Mark Tatum

And-Ones: Social Justice Board, Boatright, Jazz, Moore

Carmelo Anthony, Avery Bradley, Sterling Brown, Donovan Mitchell and Karl-Anthony Towns are the players chosen to serve on the league’s Social Justice Coalition Board, according to The Athletic’s Shams Charania (Twitter links).

The NBA and NBPA agreed to create the group to advance equality and social justice after teams walked out of games in late August to protest a police shooting. Commissioner Adam Silver, deputy commissioner Mark Tatum and NBPA executive director Michele Roberts, as well as owners Micky Arison, Steve Ballmer, Clay Bennett, Marc Lasry and Vivek Randadive and coaches Lloyd Pierce and Doc Rivers.

We have more from around the basketball world:

  • Ryan Boatright has signed with Lithuanian club team BC Rytas Vilnius, the team tweets. Boatright, 28, played in Europe last season after spending time in the G League during the 2018/19 season. The former University of Connecticut guard also played in Italy, China and Turkey.
  • The sale price of the Jazz bodes well for the league’s franchise valuations, Bill Shea of The Athletic notes. The team, along with an arena and a couple of minor-league teams, were sold to Qualtrics founder Ryan Smith for $1.66 billion, and the league’s owners are expected to approve the sale. The valuation falls in line with expectations and doesn’t reflect any pandemic discount, Shea continues. It also reinforces the notion that team values keep going up.
  • Former Pacers forward Ben Moore has signed with South East Melbourne Phoenix of Australia’s NBL, according to the team. Moore is expected to join the club for preseason training next month. Moore, who also spent time in the Spurs organization, logged two games with Indiana during the 2017/18 season.

And-Ones: Technology, Ratings, L. Nash, Italy

The NBA is looking for more ways to deliver its product to fans who never attend games in person, NBA deputy commissioner Mark Tatum told Jabari Young of CNBC. The challenges that 2020 brought have led to revelations about involving more fans in the process and the potential of 5G technology, which is being made available in an increasing number of arenas.

Facebook is working to improve its virtual reality experience, including remotely bringing fans into courtside seats. The company’s “rail-cam” was able to move at game speed with no actual fans getting in the way. Rob Shaw, Facebook’s head of Global Sports Media and League Partnerships, said the social media company plans to utilize better camera lenses to enhance the video experience.

“If you’re going to watch a game from the front row, it has to feel like you’re watching it from the front row,” Shaw said. “… That experience is something I hope is brought to the platform in three to five years – for people around the world to be able to have the same experience as Spike Lee watching a Knicks game.”

If Facebook can sell virtual courtside seats, it would present an opportunity for advertisers to reach out to fans with personally catered messages. The NBA is also working to expand virtual signs throughout its arenas.

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

  • The league isn’t overly concerned about its ratings decline during the playoffs, Tatum said in the same story. The NBA Finals drew the lowest viewership since 1994, but Tatum points to increased social media metrics, including billions of video views and more than 300 million YouTube views during the postseason, an increase of 63% over last year. “These are things that not only are affecting us but every other sports league,” Tatum said. “But we understand the numbers are what they are.”
  • Le’Bryan Nash, who was briefly with the Rockets in 2018, has been released by Maccabi Haifa for disciplinary reasons, according to Nicola Lupo of Sportando. Nash played just two games for the Israeli team.
  • COVID-19 continues to disrupt overseas basketball, writes Ennio Terrasi Borghesan of Sportando. The Italian government has adopted new pandemic restrictions that will require all basketball games through November 24 to take place in empty arenas.

NBA Reducing Salaries For League’s Top Executives

The NBA is temporarily implementing a 20% base salary reduction for approximately 100 of its highest-earning executives around the world, sources tell ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.

The move may sound similar to one the Sixers considered earlier this week before they reversed course when met with a PR backlash. However, the key difference here is that the NBA’s cutbacks will only impact top league executives and senior leaders, as Wojnarowski explains. Support and administrative staffers will not see their salaries reduced.

Commissioner Adam Silver and deputy commissioner Mark Tatum are among those affected by the measures, which are expected to continue for as long as the coronavirus crisis lasts, sources tell ESPN. Most of the execs who will have their salaries reduced work in the league’s New York office, Woj adds.

NBA spokesperson Mike Bass didn’t explicitly confirm ESPN’s report, but offered the following statement:

“These are unprecedented times and, like other companies across all industries, we need to take short-term steps to deal with the harsh economic impact on our business and organization.”

NBA Approves Mark Tatum As Deputy Commish

THURSDAY, 11:49am: The NBA’s Board of Governors has unanimously approved Tatum for the deputy commissioner post, the league announced via press release. He will take over the job Saturday, when Silver replaces David Stern as commissioner.

TUESDAY, 9:26am: The league has chosen Tatum as its next deputy commissioner and will make an official announcement soon, Wojnarowski tweets.

8:51am: The NBA’s vice president of global marketing partnerships has emerged as the leading candidate to succeed Adam Silver as the league’s deputy commissioner, reports Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports. Mark Tatum, a favorite of Silver’s, would serve as Silver’s assistant after he takes over for commissioner David Stern beginning Saturday.

Tatum joined the NBA in 1999 after working for Major League Baseball. He’s worked to create revenue for the NBA, overseeing the league’s marketing partnerships with major corporate sponsors. He’s also handled sales relationships with the league’s television and media partners.

An executive who spoke to Wojnarowski said Tatum is unfamiliar to most team front office people around the league, and that he’d need to grow into his position. Still, there’s been little chatter about other candidates, and Wojnarowski indicates that Tatum is a strong favorite to assume the position. Tatum, an African-American, would become one of the highest ranking minority executives in major North American professional sports.

Odds & Ends: Dragic, Jefferson, Carmelo

The summer of 2010 shows why teams would be unwise to make compromising moves at next month’s trade deadline just to clear cap space for the coming offseason, SB Nation’s Tom Ziller writes. Few clubs land true superstars in free agency, but many more have success with cheaper additions, as Ziller explains. While we wait to see how teams position themselves for the summer ahead, here’s the latest from around the NBA:

  • Goran Dragic has a realistic chance to earn a spot in next month’s All-Star Game, and if he does, he’ll receive a $1MM bonus, notes Paul Coro of the Arizona Republic.
  • Al Jefferson thought Kemba Walker was joking this summer when he suggested the big man should join the Bobcats, but agent Jeff Schwartz persuaded Jefferson to travel to Charlotte, where Steve Clifford helped convince the 6’10” free agent to sign. Steve Aschburner of NBA.com has more from one of 2013’s most surprising moves.
  • Gery Woelfel of the Racine Journal Times hears Carmelo Anthony wouldn’t mind joining Chris Paul and Blake Griffin (Twitter link). Rumors have linked Anthony to the Clippers, but most such reports suggest Griffin would go to the Knicks in return for Anthony.
  • The Sixers have again sent Lorenzo Brown to the D-League, the team announced. Philly sent Brown to the Delaware 87ers early Monday so he could play in their day game and recalled the point guard in time for him to appear in the big club’s loss to the Suns at night.
  • Jimmer Fredette may not be long for the Kings, but he isn’t destined to become the sort of star he was in college no matter where he ends up in the NBA, opines Brad Rock of the Deseret News. Rock hears the Jazz would have passed on him in the 2011 draft even if he had slipped to them at the No. 12 pick.
  • The United States Olympic Committee and the NCAA’s Big East Conference have shown interest in hiring incoming NBA deputy commissioner Mark Tatum, according to USA Today’s Jeff Zillgitt.