David Stern

And-Ones: Stern, Wiseman, Kuzminskas, Falk

Former NBA commissioner David Stern has suggested that the NBA’s current ban on marijuana is outdated and believes the league should reconsider its stance, Jabari Young of CNBC writes.

Stern’s perspective within the argument, fueled by the medical benefits and factors based in recovery, have shifted over the years with the recent surge of medical use in THC and CBD.

“In many cases in sports,” Stern said, “the opioid crisis begins with players being prescribed pills for their pain, and if there is another substance, whether it be CBD or THC that eases pain, then I’m all for it.”

The NBA recently issued a 25-game suspension to Suns center Deandre Ayton after he tested positive for a diuretic, which is sometimes used to cleanse the body of a THC. Veteran guard Dion Waiters received a 10-game suspension from the Heat after consuming an edible laced with THC last week.

“You don’t want players drinking beer at halftime,” Stern said. “And you don’t want them smoking joints at halftime. But if it’s a controlled usage and has a viable, legitimate use, why not?”

Here are some other odds and ends from around the basketball world:

  • Potential No. 1 overall pick James Wiseman is likely to be selected as a top-five selection in the 2020 draft regardless of what happens with his college eligibility, Sam Vecenie writes as part of his story for The Athletic. Wiseman, a 7’1″ center, has been deemed as “likely ineligible” by the NCAA as it continues its investigation.
  • Former NBA forward Mindaugas Kuzminskas has been released by Olympiacos in Greece, the club announced in press release. Kuzminskas and the team finalized a mutual termination agreement over the weekend, a source told Hoops Rumors, allowing the 30-year-old to enter free agency and explore other avenues this week.
  • Matthew Gutierrez of The Athletic hosted an interesting Q&A with veteran NBA agent David Falk, who discussed the evolving agent business, why Carmelo Anthony could still be a free agent and more. Falk is best known for representing Michael Jordan during his playing career.

Former NBA Commissioner David Stern: “I Have No Regrets”

Former NBA commissioner David Stern, who handed over duties to Adam Silver five years ago, sat down with Marc J. Spears of the Undefeated to discuss his tenure and the state of the NBA since he left the position. In the piece, which is worth a read, Stern tells Spears that he has “no regrets” about his time leading the NBA.

“I have no regrets. I know that sounds crazy,” Stern said. “Other than the regrets of lockouts, I would love to have had clear sailing and unanimous agreement on collective bargaining, but I didn’t, and that’s a failure, I would say. I am so happy because when I took over the NBA, our players’ reputations were, I would say, in the basement of the pyramid of celebrity. And now they’re at the tippy-tip of the celebrity pyramid. They’re the most listened to, the most beloved, in some ways, and the most important athletes in all of sports.”

Stern added the NBA “couldn’t be in better shape” and said that he believes the heavy player movement in free agency “gives the NBA ownership of a huge chunk of calendar real estate.”

The former commissioner also touched on the dress code that he implemented back in 2005, telling Spears that fashion was always an opportunity for them to shine and he’s “glad” that many are taking advantage of that opportunity now. Outside of fashion, players are using their platforms in different ways than they did just five years ago, such as speaking out on social issues. Stern is “very pleased to see those developments” and he’s particularly thrilled with the work of LeBron James.

“I take enormous pride in watching LeBron and his school activities, his charitable activities, and his leadership activities on social issues. It’s a great thing,” Stern said.

Stern took over as commissioner of the NBA in February of 1984 and held the post for 30 years, stepping down in 2014.

Southwest Notes: Gentry, Morrow, Gasol, White

Pelicans coach Alvin Gentry weighed in on the comments made by former NBA commissioner David Stern, labeling the importance of staying focused on the current team instead of outside noise. Stern ripped Pelicans GM Dell Demps this week, calling him a “lousy general manager.”

“For us, we worry about our team,” Gentry said, according to Will Guillory of The Athletic (Twitter link). “We worry about our franchise. I’ve got a great working relationship with Dell. I think we’ve got a good team that we put out on the floor because of he and (president) Mickey (Loomis). That’s all I need to say. I think what has happened here is our franchise has a really bright future and that’s all that needs to be said.”

The Pelicans have started the 2018/19 season on a red-hot note, winning each of their three games in impressive fashion. Led by Anthony Davis, Jrue Holiday and a nice collection of young assets, New Orleans has designed its roster to compete for many years to come.

The Pelicans also released a statement on Stern’s comments, backing their general manager and claiming their excitement for playing under current NBA commissioner Adam Silver.

Here are other notes from the Southwest Division:

  • Free agent Anthony Morrow is interested in joining the Rockets if the team looks for additional shooting, according to The Athletic’s Kelly Iko. “Absolutely,” Morrow said. Mike (D’Antoni) knows I love him, tell him to give me a call.”
  • Marc Gasol is dealing with neck soreness and is considered day-to-day, the Grizzlies said (Twitter link). Gasol suffered the injury on Wednesday against the Kings, with fears that he could miss extended time.
  • Despite having no timetable for a return, Spurs guard Derrick White continues to progress in his recovery from left heel pain that’s sidelined him since the preseason, according to Tom Orsborn of the San Antonio Express-News (Twitter link). “He’s progressing as they hoped,” coach Gregg Popovich said.

Pelicans Respond To Stern’s Comments On Demps

Earlier today, we shared snippets of a conversation between former NBA Commissioner David Stern and Chris Ballard of SI.com, wherein Stern spoke on numerous issues involving the NBA. Among them was his role in the Lakers’ near trade for Chris Paul from the New Orleans Hornets in 2011. In elaborating on that deal and its eventual breakdown, Stern was quoted as saying:

“But Dell Demps (GM of the then Hornets and current Pelicans since 2010) is a lousy general manager and none of those players are currently with the team anymore, and he may lose Anthony Davis.”

Well, the Pelicans apparently weren’t willing to take those comments lying down, responding with a statement earlier tonight, which reads, in pertinent part:

“We are very disappointed to read the inappropriate and inaccurate comments from the former NBA Commissioner regarding the New Orleans Pelicans. Our organization has the utmost confidence in our General Manager, Dell Demps. He is part of our family, the NBA family… Our organization is excited and proud to be part of the NBA with the progressive and innovative leadership of NBA Commissioner Adam Silver.”

Of course, Stern and Silver share a relationship stemming from Silver serving as Stern’s deputy commissioner for eight years. Stern even endorsed Silver to become his successor. Accordingly, it’s interesting that the Pelicans chose to use Silver to backhandedly cast aspersions on Stern. Silver and the NBA have yet to comment.

David Stern Talks Gambling, Warriors, CP3 Trade

Since leaving his post in 2014, David Stern hasn’t often spoken publicly and candidly about the major issues and controversies he dealt with during his long tenure as the NBA’s commissioner. However, Stern opened up about a few of those topics during a conversation with Chris Ballard of SI.com.

Stern, who insists he stepped down as NBA commissioner rather than retiring, continues to stay peripherally involved in the sport of basketball, investing in gambling, wearables, and streaming apps.

Speaking to Ballard, he explained why he’s now enthusiastic about sports gambling after being opposed to it during his time as commissioner, and shared his opinion on a few NBA stories, past and present. The piece is worth checking out in full, but here are a few highlights from Stern:

On why he’s no longer opposed to legalized gambling on the NBA:

“I always said the reason we don’t want to have gambling is because we don’t want Junior going to the game and coming away disappointed because the home team won but they didn’t cover. But as soon as they allowed daily fantasy, I said that’s it, there’s no sense in having daily fantasy and not being in favor of betting — especially when you add in the fact that so much of it is already done offshore illegally and lining the coffers of some people you don’t know.”

On the Warriors’ current dynasty, and whether it’s bad for basketball:

“It’s great. They’ve got a great team. Interesting players, a dynamic coach, owners that demonstrate that they care, they’re about to open up a billion-dollar-plus building…. I think it’s only good. And I don’t believe in the debate about super-teams, because when I started there were two super-teams: the Celtics and Lakers…. Look at the attendance and the ratings and the product sales. We’re the most metricized business there is, and all signs are positive.”

On his decision not to approve the Chris Paul-to-the-Lakers trade when he was serving as New Orleans’ de facto owner in 2011:

“I did it because I was protecting the then Hornets…. To this day everyone always asks me, ‘Well, why did you keep Chris Paul from going to the Lakers?’ I didn’t keep him. I didn’t approve the trade. No team sells or trades a future Hall-of-Famer without the owner signing off, and I was the owner’s rep. But I wasn’t going to hand up [New Orleans GM] Dell Demps.”

More on the failed Paul trade with the Lakers, and the Clippers deal he eventually approved:

“I didn’t do a great job of explaining it at the time. There was a trade that Dell Demps wanted us to approve and I said heck no, but he had told [Rockets GM] Daryl Morey and [then-Lakers GM] Mitch Kupchak he had authority to do it and he didn’t. I said no. We just settled a lockout and you want me to approve a basketball trade?

“[Demps] had agreed to [trade Paul to the Lakers for] Kevin Martin and Luis Scola or something, and I said we can do better than that…. And the next trade was [to the Clippers for] Eric Gordon and Al-Farouq Aminu and what we thought was a really great draft pick, the 10th pick, which turned out to be Austin Rivers. At least those three and someone else [center Chris Kaman]. But Dell Demps is a lousy general manager and none of those players are currently with the team anymore, and he may lose Anthony Davis.”

Stern Wanted To Rework Chris-Paul-To-Lakers Deal

Former NBA Commissioner David Stern addressed the NBA’s most famous non-trade during a recent appearance on the Nunyo & Company podcast [hat tip to Dan Feldman of NBC Sports].

The Lakers, Rockets and Hornets [now known as the Pelicans] worked out a three-team trade in 2011 that would have sent Chris Paul to Los Angeles. Stern, acting as owner of the New Orleans franchise after George Shinn sold it to the league, vetoed the deal on the basis that the Hornets weren’t getting enough in return for an All-Star point guard who was just entering his prime.

The full trade would have sent Paul to L.A., Pau Gasol to Houston and Lamar Odom, Kevin Martin, Luis Scola, Goran Dragic and a first-round pick to New Orleans. Stern blocked the deal, but says he intended to rework it.

“In fact, in the course of the weekend, we thought we could re-do the deal,” Stern explained. “We really thought that Houston would be ready to part with [Kyle] Lowry, and we had a trade lined up for Odom that would have gotten us a good first-round draft pick – not we, but my basketball folks. But [Lakers GM] Mitch Kupchak at the time panicked and moved Odom to Dallas. So the piece wasn’t even there for us to play with at the time. So that was it — just about what was good for the then-New Orleans Hornets.”

Later that year, New Orleans dealt Paul to the Clippers in exchange for Al-Farouq Aminu, Eric Gordon, Chris Kaman and a 2012 first-round pick that became Austin Rivers. The Lakers lost a potential star to pair with Kobe Bryant for the final part of his career and haven’t been a title contender since.

And-Ones: DVP Exception, Stern, BWB

It hasn’t been decided if the All-NBA teams will be announced during the league’s first ever award show on June 26 but regardless of when the teams are revealed they’ll have an impact on two pending free agents, John Smallwood of the Philadelphia Inquirer writes.

Neither Blake Griffin nor Gordon Hayward will win the MVP of Defensive Player of the Year award, Smallwood writes, but the two will be in contention to land a spot among the three year-end teams. This year, that’s more important than ever.

Thanks to the new collective bargaining agreement, players whose portfolios boast particular impressive accolades will be eligible for more money in the form of the Designated Veteran Exception.

Another player that will be impacted by the new exception is Stephen Curry  but since the MVP clause covers anybody who won that award in the previous three seasons, his is already locked in.

It’s unclear how exactly the formal announcements will unfold but even without the drama of a formal award show, this year’s revelations will be more dramatic than any we’ve seen previously.

There’s more from around the league:

  • Though he’s no longer the commissioner of the NBA, David Stern is still very much involved with the league and the sport of basketball, Brian Mahoney of the Associated Press writes. The article discusses some of the 74-year-old’s latest endeavors.
  • For the first time ever, Basketball Without Borders is setting up camp in Israel, E. Carchia of Sportando writes. BWB has reached 134 countries and territories since 2001.
  • The NBDL Player of the Year is former Cavaliers training camp invitee John Holland, the Cleveland D-League affiliate announced in an official press release. The guard averaged 22.9 points per game for the Canton Charge.

And-Ones: Rockets, Parsons, Sixers, Stern, Cavs

Coach Mike D’Antoni said there’s “always an open door” in regards to Donatas Motiejunas playing for the Rockets, Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle passes along. “We can’t wait to have him if that works out,” D’Antoni said on Wednesday. “He will definitely be a positive. No negatives there.”

Here’s more from around the league:

  • Chandler Parsons, who signed a max contract with the Grizzlies over the summer, is the biggest disappointment in the league this season, Joel Brigham of Basketball Insiders contends. Parsons has been limited to only six games this season because of a knee injury and he’s averaging a pedestrian 7.7 point per contest.
  • The Sixers should deal Nerlens Noel, whom Luke Adams of Hoops Rumors profiled as a trade candidate recently, to the Bulls for Nikola Mirotic, Brigham argues in the same piece. The scribes believes Noel could anchor Chicago’s bench unit and Mirotic could turn his season around with more playing time in Philadelphia.
  • Former commissioner David Stern said he never canceled the proposed 2011 trade of Chris Paul from New Orleans to the Lakers because the GM at the time, Dell Demps, wasn’t authorized to make it, RealGM.com relays via Sports Business Radio. The league had assumed control of the New Orleans franchise, called the Hornets at that time and now the Pelicans, giving Stern the authority to nix it. “The GM was not authorized to make that trade,” Stern said. “And acting on behalf of owners, we decided not to make it. I was an owner rep. There was nothing to ‘void.’ It just never got made.”
  • John Holland, whose rights are owned by the Cavs’ D-League franchise in Canton, has returned to D-League, international journalist David Pick tweets.  The 6’5” swingman was one of Cleveland’s final training camp cuts in October.

And-Ones: Silver, Simmons, Sterling, Valentine

Commissioner Adam Silver stumped for raising the NBA’s minimum age to 20 and pointed to an agreement with the National Basketball Players Association to shorten this summer’s July moratorium as a sign of a high level of trust between the league and the union, as Eric Pincus of Basketball Insiders details. The commissioner made his comments Tuesday while also noting that the moratorium change is only for this summer (Twitter link). “I would say with this executive director [Michele Roberts], I’d say there are a lot of things we work out behind closed doors all the time,” Silver said. “Issues that are not necessarily high profile – we deal with each other on a daily basis.  Again, these are our players.  This is our union.  It didn’t surprise me we worked out [the moratorium issue].”
The league and the union have until December 15th to opt out of the collective bargaining agreement. See more from around the NBA:
  • Elite draft prospect Ben Simmons has confirmed his selection of the Klutch Sports Group as his agency, as he revealed in a video on the Twitter feed for Uninterrupted.com. Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical on Yahoo Sports reported last week that the former LSU combo forward would sign with Klutch and agent Rich Paul, who represents LeBron James, among others.
  • A federal district court judge dismissed an antitrust lawsuit that former Clippers owner Donald Sterling brought against the NBA in his continued dispute of the 2014 $2 billion sale of the team to Steve Ballmer, as Nathan Fenno of the Los Angeles Times details. The suit, in which Sterling sought more than $1 billion in damages and named wife Shelley Sterling and former NBA commissioner David Stern among the defendants, alleged that the NBA conspired to strip him of the team.
  • The yawning gap between Denzel Valentine‘s superb offensive talents and his glaring defensive shortcomings make him a particularly intriguing draft prospect liable to go anywhere from the late lottery to the end of the first round, observes Jonathan Givony of DraftExpress in a scouting report. Dana Gauruder of Hoops Rumors went in-depth on the Michigan State senior earlier this month.

Sixers Talk With Elton Brand, Shane Battier

The Sixers are talking to Elton Brand and Shane Battier in the hopes they can serve as role models for the team’s slew of younger players, sources tell TNT’s David Aldridge, who writes in his Morning Tip column for NBA.com. It’s unclear whether the idea is for them to serve in a playing, coaching or front office capacity. Battier retired as a player after the 2013/14 season, while Brand, who spent the past two seasons with the Hawks, cast doubt on the idea of playing again during an interview this past summer. Zach Lowe of ESPN.com identified Brand on Friday as someone to keep an eye on as the team looks for veterans to add to its roster.

New chairman of basketball operations Jerry Colangelo dismissed the idea that son Bryan Colangelo, the former Suns and Raptors GM, will join the Sixers front office, telling Aldridge that it’s mere speculation. Still, the team does plan to bring aboard Mike D’Antoni as an assistant coach, Aldridge writes.

Former commissioner David Stern played a role in bringing the Sixers together with Jerry Colangelo, a source tells Aldridge. The NBA was “irate” at the way the Sixers handled the reports of Jahlil Okafor‘s various offcourt incidents, according to Aldridge. GM Sam Hinkie treated the news with his trademark silence.

“I would say I was present when decisions were made, but there are some things we can do better,” Hinkie said. “We purposely laid low, and I purposely laid low, for a number of reasons. And I’ve always been very comfortable, and [coach] Brett [Brown]‘s been very comfortable, being out front for us when need be, because we trust each other, and we’re attached at the hip in a lot of ways. But sometimes, another voice helps.”

Brand, a David Falk client who spent four years with the Sixers between 2008 and 2012, averaged 2.7 points and 2.8 rebounds in 13.5 minutes per game for a 60-win Atlanta team last season. This past spring represented the first time the former No. 1 overall pick appeared in the conference finals. Battier, a client of Jim Tanner, went to the finals in all three of his years with the Heat, with whom he last played, and twice won the championship. He averaged 4.1 points in 20.1 minutes and shot 34.8% from 3-point range in his final season on an NBA roster.