Kevin Johnson

And-Ones: Canada, Blatt, HOF, Dixson

Per Doug Smith of the Toronto Star, former Indiana University basketball player and Raptors general manager Glen Grunwald has been named the new president and CEO of Canada Basketball.

A native of Chicago, Grunwald was hired by the Raptors in 1994 as the team’s vice president for legal affairs and assistant general manager under former college teammate Isiah Thomas. Grunwald took over for Thomas in a few years later, eventually orchestrating a trade for Vince Carter that led to three straight playoff berths from 2000 to 2002.

Since that time, Grunwald has been heavily involved in all things Canadian. He obtained Canadian citizenship in 1999, served as the president and CEO of the Toronto Board of Trade, and even spent time as the Athletic Director at McMaster University in Ontario.

“I’m honoured and proud to have this opportunity to work with Canada Basketball,” said Grunwald in a press release announcing his hiring. “This is an exciting time for the sport in our country and I look forward to working with the entire basketball community to continue the tremendous progress the sport has made here at all levels.”

Here are a few more items from around the basketball universe:

  • Former Cavaliers and current Olympiacos head coach David Blatt has called for an end to the dispute between FIBA and the EuroLeague, per Antigoni Zachari of EuroHoops. Saying the conflict is a matter of egos and political designs, Blatt iterated how the two organizations ongoing spat is not good for the sport of basketball.
  • In addition to Shawn Marion, who we highlighted here, Joe Nguyen of The Denver Post also opines that the following players could find their way into the Hall of Fame next year – guards Chauncey Billups, Tim Hardaway, Sidney Moncrief, and Kevin Johnson; and forwards Chris Webber and Ben Wallace.
  • Less than two weeks after working out for the Hawks, undrafted rookie Dikembe Dixson has signed with the Lebanese Basketball League’s Hoops Club, according to Dario Skerletic of Sportando. Dixson, 22, posted career averages of 17.3 points and 5.4 rebounds in his three seasons at UIC.

ISE Agency Fires Dan Fegan, Hires Kevin Johnson

Independent Sports & Entertainment, an agency that represents a number of NBA players, has terminated the contract of veteran NBA agent Dan Fegan, according to a press release (Twitter link via Sam Amick of USA Today). Fegan, who had been the president of ISE basketball, will be replaced in the interim by chief marketing officer Chris Grancio.

In addition to letting go of Fegan, the agency has also hired former NBA player and Sacramento mayor Kevin Johnson, who will serve as a vice chairman for the company. While Johnson’s history in politics and in the NBA should make him a good fit for such a role, it’s a somewhat surprising hire, given his history — Johnson has been accused of sexual misconduct by multiple women, and has been linked to political scandal.

As ISE’s website shows, the agency represents many well-paid NBA veterans, including DeMarcus Cousins, Chandler Parsons, and Ricky Rubio. Several younger players who will be in line for bigger paydays in the coming years, including Jusuf Nurkic, Rodney Hood, and Cameron Payne, are also represented by the agency.

Many of those players are Fegan clients, so it will be interesting to see whether they stick with ISE, or follow Fegan elsewhere. The veteran agent has been fired by John Wall, DeAndre Jordan, and Dwight Howard in recent years, and according to ESPN’s Darren Rovell (via Twitter), ISE says it has cause for Fegan’s termination. So it’s possible his clients will simply stay with the agency and work with someone else in the company.

This will be a situation worth keeping an eye on as those ISE clients approach free agency — Cousins’ situation, in particular, should be an interesting one. The Pelicans big man is eligible to hit the open market in 2018.

Latest On NBPA Executive Director Vote

The three finalists for the vacant NBPA Executive Director position are Mavericks CEO Terdema Ussery, Michele Roberts, a trial attorney, and Dean Garfield, the CEO and president of the Information Technology Industry Council. The players are scheduled to vote at 10pm (CDT) this evening in Las Vegas.

Here’s the latest on the upcoming vote:

  • Former NBA player Jerry Stackhouse attended the NBPA meeting regarding the Executive Director vote and criticized the process, reports Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports (Twitter links). One player told Wojnarowski that Stackhouse was trying to “initiate a divide.”
  • The NBPA executive committee believes it will get a vote on a new executive director tonight despite talk of potentially delaying the vote, tweets Wojnarowski.
  • Another player told Wojnarowski (Twitter link) that, “This is a cluster. They’re trying to slam a director down our throats.

Earlier Updates:

  • The Kevin Johnson-led search committee interviewed more than 70 candidates for the union’s executive director vacancy, USA Today’s Jeff Zillgitt reports. The union is set to vote this evening on the three finalists, though Johnson won’t be present after an apparent falling out with the executive committee. Union secretary-treasurer James Jones told Zillgitt that the players would have preferred that he stayed on until the hire was complete, but added that there was little for Johnson and his committee to do once the finalists were identified.
  • There have been some rumblings from those present for the vote asking if the vote is happening too quickly given the relative anonymity of the three finalists, reports Marc Stein of (Twitter link).
  • According to the schedule presented by the union, players will get 45-minute sessions to get to know each of the three candidates and then cast their votes, tweets Stein.
  • Stein also tweets that numerous agents, after a conference call earlier today, have advised players to seek a delayed vote to ensure the finalists are indeed the best finalists for the job.

Chuck Myron contributed to this post.

Union To Vote On Executive Director Finalists

SATURDAY, 9:35am: Dean Garfield, a tech industry CEO, is the third finalist, tweets Wojnarowski.

9:00pm: Union president Chris Paul had been tight with Johnson, but others on the executive committee weren’t as supportive of the Sacramento mayor, as Wojnarowski details in a full story. Some prominent union members and agents worried that Johnson owed too much to commissioner Adam Silver in the wake of the NBA’s efforts to keep the Kings in Sacramento, according to Wojnarowski. Tension had festered for months between Johnson’s search committee and the executive committee, Wojnarowski hears. The union invited Johnson to take part in Monday’s proceedings, but he has no desire to participate, a source tells Wojnarowski.

Wojnarowski also pegs the number of remaining candidates at three in his latest dispatch.

7:59pm: Union members are set to choose from a field of three finalists Monday, according to USA Today’s Sam Amick, suggesting that a fourth finalist, as Wojnarowski alluded to, either dropped out or was never truly in the running. About 150 players are expected for the meeting in Las Vegas, as the union has made a strong push for its membership to take part.

7:50pm: Attorney Michele Roberts, who appeared to have been a finalist in February, is another candidate among the three making presentations on Monday, sources tell Wojnarowski (Twitter link).

7:19pm: Mavs CEO Terdema Ussery is one of the three who’ll make presentations to the union, Wojnarowski reports (on Twitter).

6:52pm: Wojnarowski tweets that three finalists will make presentations to the player’s union on Monday, and that a vote will follow.

FRIDAY, 6:32pm: Kevin Johnson informed NBA players via email that he is no longer a part of the search committee designed to find the next executive director of the player’s union, reports Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports in a series of tweets. Wojnarowski describes the email as a “terse” message that reveals an out-of-process committee. Johnson was hired to head the committee this spring.

The Yahoo! scribe’s sources say that the search committee had run into conflict with the NBPA’s executive committee, with the latter desiring to exert more influence in the lead-up to a hire (Twitter link). Wojnarowski’s sources said that the candidates for the job have been narrowed to four in the last 48 hours, although the list was reportedly at just three names in recent days.

The union has been without an executive director since Billy Hunter was ousted in February of 2013. After working with the NBA in the initial stages of the ongoing Donald Sterling scandal, Johnson was presumed to have a favorable chance at landing the union job, a possibility that was disputed based on Johnson’s broader political aspirations.

And-Ones: NBPA, Anthony, Bower

Kevin Johnson sent out a memo to the players regarding the search for the next head of the National Basketball Players Association, reports Sam Amick of USA Today. In the memo, Johnson informed the players that six candidates were interviewed on May 16th, with more scheduled for late June, and six more in mid-July. The names of the candidates were not made public yet.

More from around the league:

  • Al Iannazzone of Newsday weighs in on the meeting between Carmelo Anthony and the Knicks front office, as well as the possibility of ‘Melo leaving New York.
  • In an interview with Michael Rand of The Star Tribune, former NBA player and current analyst Dennis Scott opined that the Wolves need to trade Kevin Love. Scott said, “You have to move him. You have to be like Utah when they traded Deron Williams. The owners and general managers at the end of the day still have the final say-so. You cannot hold a franchise hostage like that. Flip needs to have a man-to-man conversation with Love real soon.”
  • Vince Ellis of The Detroit Free Press relays some facts about the new Pistons GM Jeff Bower.
  • Russian center Artem Klimenko has decided to stay in NBA Draft, reports Shams Charania of RealGM (Twitter link). Klimenko has a workout scheduled for Monday with the Thunder, and is seen as a possible draft-and-stash selection, notes Charania.

And-Ones: Johnson, Williams, Draft

Kevin Johnson has made it a point to include Player Agents in the search for the new head of the NBA Player’s Association, writes Ric Bucher of Bleacher Report. This approach differs from former NBAPA head, Billy Hunter, who was known to exclude agents from the decision making process.

More from around the league:

  • The rapid turnover in coaches and executives is thinning out the candidate pool and forcing teams to get creative in their searches, writes Jason Lloyd of The Akron Beacon Journal. This trend is leading to more coaches getting hired without previous experience, and fewer coaches getting second chances if they didn’t succeed at their first job, opines Lloyd.
  • Terrence Williams has reached an agreement to play in the Philippines with the Meralco Bolts, reports David Pick of (Twitter link). The former NBA player has played this season with Turk Telekom Ankara, Guayama and the L.A. D-Fenders of the NBA D-league. Williams’ career numbers are 7.1 PPG, 3.6 RPG, and 2.4 APG in 19.1 minutes per contest.
  • Heading into the draft, the player with the biggest mystery surrounding his game is Dante Exum, writes Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer. Exum said, “I guess they all have an idea of what I’m about. They’ve seen some of the college players play 40 game seasons, and they haven’t seen me a lot. So I guess when they are trying to look at tape, they can’t see a lot of me.” Exum is projected as an early lottery pick.
  • Dei Lynam of profiles draft prospects Markel Brown and Nick Johnson.
  • More than ever, team executives are looking for prospects with solid character when making their draft selections, writes Vince Ellis of The Detroit Free Press. Talent still rules the decision making process, but if all things are considered equal, teams will seek out the player destined to provide them with the “fewest headaches,” notes Ellis.
  • Mark Snyder of The Detroit Free Press looks at Kentucky swingman James Young‘s path to the pros and his thoughts on the draft process. You can also check on my draft profile on Young here.

And-Ones: Watson, Love, Seattle, Isiah, Draft

Earl Watson would like to coach the Jazz next season, and he’s picked up the endorsement of restricted free agent Gordon Hayward, as both Watson and Hayward tell Chris Haynes of Watson, who played with the Blazers this year, hasn’t ruled out playing again next season, but if he becomes Jazz coach, he’ll target Hubie Brown as an assistant, he says. Here’s more from around the league with an altered title picture now that Serge Ibaka is expected to miss the rest of the playoffs.

  • Kevin Love will have some say in who coaches him next season on the Wolves, owner Glen Taylor confirmed to Charley Walters of the Star Tribune. President of basketball operations Flip Saunders has spoken with eight candidates, but he hasn’t endorsed any of them to Taylor, Walters adds.
  • Taylor also said the Wolves lost “a couple million” dollars this year, Walters notes in the same piece.
  • Former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, who partnered with Chris Hansen on an ill-fated bid to buy the Kings and move them to Seattle, is open to purchasing any NBA team, but wouldn’t necessarily bring them to the Emerald City, as he tells Shira Ovide of The Wall Street Journal. He says he wouldn’t move the Clippers out of Los Angeles if he bought them.
  • Isiah Thomas and the Pistons are in preliminary talks about a deal for him to purchase a minority share of the team, reports Vincent Goodwill of The Detroit News.
  • Jazz GM Dennis Lindsey and Cavs GM David Griffin have said they’re open to trading their respective first-round picks for players who can help immediately, according to Sam Amico of Fox Sports Ohio.
  • Sacramento mayor Kevin Johnson has political aspirations that would make him reticent to accept the post of executive director of the players union, but the job increasingly appears to be his if he wants it, tweets Gery Woelfel of The Journal Times.
  • Hawks and Cavs officials will meet with draft prospect Alessandro Gentile of the Italian league, Sportando’s Emiliano Carchia reports. The swingman is No. 66 in Jonathan Givony’s DraftExpress rankings and 100th with Chad Ford of