulls go without making any announcements, the more likely he seems to keep his job.
  • In a pair of articles for NBC Sports Chicago, Rob Schaefer looks at how Kris Dunn and Ryan Arcidiacono performed in 2019/20 and what sort of future the two guards might have with the Bulls. Dunn is a restricted free agent this fall, while Arcidiacono has a guaranteed salary for ’20/21 and a team option for ’21/22.

More Details On Cavaliers/John Beilein Split

John Beilein‘s stint as Cavaliers head coach has come to an abrupt end halfway through his first season in Cleveland, and there were warning signs even before the regular season began that things could be headed in this direction, according to a new report from Shams Charania, Jason Lloyd, and Joe Vardon of The Athletic.

The Athletic’s trio suggests that players began to tune out Beilein during training camp, and there were already signals at that point that the new head coach was unhappy in Cleveland. After a pair of preseason blowout losses to the Celtics, league sources were saying that Beilein was second-guessing his decision to leave college for the pros, per The Athletic.

Beilein’s tone toward players was said to be an issue throughout the season, as he allegedly nitpicked fundamentals and displayed an inability to adapt to the NBA’s offensive and defensive structures, according to Charania, Lloyd, and Vardon.

“He was a dictator — not a coach suited for today’s NBA,” one source told The Athletic.

While players were immediately turned off by Beilein’s style, the longtime college coach was “stunned” by the culture in the NBA, according to The Athletic. He was surprised by players’ “revulsion” to long film sessions and practices, and wasn’t accustomed to things like load management – such as Kevin Love sitting out half of back-to-back sets – or trades, which he didn’t have to deal with in college. The Athletic’s report indicates Beilein had a hard time adjusting on offense after the Cavs sent Jordan Clarkson to Utah in December.

The Athletic’s report paints a picture of a marriage between team and coach that was doomed from the start. Here are a few more of the most notable details from the story:

  • Recently-acquired center Andre Drummond didn’t take to Beilein at all upon joining the Cavs earlier this month. One source told The Athletic that Drummond said the situation in Cleveland was worse than the one he’d come from in Detroit. The veteran center reportedly indicated he’d walk in free agency if Beilein was still the Cavs’ coach, Lloyd said in a radio appearance (Twitter link via Keith Britton of 92.3 The Fan).
  • After Beilein said in a January film session that his team had been playing like “thugs,” he apologized, claiming that he had meant to say “slugs.” But several players never really bought that explanation, per The Athletic. “There was no coming back from that,” said one player, who suggested the excuse was an insult to the players’ intelligence. After that incident, a handful of players began blasting songs that prominently featured the word “thug” when Beilein was within earshot, sources told Charania, Lloyd, and Vardon.
  • The Athletic trio suggests that team owner Dan Gilbert may have had a hand in steering the head coaching search toward Beilein, despite his denials that it was his decision. One source told The Athletic that GM Koby Altman and his front office were at least more on board with Beilein than the previous group – led by David Griffin – was with the David Blatt hire in 2014.

Cavaliers Notes: Beilein, Altman, Porter Jr.

In the wake of general manager Koby Altman‘s new long-term contract extension, head coach John Beilein said that Altman’s presence on the Cavaliers was one of the reasons he took the job, as Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com relays.

“That was one of the attractive things about taking the job,” Beilein said of Altman. “I knew [Cavs assistant GM] Mike Gansey really well but he had such great things to say about Koby and then during the whole process I could see a guy I would love to work for. Just love the direction of everything. Have great faith in each other. He’s letting me coach and at the same time he understands what we need in a roster and I think he’s going to build that.”

Here’s more from Cleveland:

  • Hiring Beilein was a risky move for Altman, Fedor contends in the same piece. There haven’t been many college coaches who have found success in the NBA, though Altman’s willingness to think outside the box is part of the reason that he landed an extension with the Cavaliers. “Koby has been a culture-driver and an innovator who has built a fresh, new foundation and environment for our front office and team that inspires everyone involved,” team owner Dan Gilbert said. “…I look forward to seeing his hard work and creativity continue to make us better and help guide the team towards reaching our goals for years to come.”
  • Altman believes the security the Cavaliers gave him in his long-term extension will allow him to carry out his plan for the team, Fedor relays in separate piece“Started as a scout, working my way up all the way to assistant general manager and now this,” Altman. “It’s been a lot of growth and development from my standpoint. Really appreciative of that. It’s a great sign for the franchise that we have stability and continuity moving forward. It gives us unlimited potential.” We passed along more of Altman’s comments on Monday.
  • Kevin Porter Jr. has been suspended for one game by the league. The rookie made contact with a referee during the Cavaliers‘ loss to the Mavericks on Sunday.

Cavs GM Altman Talks Osman, Love, Next Moves

While the Cavaliers didn’t reveal any specific details about the contract extension general manager Koby Altman signed on Friday, Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com says Altman’s new deal is believed to run through the 2023/24 season, matching head coach John Beilein‘s contract.

According to Fedor, internal dialogue about extending Altman’s contract began shortly after the Cavs’ 2018/19 season ended. When the two sides finalized that deal on Friday, Altman became the first Cleveland general manger to receive a contract extension since Dan Gilbert assumed ownership of the franchise in 2005.

As Fedor writes, Altman and Gilbert have been in “lockstep” when it comes to expectations and organizational philosophies since LeBron James left as a free agent in 2018. Gilbert hasn’t pushed the front office to make the Cavs as competitive as quickly as possible or set any specific dates for a return to contention, and has been entirely on board with the club’s approach to its rebuild.

“Where we are now we have a pretty clear direction and vision, and I think Dan aligns well with a big-picture, three-to-five-year plan. I think our vision is very, very clear,” Altman said, adding that Gilbert is “super excited” about the future draft picks the Cavs have acquired and the flexibility the team has going forward.

Fedor’s article provides an in-depth look at where things stand with Altman and the Cavs, and is worth reading in full — especially for Cleveland fans. Here are a few more of the most noteworthy comments from the Cavs’ GM, via Fedor:

On the Cavaliers’ rebuilding philosophy:

“We’re trying to build this thing with great attitude, great work ethic, and guys who really want to be in Cleveland. Me and Coach Beilein really align on those values. We’ve started to see some of that. Cedi Osman clearly could have gone into the open market next year and tried free agency, but this is where he wants to be. He feels this is home for him. Same thing with Larry Nance Jr. and Kevin Love. Those are meaningful things for us and those are true Cavaliers.”

On potential next moves:

“We are still in evaluation mode with our team, with the new parts, the staff, the offense, and we like our guys. There’s no sense of urgency to rush to do anything. Last year I think was a little bit different in terms of we knew we wanted to recoup a lot of different draft assets. Where we are now: We have great flexibility, we’re one of four teams that has over $20MM in cap space next summer, so we’re not in any rush to do anything drastic.”

On Kevin Love and his four-year contract extension:

“He knew this was going to be a process,. He knew we were going to bring in some younger guys. He knew we were going to build. He was all-in for that. … For a guy that is a five-time All-Star, loves it here, wants to help us grow, I don’t know how you replace a player that caliber. He’s been great and meaningful to our guys. We are a much better team with him on the floor. The city has embraced him, he’s embraced the city and so it would be really, really tough to move on from him.”

On whether there’s any interest in trading Love:

“No. Not at all.”

Central Notes: Oladipo, Lopez, R. Jackson, Gilbert

Nearly eight months after having surgery on a ruptured quad tendon, Victor Oladipo doesn’t want to talk about the rehab process, writes Scott Agness of The Athletic. Oladipo began on-court workouts in June, but he hasn’t practiced against anyone. He said he’s working on “a little bit of everything,” but doesn’t want to give away any secrets.

“Ah, I’m getting there,” Oladipo said. “I’m working my way there. You can’t rush these things, you just got to take your time. At the end of the day, Rome wasn’t built in one day.”

People close to Oladipo have talked about his work ethic and dedication. He has adapted his shooting method and now has a smoother shot with a quicker release. The Pacers are monitoring his progress, but haven’t set any sort of timetable for his return.

“I’m just excited to play basketball again, honestly,” Oladipo said. “Just go out there and compete at the highest level possible. I got a lot to let go, so I’m looking forward to letting it go.”

There’s more from the Central Division:

  • Bucks center Brook Lopez tells Alex Kennedy of HoopsHype that he enjoyed July’s free agent frenzy just like any other fan. “Man, it was so entertaining – first and foremost,” Lopez said. “Just as a fan of the game – waiting for all of those Woj Bombs and news updates – it really was exciting! As a player, it’s exciting too. I mean, everyone has said it, but I think the level of parity is really exciting because there are a number of teams that, I think, are contenders now. It’s just great for basketball because it’s going to be such a competitive league this year.” 
  • Getting past the effects of two serious injuries helped Pistons guard Reggie Jackson enjoy a revival last season, observes Keith Langlois of NBA.com. Jackson was slowed by left knee tendinosis during the 2016/17 season and a grade-3 right ankle sprain in 2017/18. Jackson started to feel fully healthy around mid-season and averaged 16.9 PPG after February 1.
  • Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert was released from a Chicago rehabilitation facility this week after spending two months there following a stroke, relays Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com.

Central Notes: Garland, Bulls, GRIII, Cavs

The Bulls‘ reported interest in Darius Garland may be a smokescreen, one source tells Joe Cowley of The Chicago Sun-Times. That source believes Chicago is more focused on forwards like De’Andre Hunter, Cam Reddish, or Sekou Doumbouya.

Garland is expected to be selected with the No. 4 overall pick in tonight’s draft, so the Bulls would need to put together a package that entices the Pelicans in order to land him, assuming their interest is real. Even if Chicago managed to add Garland, the team would look to bring in a veteran point guard, a source tells Cowley.

Patrick Beverley could be an addition this offseason, as there are reports of mutual interest between him and the Bulls. Chicago wants to add depth, so the club could sign multiple players in free agency. Cowley names Ish Smith and Cory Joseph as potential targets in addition to Beverley.

Here’s more from the Central Division:

  • The Pistons will likely decline Glenn Robinson III‘s team option for the 2019/20 season, Vince Ellis of the Detroit Free press tweets. A source also told James Edwards III of The Athletic (Twitter link) that the option is unlikely to be picked up. The Michigan product would have earned slightly below $4.3MM next season if the option was exercised.
  • Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert is out of the hospital and will undergo “intensive” rehab, Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com relays on Twitter. Gilbert suffered a stroke late last month.
  • The Cavaliers have hired Jazz assistant Antonio Lang as an assistant coach on John Beilein‘s new staff, per the team’s website. Tony Jones of The Athletic (Twitter link) first reported that Cleveland was prying Lang from Utah.

Central Notes: Bulls, Gasol, Cavs, Pacers, Pistons

There’s a growing belief around the NBA that the Bulls are open to discussing trades for anyone on their roster – and any assets they hold – besides Lauri Markkanen and Wendell Carter Jr., sources familiar with the team’s plans tell Darnell Mayberry of The Athletic.

Still, while the Bulls will likely consider a number of trade options this offseason, Mayberry makes a case that the club shouldn’t part ways with the No. 7 overall pick. Mayberry argues that cashing in their chips now for a veteran could be both premature and risky for the Bulls, who would have marginal assets available going forward. Plus, the No. 7 selection has proven valuable for the franchise in recent years — Markkanen and Carter were both selected at that spot.

Meanwhile, K.C. Johnson of The Chicago Tribune tackles a handful of Bulls-related topics in his latest mailbag, exploring draft, trade, and free agency options. Johnson believes the Bulls would “absolutely” try to get involved as a facilitator in a multi-team Anthony Davis trade, and later suggests that if Chicago pursues an RFA point guard, Malcolm Brogdon is probably a more realistic target than D’Angelo Russell.

Here’s more from around the Central: