The timing is unfortunate, but it was imperative that all conservative measures were exhausted prior to making this decision. He is expected to be out 8-10 weeks.
October 6, 2015 | 2:32 pm EDT Update
Nicholas A. Kovach: Guess who’s back … At least in the .@Cavs Team Shop. @RealTristan13 pic.twitter.com/SKqyOfFjJG
Nathen Vieira: He’s back on the team site too pic.twitter.com/pOT23Jo46T
October 6, 2015 | 1:43 pm EDT Update
Under the current rules, Durant would be eligible for a larger maximum salary in 2017. Using the estimated $108 million salary cap figure, Durant could be eligible to earn approximately $35.6 million in the first year of a new deal that summer. The rules could be radically different or mostly the same by then, so any numbers for this timeframe should be considered very theoretical. But if the numbers and rules stay mostly intact, he could sign for up to five seasons with Oklahoma City and net over $200 million.
Cousins was not done, though. He made Leonard unconformable by not leaving him any room to land on another jumper after returning, causing Leonard to throw up his arms toward the referee, showing his discomfort. “I haven’t seen the video of it, I’d like to peak at it tomorrow, it’s not that big of a deal,” Leonard said, trying to be diplomatic. “I did feel a little more uncomfortable after the second one just because it had just happened.”
“We’ve added probably three sets, three actions, from when Derrick was here that first day [last Tuesday],’’ Hoiberg said. “You know, he was great. He was in great spirits, a great mood. He’s itching to get back here. He’s got a follow-up appointment [this afternoon], and then hopefully he’ll be able to get out of his house a little bit Wednesday. Then he’s got another full week where he’s got total inactivity. “His eye is swollen shut, as far as his appearance, but again he’s moving around, he’s great. He just can’t do anything right now to get his blood pressure up, but it was great to see him. We also sent him the file of everything we’ve got going. After the [preseason] game tonight, we’ll have another session with him before we head out of town.’’
After hiring Whitlock in August 2013 to be the founding editor for a still-yet-to-launch website (The Undefeated) on the intersection of race and sports—a talent acquisition that was also part of a spending spree to counter the launch of Fox Sports 1—ESPN has bought out the remainder of Whitlock’s contract. This ends the second go-around for ESPN and Whitlock, who worked from ESPN from 2002 to 2006 as an ESPN.com writer and frequently opinionist on its studio shows. The buyout was quietly negotiated a couple of weeks ago.
October 6, 2015 | 12:53 pm EDT Update
So after averaging 27.4 points, 7.0 assists and 5.7 rebounds per game while at times solely dragging his Rockets to the Western Conference finals for first time in nearly two decades and it was still not enough to win the 2015 Kia MVP award, Harden has a plan. “You don’t think I can do more?” Harden asks. “Just wait. I’ll show you.”
The beard mostly covers up the defiant grin that practically dares you to tell him he’s already scraping at the ceiling. “I am the best player in the league. I believe that,” he said. “I thought I was last year, too.”
Some players, damningly, agree with Rivers’s claim that they didn’t grant Houston enough respect. “We never thought we could lose three in a row to them,” says one. The Clippers relaxed when things were easy and froze up when the Rockets made them difficult. That sounds like a team that should be asking whether it lacks some indefinable championship quality, but the Clippers aren’t going there — yet.
The connection that Donovan made with Presti wasn’t rooted simply in Xs and Os and analytics, although they were prominent. There also was a personal connection, and a belief that Donovan has demonstrated an uncanny ability to adapt as a coach. At Florida, Donovan won back-to-back NCAA titles with a roster that included three lottery picks (Al Horford, Joakim Noah and Corey Brewer). In 2014, he led the Gators to the Final Four without a single NBA player on the roster. He’s maintained as a strong a connection with Mike Miller (who he last coached 15 years ago) as he has with Bradley Beal (2012). “His players swear by him,” a coaching source said.
October 6, 2015 | 12:01 pm EDT Update
Though he’s never been an All-Star, Hayward believes he belongs in that group of players. He made that clear when asked if he sees himself as a top seven or eight small forward in the NBA, a group that includes the likes of LeBron James, Kevin Durant, Carmelo Anthony, Kawhi Leonard, Paul George, DeMar DeRozan, Klay Thompson, etc. “I don’t look at myself like that,” Hayward responded. “I look at myself as one of the best in the league. Period.”
Any lasting memories from visiting your dad when he was playing overseas? Devin Booker: He was a teammate of Danilo Gallinari. Gallo, I used to play one-on-one with him when I was 11 or 12. I was a big fan. He was the man in Italy. So you know, I’m playing Gallo one-on-one and he gave me his shoes, autographed. That was a big deal. I still have the shoes. I worked out in Denver and I had the same locker as him, so I told him about that. It’s crazy how that actually happened.
Gearon, who never hid his enmity for Ferry because of the indifference the GM showed him and his beloved franchise’s history, also noted he had an audio recording of the call. Levenson took it as a threat. He was floored — and in a tricky spot. Just a month before, Levenson had taken to CNN to proclaim he couldn’t be partners with Donald Sterling after audio of a racist comment made by the soon-to-be-removed owner of the Los Angeles Clippers leaked. Levenson told an Atlanta radio station “the league has to have a zero-tolerance policy against racism and discrimination in any form.”
In an attempt to give a new partner the lay of the land, Levenson, in a 2014 email obtained by ESPN, wrote of Gearon, “You could have an hour conversation and come away thinking he is a great guy — analytical, interested in your views on everything from the state of the economy to raising your kids, wise in his advice, a good listener and passionate about the Hawks. The next day you could have another conversation and come away thinking he is mean-spirited, close-minded and either deliberately devious and overly meddling or missing some connector in his brain.”
“I get the sense Danny either doesn’t respect or value my opinion, which should be given to you and then you communicate my words to Danny,” Gearon wrote to Levenson in a 2012 email. “That seems very bureaucratic to me. I have built 3 separate billion-dollar business [sic] in my career in 4 countries. I have some of the savviest investors in the world as well as some of the wealthiest individuals in the world ask me for my thoughts on different subjects yet [for] a team I have been involved with either directly or indirectly for approximately 35 years [the] new GM doesn’t feel a need to have a direct communication with me.”
Ferry saw Wilkins as a remnant of the past, and the idolization of the “Highlight Factory” in Atlanta was yet another instance where the Hawks’ futile history was being held up as a guide for the future. Levenson and Ferry weren’t fans of Wilkins’ work as an analyst on the Hawks’ local television broadcasts, either. Ferry wanted to provide Wilkins opportunities to improve, such as introducing him to a media consultant to work on his techniques and having the Hawks’ assistant coaches meet with him before games to offer context on game plans that could be explained to fans.
While Gearon felt that Ferry, as he wrote in the June 2014 email to Levenson, “put the entire franchise in jeopardy,” Gearon also figured to benefit financially from a Sterling-esque fallout. In the spring of 2014, Gearon was in the process of selling more of his interest in the team to Levenson and the partners he had sold to in September. The agreed-upon price for roughly a third of Gearon’s remaining shares valued the Hawks at approximately $450 million, according to reports from sources. “We accept your offer to buy the remaining 31 million,” Gearon wrote in an email to Levenson on April 17, 2014. “Let me know next steps so we can keep this simple as you suggested without a bunch of lawyers and bankers.”
Gearon had agreed to the investigation, but he quickly grew dissatisfied. He didn’t like the fact Ferry was informed of what was going on almost immediately. The Atlanta partners joked it was the first time in the history of internal investigations that the subject was the first person notified. After nothing much turned up during the investigation’s first couple weeks, they protested the probe lacked teeth, a typical corporate internal investigation being performed by a firm that was being paid by the entity being investigated. When they received an email asking them to sift through their inboxes for items with possible racial connotations, Gearon made the Hawks’ general counsel aware of an email Levenson wrote on a late August night in 2012 from his home in Aspen, Colorado, in response to a request from Ferry for some thoughts about the Hawks’ game operations.
After two years of trying to get Ferry and Gearon to co-exist, it was clear to Levenson, according to sources, that Gearon’s current offensive wasn’t wholly about concern for Levenson’s commentary on African-Americans but also about a deep-seeded hatred for his general manager.
Though Levenson was also removed, awaiting the sale of the team, he still held a majority interest in the Hawks. Levenson was despondent over the way things had broken against Ferry, and the two spoke frequently about staging Ferry’s second act in Atlanta. By many accounts, Levenson came close to pulling the trigger. However, with the team on the market, he wanted to play it safe. Interest had not exactly been robust. Fans were coming out, buying tickets, concessions and merchandise — and the season-ticket base was expanding. The miscarriage of justice wrought on Ferry was devastating to Levenson, but there were simply too many items on the other side of the ledger working against him.
October 6, 2015 | 10:41 am EDT Update
There’s a decent chance Gentile, whose NBA rights are held by Houston, will be in the league next season, because the Rockets hope to bring him over for the 2016-17 campaign. Yet in this instance, Bender’s length and foot speed completely snuffed Gentile out of the game. Gentile backed off, unsure how to counter Bender’s length. The kid has a L-O-N-G way to go, with his physical development as well as a long-range game he’s still smoothing out, but we have to ask: How many 7-footers from Europe have sent a gaggle of NBA scouts home talking about his perimeter D?
The Clippers have had three cracks at it with Chris Paul, Blake Griffin, and DeAndre Jordan all in their primes, and they’re not afraid to admit the fourth could be their last — that another flameout will force them to ask whether the core has grown stale. “We’re right on the borderline,” Doc Rivers tells Grantland during a long sit-down at his office. “I have no problem saying that. I’m a believer that teams can get stale. After a while, you don’t win. It just doesn’t work. We’re right at the edge. Oklahoma City is on the edge. Memphis, too. We just have to accept it.”