Gary Payton

Pacific Notes: Lakers, Divac, Clippers

The Lakers would be making a terrible mistake by targeting Pacers forward Paul George as their much needed superstar, Mitch Lawrence of the Sporting News writes.

George, the “anti-Magic,” has shown poor leadership and a tendency to alienate teammates, Lawrence says. Those aren’t characteristics typically paired with a young team like the Lakers.

In the same piece, Lawrence goes on to add that a better fit for George may be Boston because the Celtics, unlike the Lakers, boast the strong-willed vets to withstand George’s occasional negativity.

Should the Lakers continue to pursue the swingman, however, they’ll need ensure that their point guard is mentally strong enough to deal with the vocal superstar.

  • After a tumultuous first few seasons at the helm, Vlade Divac has been given an opportunity to manage a stable Kings franchise, Ailene Voisin of the Sacramento Bee writes. “I knew the staff I wanted to put together. There was always so much (drama) going on ever since I got here, it took up a lot of my time,” Divac said. “Finally I have been able to find people who believe in what we are trying to do and who I am very comfortable with.
  • The Clippers have every intention of competing for a title even with the injured Blake Griffin on the sidelines, Bill Oram of the Orange County Register writes. “It’s not the best thing that could have ever happened to us,” teammate Chris Paul said, “but it’s not the end of the world. We still are going to go out there. We know we got a job to do. We got a big game (Sunday), Game 4, and we go out there expecting to win.”
  • Could a candid conversation on Jimmy Kimmel be considered tampering? USA Today’s Alysha Tsuji wrote about how Lakers executive Magic Johnson may have tampered while commenting specifically about not tampering.
  • Count Gary Payton (Sr.) among the crowd who thinks Warriors forward Draymond Green should be this season’s Defensive Player of the Year, an Associated Press report outlines. The Glove also speaks highly of Kawhi Leonard as a legitimate candidate.

Allen Iverson Commits To New BIG3 League As Player/Coach

Hall-of-Famer Allen Iverson has committed to join the new BIG3 basketball league debuting this summer, and will serve as both a coach and a player, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical. Wojnarowski first reported last month that entertainer Ice Cube and former NBA player Roger Mason were working together to launch the league, having secured commitments from several retired NBA veterans.

[RELATED: New Pro League For Retired Players To Debut In 2017]

“I thought of this concept as a fan who got sick of seeing his heroes retire and not play anymore,” Ice Cube said at the time. “A lot of these guys can still play once they retire – just not the back-to-backs or four games in five nights.

“Not only do we get a chance to see these guys keep playing, but we give guys who retired who still got some game – who don’t want to pick up a [microphone] on TV and who don’t want to go overseas to play … some of these guys still want a stage to play on.”

Kenyon Martin, Rashard Lewis, Jermaine O’Neal, Stephen Jackson and Jason Williams were among the former NBA players initially reported to have committed to the BIG3, a half-court, three-on-three professional basketball league. In his latest report, Wojnarowski adds Chauncey Billups to that list of players.

According to Wojnarowski, Iverson will be one of eight dual head coaches/players in the league, which will feature eight teams. In his December report, Wojnarowski indicated that Gary Payton had agreed to be one of the coaches, though it’s not clear if The Glove would be a player as well.

The BIG3 conducted its first official press conference today, fielding questions about the league and introducing Iverson, Lewis, Martin, and Mason (Twitter link via Ian Begley of A tweet from the BIG3 indicated that the league is expected to launch on June 24, shortly after the NBA Finals end.

New Pro League For Retired Players To Debut In 2017

Longtime NBA guard Roger Mason is leaving his position as the deputy executive director of the National Basketball Players Association to help launch a new professional basketball league for retired players, reports Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical. According to Wojnarowski, Mason will serve as president and commissioner of the new league.

As Wojnarowski details, Mason will partner with rapper and actor Ice Cube – and multiple investors – to launch the league in June 2017. The plan is for eight teams – made up of five players apiece – to tour together from city to city for 10 weeks in the summer, playing three-on-three, half-court games. The league, which will be known as TheBig3, is being founded by Ice Cube, who spoke to Wojnarowski about the project.

“I thought of this concept as a fan who got sick of seeing his heroes retire and not play anymore,” Ice Cube said. “A lot of these guys can still play once they retire – just not the back-to-backs or four games in five nights.

“Not only do we get a chance to see these guys keep playing, but we give guys who retired who still got some game – who don’t want to pick up a [microphone] on TV and who don’t want to go overseas to play … some of these guys still want a stage to play on.”

Per Wojnarowski, former NBA players who have committed to play on teams in the league include Kenyon Martin, Stephen Jackson, Jermaine O’Neal, Rashard Lewis, and Jason Williams. Additionally, Gary Payton has agreed to coach one of the teams.

As for Mason, he played a significant role in the NBPA’s transition over the last several years, and will leave the union as it prepares to officially ratify a new Collective Bargaining Agreement with the NBA. According to Wojnarowski, the NBPA’s focus on taking care of retired and elderly former players in the new CBA was in large part due to Mason.

An official news conference to announce TheBig3 is expected in January, says Wojnarowski.

Central Notes: Blatt, Rose, Butler, McMillan

Former Cavaliers coach David Blatt plans to be on someone’s bench next season, according to Jeff Zillgitt of USA Today. After taking Cleveland to the NBA Finals last season, Blatt was fired in January with a 30-11 record. It’s a rare break for the 57-year-old, who has held coaching jobs around the world since 1993. “I’m going to coach next year,” Blatt said. “I’m not going to sit out. It’s not in my nature. I want to work. I’ll be back somewhere. Could be anywhere.” He added that he prefers a head coaching position overseas to working as an assistant in the NBA.

There’s more news from the Central Division:

  • It’s time for the Bulls to break up the Derrick RoseJimmy Butler backcourt, argues K.C. Johnson of The Chicago Tribune. Johnson says their relationship has become “untenable” because both players consider themselves to be the team leader, both need the ball in their hands to be most effective and neither has the 3-point shooting skills to complement the other. Johnson believes Rose’s injury history would make him difficult to deal, even though he only has one season left on his contract at $21.3MM. Butler would probably bring a greater return, but it would signify a rebuilding process that Chicago may not be ready for. If they’re both back next season, Johnson suggests drafting a shooting guard, possibly Michigan State’s Denzel Valentine, and moving Butler to small forward.
  • New Pacers coach Nate McMillan has to change his style to succeed in the modern NBA, former All-Star Gary Payton tells Candace Buckner of The Indianapolis Star. Payton, who played for McMillan in Seattle, says the coach will need to drop his disciplinarian image. “[McMillan] can’t be that militant coach,” Payton said. “You see what happened with George Karl up in Sacramento. When you’ve got players and it happens like that, you’re going to be the odd man out. I don’t think ownership these days are taking the side of a coach unless you’re a [Gregg] Popovich or something like that, over these $15MM-$20MM players.”
  • The Bucks are weighing their options with the 36th and 38th picks in next month’s draft, writes Charles F. Gardner of The Journal-Sentinel. Milwaukee concentrated on forwards on its first workout this week, which included Weber State’s Joel Bolomboy and Louisiana-Lafayette’s Shawn Long. Trading the picks to move into the first round is also an option. “Could we ever bundle those picks and move up?” said GM John Hammond. “Once again, not easy to do. Do we stay with both picks? Do we look at making one of those picks for a current roster spot and maybe another one with potentially an international player that could stay and continue to develop? We’ll see as it moves forward.”

Atlantic Notes: Ainge, Colangelo, Draft

The Celtics would at least debate the idea of trading the pick Brooklyn owes them even if it winds up No. 1 after the lottery, president of basketball operations Danny Ainge said in an appearance on ESPN2 Thursday, notes Chris Forsberg of Still, Ainge knows he can’t over-reach and burn the team’s assets, as Steve Bulpett of the Boston Herald relays. “I understand that,” Ainge said. “Look, we just want to spend our capital wisely. That’s all I’m saying. And we’ll try to do that. But sometimes you have to wait and you can’t do it when you want to do it. But we wanted to do it last [offseason]. We wanted to do it at the trade deadline. And now this summer, we want to do it. And I feel like the summer’s a better time than [the] trade deadline to do it, so I’m optimistic and I’m hopeful.”

See more from the Atlantic Division:

  • Sixers president of basketball operations Bryan Colangelo expressed a willingness to consider trading a top-five pick if the team ends up with two, as Scott Howard-Cooper of observes following his conversation with the new team exec. Philadelphia, which has a 26.9% chance of landing the No. 1 pick, also gets the Lakers pick if it falls out of the top three. “I think you should always be a little proactive, just in determining what your best course of action is,” Colangelo said. “You don’t want to leave anything on the table. If there was an opportunity to do something and you didn’t know that or realize it because you didn’t make a phone call, then that’s your fault. But I think we’ll explore everything in every regard, and that’s the good news about having the kind of flexibility and the number of assets that we have.”
  • Maryland small forward Jake Layman and Louisville center Chinanu Onuaku will work out for the Celtics, notes A. Sherrod Blakely of (Twitter link).
  • The Sixers interviewed Syracuse’s Malachi Richardson and Kentucky’s Tyler Ulis, and Ulis plans to work out for Philadelphia, too, as Jessica Camerato of relays (Twitter links). Oregon State’s Gary Payton II is also on the Sixers interview list, tweets Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer.
  • Regardless of whether a reported four-year, $4.5MM offer is in the works, the Knicks want draft-and-stash prospect Guillermo Hernangomez on their roster next season, reports international journalist David Pick (Twitter link). Agent Andy Miller dismissed the report of the offer, though New York can’t formally present a contract to Hernangomez until July.

And-Ones: Sixers, Jackson, Marble

The Sixers are willing to take on expiring contracts in order to increase their stash of second-round draft picks, according to Tom Moore of Calkins Media. Trade talks have been heating up, an NBA source told Moore, and the team is likely to make at least one deal before Thursday’s deadline. The Sixers already own 16 second-rounders over the next six drafts but wouldn’t mind adding more assets. The franchise also has $18.4MM in salary-cap room to absorb expiring deals, Moore continues. If the Sixers do make a deal, Luc Mbah a Moute is the player most likely to be moved. Mbah a Moute, who has an expiring contract of approximately $4.4MM, is averaging a career high of 10.0 points,  and could draw interest from a contender. Moore also speculates the club would consider moving its best all-around player, Michael Carter-Williams, for the right price.

Here’s more from around the league:

  • Reggie Jackson would probably wind up with a non-contender if he’s dealt by the Thunder before the trade deadline, Anthony Slater of The Oklahoman writes. Jackson’s most likely destination would be a team needing a long-term solution at point guard with the expectation of re-signing him when he becomes a restricted free agent this summer, Slater adds. Jackson is making just over $2.2MM and might have to be paired with a higher-salaried player such as Kendrick Perkins, who is making approximately $9.65MM, in order to bring back a quality player in return, according to Slater.
  • Gary Payton has shown interest in joining George Karl’s staff with the Kings, Jason Jones of the Sacramento Bee tweets. Payton was Karl’s long-time point guard in Seattle, including during the 1996 NBA Finals when the SuperSonics lost to the Bulls.
  • The Magic have re-assigned Devyn Marble to the Erie BayHawks, their D-League affiliate, Josh Robbins of The Orlando Sentinel tweets. Marble, a rookie guard, has not appeared in an NBA game since January 25th. In 16 games with the Magic this season, Marble is averaging 2.3 PPG.
  • Derrick Favors and Rudy Gobert are the main building blocks for the Jazz and have too much potential to be traded, Brad Rock of the Deseret News writes. Quality big men are precious commodities and that makes the duo more important than the team’s current star, Gordon Hayward, Rock adds.

And-Ones: Blazers, Payton, Amundson

The Blazers made it to the second round of the playoffs last season, which was the first time in the last 14 years that the franchise has accomplished that feat. In their season preview, the crew over at Basketball Insiders predicts that Portland will finish second in the Northwest Division, and the Blazers stronger bench may help them advance deeper in the playoffs this season.

Here’s more from around the league:

  • Gary Payton is joining the Bucks coaching staff as a special advisor with the express purpose of helping Giannis Antetokounmpo make the transition to point guard, Alex Kennedy of Basketball Insiders writes. Antetokounmpo played the point during the Las Vegas Summer League, and the intent is for him and Milwaukee to continue with the experiment during the regular season, notes Kenendy.
  • The Cavs impending signing of Lou Amundson brings to Cleveland a player who isn’t interested in scoring, and who understands the value of a rebound, taking a charge and overall defense, all things the suddenly talent-laden Cavs need, Terry Pluto of the Plain Dealer writes.
  • Recent Knicks camp invitee Orlando Sanchez could play a big role for the team this season, Keith Schlosser of SB Nation writes in his profile of the player. With the injury history of New York’s current big men, Sanchez could prove valuable as a mid-season D-League call up, notes Schlosser.

Gary Payton On The End In Seattle

The now-defunct Seattle SuperSonics team of the 1990s featured a dynamic point guard out of Oregon State University named Gary Payton. "The Glove" played his first 13 seasons with the Sonics, ending, during the only losing season while he was featured on the roster, mid-way through the 2002/03 season.

During that final half-year in Seattle, Payton was traded to the Bucks at the February deadline and went on to play for four more teams in the NBA before retiring in 2007 after capturing a championship with the Heat the year before.

Tonight Payton will be officially inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield, MA as part of the class of 2013. Payton sat down with the Sporting News' Sean Deveney to talk about the end of his tenure in Seattle and the conclusion of pro basketball in the state of Washington, at least until the NBA decides to return to a city itching for a professional basketball team.

On being inducted as a SuperSonic:

"This will smooth a little bit off of it," Payton revealed. "A lot of Seattle fans traveled up here, I am seeing a lot of stuff on Twitter and Instagram and all that stuff. It has really helped me. And then people had the galls to ask me what I am going to in as. I said, 'Really? You got the galls to ask me that?' Like I would go in as a Laker? How many All-Stars did I make as a Laker? You see me, 13 years, playing for them Seattle SuperSonics. You didn't see nothing else, you just seen that Sonic on my jersey. So it is really gratifying for Seattle. I can't disrespect that."

On the beginning of the end in Seattle when Barry Ackerley sold the team in 2001:

"When the Ackerleys sold the team, it went from being a family team to being a business then. The people who took over the team ran their team like a business, like how they made their money. And you can't do that. The Ackerleys ran the team like a family. When we had problems, they would call us in and talk to us. They would call us in and ask us, 'What's the problem?' Not try to trade you, not act like, 'No, you don't need a new contract.' They would work it out. They would call you and say let's work it out this summer, come to my home in the summer, we will go on a trip together, let's work things out."

On the ownership reign of Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz, who bought the team from Ackerley and eventually sold the team to the man who moved them to Oklahoma City:

"[Schultz] did a lot of moves that wasn't the best moves," said Payton. "He made a lot of silly moves and those silly moves, first, was getting rid of me. I wasn't asking for a lot. I didn't never ask for a contract, I played all my contracts out. I was in the last year of the deal. All I asked was, are we going to get an extension? He made it seem like, 'I don't care about you no more, you're nothing.' That's what happened. He seen that wasn't the right way. Then the team and the whole franchise went downhill from there."

On the end of his time in Seattle:

"It was time to go. I didn't want to be working for this guy. He knew it and I knew it. He made the move and he had the consequences. But, the consequences came and he messed that franchise up."

Odds & Ends: Paul, NBPA, Butler

In discussing Chris Paul's election as the new NBPA president, ESPN's Brian Windhorst writes that neither Paul nor former union vice president Jerry Stackhouse would commit to a timetable nor discuss whether a search firm was in place to find a replacement for ex-NBPA executive director Billy Hunter. Stackhouse, who will remain active with the union in an advisory role, said they aren't in a rush but have already identified a number of candidates. Windhorst also says the union would ideally want a new executive director in place by February 1st, when Adam Silver is set to begin his job as the new commissioner. Here are more of tonight's miscellaneous news and notes, along with more from the above piece:

  • Some comments from Paul: "I've been thinking about (running) for a while on and off…I've had a lot of dialogue about it with committee members. I wouldn't have taken on the role if I was going to do it alone."
  • There are a few specific issues that were tabled during the 2011 CBA which still need to be resolved, especially blood testing for performance enhancing drugs (including human growth hormone) and the current age limit to declare for the NBA draft. 
  • Lakers guard Steve Blake and Bobcats forward Anthony Tolliver were added as new members to the executive committee, joining Paul, Roger Mason Jr.Stephen CurryAndre Iguodala, James Jones, Matt Bonner, and Willie Green.
  • The union has turned to Deloitte Financial Advisory Services to examine its structure and will make necessary changes, such as adding a human resources and information technology department (J.A. Adande of
  • Jeff Zillgitt of USA Today notes that the NBPA has hired Reilly Partners to help with restructuring and forming a job description for the executive director position, and that two names have surfaced as potential candidates for the opening: former NBA executive vice president of basketball operations Stu Jackson and former NBA and Madison Square Garden executive Steven Mills
  • Suns forward Caron Butler says he's looking forward to being a mentor to teammate Michael Beasley, gives his thoughts on the Clippers, and talks about how he's approaching the upcoming season in Phoenix. Butler adds that no one from the Clippers front office has spoken to him since he was notified by his agent about being traded, but insists there's no ill will: “I don’t leave with bitterness or anything, but a phone call would have helped the situation…But it’s cool, it’s no hard feelings because that’s the nature of the business" ('s Jeff Caplan). 
  • Hoopsworld's Alex Kennedy looks at a list of 11 of the top 13 players drafted this past June and discusses their chances at winning Rookie of the Year.
  • In the same piece, Kennedy relays a clip from Gary Payton's interview on FOX Sports, in which the Hall of Fame point guard reveals that he may have had something to do with Allen Iverson's "practice" rant on the 76ers several years ago: "(Iverson) asked me…'How do you keep your body is so good of a shape, and don’t get hurt, and stay always on the court?’ And I just told him for real, my coach George Karl didn’t let me practice. So that was it. I said, ‘You have to stop practicing." While watching the actual rant, Payton recalled thinking: ‘Don’t say it like this! Don’t do it like that, Allen…When he said it, I said, ‘No, that was not our conversation.’”

Western Notes: Rockets, Blazers, Payton, Suns

While there's been plenty of talk about the cap space the Rockets are expected to have this summer, coach Kevin McHale is just hoping to see that space turned into an impact player, as he jokes to Sam Amick of USA Today.

"I've never seen Cap Room score a basket yet though," McHale said. "I've seen old Cap, and his last name is Room, I've yet to see him put a hoop in, haven't seen him block a shot, haven't seen him get a rebound yet. But when Cap Room starts putting up numbers, we should be in great shape."

Here are a few more notes out of the Western Conference as we prepare for All-Star weekend: