Adam Silver

Southwest Notes: Doncic, T. Allen, Morant, Williamson

Mavericks guard Luka Doncic had three full days off between the end of the team’s first-round series against the Clippers and the start of the second-round matchup with Oklahoma City, but it looked like the right knee sprain he suffered early in the Clippers series was still bothering him on Tuesday.

As Tim MacMahon of ESPN details, Doncic made 1-of-8 three-pointers in Dallas’ Game 1 loss to the Thunder and has now hit just 5-of-35 threes in his past four contests. That’s the worst three-point percentage (14.3%) for any player who has at least 30 attempts over a four-game postseason run in NBA history, says MacMahon.

“It’s just hurting,” Doncic said of his knee, per Brad Townsend of The Dallas Morning News (subscription required). “Less mobility. Less explosiveness when I’m driving the ball. But it’s about the same. These days gave me a little more time to rest, a little more time to rehab.”

Asked specifically about how big a part his knee issues are playing in his shooting struggles, Doncic declined to speculate, telling reporters that bouncing back from the Mavericks’ fifth consecutive Game 1 loss is his focus.

“Who cares? We lost,” he said. “We’ve just got to move on to the next one. I’ve got to be better. We’ve got to be better. We’re known for Game 1-struggling, but we’ve got to focus.”

Here’s more from around the Southwest:

  • The Grizzlies are expected to retire Tony Allen‘s No. 9 jersey during the 2024/25 season, the former defensive standout tells Damichael Cole of The Memphis Commercial Appeal. Memphis had originally planned to retire Allen’s number during the 2021/22 season, according to Cole, but the veteran guard asked the team to postpone it due to his legal issues. Allen will join former teammates Marc Gasol and Zach Randolph among Grizzlies players with their jerseys retired. “I’m looking forward to it,” he said. “Hopefully, I have a box of tissue with me.”
  • NBA commissioner Adam Silver provided a favorable update on Grizzlies guard Ja Morant on Monday, according to Cole. Silver had “regular check-ins” with Morant over the course of the year, which was one of the conditions attached to his 25-game suspension for multiple off-court incidents. “From everything we have seen, his development has been very positive,” Silver said. “Working with the team and his personal management, having a stronger support team around him seems to be making a difference in his life.”
  • A federal appeals court has upheld a 2021 ruling in favor of Zion Williamson, according to an Associated Press report, determining that the Pelicans forward’s contract with a marketing agent was void because she wasn’t licensed in North Carolina at the time of the agreement. Gina Ford, a Florida-based agent, had been seeking $100MM from Williamson, accusing him of improperly breaking a contract allowing her to represent him for endorsement purposes.

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.

International Notes: All-Star Game, Embiid, Wembanyama, Canada

In an appearance with Gayle King and Charles Barkley on CNN (video link), Commissioner Adam Silver said the NBA will consider a U.S. vs. international format to revamp the All-Star Game. It’s one of several ideas that were brought up after last month’s All-Star Weekend in Indianapolis, which concluded with the East defeating the West 211-186 in a contest that was low on competitiveness and defensive effort.

Silver called it “a great weekend, but it was not a basketball game,” and said changes to the format are being studied.

“I think maybe as opposed to trying to create a super competitive basketball game, which I am not sure the teams or the players really want, we should do different things and make it a celebration of basketball,” Silver said. “… “We are going to look at U.S. vs. international. I just think maybe we are past that point where we are going to play a truly competitive game.” 

There’s more news from around the basketball world:

  • Joel Embiid opted to join Team USA in the Summer Olympics, assuming he’s healthy enough, but French basketball officials say they had serious discussions with the Sixers center before the decision was made, per Joe Vardon of The Athletic. Jean-Pierre Siutat, president of French basketball, and former NBA player Boris Diaw, general manager of the French men’s team, contend they had two meetings with Embiid regarding the possibility that he might play for France. “He said, yes, I want to (play), make the (passport),” Siutat said. “So I make the job, with the help of the government, to get a passport for him and for his son. And all the time, he said, ‘I want to play for the national team of France.’” Embiid disputes that version of events through a spokesman, claiming he never asked for a passport, Vardon adds.
  • Victor Wembanyama is setting the bar high as he tries to win a gold medal while playing at home in Paris, according to a Eurohoops story.  “Any other result than the first place would be a failure since we could have done better,” the Spurs rookie said. “You shouldn’t have any regrets, but it’s a very achievable goal”.
  • Canadian coach Jordi Fernandez is looking to fill out his Olympic roster around a core group consisting of Shai Gilgeous-AlexanderLuguentz DortRJ BarrettKelly OlynykNickeil Alexander-WalkerDwight Powell and Dillon Brooks, notes Eric Koreen of The Athletic. Jamal Murray is expected to join them if health permits, and international star Melvin Ejim could get a spot as well. Koreen expects Canada to search around the NBA for the remainder of its 12-man roster.

Adam Silver Defends 65-Game Requirement At Press Conference

Commissioner Adam Silver defended the NBA’s 65-game requirement for players to qualify for postseason awards and All-NBA honors at his annual All-Star Weekend press conference, writes Joe Vardon of The Athletic. The new minimum was enacted to reduce the number of games missed by marquee players, and Silver is happy with the effect it’s had on the league.

“I’m not ready to say it isn’t working so far,” he said. “I can tell you that the number of games that players have participated in is up this season and interestingly enough, injuries are actually down. Whether that’s meaningful data yet, I don’t know. I think the right time to take a further look at this rule is at the end of the season when we sort of at least have a year under our belt.”

Vardon cites Sixers center Joel Embiid as an example of a player who was affected by the 65-game standard. A series of nagging injuries made Embiid unlikely to be eligible to repeat as MVP, even before he underwent surgery for a meniscus tear. Vardon also points to Pacers guard Tyrese Haliburton, who is trying to stay on the court while battling hamstring issues so he can make an All-NBA team and be eligible for a larger contract extension.

Silver stated that the players union agreed to the 65-game requirement with the understanding that “we needed to incentivize players, particularly star players, to play more games.” Vardon notes that 16 of the league’s top 20 scorers and 35 of the top 50 have played at least 45 games by the break, which is up sharply from last season.

There’s more from Silver’s press conference, all from Vardon:

  • The commissioner addressed the explosion of offense this season as the league average of 115.6 points per game per team is at its highest level in 54 years. Silver believes the increased scoring is a result of the high-level talent throughout the NBA and isn’t something that the league should be trying to control. “I want to dispel any notion that the league feels, or the league office necessarily feels that high-scoring games in the abstract are good,” Silver said. “I think what we want are competitive games. … The skill level is off the charts. Every player at every position has to be able to shoot the ball. … You’re seeing this global pool of talent coming into the league (with) some of the best athletes in the world who can frankly shoot the lights out. I think that’s partly what’s responsible for the increased scoring.”
  • Silver said the league is “in the process of reassessing” the G League Ignite, which was created to appeal to young players looking for an alternative to college. Silver acknowledged that NIL incentives have made the NCAA more lucrative for athletes and reduced the appeal of the Ignite.
  • The NBA is encouraging changes to the development system for American players, with Silver noting that 30% of the league was born somewhere other than the U.S. “It’s clear that the development is very different in many of those programs outside of the United States, more focused on practice and less focused on games, which seems to be the opposite of many of the youth programs in the United States,” Silver said. “We’ve begun discussions with the NCAA. … There’s no question (top American players) are coming into the league incredibly skilled, but that doesn’t necessarily translate into being team basketball players.”

Adam Silver Talks 65-Game Rule, All-Star Game, Mexico City, IST

The push-back from some players and fans over how the NBA’s new 65-game minimum for end-of-season awards has affected certain stars didn’t come as a surprise to the league, according to commissioner Adam Silver, who told Shaun Powell of that he believes the policy has worked as intended.

One noteworthy case has been that of Tyrese Haliburton, an All-Star whose new contract extension would increase in value by more than $40MM if he makes an All-NBA team in 2023/24. The Pacers guard has already missed 13 games so far this season, giving him little margin for error if he hopes to remain eligible to qualify for that salary bump.

“In a league where contracts are fully guaranteed, there’s no reduction in salary for a player who doesn’t make the playoffs or plays a reduced number of games, whether it’s because they were injured or because rest was appropriate for some of those games. They get their full salary,” Silver said. “What these designations are essentially about, in addition to the respect and accolades that come from these designations, there are also financial consequences. And the feeling was the 65-game limit, playing 80 percent of games, seemed like a fair cutoff to be eligible.

“As a reminder, I think what gets confused in some circles is that we pay a fixed sum of money every year to 450 players. It’s 51 percent of the (basketball-related income). I think the only appropriate way to judge the effect of this rule is when this season is over, to see how that money is distributed. Then it’s a fair question to say was the outcome fair for everyone involved – including putting in place the appropriate incentives – to decide who gets bonuses and who doesn’t?”

While Silver didn’t mention Haliburton’s situation specifically, he went on to say that there may be individual cases that may seem unfair. However, he stressed that the league has seen a “significant” increase in the amount that All-Star caliber players are playing, which was the intended effect of the new rule.

“We don’t want to turn the clock back and put players in position where they’re playing injured, but we have an obligation to our fans for players to play as many games as they reasonably can,” Silver said.

Here are a few more highlights from Silver’s conversation with Powell:

  • Silver, who indicated that the NBA reverted to the East vs. West format in this year’s All-Star game because it’s “what the fans wanted,” said that expanding All-Star rosters to 15 players (from 12) isn’t something the league is currently considering. “Part of the reason we’ve stayed at 12 is because it makes being an All-Star that much more special,” Silver said. “As you know, we just came through a collective bargaining cycle and (15-man All-Star rosters) were not high on anyone’s list. There’s a mutual interest with the teams and the players that being an All-Star remains that very special designation.”
  • Although the NBA has introduced a G League franchise in Mexico City and has spoken in recent years about the possibility of expanding the NBA south of the border, Silver doesn’t view that as a likely outcome in the short term. “In terms of Mexico City, we’ve played many regular season games in a first-class arena there,” he said. “It’s the largest market in North America and there’s a huge Hispanic and Mexican American population in the U.S. A potential expansion in Mexico City is on our radar. It’s probably not going to happen in the next wave of expansion but I think over time it would be very realistic.”
  • With a new media rights deal around the corner, the NBA wants to get feedback from its prospective TV partners before deciding on what changes it might make to the in-season tournament, according to Silver, who acknowledged that tiebreaker rules are one thing the league and players’ union will look at. “It’s too early to tell. I don’t want to make too many changes this quickly because people are just getting used to it,” the commissioner said. “Even the notion of a neutral site final four, we’ve only gone through one iteration of that. So, we’ll probably keep it roughly similar next season to get a better sense of whether that’s the right format.”
  • Silver also spoke to Powell about the league-wide increase in scoring, the NBA’s next media rights deal, and the high number of recent team ownership changes, among other topics. You can check out the full conversation here.

And-Ones: Dumars, Silver, 2024 Draft, Hill, Snell

In an interview with Vincent Goodwill of Yahoo Sports, NBA executive vice president Joe Dumars said that while he has sympathy for injured players, such as Joel Embiid and Tyrese Haliburton, who may miss out on postseason awards due to the 65-game requirement, he noted the rule was collectively bargained and approved by the National Basketball Players’ Association last year.

You’re always gonna have unintended consequences, that’s the first thing,” Dumars told Yahoo Sports. “The second thing, you kind of knew that the first couple of guys that were going to get close to that mark, it will become an issue. So it probably was going to become a talking point at some point. It could’ve been a month from now. The number is what the number is. I’m not surprised, (though).

Dumars also said the NBA has been talking to coaches, general managers and the competition committee about the rise in scoring over the past decade.

The question is posed to each one of those groups: Is the balance out of whack? Do we need to balance this more to allow defenses to defend more, to do more on the defensive end of the court? And by and large, people are saying it wouldn’t be bad to have a little bit more defense,” Dumars said.

Here’s more from around the basketball world:

  • The Ringer’s staff listed what they view as the 15 biggest challenges facing NBA commissioner Adam Silver over his next 10 years in office. Silver recently signed a contract extension that will keep him in charge of the league office through the rest of the decade. Perhaps the biggest challenge? According to Howard Beck, that will be finding the next “face of the league” when LeBron James and Stephen Curry retire.
  • Jonathan Givony of ESPN (subscriber link) recently released an in-depth notebook from a 10-day scouting trip across Europe, with potential 2024 No. 1 pick Zaccharie Risacher among the players covered. At 6’10”, Risacher possesses a tantalizing blend of two-way skills and has excellent basketball instincts, according to Givony, who says the French 18-year-old has an “incredibly high floor” due to his “confidence, productivity and efficiency” while also having considerable upside.
  • Grant Hill, a Hall of Fame player who is currently managing director of USA Basketball as well as a minority owner of the Hawks, is among a group of noteworthy investors who have agreed to buy the MLB’s Baltimore Orioles, per The Associated Press (link via Longtime Orioles star Cal Ripken Jr. is another investor in the team. Hill has ties to the area, as he’s from northern Virginia, not far from Washington D.C.
  • Jake Fischer of Yahoo Sports explains why former NBA wing Tony Snell has family and health reasons for wanting to make it back to the league. Snell needs one more year of service (10) to qualify for the union’s premium medical insurance plan for families; he’s currently the only one covered, but he has two sons with autism spectrum disorder (Snell is also on the spectrum). The 32-year-old has spent the past two seasons with the Maine Celtics, Boston’s G League affiliate.

And-Ones: Cauley-Stein, Rondo, Curry/Ionescu, Silver, Morant

Longtime NBA big man Willie Cauley-Stein, whose last brief stint in the league came with the Rockets at the end of the 2022/23 season, has signed with Indios de Mayaguez, the Puerto Rican team announced (Facebook link).

The sixth overall pick in 2015, Cauley-Stein signed with Italian club Pallacanestro Varese last summer, but the two sides parted ways in December, freeing up the veteran center to join a new team.

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

  • Four-time NBA All-Star Rajon Rondo was arrested on Sunday in Indiana for unlawful possession of a firearm, drug paraphernalia, and marijuana, reports Jason Riley of An initial court hearing has been scheduled for February 27. Rondo appeared in nearly 1,100 total regular season and playoff games from 2006-22 but hasn’t been in the NBA since finishing the 2021/22 season with Cleveland.
  • The NBA confirmed on Tuesday in a press release that Warriors star Stephen Curry and WNBA sharpshooter Sabrina Ionescu will compete in a one-on-one three-point contest for charity on All-Star Saturday next month. Ionescu, who racked up 37 of 40 possible points in the final round of last season’s WNBA three-point contest, will shoot from the WNBA three-point line using WNBA balls, while Curry shoots from the NBA three-point line using NBA balls.
  • Tim Reynolds of The Associated Press lays out why Adam Silver‘s contract extension as NBA commissioner was seemingly a “no-brainer,” noting that that seems to be the consensus among players around the league as well. “Our league, from the time that I came in until now, it’s 10 times better,” Bucks star Giannis Antetokounmpo said. “Everything’s more organized. … I think he’s done a tremendous job. He’s definitely a max player.”
  • Grizzlies star Ja Morant is launching an AAU basketball program called “Twelve Time” that will be based in South Carolina and Georgia. Damichael Cole of The Memphis Commercial Appeal has the story.

Stein’s Latest: Lakers, Murray, TV Deal, Tillman, J. Allen

There has been “little to no” dialogue in recent days between the Lakers and Hawks about a potential Dejounte Murray trade, league sources tell veteran NBA reporter Marc Stein (Substack link). The clubs reportedly previously discussed the possibility of a deal that would include D’Angelo Russell, the Lakers’ 2029 first-round pick, a pick swap, and possibly rookie Jalen Hood-Schifino.

As Stein notes, there’s still more than enough time before the February 8 trade deadline for the two teams to reengage, but he spoke to one source briefed on the talks who believes it’s “unrealistic” that Murray ends up with the Lakers.

One factor for the disconnect between the two clubs, Stein explains, is a gap in how they value Russell. The veteran point guard has been playing some of the best basketball of his career as of late, averaging 27.5 points and 6.4 assists per game since being reinserted into the Lakers’ starting lineup on January 13.

However, the Hawks appear to have no real interest in acquiring D-Lo and would want to flip him to a third team in a potential Murray trade. With Russell performing so well recently, the Lakers’ pursuit of Murray seems to have been “dialed back,” Stein writes.

Here’s more from Stein’s latest Substack article:

  • Some industry insiders think the NBA’s next media rights deal will be a shorter-term agreement than the league’s current nine-year pact, which is expiring in 2025. As Stein points out, a five-year media rights deal could put commissioner Adam Silver in position to lead negotiations on the next contract after that, before his new extension expires.
  • Grizzlies big man Xavier Tillman is a player to watch as a possible trade candidate in the next week-and-a-half, according to Stein. Tillman is the only one of 15 Grizzlies on standard deals who doesn’t have a contract for next season — 13 have guaranteed salaries, while Memphis holds a team option on Luke Kennard.
  • Stein also passes along some reporting from his podcast co-host Chris Haynes, who stated on his latest Bleacher Report live stream that the Cavaliers have zero interest in fielding inquiries on Jarrett Allen at this season’s trade deadline.

Commissioner Adam Silver To Receive Contract Extension

Adam Silver is finalizing a contract extension that will keep him as NBA commissioner through the rest of the decade, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN. He will remain in office to pursue the league’s next two major objectives, a new media rights deal and expansion, Wojnarowski adds.

Silver, 61, spent eight years as deputy commissioner before being promoted nearly 10 years ago. He has operated in a less authoritative manner than his predecessor, David Stern, Wojnarowski observes, working to build a partnership with owners, management and players and becoming popular with all three groups.

Silver negotiated a new Collective Bargaining Agreement last March that will ensure labor harmony through at least 2029. The CBA also reworked the salary cap system by creating restrictive apron levels, giving teams in small and mid-sized markets a greater opportunity to remain competitive.

The commissioner radically transformed the NBA’s playoff system with the introduction of the play-in tournament, which provides more teams with a chance to qualify and limits the number of games in March and April with no postseason implications. The success of that innovation led to this season’s establishment of a mid-season tournament, which was a big hit with fans and players.

Silver has been tested by crisis during his time in office, Wojnarowski notes. He suspended the 2019/20 season for several months following the COVID-19 outbreak and helped to devise a system to finish the season in a bubble setting at Disney World in Orlando. The move allowed the league to crown a champion, even though it didn’t happen until October, and preserved television revenue as well as player salaries.

Draymond Green Says Adam Silver Talked Him Out Of Retiring

Draymond Green considered retirement around the time he was suspended last month, but NBA commissioner Adam Silver convinced him to keep playing, relays ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski. The Warriors star explained the situation on the latest edition of his podcast, “The Draymond Green Show.”

“I told him, ‘Adam this is too much for me. … This is too much,” Green said. “It’s all becoming too much for me — and I’m going to retire.’ And Adam said, ‘You’re making a very rash decision and I won’t let you do that.’

“We had a long, great conversation — very helpful to me. Very thankful to play in a league with a commissioner like Adam who’s more about helping you than hurting you; helping you than punishing you. He’s more about the players.”

The podcast marks Green’s first public comments since Silver handed down an indefinite suspension on December 14 after Green was thrown out of a game for striking Phoenix center Jusuf Nurkic in the face. It was the second suspension of the season for Green, who was also docked five games for putting Minnesota’s Rudy Gobert in a choke hold in November.

Green’s latest suspension was lifted on Saturday, but he still hasn’t returned to action. He’s currently working on his conditioning and could be back on the court by the end of the week.

During his time away from the game, Green underwent counseling with representatives from the league office, the team and the players association, as well as his agent, Rich Paul of Klutch Sports. Green was reported to be “open and engaged” during the counseling sessions, which are expected to continue for the rest of the season.

The Warriors have publicly expressed support for Green throughout the process, but coach Steve Kerr said after the incident with Nurkic that Green “has to change and he knows that.”