HoopsHype Media rumors

October 20, 2014 Updates

In most ownership groups, nobody is relying on the team as the prime revenue stream; the team is the high-risk end of a much bigger portfolio. In LA, the team is the linchpin supporting six heirs. And there is no more important income than the 20-year, $3 billion Time Warner deal to broadcast Lakers games locally. One well-placed source who has reviewed Lakers team finances says the Lakers' annual income from that deal hinges on ratings, which tend to go up when Bryant is on the court. If the team had jettisoned Bryant and tanked the past season in the name of a high 2014 draft pick, the resulting low ratings would have smacked the business of the Lakers hard. ESPN.com

Turner Sports is trying to turn the opening of the NBA season into a weeklong celebration, complete with an open-air set in Times Square, fan events in New York and Cleveland, and a Kendrick Lamar concert. Sports Business Daily

October 18, 2014 Updates

As soon as Tristan Thompson winked at the camera during this interview with Fox Sports Ohio’s Allie Clifton, you know something strange is about to happen. Thompson made a few funny faces, kissed Clifton and then ran away. For The Win

Each and every year, ESPN ranks the top 500 players in the NBA. 36-year-old Kobe Bryant, who missed 76 games last year, was ranked No. 40, his lowest ranking since ESPN started #NBARank — but Kobe isn’t bothered by his spot in the lineup. “I’ve known for a long time they’re a bunch of idiots…. I tend to use things as motivation that tend to be in the realm of reality.” For The Win

October 16, 2014 Updates
October 15, 2014 Updates
October 14, 2014 Updates

SI.com has learned that Chauncey Billups has been hired by ESPN to work as a studio analyst for the upcoming NBA season. Billups will appear on NBA Tonight, SportsCenter, NBA Coast to Coast and ESPN Radio, among other ESPN properties. Sports Illustrated

“I’m the kind of guy who has to be two feet in if I am going to give my best effort so broadcasting is something I looking at long-term,” said Billups, 37. “This is what I want to do and the avenue I want to take. At the moment, I’m not thinking about working in an NBA front office or coaching or anything else. I’m thinking about being the best I can be at ESPN in the studio.” Sports Illustrated

Ryan Glasspiegel: Do you think that Boston gets a bad rap as a racist city? Bob Ryan: I think Boston deserved its rap in the 50’s, 60’s, and even into the 70’s. I definitely think that there were problems with black athletes. We all know the well-documented stuff about Bill Russell trying to buy a house and having things smeared on his wall. We all know that that there were unhappy Boston athletes such as Reggie Smith that had every reason to be upset. I know it’s evolved into something that is much better. There’s been no problem for any athlete going back to Mo Vaughn, and even earlier. They’ll all tell you, “Boston — what’s the problem? There is no problem. No more than any other city.” But yes, it was a racist city and it’s always been affected by the fact that the Red Sox were the last team to integrate in MLB. Tom Yawkey did hire racist people and they had a strong element of racism in the Red Sox organization for way too long. No question about that. The Big Lead

October 13, 2014 Updates

What now? Well, with James now in Cleveland, ESPN has similar ambitious plans for all things LeBron. The former ESPN Los Angeles.com writer Dave McMenamin has relocated from L.A. to Cleveland and is now ESPN.com’s beat writer for the Cavs. Windhorst will relocate from Miami to the Midwest and will continue to be a major voice on James in addition to working as a national NBA reporter (Windhorst also has a residence in Cleveland). ESPN also hired former CBSSports.com college football writer Jeremy Fowler to cover the Browns. He’ll also be available for Cavs duty, as will other NBA reporters if the storyline dictates it (which will be often). Steigman, now the vice president & editorial director for ESPN Digital & Print Media, said that ESPN had interest in expanding its coverage in Cleveland and the return of James cemented that. Obviously, Johnny Manziel’s arrival was also a factor. Sports Illustrated

McMenamin said ESPN offered him the Cavs job after he did a SportsCenter feature on new Cavs coach David Blatt. Primarily a writer, it was the first television story McMenamin had ever done involving a script and recording a voice track. “A couple hours after the piece aired, I get a call from [NBA editor] Henry Abbott asking me if I’d be interested in moving to Cleveland to cover LeBron and the Cavs. No one at the company has admitted it to me yet, but I am pretty sure the Blatt feature was a test to see how I’d do with a TV assignment like that. Even after doing the Blatt story, Henry’s call came as a complete surprise. I figured ESPN would have someone on the ground covering LeBron, but I thought they would probably hire someone outside of the company. The one thing I did tell Henry was that it was an honor to be considered for the position. Not to be all reverent about it, but the opportunity is very special to me. To be able to cover the best player in the sport and perhaps the best athlete in the world for an outlet that so many people get their sports fix from isn’t something I take lightly. Sports Illustrated

Any rumor missing? E-mail us at   hoopshype@hoopshype.com.