CHINA CONUNDRUM: Houston Rockets exec Daryl Morey expressed support for Hong Kong’s pro-democracy protests and all hell broke loose for the franchise, who has well-known links to China. Since Morey’s tweet, Chinese sponsors have reportedly cut ties with the team, a TV channel has suspended its broadcasts of Rockets’ games and the CBA has suspended cooperation with them. This is such a big deal that former and current presidential candidates have voiced out their opinions on the matter.
As explained here, the situation poses a dilemma for commissioner Adam Silver, who has backed players discussing social and political issues but also runs a business with much at stake in China. It really is a matter of principles vs. money.
Morey walked back comments publicly and the league released a statement trying to make amends, but it doesn’t look like this will go away soon.
LOWRY EXTENDED: The 2020 free agent class dries up even more with Raptors guard Kyle Lowry receiving a contract extension. He’s now slated to make $31 million in his age-34 season.
DEROZAN NEXT? DeMar DeRozan is reportedly in talks with the Spurs about a contract extension too.
💰 DeRozan is the 25th highest-paid player this season. So far, he’s made $121 million in NBA salaries.
FULTZ DEBUTS: Second-year pro Markelle Fultz – whose career has gotten off to an inauspicious start, to say the least – made his Orlando Magic debut on Sunday. He had some flashes, finishing up with six points, two boards and four assists in 17 minutes, but went 0-for-2 from three and also had four turnovers.
NO LOAD MANAGEMENT IN PORTLAND: Although the most recent trend around the NBA, that of managing the workloads of the top stars by allowing them sit out certain games, helped the most recent champions take the league throne, that method of strategic resting apparently won’t take place in Portland. Head coach Terry Stotts, along with the team’s star backcourt Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum, all spoke against wanting load management to occur for the Blazers.
ISO JOE’S YEAR AWAY FROM THE NBA: Joe Johnson didn’t want to spend the 2018-19 season out of the Association, but he used the time to be with his dying mother, while also staying in shape, which led to the Big3 opportunity that helped him get his foot back in the door of the NBA.
ZAZA RETURNS: Following the end of his long and productive career, Zaza Pachulia has re-joined the Warriors as a team consultant, who will deal with both the business side of basketball as well as with training Golden State’s young centers.
NBA vs. DINWIDDIE: The back-and-forth between the NBA and Spencer Dinwiddie regarding his hope to convert his new contract into a digital investment, and the league’s aversion to the idea, continues.
SEASON PREVIEW: The Oklahoma City Thunder have set themselves up nicely for the future. That doesn’t include this year.
IN THE MONEY: There’s 16 players owed at least $140 million in guaranteed salaries going forward. We rank them.
TRADE RUMOR RANKINGS
These are the players with the most mentions in our trade rumors page the last seven days:
SALARY QUIZ: WHO’S THIS NBA PLAYER? 🤔
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