Adam Silver

And-Ones: Scariolo, Player Participation Policy, Silver

At the introductory press conference for new head coach Luca Banchi on Monday, Virtus Bologna’s Massimo Zanetti – the owner of the Italian team – spoke about the decision to dismiss veteran coach Sergio Scariolo just before the 2023/24 season began.

As Orazio Cauchi of relays, Zanetti’s comments suggest he felt slighted by Scariolo’s decision to interview with the Raptors and Real Madrid this offseason while under contract with Virtus Bologna. Zanetti suggested that Scariolo treated the Italian club like a “second-division” team.

It’s unclear what the next step is for Scariolo, who was a Raptors assistant from 2018-21 before returning to the EuroLeague and coaching Virtus for the last two seasons. He has compiled a long, impressive résumé overseas, having also coached Baskonia, Real Madrid, Khimki Moscow, and Olimpia Milano before making the move to the NBA five years ago.

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

  • Jon Krawczynski of The Athletic takes a look at the NBA’s new player participation policy, exploring whether or not it’s the right solution to address the league’s load management issue. As Krawczynski notes, the league is implementing the new rules before completing a new media deal, a signal that it wants to ensure its best product is on the court as often as possible during those negotiations.
  • Sarah Todd of The Deseret News and Zach Harper of The Athletic contend that the player participation policy doesn’t get to the root of the issue, which is that the regular season is too long. Harper suggests a 70-game schedule would be an improvement over the current 82-game slate, but acknowledges it’s extremely unlikely to happen, since it would require teams to sacrifice revenue.
  • Because the new player participation policy was the focus of Adam Silver‘s press conference last week, the commissioner wasn’t asked to address some other key issues, says Marc Stein in his latest Substack article. Specifically, Stein would’ve liked Silver to explain the specific reasoning behind James Harden‘s $100K fine and to discuss the sudden retirement of veteran referee Eric Lewis, whose connection to a burner Twitter account was being investigated by the league. The timing makes it hard not to assume Lewis agreed to resign in exchange for the NBA suppressing the details of the investigation, Stein writes.

Silver Discusses Player Participation Policy, In-Season Tournament, More

The NBA’s new Player Participation Policy is designed to create the best possible product for the fans, commissioner Adam Silver told reporters, including Steve Aschburner of, at a press conference Wednesday.

The guidelines, which were approved on Wednesday by the Board of Governors, were pursued by “everyone in the league,” Silver said. That includes owners, management, coaches, the NBPA and some individual players. They’re focused on producing a better experience for paying customers at the arenas and more reliability for media rights holders.

“This is ultimately about the fans,” Silver said. “And that we’ve taken this (load management) too far. This is an acknowledgment that it has gotten away from us a bit.”

Silver has been working for years to overcome the problem of the league’s best players appearing in fewer and fewer games. Under the PPP, teams will be subject to hefty fines if they violate the policy by giving excess rest to their stars, who are defined as anyone who has made an All-Star or All-NBA team during the previous three seasons.

“That doesn’t mean we were turning the clock back, that players are expected to play through injuries or that players never need rest,” Silver said. “But there’s a statement of a principle in this league that, if you’re a healthy player, you’re going to play.”

There’s more from Silver’s press conference:

  • The commissioner acknowledged that the new in-season tournament, which will debut this fall, may take a while to resonate, Aschburner adds. Silver added the league is committed to a long-term approach with the event. “It’s a multi-season issue, to the extent we’re looking to create a new tradition,” he said. “… If we’re seeing early indications of success, we’re going to see a little ratcheted-up intensity.”
  • Silver repeated his distaste for trade demands like the ones issued this summer by Damian Lillard and James Harden, per Ira Winderman of The Sun Sentinel. Although the Trail Blazers and Sixers haven’t made much progress on moving their unhappy stars, Silver doesn’t believe the public declarations are good for the league. “In terms of trade demands, of course, don’t like them,” Silver said. “As a league, want players and teams to honor their contracts. And I’m watching both the situation in Portland and Philadelphia, and hope they get worked out to the satisfaction of everyone before the season starts. And I’m glad that things seem to have settled down somewhat, at least in terms of public discourse.”
  • Silver said the league won’t do anything to force the sale of the Trail Blazers, relays TV station KGW8. When Paul Allen died in 2018, his will stipulated that the parts of his estate, including the NBA team, must be sold. However, Silver complimented Paul’s sister, Jody Allen, for running the team in “a first-class manner.”

Rockets Trying To Trade Kevin Porter Jr.

The Rockets are attempting to unload guard Kevin Porter Jr., who was arrested this week on charges of assault and strangulation, reports Shams Charania of The Athletic.

Sources tell Charania that Houston has contacted multiple teams about taking on Porter and is offering draft assets as an incentive. The Rockets “are keeping all options open” regarding Porter’s future, according to Charania’s sources, but they would like to use his $15.9MM salary to trade for a player who can help right away.

Charania points out that any team considering a Porter deal would have to weigh the “optics” of acquiring a player who is being charged with two felonies for an assault on his girlfriend, former WNBA player Kysre Gondrezick. It would also have to determine how much draft capital is necessary to take on a player who would presumably be waived right away.

Porter pleaded not guilty to the charges at his arraignment Tuesday and was ordered to appear in a New York court on October 16. Prosecutors said the attack left Gondrezick with a fractured vertebra in her neck, along with other physical damage.

Commissioner Adam Silver called the accusations “horrific” during a press conference on Wednesday, adding that the league’s investigation is being conducted in accordance with its domestic violence policy, which was bargained with the NBPA, writes Jonathan Feigen of The Houston Chronicle.

“Every case, though, also depends on its unique facts,” Silver said. “I think here when we’re not in-season there is a little bit more opportunity to absorb what’s happened before we react. I think if it were a case where we were more in the middle of the season, we might be compelled to do something faster.”

Training camps don’t open for nearly three weeks, so there’s not much time pressure for the league to act immediately. Feigen notes that the NBA has typically waited for the legal process run its course in past cases involving criminal allegations, and the most likely outcome appears to be that Porter will be placed on administrative leave until that happens.

The decision on Porter will be up to the league, as the CBA prevents teams from imposing their own fines or suspensions in cases of this type. However, Silver said the league office is communicating with Rockets officials during the investigation.

“Again, I’ve learned over many years of working on these cases not to assume anything here and not just rely on headlines,” Silver said, “but try to truly understand what’s happening here as a combination of what law enforcement has learned and direct interviews. We’re still now in the process of gathering information.”

The timing of any action against Porter could affect his contract, which has a minimum guarantee for 2024/25 that increases from $1MM to $3MM on opening night of the upcoming season. It would rise to $6MM if he’s still on the roster five days after the 2024 trade deadline and become fully guaranteed for $15.86MM on June 30, 2024.

Grizzlies Notes: Morant, NBPA, Two-Way Slots, K. Davis

Ja Morant‘s 25-game suspension was a result of his failure to live up to promises he made when he met with Commissioner Adam Silver in March, sources tell Sam Amick of The Athletic.

During that hour-long session, which was also attended by NBA vice president Joe Dumars and NBPA leader Tamika Tremaglio, Morant blamed his first gun-related incident on an abundance of alcohol at a Denver-area strip club. The Grizzlies guard was described as “humble and contrite” during the meeting, and he convinced Silver that his regret over the matter was legitimate.

Their meeting wasn’t mentioned when Silver announced Morant’s latest punishment on Friday, but Amick believes the commissioner felt betrayed when he saw Morant repeat the same mistake. League sources tell Amick that Silver’s decision was only related to the two gun incidents and not the numerous other cases of alleged questionable behavior by Morant. Amick adds that a lawsuit involving the alleged assault of a teenager is still working its way through the court system, and the results could affect the decision on when Morant will be reinstated.

There’s more from Memphis:

  • A source also tells Amick that the NBPA’s objection to Morant’s suspension is related to the vagueness of “certain conditions” that Morant will be required to meet before he resume playing. The union would have been more comfortable with something in the 16-game range, which would have doubled his first suspension, according to Amick’s source.
  • The Grizzlies will benefit from the addition of a third two-way player in the new Collective Bargaining Agreement, writes Damichael Cole of The Commercial Appeal. Memphis only has one roster spot open heading into the draft, where it holds picks No. 25, 45 and 56. Cole suggests that Vince Williams Jr.‘s two-way slot feels safe because he was drafted in the second round last year and the organization likes his potential as a shooter. The second two-way spot currently belongs to Jacob Gilyard, who signed with the team in April.
  • Memphis point guard Kendric Davis has a workout scheduled with the Grizzlies this week, tweets Daily Memphian columnist John Martin. Davis has also worked out for the Warriors, Hornets, Wizards and Pacers.

And-Ones: Felicio, Howard, Silver, Eubanks

Former Bulls center Cristiano Felicio is re-upping with Spanish club Covirán Granada for a second straight season, reports Dario Skerletic of Sportando.

After going undrafted in 2014, the Brazilian big man eventually made enough of an impression on Chicago with his performance on the club’s 2015 Summer League team. He joined the Bulls on a two-year minimum deal in 2015.

Prior to the existence of the Bulls’ own NBAGL affiliate club, the 6’11” vet logged developmental time with Cavaliers’ then-D League affiliate, the Canton Charge, on assignment from Chicago. He would also go on to get some run with the Bulls’ G League team, the Windy City Bulls, throughout the rest of his Chicago tenure.

Felicio inked a generous four-season, $32MM contract to stick with the team in 2017, but fitness and health issues prevented him from ever becoming a major part of the Bulls’ rotation. Across his six seasons in the NBA, all with the Bulls, Felicio averaged 4.3 PPG, 3.9 RPG, and 0.7 APG in 252 total contests.

He went on to continue his career internationally. Felicio first latched on with German club Ratiopharm Ulm in 2021/22, before joining Covirán Granada last year. During his first season with Granada, Felicio averaged 12.8 PPG and 5.0 RPG across 22 MPG.

There’s more from around the basketball world:

  • During an interview with TVBS News Taiwan (YouTube video link), 18-year NBA pro and future Hall of Fame center Dwight Howard has claimed he may need to take a significant pay cut to stick with the Taoyuan Leopards in 2023/24. “I was offered a contract which was 65% less than what they gave me the first time to come to Taiwan,” Howard said. “I felt like that was very disrespectful.” Per Emiliano Carchia of Sportando, Leopards CEO Chang Chien-wei revealed that there would be a new calculus for determining Howard’s salary in the ensuing season. Across his 20 healthy games last year, Howard averaged 23.2 PPG, 16.2 RPG and 5.0 APG.
  • During a recent conversation on The Dan Patrick Show (YouTube video link), NBA commissioner Adam Silver touched on the controversial involvement of the Saudi Arabian government in international sports, including how he felt it could impact basketball (h/t to Mike Vorkunov of The Athletic for the transcription). “When the Saudis invest in sports, it gets outsized attention,” Silver said. “We allow funds to invest in teams but not control teams, not to have influence over teams… So to own an NBA team there has to be an individual with a certain percent of the team to control it.” The NBA changed its rules last season to allow sovereign wealth funds to invest in up to 20% of an NBA team, meaning the Saudi government’s Public Investment Fund could theoretically purchase a portion of a club in the future.
  • Trail Blazers big man Drew Eubanks may be able to play for Italy’s national team in international team competition. Per Orazio Cauchi of Basket News, the Italian federation has been looking to potentially naturalize Eubanks. The 6’9″ center/power forward, a free agent this summer, has Italian familial ties, though sources inform Cauchi that it remains unclear whether or not that will be enough for him to earn a passport and be able to play for the club. The 26-year-old averaged 6.6 PPG, 5.4 RPG, 1.3 SPG and 1.3 BPG across 78 games last season.

And-Ones: Expansion, Free Agency, Adelman

NBA commissioner Adam Silver made his latest statement on the possibility of expansion during an interview Sunday on NBA TV (video link).

Silver has repeatedly said that the idea of adding teams won’t be considered until after the 2024/25 season. The league wanted to get its new Collective Bargaining Agreement in place, which has been done, and negotiate its new media rights deal before thinking about expanding.

“I think it makes sense over time, if you’re a successful organization, to continue to grow,” Silver said. “There’s no doubt there are a lot of great cities we’re interested in having in the NBA.”

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

  • Lakers guard Austin Reaves is among the upcoming free agents who boosted their value during the NBA playoffs, writes Frank Urbina of HoopsHype. Reaves was already headed for a big payday, but his importance to the team was on display during L.A.’s run to the Western Conference Finals. Reaves will be restricted, so the Lakers can match an offer from another team, and Urbina believes he might get more than the $52MM over four years that L.A. can offer before he explores the market. Lakers forward Rui Hachimura, Heat guard Gabe Vincent, Clippers guard Russell Westbrook, Nuggets swingman Bruce Brown, Nets forward Cameron Johnson and Suns center Jock Landale also make Urbina’s list.
  • James Harden and Kyrie Irving are the top names on HoopsHype’s updated list of this year’s best free agents. The former Nets teammates will be the most-watched players on the market this summer, with Harden rumored to be interested in returning to Houston and Irving possibly not a lock to re-sign with Dallas. Kristaps Porzingis, Fred VanVleet and Khris Middleton round out the top five. The same five players are at the top of a free agent list compiled by Alex Kennedy of
  • The National Basketball Coaches Association announced Sunday that Rick Adelman is this year’s winner of the Chuck Daly Lifetime Achievement Award, per Tim Reynolds of The Associated Press. Adelman ranks 10th in career coaching wins with 1,042 and reached two NBA Finals with the Trail Blazers.“Chuck was a great coach and respected by all those who coached against his teams,” Adelman said. “To receive an award like this I have to thank all those who helped me along the way, in particular my assistant coaches and front offices. I would also like to thank the players I had through the years. Their effort and cooperation made everything I did possible. Good players make coaching much easier.”

Silver: NBA To Announce Discipline For Morant After Finals

Commissioner Adam Silver says the NBA’s investigation into Grizzlies guard Ja Morant has essentially concluded, but the league will announce his punishment soon after the NBA Finals wrap up, noting a desire to not detract from the Nuggets and Heat, per Tim MacMahon of ESPN (Twitter links).

We’ve uncovered a fair amount of additional information,” Silver said of Morant’s latest gun incident. “We probably could have brought it to a head now, but we’ve made the decision that it would be unfair to these players and these teams to announce that decision in the middle of this series.”

The Score has the video of Silver discussing Morant (Twitter video link). Silver said a “history of prior acts, the individual player’s history” and “the seriousness of the conduct” all factored into the league’s decision, adding that it was mostly a judgment call. He added that the National Basketball Players Association concurred with the decision to wait until after the Finals.

Derek Bodner of and Mirjam Swanson of The Southern California News Group are among the reporters who point out (Twitter links) that if the goal was to not detract from the Finals, it’s bizarre that Silver chose to speak publicly about Morant’s status and dangle the carrot, so to speak, without an official announcement. A simple “no comment” may have sufficed.

Morant, the former Rookie of the Year and a two-time All-Star, was suspended indefinitely by Memphis last month while the NBA investigated a social media video after he appeared to brandish a gun in an Instagram Live video that went viral. The incident came less than two-and-a-half months after Morant flashed a gun at a Denver-area strip club while streaming on Instagram Live. That video, which immediately prompted an investigation from the NBA, eventually led to an eight-game suspension.

Morant’s live stream in March was part of a series of troubling off-court incidents allegedly involving the 23-year-old, who punched a 17-year-old during a pickup game last summer, was accused of threatening a security guard at a Memphis mall, and was reportedly involved in a confrontation with members of the Pacers’ traveling party after a January game.

The 23-year-old hasn’t faced any criminal charges for those past incidents or either of his gun-related video streams, but the NBA has significant latitude to fine or suspend its players for conduct it deems detrimental to the league.

It seems likely that Morant will face a harsher penalty from the league this time around, not only for repeating the behavior that earned him his previous suspension, but for making the league office look foolish for any lenience it may have shown last time.

Ja Morant Notes: League, Silver, Nike, Suspension

The latest gun-related incident involving Grizzlies All-Star point guard Ja Morant could adversely affect the reputations of the rest of the NBA’s players, opined Tim MacMahon of ESPN during a recent episode of The Basketball Illuminati Podcast.

“I’m curious what stance [the players association] might take,” MacMahon said. “I’ve talked to agents of other superstar players and they’re pissed off too. Because this is not just a bad look for Ja Morant. This is not just a bad look for the Memphis Grizzlies. This reflects poorly on the entire league… Other teams are livid about this and other agents are livid about this because they feel it reflects poorly on everybody.

“I’m talking to an agent of another superstar and he’s like ‘Man, this really taints the image of the whole league,'” MacMahon continued. “‘I’ve got my clients who are doing everything right, who are never sniffing any kind of trouble. Positive members of their community.’ So on and so forth, but then the perception is going to be ‘Look at this fool who thinks playing with guns on Instagram Live is cool.”’

There’s more out of Memphis:

  • Morant’s recent regression has frustrated and disappointed several figures around the league, but the opinion of NBA commissioner Adam Silver is more important than anyone else, writes Mark Giannotto of The Memphis Commercial Appeal. Morant met with Silver to discuss the gravity of his previous suspension-inducing behavior with a gun in March. Giannotto believes that, given Silver’s comments about the latest actions of Morant, the commissioner will be considerably less lenient than he was in doling a punishment last time.
  • Until this season, Morant had been one of the NBA’s leading luminaries. Accordingly, he had his own line of Nike shoes in the pipeline. Now, the Nike app has stopped listing his Hunger Ja 1 sneakers ahead of their scheduled May 25 release, per Damichael Cole of The Memphis Commercial Appeal.
  • After Morant’s prior eight-game suspension this season, Jemele Hill of The Atlantic believes a considerably lengthier one in 2023/24 could potentially help the Grizzlies guard appreciate what he stands to give up should he continue this kind of behavior.

Latest On Ja Morant

Ja Morant is facing a “lengthy suspension” after his latest gun incident, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski said Sunday on “NBA Countdown” (video link). A video in which the Grizzlies guard appeared to brandish a firearm showed up on Instagram Sunday morning. The footage could have lasting effects for both Morant and his team.

Wojnarowski notes that commissioner Adam Silver showed “restraint” during a similar incident in early March when Morant posted a video of himself holding a gun at Denver-area strip club. Woj adds that Silver met with Morant before announcing an eight-game suspension and “took him at his word that he would make better decisions.” Silver is expected to handle the situation differently this time, particularly with owners concerned about how Morant’s actions affect the image of the NBA.

“I sense already today that Adam Silver’s going to feel increasing pressure from other teams in the league who see this, as much as it impacts the Grizzlies, that it impacts them and their ability to market their players and their teams,” Wojnarowski said.

The league will investigate the video to make sure it wasn’t “doctored” before taking any action, Wojnarowski adds.

There’s more on Morant and the reaction to the latest video:

  • Morant’s “transcendent talent and the seemingly endless marketing possibilities” affected the judgment of everyone involved in handling the first case, writes Sam Amick of The Athletic. He adds that the Grizzlies approached the situation with “a classic small-market culture” of a team that was concerned about upsetting its star player. Amick states that Morant has wasted the opportunity to learn from his mistakes by not changing his inner circle, getting away from the gun culture and accepting the responsibility that’s part of being an admired public figure.
  • Chris Mannix of Sports Illustrated points out that the eight-game suspension likely cost Morant an All-NBA designation, which would have guaranteed an extra $40MM in salary through a super-max contract. Despite the financial implications, the meeting with Silver, a visit to a counseling center in Florida and a contrite interview with Jalen Rose, Morant doesn’t seem to have been moved to change his behavior, Mannix adds.
  • Morant’s expected suspension will change the Grizzlies’ offseason in several ways, per Damichael Cole of The Commercial Appeal. Memphis likely won’t try to trade Tyus Jones, who has an expiring contract and has become one of the league’s best backup point guards, Cole states, because he’ll be needed while Morant is inactive. That limits the team’s options for an upgrade at small forward. Cole also contends that Desmond Bane needs to become the Grizzlies’ leader now that Morant has shown he’s not able to handle the role.

And-Ones: Silver, Jordan, MVP Race, Cousins

In addition to addressing the state of the CBA negotiations between the NBA and NBPA during his press conference on Wednesday, commissioner Adam Silver spoke about several other topics, including  rumors that he could replace Bob Iger as Disney’s CEO (“I have no intention of going anywhere,” Silver said) and his meeting earlier this month with Grizzlies guard Ja Morant.

As Tim Bontemps of ESPN relays, Silver also discussed the reports stating that Michael Jordan is in talks to sell a stake in the Hornets, explaining that Jordan expects to still be very much involved in the NBA even if he’s no longer the majority owner in Charlotte.

“One thing Michael has told me is that whether or not that transaction gets done, he will remain governor in the league, technically maybe the alternate governor instead of the governor, so he’ll still stay very involved,” Silver said. “He’d still continue to have an interest in the league.

“I recognize that over time, people’s interests move on to other areas. He’s not living in the market right now, etc. So, completely understandable. But the good news is, I think regardless of his ownership status, he will remain part and parcel of everything that this league continues to do. I have no doubt about that.”

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

  • The 2023 MVP race is tighter than ever in the season’s home stretch, according to the third and final straw poll conducted by Tim Bontemps of ESPN. The 100 media members who submitted five-man ballots to Bontemps picked Sixers center Joel Embiid over Nuggets center Nikola Jokic by a grand total of two points (790 to 788). Jokic actually received more first-place votes (42) than Embiid (40), while Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo was also very much in the mix, with the remaining 18 first-place votes and 612 total points.
  • Asked during an appearance on SiriusXM NBA Radio (Twitter audio link) if he has received feedback from NBA teams about why he’s not in the league, free agent center DeMarcus Cousins said he hasn’t gotten a real explanation. “I’ve asked many questions. I’ve reached out to former teams,” Cousins said. “I kind of get sugar-coated answers. I can never really get the raw, honest truth. I’ve struggled with that as well. I would love to get a real answer.”
  • In an Insider-only article for, Kevin Pelton considers the effect a minimum games-played requirement would have on All-NBA voting, noting that players who have earned All-NBA honors while playing fewer than 58 games have often been among the league’s biggest superstars.