Contrary to reports, Jeanie Buss says the money from the Time Warner deal is set, guaranteed regardless of ratings. The stakes, and consequences, however, are still high. “The team is obviously not doing as well this year — injuries and whatnot. Knock on wood, so far the effect [on business] hasn’t been horrible,” says Lakers COO/senior VP of business operations Tim Harris. “You look at the key indicators: OK, how are the ratings? The ratings are a little down.12 They are down relative to the Lakers, but they are still strong relative to an NBA team. Sponsorship interest is up. That’s good. The big indicator is tickets, and so far we are holding our own. Yeah, there are some soft nights every now and again, but by and large the interest is maintained. Now, if the team stays exactly where they are now, and you and I are having this conversation in another year, am I gonna say the same thing? I don’t know.”
July 27, 2016 | 8:26 pm EDT Update
Frank Hassle: Did Durant really tell Russ he was coming back? Or did you just misspeak on the @TrueHoopTV pod? You saying he lied to Russ? – Royce Young: I’m not sure what I said. What I meant is Westbrook believed Durant would come back after their meeting.
So why Toronto? Why the Raptors? Jared Sullinger: Why the Raptors? Why not. It was almost like a no brainer. It was a situation where not only money was great, but the situation of us winning—they lost Bismack Biyombo, they lost Luis Scola, they needed a other big, and I just said “Why not?” This is a team with hard workers, and you look at the team, and there’s a lot of guys that were journeymen before they went to the Toronto Raptors. It’s just been the place to be, you got the whole country behind you, and they want to win. That’s the mindset out here.
Who is the best dunker you have ever seen? Julius Erving: I’ll tell you; Zach has put on a show the last couple of years. He has to get kudos. I don’t know if the surprise factor and the timing coordination dunks that he does are as impactful as what Vince Carter brought to the scene when he did a few things that hadn’t been seen before. I think with Connie Hawkins, myself, Michael Jordan, Dominique Wilkins, Clyde Drexler, there’s a lineage there, and I think Vince shook it up a little bit there with a couple of dunks there. I’m gonna let him reside in that spot right there.
Where did this past dunk contest rank on your all-time list? Julius Erving: It was clearly as good as the Wilkins-Jordan showdown, and I had a showdown with David Thompson back in ’76 which was the last year in the ABA. It doesn’t get acknowledged as much, but it was a great showdown. But Zach and [Aaron] Gordon, in terms of the guys who are judging and to hear what they had to say during that time, records are made to be broken, and standards of the bar are established to be challenged so somebody can go above it. I would put those two guys, the things they did this past show in Toronto, at the top of the bar. Even for them to chase next year, or put some new guys next year to go after it…they have raised the bar to a different level.
A Yahoo spokesperson said the company anticipates “strong synergies between Verizon and Yahoo.” For example, Verizon’s streaming video services could feature video and audio from Adrian Wojnarowski, the sportswriter whose basketball-oriented part of Yahoo Sports, The Vertical with Woj, has been a breakout hit. Verizon has extensive deals for NBA basketball programming. But talk of synergy often precedes layoffs as well. A senior staffer described the concern this way: “There’s a lot of duplication” between Yahoo and AOL, which already has The Huffington Post and other media properties. “They don’t need repetitive sites.”