After Baxter Holmes of ESPN reported on comments Adam Silver made during a Q&A with Suns employees, the NBA commissioner appeared on ESPN’s NBA Today on Monday to further discuss some of the points he made during that session. In addition to clarifying that he wasn’t “deadly serious about relegation” when he broached that subject, Silver explained why he believes the league’s revamped draft lottery system reduces the incentive for teams to tank (link via Tim Bontemps of ESPN).
“You’re dealing with a 14% chance of getting the first pick,” Silver said. “I recognize at the end of the day analytics are what they are and it’s not about superstition. A 14% chance is better than a 1% chance or a no percent chance. But even in terms of straightforward odds, it doesn’t benefit a team to be the absolute worst team in the league, and even if you’re one of the poor-performing teams, you’re still dealing with a 14% chance.
“It’s one of these things where there’s no perfect solution, but we still think a draft is the right way to rebuild your league over time. We still think it makes sense among partner teams, where a decision was made where the worst-performing teams are able to restock with the prospects of the best players coming in. So we haven’t come up with a better system.”
Silver also addressed the topic of expansion. As Marc Stein relays (via Twitter), the commissioner said that Las Vegas would “make a great location from a franchise someday,” but repeated his usual line about the need for patience. Expansion won’t be on the table, according to Silver, until after the league has a new Collective Bargaining Agreement and television deal in place. The current CBA will expires in 2024, while the TV deal runs until 2025.
Here are a few more odds and ends from around the basketball world:
- Senegalese guard Babacar Sane, a graduate of the NBA Academy, has signed with the G League Ignite, according to a press release from the team. Sane, 19, has represented Senegal in World Cup qualifiers and played in the Basketball Africa League. He signed with the Ignite for two years and will be eligible for the 2024 draft. Marc J. Spears of Andscape talked to the young guard about his G League deal and a potential path to the NBA.
- NBA executive vice president of basketball operations Joe Dumars spoke to Jeff Zillgitt of USA Today about his new role, explaining how he has adjusted to acting in the best interest of the league instead of any particular team. Dumars, whose position was previously held by Kiki VanDeWeghe, is in charge of player discipline — he was the one who announced, for instance, Grant Williams‘ suspension on Wednesday.
- Veteran Israeli point guard Gal Mekel, who attended Wichita State and played for the Mavericks and Pelicans from 2013-14, has retired, according to agent Misko Raznatovic (Twitter link). Although Mekel’s time in the NBA was brief, he has enjoyed a 14-year professional career, playing in Israel, Italy, Russia, Serbia, and Spain during that time.