Tamika Tremaglio

Adam Silver To Meet With Ja Morant About Suspension

Commissioner Adam Silver will meet this week with Grizzlies star Ja Morant as he nears the end of his suspension, writes Joe Vardon of The Athletic.

In June, Morant was suspended for at least 25 games following a second incident of brandishing a gun in public. When he announced the suspension, Silver said he wants to assess Morant’s readiness to return before reinstating him. He indicated Saturday that the two-time All-Star is moving in the right direction.

“I have been monitoring this situation closely,” Silver told reporters before the in-season tournament finale in Las Vegas. “We together laid out a program for him over the last several weeks, and to the best of my knowledge, he’s complied with everything he’s been asked to do.”

Memphis has gotten off to a rough start without its best player, languishing toward the bottom of the Western Conference standings at 6-15. If Morant’s suspension is limited to 25 games, he will be eligible to return for a December 19 contest at New Orleans.

The two-time All-Star was suspended for eight games last season after an online video clip showed him waving a gun in a nightclub near Denver. A second video was later posted of Morant holding a gun and dancing while riding in a vehicle with friends, leading to his second suspension.

“We’re going to talk directly once, at least this week, before he comes back,” Silver said, “(and) I think we’ll review the program and just make sure the conditions are in place for him to be successful going forward.”

The commissioner addressed several other topics in his press conference:

  • Silver clarified comments on load management made before the start of the season by NBA executive vice president Joe Dumars, Vardon states. Explaining the league’s new player participation policy, Dumars indicated there’s no data showing that load management is effective. Silver said resting players can lead to better performances, but there’s no hard evidence that it prevents injuries. “The question is, I think the ultimate notion behind load management isn’t so much that there isn’t a fall for performance when you’re tired and fatigued,” Silver explained. “The question is does it lead to more injuries and especially the way load management is now used?”
  • Silver said he was “surprised” that Tamika Tremaglio stepped down as executive director of the NBPA after a new Collective Bargaining Agreement was reached this summer, according to Vardon. “As far as I can tell from the outside, it’s been a very smooth transition there to Andre Iguodala as I guess the interim executive director,” Silver said. “Nothing has changed in terms of our day-to-day relations with them, and I have no other knowledge about why either the players association or Tamika decided to, you know, change the relationship.” 
  • Colorful courts will remain part of future in-season tournaments, Vardon adds in a separate story. Silver called himself “a big advocate” of the courts, saying they’re an indication that the game is something special. Silver also hinted that specially designed courts could be used in the NBA Finals. Other aspects of the tournament will be reviewed, particularly using point differential as the primary tie-breaker, the commissioner stated.

Andre Iguodala Named Acting Executive Director Of NBPA

2:19pm: The NBPA has formally announced Iguodala’s appointment as acting executive director, confirming the news in a press release.

“I am honored to take on this role and serve the players, who are the heart and soul of the NBA,” Iguodala said in a statement. “I’m presented with a unique opportunity to take all that I’ve learned as a player over the course of my 19-year career and apply it to creating an even stronger and more influential union for current and future generations of players. I am thrilled to work alongside our extremely committed Executive Committee to lead the brotherhood through its next stage of advancement and development.”

2:00pm: Andre Iguodala has been named the acting executive director of the National Basketball Players Association, tweets ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski. He replaces Tamika Tremaglio, who is resigning after less than two years as head of the union. Shams Charania of The Athletic broke the news that Iguodala was being considered for the role (Twitter link).

Iguodala confirmed his retirement last month, officially ending his 19-year playing career. An All-Star in 2012, he will be best remembered for his role in helping the Warriors capture four titles.

ESPN hired Iguodala as a studio analyst in October, and he currently owns stakes in two soccer teams, Leeds United in the EFL and Bay Area FC in the NWSL, along with the San Francisco branch of the TGL golf league.

A formal search for Tremaglio’s successor will begin soon, sources tell Wojnarowski (Twitter link). There’s no indication on whether Iguodala will be considered as part of that search.

Although Tremaglio held the job for a relatively short time, she helped to negotiate the union’s new Collective Bargaining Agreement, which was approved in June. She began to discuss stepping down after the CBA negotiations ended, Wojnarowski adds (Twitter link).

Adam Silver Discusses CBA Negotiations

The NBA and the National Basketball Players Association continue to negotiate a new collective bargaining agreement, with a deadline set for Friday at midnight Eastern Time, writes Tim Reynolds of The Associated Press.

The March 31 deadline has already been extended twice after originally being set for December 15. That deadline is for either the league or the NBPA to opt out of the current CBA on June 30.

Commissioner Adam Silver says he’s hopeful about reaching a new CBA in the next few days, but the NBA plans to exercise its option to opt out if there is no deal in place when the deadline arrives.

I certainly can foresee one getting done and I hope we do get one done,” Silver said, per Reynolds. “It’s just because, honestly, I’m only one side of the negotiation, it’s difficult for me to place odds on whether or not that’s going to happen.”

In a statement, NBPA executive director Tamika Tremaglio said the union has no intention of opting out if the deadline passes with no deal.

The March 31st deadline is an important benchmark, and we are doing everything in our power to reach an agreement with the league,” Tremaglio said. “If we don’t have a deal and the league decides to opt out, it will be disappointing considering all the work both sides have put into the negotiations, and the fair nature of our requests. As far as our fans are concerned, it will be business as usual. Games will continue uninterrupted.”

Silver said he thought negotiations would come down to the wire, as both sides “tend to hold their best positions until the very end.” He described the discussions as “positive,” though he cautioned there was still work to be done, according to Reynolds.

I think for both sides in various categories we acknowledge we’ve come closer together,” Silver said. “There still is a gap between where we feel we need to be in order to get a deal done. I’d say throughout the discussions have had a very positive tenor and continued the strong sense of partnership that we have with our players and the players association.”

It’s worth noting that if the league follows through and does opt out, the two sides would still have until June 30 to negotiate a new CBA and prevent a possible lockout. The current CBA was originally set to expire after the 2023/24 season, but an opt-out would change that timeline.

According to Mike Vorkunov of The Athletic, Silver said part of the reason the NBA is trying to get a new CBA in place sooner rather than later is because the media landscape has changed drastically since 2017, when the current CBA was put in place. As Vorkunov writes, Diamond Sports Group filed for bankruptcy earlier this month and it owns Bally Sports Regional Networks, which works with 16 different teams to distribute games.

However, Diamond informed the NBA it would be able to continue its payments for the rest of the season and keep games on air.

Commissioner, Union Leaders Optimistic About New CBA

Now that the early opt-out deadline has been extended to March 31, commissioner Adam Silver and NBPA executive director Tamika Tremaglio are focused on working out a new collective bargaining agreement by that date, writes Tim Bontemps of ESPN.

“I would just say it’s an absolute priority for us as well to get a deal done as soon as possible,” Silver said Saturday at his annual All-Star Game news conference. He later added, “It’s my hope that the deal will be done by then.”

Both sides indicated that progress has been made on a new CBA, although some issues still have to be worked through, such as how to handle load management and the potential addition of a midseason tournament. NBPA president CJ McCollum is a supporter of the tournament, citing experiences that his brother had with a similar arrangement in Europe.

“Obviously, we’re still working through logistics and what that kind of looks like, the financial implications behind the midseason tournament,” McCollum said. “I think, as a player who has played in play-in games probably more than I would have liked to at this point in my career, I think there was probably some pessimism and optimism mixed in from our fan base about what that was going to look like.”

Another topic being negotiated is a league proposal to permit players to enter the draft straight out of high school. The union appears open to the idea, but it wants some mechanism to make sure too many veteran players won’t be pushed out of the league as a result. Tremaglio would like to see a structure set up to help high schoolers make the jump to the NBA and give them their best shot at success.

“We recognize that we really do need to make sure that we have the structure in place, if we’re going to have people join the league at the age of 18,” she said. “We also appreciate that there is a lot of benefit to really having veterans who can bring those 18-year-olds along. And so you know, certainly anything that we would even consider, to be quite honest, would have to include a component that would allow veterans to be a part of it as well.”

Silver touched on a few other significant issues, according to Joe Vardon of The Athletic:

  • The commissioner cited “medical data” to support the way teams are currently handling load management and disagreed with claims that stars are sitting out too often.
  • He said the league is on pace to set records for ticket sales and season-ticket renewals, adding that this year’s All-Star Game is reaching new highs with $280MM in economic impact and 33,000 combined hotel nights.
  • Silver said a contingency plan is in place to make sure games are televised if any regional sports networks go bankrupt before the end of the season.
  • He added that no new expansion discussions have taken place. Silver has said before that the league wants to focus on finalizing a new CBA before considering expansion.

NBA, NBPA Likely To Extend CBA Opt-Out Deadline

There’s a good chance that the February 8 deadline for either the league or the National Basketball Players Association to opt out of the current Collective Bargaining Agreement will be pushed back once again, according to Tim Reynolds of The Associated Press.

NBA commissioner Adam Silver said during a press conference in Paris, France on Thursday that negotiations are ongoing. NBPA executive director Tamika Tremaglio was also in Paris for the Bulls-Pistons game but the negotiations were taking place in the U.S.

“Our colleagues are back in New York, negotiating as we speak,” Silver said. “They’ve been meeting all week, just going issue by issue and trying to work through those issues that separate us. I would say, though, that I think we start from a very strong foundation.”

The original opt-out date was December 15 but the league’s Board of Governors and the Players Association agreed to an extension.

“There’s a strong sense of partnership between the players and the league,” Silver said. “That doesn’t mean we don’t have disagreements.”

The current CBA, which went into effect in 2017, runs through the 2023/24 season. However, the league and the players’ union hold a mutual option to terminate that agreement at the end of the ’22/23 league year (June 30).

It’s expected that the new labor agreement will allow players to enter the draft straight out of high school. The current rule in which players must be 19 years old or be one year removed from high school was instituted in 2006.

The league’s owners have been pushing an “upper spending limit” that would significantly tighten the rules on how much teams can spend each year on their roster, effectively serving as a hard cap to replace the current luxury tax system.

And-Ones: Rookie Rankings, MVP Ratings, Tremaglio, Officiating

Top pick Paolo Banchero has missed some games due to an ankle sprain but the top pick of the draft still leads ESPN Jonathan Givony’s rookie power rankings (Insider link). The Magic forward was averaging 21.8 points, 6.5 rebounds and 3.6 assists per game entering the week. The sixth overall pick, the Pacers’ Bennedict Mathurin, sits in second place while averaging 18.5 points off the bench. Pistons guard Jaden Ivey (15.9 points, 4.3 assists) holds the No. 3 spot.

We have more NBA-related info:

  • Celtics forward Jayson Tatum tops USA Today/Gannett staffers’ early-season Most Valuable Player ratings, propelled by Boston’s strong start. Tatum entered Monday’s action ranked fifth in the league in scoring (30.7). Former MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo holds the runner-up spot with the Suns’ Devin Booker in third place.
  • Negotiating the Collective Bargaining Agreement for the first time, National Basketball Players Association executive director Tamika Tremaglio is leaning on players agents to determine the best course of action, Liz Mullen of the Sports Business Journal reports. Tremaglio has reached out to all NBPA-certified agents for advice and is having frequent discussions with the most influential agents. One likely point of contention is the NBA’s desire for a stronger upper limit on player salaries, which some agents view as a hard cap.
  • Traveling calls are piling up, culminating in 13 such turnovers during the CavaliersKnicks game on Sunday. Carrying and palming calls are also on the rise. “My job as the head coach — for lack of a better description — of our team, is to make sure that the rule book is being enforced,” the NBA’s senior vice president of referee development and training, Monty McCutchen, said to ESPN’s Tim Bontemps. “And when we emphasize traveling and sequencing and it picks up another part of footwork, then it needs to be adjudicated properly.”

NBPA’s Tremaglio: “Absolutely Calling” To Ban Sarver For Life

In an interview with ESPN’s Malika Andrews on NBA Today (video link), NBPA executive director Tamika Tremaglio, confirming that she was speaking on behalf of NBA players, said that Suns owner Robert Sarver should be banned from the league for life, writes ESPN’s Baxter Holmes.

Sarver received a one-year suspension and was fined $10MM for workplace misconduct, including racist and misogynistic comments.

We are absolutely calling for that [lifetime ban],” Tremaglio said. “We do not want him to be in a position where he is managing or engaging with individuals who are engaging with our players or the players themselves. We are absolutely clear from the findings that are in the report that we do not want him to be in that position.”

Tremaglio also confirmed to ESPN her previous tweet stating that she’d spoken to commissioner Adam Silver about the NBPA’s stance that Sarver should never hold a managerial position again, but wasn’t sure how open Silver was to changing his mind, despite increasing pressure from minority owners, sponsors, and stars like Lakers forward LeBron James and Suns guard Chris Paul.

Andrews asked Tremaglio if the players were considering boycotting games in the wake of the report and subsequent suspension, but she said there had been no discussions on the matter yet, noting that players are focused on the upcoming season. However, she reiterated that “our players are incredibly upset” about the news.

Their hearts go out to the families and all of the individuals who have actually had to endure this for such a long period of time. But, at the same time, they recognize that they have a job to do and they are really excited about moving forward with the season,” Tamaglio said.

Quite frankly, I know that we never want our players to be in a position where they are unsafe or individuals that they are around are unsafe. Mr. Sarver had the ability to set the tone at the top. And for us to have individuals that are in a leadership role impacting the game in that way is detrimental to the success of our players and the safety of our players and that will not be tolerated,” Tamaglio added, per Holmes.

As ESPN’s Zach Lowe noted in an earlier appearance on NBA Today (video link), a lifetime ban for Sarver is not the same as forcing him to sell the team.

According to Lowe, it’s legally possible that Sarver could retain ownership of the team but be barred from participating in all other aspects of Phoenix’s operations, even if that would be an unprecedented and seemingly untenable situation. Three quarters of the league’s owners would have to vote Sarver out to force him to sell, but that seems unlikely because of a potential lawsuit, Lowe added.

LeBron, Paul, NBPA Director React To Sarver Decision

The NBA continues to receive criticism for its ruling in the Robert Sarver case, including a scathing review from its most prominent player.

In a pair of tweets tonight, LeBron James said the league “definitely got this wrong” in reference to Commissioner Adam Silver‘s decision to suspend Sarver for one year and fine him $10MM rather than taking action to force him to sell the team.

“Read through the Sarver stories a few times now,” James wrote. “I gotta be honest…Our league definitely got this wrong. I don’t need to explain why. Y’all read the stories and decide for yourself. I said it before and I’m gonna say it again, there is no place in this league for that kind of behavior. I love this league and I deeply respect our leadership. But this isn’t right. There is no place for misogyny, sexism, and racism in any work place. Don’t matter if you own the team or play for the team. We hold our league up as an example of our values and this ain’t it.”

Also reacting was Suns star Chris Paul, who agrees that Sarver deserves much stronger sanctions. Paul has largely avoided comment on the topic since the allegations against his team’s owner were made public last November, other than to stress the need to avoid letting it become a distraction. But tonight he issued a strong statement disapproving of Sarver’s behavior.

“Like many others, I reviewed the report. I was and am horrified and disappointed by what I read. This conduct especially towards women is unacceptable and must never be repeated,” Paul tweeted. “I am of the view that the sanctions fell short in truly addressing what we can all agree was atrocious behavior. My heart goes out to all of the people that were affected.” (Twitter link)

A nearly year-long investigation of Sarver determined that he used racially insensitive language in the workplace, including the N-word at least five times while recounting – or purporting to recount – statements from other people. He also treated female employees poorly, making many sex-related comments and inappropriate statements about their appearance, according to the report from the law firm that conducted the investigation.

Silver’s decision also drew a rebuke from NBPA executive director Tamika Tremaglio, who called Sarver’s actions “horrible” and said they “have no place in our sport or any workplace for that matter.” (Twitter link)

“Additionally, the investigation confirmed that Mr. Sarver’s deplorable behavior did not just come to light in November 2021,” she tweeted. “In fact, the report indicated Mr. Sarver’s long history of inappropriate conduct, including racial and gender insensitivity, misogyny and harassment. All issues that led to a toxic work environment for well over a decade. I have made my position known to Adam Silver regarding my thoughts on the extent of the punishment, and strongly believe that Mr. Sarver should never hold a managerial position within our league again.” (Twitter link)

And-Ones: Hezonja, Lemon Jr., Summer League, Expansion

Former NBA forward Mario Hezonja has no interest in returning to the league, Johnny Askounis of Eurohoops.net relays. Speaking to Russia’s Tatar-inform, Hezonja said, I didn’t get the respect I deserved. Also, in my opinion, the NBA is more a show than the game itself.”

Hezonja, who is playing for UNICS Kazan this season, spent five seasons in the NBA, most recently on a 53-game stint with Portland in 2019/20.

We have more from the basketball world:

  • Free agent guard Walt Lemon Jr. is signing a summer contract in the Canadian Elite Basketball League with the Ottawa BlackJacks, Hoops Rumors’ JD Shaw tweets. Lemon holds NBA experience with the Pelicans and Bulls. He played 42 games with Fort Wayne, the Pacers’ G League affiliate, this year.
  • The Salt Lake City Summer League will be held on July 5-7, according to a Jazz press release. The Grizzlies, Thunder and Sixers will be the other participants along with the host Jazz.
  • Tamika Tremaglio, the new executive director of the National Basketball Players Association, favors expansion, Andrew Cohen of SportTechie.com reports. “We do want more teams, I think it’s good for the business,’’ she said. “Ideally, we hope that there will be more teams popping up in the U.S.’’ In a Spotrac piece, Keith Smith outlines a few compelling reasons for expansion, including the amount of cities interested in having an NBA team, the deep talent pool, and the cash infusions from expansion fees. 

And-Ones: NBPA, Tremaglio, Sessions, Russia, EuroLeague

More than 120 candidates were considered and 40 were interviewed to become Michele Roberts‘ successor as executive director of the National Basketball Players Association, according to Mike Vorkunov of The Athletic, who takes an in-depth look at what the new union leader, Tamika Tremaglio, brings to the role.

As Vorkunov details, the NBA’s current Collective Bargaining Agreement will expire after the 2023/24 season, and the league and the union both have the ability to opt out in December of 2022. However, Tremaglio doesn’t anticipate a contentious negotiation with the NBA when the time comes to put a new CBA in place.

“There is no benefit for any of us to opt out,” she said, per Vorkunov. “There is always the opportunity for us to work together. I do think Michele has been able to build a really great relationship with the league and I cannot see that not continuing. I think [NBA commissioner] Adam [Silver] has been incredibly welcoming. Michele helped to set up a really great transition for me.

“I think I’m coming in at a time that is needed, for certain, but I also feel I am coming in at a time that we can continue the path that we have already been on. Which is the path certainly of least resistance and much more partnership in terms of what we can accomplish. We’re not back in the ’60s where we’re looking for ways to be adversarial to each other. We recognize that we can get more done together.”

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

  • Former NBA point guard Ramon Sessions has become a certified player agent, according to Shams Charania of The Athletic, who tweets that Sessions is launching On Time Agency, an independent firm. Sessions is currently advising Jordan Walsh, a five-star recruit who has committed to Arkansas, Charania notes.
  • Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has thrown the EuroLeague into disarray. As EuroHoops relays in a pair of stories, a decision was made last week to move all games scheduled to be played in Russia to neutral venues, but the leaders of Lithuanian team Zalgiris Kaunas didn’t think stance went far enough. “We don’t want to play with clubs from a country that is using military aggression and we this is a position that we suggested to the EuroLeague and its clubs,” Zalgiris director Paulius Motiejunas said.
  • Meanwhile, a flurry of players are departing from the EuroLeague clubs based in Russia. Former NBAers Joel Bolomboy and Tornike Shengelia are among those leaving CSKA Moscow, per the team, while UNICS Kazan forward Jarrell Brantley is also expected to leave the country, according to Donatas Urbonas of BasketNews.com. An SDNA report relayed by Sportando suggests that Zenit St. Petersburg is allowing all its non-Russian players, coaches, and staffers to return to their respective home countries, while another SDNA report (via Sportando) says CSKA, UNICS Kazan, and Zenit have jointly asked the EuroLeague to postpone their games for a month.