The Hawks were close to a deal that would have sent Cha…

The Hawks were close to a deal that would have sent Chandler Parsons and the Nets’ 2020 first-round pick to Detroit for Drummond, but Atlanta was unwilling to add the pick because Drummond’s contract extension demands are currently too high, according to multiple league sources.

More on Andre Drummond Trade?

Drummond has a for-sale sign tattooed to his jersey, with the Pistons reportedly canvassing the league for offers. Atlanta was mentioned early, but there is a league-wide feeling that was more ownership driven, with Hawks owner Tony Ressler known to be frustrated by Atlanta’s poor play this season. Other teams have kicked the tires on Drummond, but there has been no traction on a deal to this point, a league source told SI.com.
Which bring us to on-the-block Pistons center Andre Drummond, the Mount Vernon, N.Y., native who, according to a Yahoo Sports report Thursday, plans to opt out of the $28 million final year of his contract this summer to become a free agent in a lackluster class. That should lessen other teams’ desire to trade for Drummond at the Feb. 6 deadline. According to an NBA source, the Knicks have no interest in a trade despite a report the Pistons approached them about a deal — and it makes absolutely no sense to give up pawns for Drummond if he’s opting out. But it will also make no sense if the Knicks don’t go after Drummond this July, even if they possess a young 7-foot-1 center they think can develop into something special.
The Atlanta Hawks are no longer engaging with the Detroit Pistons on a trade that would have landed them All-Star big man Andre Drummond, league sources told Yahoo Sports. Both sides were optimistic weeks ago that a deal would eventually be ironed out to pair rising star Trae Young with another top-tier talent.
But Atlanta is seeking to remain patient, knowing there will be options to improve via the draft and during free agency, sources said. In the deal for Drummond that has been nixed, Detroit would have received Damian Jones, Chandler Parsons or Allen Crabbe (who was dealt to Minnesota on Thursday) and a first-round pick, sources said.
Drummond is expected to decline his $28.8 million player option for the 2020-21 season in order to test free-agency this summer, sources said. Detroit is still actively fielding calls on Drummond, sources said. [...] If the Hawks don’t address their center need by the Feb. 6 trade deadline, Drummond is expected to be one of their top targets in free agency, sources said.
Though speculation may continue until a deal is finalized, Casey stated that his focus and his team’s focus is on the job they have to complete on the floor. “Andre is a professional," he said. "We talk to players all the time about being pros, approaching the game.”
One source said talks between the Pistons and Hawks began around Christmas. As The Athletic’s Sam Amick recently reported, Atlanta and Detroit would have already completed a deal for Drummond had the Hawks been willing to throw in a first-round pick. The initial deal consisted of only expiring contracts. Teams aren’t offering first-round picks right now. On the surface, Detroit could look like it loses any trade that just involves expiring contracts, but the prospect of securing that much salary-cap space may turn into a win in the long run. This is why Drummond trade rumors could drag out until closer to the Feb. 6 deadline before a deal ultimately gets done.
Per league sources, Detroit has been actively shopping Drummond for some time. One source said talks between the Pistons and Hawks began around Christmas. As The Athletic’s Sam Amick recently reported, Atlanta and Detroit would have already completed a deal for Drummond had the Hawks been willing to throw in a first-round pick. The initial deal consisted of only expiring contracts.
SiriusXM NBA Radio: The trade rumors are swirling around Andre Drummond. Pistons Adviser Ed Stefanski tells @TheFrankIsola & @bwood_33 that the big man likes being in Detroit #DetroitBasketball
The expectation is that Drummond will be traded as the Pistons look to move on to the next chapter and officially start to rebuild. “We probably have to take some chances with some of the young guys, but absolutely,” Pistons owner Tom Gores said Jan. 2. “That’s what we’re aspiring to — something bigger than what we’ve been doing, but I haven’t lost faith in what (Pistons coach Dwane Casey) is doing and how we’re developing the players and our future.” But in talking to league insiders for the past two weeks, parting with Drummond is tougher than it sounds. I checked Saturday morning with a league source familiar with the Knicks’ front office thinking and was told, “there’s nothing there.”
How a Drummond acquisition would impact second-year center Mitchell Robinson is unclear. Robinson is certainly coveted by many teams around the league and would bring immense value to any Knicks trade. It doesn't seem as if Drummond and Robinson would fit on the same roster.
Stadium: "One team, I'm told, that has made an inquiry (on Andre Drummond) are the Knicks." NBA Insider @ShamsCharania shares an update on the Pistons center.

https://twitter.com/Stadium/status/1215774066986143746
Ian Begley: Knicks have talked to Pistons about Andre Drummond trade, SNY source confirms. First reported by Stafium.
Detroit is still sussing out the market for Drummond, sources say. His potential availability presents interesting dilemmas for suitors. It's easy to get perhaps too low on Drummond. He's an old-fashioned brutish center valuable on defense only when he goes full throttle, and even then he isn't near the class of Rudy Gobert and Joel Embiid.
Yet while Detroit’s talks with Atlanta regarding Drummond were revealed by ESPN last week, a source with knowledge of the talks downplayed the prospect of that deal happening. While Atlanta’s brutal season (8-30) has added significant pressure to bolster the roster and give young star Trae Young more help, the Hawks, per a second source, could have landed Drummond already if they were willing to include a first-round pick in the deal. Boston and Dallas, it’s worth noting here at the top, are known to be looking for a big.
Sirius XM NBA: Andre Drummond is rumored to be on the block, but where could he land? @Amin Elhassan says there's one place that would be a perfect fit. pic.twitter.com/67gJzGjs2g

http://twitter.com/SiriusXMNBA/status/1214989720079523841
Who are the Top 5 most likely landing spots for Andre Drummond? James Edwards: Atlanta, Dallas (who could use a physical big man next to Porzingis and him and Porzingis are friends), Toronto (I've heard Masai has liked him for a long time and obviously, Marc Gasol and Serge Ibaka are both expiring contracts; him and Kyle Lowry are friends), people say Boston, just because they think they need the center, but I don't see that one working.
Do the Warriors sneak into the Top 5 for Andre Drummond then? James Edwards: That might be a good five but again... [the Warriors] just never pay that much for centers and Andre - part of this is money and he wants to get paid.
Drummond, who has spent his entire eight-year career with the organization, did not hesitate when asked why he would like to stay in Detroit. "I'm not a quitter, for one," Drummond said after scoring 14 points and grabbing 18 rebounds in Saturday's 111-104 win over the Golden State Warriors. "I was never brought up to be a quitter. If I start somewhere, I try to finish there, try to complete the mission, which is to win a championship here. It will never be me that wants to go anywhere ... I love being here. I would love to play here the rest of my career."
"I've been dealing with this since the year I signed my contract so the trade rumors will always come around, so this is another year for me," Drummond said. "It's always that time of year around January where trade talks come. Nothing's happened. Obviously, the talks have started, so these questions will start to come. I've been looking forward to them coming, but for me, I'm just going to continue to play the game I play, play here in Detroit where I love to be, and whatever happens, happens."
While discussing the conversation, Drummond said he did not get the sense any deal was "imminent." "It wasn't really much to talk about," Drummond said. "He just said it's that time of the year again. It's nothing that's imminent. It's not like they're going to move me tomorrow. Obviously, they're listening. But I think I'm where I'm at."
James Edwards III: Dwane Casey said he has talked to Drummond since the news came out. Obviously he didn't go into detail, but he said if you're doing what you're supposed to, there will always be interest and people calling.
The Detroit Pistons are in talks about a trade that would send star center Andre Drummond to the Atlanta Hawks, according to multiple persons with knowledge of the situation. The potential deal could bring the Pistons expiring contracts and a protected 2020 first-round pick, according to sources, who spoke to the Free Press on condition of anonymity.
The sources indicated that deals seem to be in the exploratory stages, but ahead of the Feb. 6 trade deadline, the Pistons look to be doing their due diligence to try and get something for Drummond, who can opt-out of his contract after this season.
Brad Townsend: High-ranking Mavs official told me 2 weeks ago that Drummond makes no sense for them. Hard for me to believe he suddenly makes sense now.
The Hawks have discussed sending a package that includes a 2020 first-round pick via the Brooklyn Nets and the salary-cap relief of expiring contracts for Detroit, league sources said. A potential deal would include other assets. There's an increasing belief inside and outside the Pistons organization that a Drummond deal is growing in likelihood prior to the Feb. 6 NBA trade deadline, league sources said.
Detroit is preparing for Drummond, 26, to decline his $29 million option on the 2020-21 season and become a free agent, league sources said. Pistons owner Tom Gores has long been a strong advocate of Drummond's, but there's an increased movement in the organization to use Drummond as a trade asset to begin creating some salary-cap flexibility for the future, league sources said.
While the Pistons are accelerating their efforts to gauge the Drummond market, he has been on the trade radar for much of the year. In November, Heavy.com reported that Drummond had attracted interest from the Hornets, who had been monitoring him for the previous year.
Vincent Goodwill: Boston, Dallas, Toronto have also registered interest in Andre Drummond, according to sources. Drummond has relationships with Kristaps Porzingis and Kyle Lowry
No deal is imminent, but Detroit is talking to Atlanta and several other teams on Drummond, sources said. Drummond has a $28 million player option for next season that he is unlikely to exercise, forcing the Pistons to consider the possibility of losing him in free agency.
James Edwards III: Per source, nothing is imminent on Drummond trade talks. He was not at practice due to stomach ailment.
Jeff Siegel: Atlanta and Drummond would not be allowed to sign any sort of favorable extension if they were to trade for him, as any extension Drummond would sign would have to wait until six months after the trade, and by that point he could be a free agent and just sign a regular contract.
Rod Beard: A league source says nothing is imminent in a #Pistons Andre Drummond trade. It looks to be that they're just doing due diligence in checking around the league. This also means they are likely believe that he will opt out this summer.
Adrian Wojnarowski: Detroit and Atlanta have been engaged in talks on a trade centered on Andre Drummond, league sources tell ESPN. No deal imminent, but Detroit is talking to Hawks and several other teams on Drummond, sources said.
There is a scenario in which Detroit could trade its franchise center this season. Again, it’ll depend on where the Pistons are in the playoff race by the time the deadline inches closer. There also is a scenario in which the Pistons could let him walk in free agency. And, of course, depending on if the Pistons can turn it around, he could return next year on a new contract. One source said Drummond likely will sign a new contract that averages somewhere between $20 million and $25 million annually, not the max.
The Hornets are remaking the roster and they’ve gotten themselves pretty well stocked with young guards and wings in the process, plus Washington. But there’s still a glaring hole in the middle and as the Hornets are primed to finally be rid of some of the albatross contracts that have weighed the franchise since its last playoff appearance (in 2016). At long last, they are in position to fill that void. The target, according to league sources: Pistons big man Andre Drummond, a player in whom the Hornets have had an interest for at least a year.
It could be time for the Hornets to do something the franchise does not typically do: get aggressive. “He’ll be a priority there,” one league executive told Heavy.com. “It’s just a matter of whether they make him a priority now and give up something to get him or try to make the move later. It’s a very cautious group, Mitch Kupchak and those guys. But they might want to get this guy into the fold sooner rather than later, there’s just a lot of incentive there on both sides.”
Westbrook will make $38 million next season, so the initial thought was the Thunder would have to take back Andre Drummond’s $27.1 million as part of any package. “They would want picks. They have (Steven) Adams, no interest in Drummond. Doubt there is anything there.”
Vincent Ellis: #Pistons vice chair Arn Tellem on Drummond: "He’s a huge part of our team and our team’s success right now. We certainly see Andre being here now and in the future." Pistons' Andre Drummond shrugs off trade talk, on 'best run' of career freep.com/story/sports/n… via @freep
Multiple league sources have told the Free Press that the center could be had for the right price over the last few years – despite the narrative that owner Tom Gores is so fond of the Pistons’ 2012 first-round draft pick that he’s untouchable.
Drummond doesn’t get that impression. He’s aware that he’s a commodity that would be moved if Gores and the new front office, headed by Ed Stefanski and Pistons vice chairman Arn Tellem, were presented with a deal that would clearly better the franchise. But Drummond wants to be with, and win with, the Pistons.
It would be a disappointing return for Memphis, but interest has been minimal. The Kings and Pistons inquired about Gasol, as reported last month on The Ringer, but there’s no traction on a deal. The Pistons offered a package involving Andre Drummond, who is is owed $55.8 million over the next two seasons, but Memphis didn’t have interest, according to league sources. Memphis wanted Bogdan Bogdanovic from the Kings for Gasol, league sources say, but he isn’t being made available for an aging, expensive center whose individual style doesn’t mesh with the team’s as a whole.
There has not been much buzz about Gasol, though he is hoping for a trade, sources familiar with the matter say. Teams are waiting to see if the Grizzlies' asking price drops a bit, sources say. Memphis has not shown any real interest yet in Andre Drummond, sources say. Detroit might be saving other trade chips for someone else. Gasol's $26 million player option for next season brings a lot of uncertainty for any interested party.
It's been an eventful year for the 23-year-old big man, who received a $130 million, five-year contract from the Pistons last offseason. Less than a season after finalizing that deal, Drummond was already the subject of trade speculation. "I never had to deal with that before," he said. "I wasn't playing the way I was supposed to play."
"I don't get tired as easy," Drummond said. "I'm sleeping better." If Drummond comes back next season with improved endurance, that could help him start living up to expectations again — and help him put last season behind him. "I wasn't playing up to my potential," he said. "I can't allow that to happen again."
Drummond, 23, admitted Thursday that going from franchise cornerstone to franchise afterthought bothered him. “I never had to deal with that before,” Drummond said via conference call to promote his appearance – along with other NBA stars – in South Africa this week.
Andre Drummond: “It was tough for my family and me to hear those rumors, but guys making that much money, not having the year they’re supposed to have, obviously that’s what’s going to happen. I’ve accepted that.”
Andre Drummond is keeping it pretty real when it comes to his future -- telling TMZ Sports when it comes to blockbuster trade rumors, "Anything is possible in this league." The rumors are heating up that the Detroit Pistons star could be shipped out before the season starts -- and even engaged with a Twitter fan this week who suggested Drummond could be part of a mega trade to Cleveland for Kyrie Irving. But when we asked about it, he didn't exactly rule it out -- "I play for Detroit now, so we'll keep it at that."
@DetroitPistons trade @Reggie_Jackson ,@iAmSJ and @AndreDrummond for Kyrie now! Andre Drummond: 😅and this is why you are typing from a cellphone and not a general manger 😫🤷🏽‍♂️
Toronto called dangling Jonas Valanciunas before the deadline, and Sacramento and Phoenix also expressed strong interest in Drummond in June, per sources. There's enough grease to ultimately move the wheels and find Drummond a new home before the season starts, and he's almost certainly not finishing out the final four years of his five-year, max contract in Detroit.
While Detroit was figuring out what to do with Caldwell-Pope, the team also was taking calls on center Andre Drummond, who — like virtually everyone else with the Pistons — disappointed last season. But owner Tom Gores is a huge fan of Drummond, who started the 2016 All-Star Game. And with many teams sensing dissatisfaction from Coach and Team President Stan Van Gundy as it relates to his big man, none of the offers came close to meriting a serious discussion about Drummond’s future with the franchise.
After praising Kennard’s offensive ability – and blasting his defensive shortcomings – the topic turned to the holdover Pistons, notably Drummond, the talented young center who had fallen out of grace with the fan base because of his inconsistent play. “I think he was hurt at the trade deadline (when his name came up),” Van Gundy said. “Now, he’s been through it. Any of us would be bothered by it, but it’s a fact of life in the NBA. Two weeks ago, he and (Reggie Jackson’s) names were both in there, trade rumors, on teams we hadn’t even talked to on that one. These things come up. “That’s the reality of it.”
Vincent Ellis: Have been told multiple times by folks that Drummond trade unlikely. Obviously that can change.
On Wednesday ESPN’s Brian Windhorst told The Jump that the Los Angeles Clippers have spoken to the Detroit Pistons about trading for Andre Drummond. The Detroit Pistons have been quiet amidst the craziness breaking out around the NBA on the eve of the draft. In fact, the Pistons have been too quiet. Much like before they traded for Reggie Jackson at the 2013-14 trade deadline and Tobias Harris at the 2014-15 deadline, there’s been virtually nothing coming out of Auburn Hills aside from press conferences about draft prep.
Michael Scotto: Sources: Detroit Pistons are gauging the trade market on Andre Drummond and Reggie Jackson. Both were on the market at the trade deadline.
The Detroit Pistons are welcoming offers on two players previously thought off-limits -- former All-Star center Andre Drummond and swingman Kentavious Caldwell-Pope -- as Thursday's trade deadline nears, according to league sources. Sources told ESPN.com that the Pistons have not committed to trading either player but have also not discouraged offers from interested teams for ‎the two most prized names on their roster.
Sources say ‎Drummond is especially well-regarded by Pistons ‎owner Tom Gores and thus unlikely to be dealt before Thursday's deadline. The Detroit Free Press also termed it "very likely" that Drummond will remain with the Pistons.
One league source told ESPN's Ramona Shelburne that the Portland Trail Blazers called to inquire about Drummond but quickly abandoned their interest when Detroit asked for Blazers guard C.J. McCollum in return. The Blazers, sources told Shelburne, regard McCollum as an untouchable.
Sources told ESPN's Brian Windhorst, meanwhile, that the Pistons and Toronto Raptors have also had exploratory Drummond discussions.
Van Gundy dispelled any notion that Drummond was being shopped or is on the verge of being dealt. General manager Jeff Bower has brought nothing to him regarding a serious Drummond trade proposal. “Jeff talks to virtually every team in the league all the time. As I’ve said before, every name on our roster has come up. That’s his job. That’s what we’re supposed to be doing. There hasn’t been a serious discussion about Andre, but that doesn’t mean there haven’t been discussions about Andre. The concern, I guess, would be from Andre’s standpoint if nobody had any interest in him.”
“That’s just the way it is,” Drummond said. “Everybody’s name gets thrown around when you’re a high-profile guy. My name happened to be in there. I’m not mad or anything like that. I’m still here to play basketball. Whatever happens, happens. I can’t control that.”
Rod Beard: #Pistons Andre Drummond on potential trade rumors 🔥🔥: "It’s just the way the NBA is; it’s all a business. Everybody's name gets thrown around when you're a high-profile guy. My name happened to be in there. I'm not mad or anything like that. I'm still here to play basketball and whatever happens, happens. I can't control that.'
Any Drummond deal at the deadline is an extreme long shot, but Jackson remains in play for Minnesota, Orlando, New Orleans, or some mystery destination. Even if Detroit keeps him, missing the playoffs would put dramatic changes on the table this summer.
ESPN.com published a Pistons report from Zach Lowe this morning. It’s an interesting read that examines the uncertainty and promise of the team, with tidbits on Andre Drummond, Reggie Jackson and the team’s trade prospects. Van Gundy took exception to calling it "illuminating." “I’ve heard about it,” Van Gundy said. “He throws a lot of stuff out there, so I don’t know if that’s illuminating. I could write a lot of stuff, too, but would that be illuminating? Would it be illuminating or would it be (expletive)? There’s a fine line between illuminating and (expletive).”
They needed talent; they would figure out the rest later. The figuring it out part has been harder than expected, especially with both Jackson and Drummond plateauing. Detroit has quietly explored the trade market for each of its franchise centerpieces, according to sources across the league, and come away disappointed with the potential return. (Van Gundy himself has said anyone is available for "the right price.")
Any Drummond deal at the deadline is an extreme long shot, but Jackson remains in play for Minnesota, Orlando, New Orleans, or some mystery destination. Even if Detroit keeps him, missing the playoffs would put dramatic changes on the table this summer.
Storyline: Andre Drummond Trade?
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July 5, 2020 | 6:47 pm EDT Update
The Rockets plan to travel to Orlando later this week and will play their first of eight “seeding” games on July 31 against the Dallas Mavericks. The Rockets are assured of one of eight playoff spots in the Western Conference and are tied for fifth place with the Oklahoma City Thunder, with the Mavericks 1½ games behind. “The team that catches a rhythm first, kind of has an advantage overall,” Covington said of his expectations for the abbreviated sprint to the NBA’s finish line this season.
Storyline: Orlando Bubble
He recalled that he and his cousin and two other youths were playing football in the street and occasionally running into a neighbor’s yard. The neighbor told the children to stay out of his yard, and Covington said he and his cousin obliged. The other two kids did not, and the man called the police. The officers began to detain all four of the youths, even though the neighbor told police Covington and his cousin had done nothing wrong. “The cop didn’t care; he arrested all of us,” Covington said. “He put is in the back of the car and took us down to the station. I got stuck in the car – I was too tall and my foot was wedged in between (the front seats). I told the officer I couldn’t get out. He said if you don’t get out of this car, I’m going to break your leg to get you out.”
July 5, 2020 | 2:38 pm EDT Update
July 5, 2020 | 1:47 pm EDT Update
As for next month’s challenge, Marlowe is confident that he and his color analyst, Scott Hastings, can interpret and call the games from afar. “It’s certainly a technique on how to do it,” he said. “You can’t always see clearly or hear clearly an official’s decision. You can’t interpret it because you’re not right there, so it takes a little bit of imagination.”
July 5, 2020 | 1:10 pm EDT Update
For the most part, the players are feeling pretty comfortable with the health and safety precautions that the NBA has put in place, and believe that the league is doing every thing within their power to mitigate risk related to the coronavirus. It all looks good in theory and on paper, but how it will all work once the players are actually there is another thing entirely. “I’m sure there will be some changes once we get down there, and they see that some things worked and some things didn’t,” Georges Niang said on Thursday.
As far as the actual games go, the players aren’t worried about playing without fans or how the schedule was decided on. They’re just excited to get to play again. “We miss playing the game of basketball,” Niang said. “We miss our day jobs so I think for the most part we’re excited to get down there and use our platform for social issues and be safe while doing that. The NBA has set up an environment that’s given us the right safety protocols to move in the right direction to be able to play.”
The insinuation was that players would not be able to be away from their sexual partners for such a long time. “Forget three months, they’re gonna struggle with three weeks,” Smith yelled. Do the Jazz think that players will break the rules of the bubble? “If they do, that’s them,” O’Neale said, dismissing the notion. “I’m single, I’m by myself, I ain’t got nothing to worry about. Quarantine life was kind of easy for me. I just played video games and hung out with my dog, so I think it’ll kind of be the same thing. Just without my dog. I’ll be alright.”
Storyline: Orlando Bubble
Rick Carlisle: “On the heels of George Floyd’s death on May 25, the head coaches got together on a Zoom call which was put together very quickly. We talked about the things that are going on in the world. Lloyd Pierce, who is the head coach of the Atlanta Hawks, made a very passionate speech to the entire group about his feelings about everything. He was immediately appointed the chair of the NBA coaches committee on racial injustice and reform. That committee met on Zoom calls probably five times and filtered through a lot of different things to the point where now on a national level we’re under the Obama Foundation …”
Rick Carlisle: “In Dallas, I’m partnering with Mothers Against Police Brutality. We’ve met many times on Zoom. We had an in-person meeting with the mayor. We had a virtual meeting with T.C. Broadnax, the city manager. We had another meeting with [Dallas police chief] Renee Hall. So we’ve gotten into good conversations there. Our initiative, the final title of it, is NBA Coaches for Racial Justice. We will have a pin that we wear. A big part of what we’re doing, because we’re coaches, we’re teachers and we’re educators.”
July 5, 2020 | 1:00 pm EDT Update
Perhaps the most difficult injury to return and recover from is a ruptured achilles, but not only has Rodney Hood put in the work off the court, he is also putting a tremendous amount of work on the court. The Portland Trail Blazers tweeted a video of the former Duke basketball player rising up to the rim, albeit in a controlled and cautious way as he works his way back to the court.

ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith was the one to throw the San Antonio Spurs head coach’s name in the mix, but there’s been no word about the idea since. Not until Nets general manager Sean Marks was asked about the possibility on WFAN’s Joe & Evan on Friday: Pop has a job. So I will say that. And, obviously, we all know he’s an amazing, amazing coach — and to be quite frank, an even better leader. So I’ll let Pop continue to coach for the Spurs. He owes it to them and they owe it to him. I’m sure he’s quite happy there.
When he gets back to the head coaching search, Marks intends to talk to Brooklyn’s “key players” about who will run the show next. And he specifically mentioned Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving when addressing the matter on WFAN: It would be probably, you know, not incredibly smart of us if we did not involve some of these key players in this decision. That only goes to Kevin, I think it’s — you know, Kevin and Kyrie, we’re gonna pick their brains on what they are looking for in a leader, what they want in a coach, what they need. I think these guys have been brutally honest so far.
Storyline: Nets Coaching Job
Jamaal Wilkes said he’s proud to be an American and wants law and order while at the same time seeing the need for change in the wake of demonstrations after the May 25 killing of George Floyd by a Minneapolis police officer. “I’m not an activist. I’m not in the guts of the stuff, but we need some kind of reform with the police department (while) recognizing that the majority are good police,” Wilkes said in a recent conversation with the Bay Area News Group’s Wes Goldberg. “And they are probably as sick and embarrassed and disgusted with the Floyd incident as most of the country is.”
The Floyd murder during the COVID-19 pandemic. Jamaal Wilkes: “On one hand, it was very shocking and disturbing. On the other hand, it’s nothing new . . . it was unbelievable. It was horrible and no one could deny it because there was footage. That, along there being no sports, brought it to a head. I think that all lives matter, of course, but it’s only black lives that are being murdered. We can no longer tip-toe or ignore the elephant in the room, which is systemic racism, white privilege.”
July 5, 2020 | 12:42 pm EDT Update

Jared Sullinger wants back in the NBA

On Saturday, The Basketball Tournament kicked off and Jared Sullinger was on the sideline for Carmen’s Crew. He was the coach of the team filled mostly with Ohio State alumni. It’s a role he relishes. Yet it’s not a role he wants to assume permanently. Sullinger, the Celtics’ first-round pick in 2012 who enjoyed four solid seasons with the club, still has aspirations of returning to the NBA. He’s only 28 but hasn’t played in the league in three years. His post-Celtic career lasted just 11 games with the Raptors, and then Sullinger learned about the harsh reality of being injured and considered damaged goods.
This rumor is part of a storyline: 75 more rumors
He has recovered fully. Sullinger is married and the father of twins. He reflects on his Celtics years fondly but hopes he’s not done gobbling up rebounds with his burly frame. “I want to play and, of course, the NBA is the ultimate goal,” he said. “The last two years I just felt like I had to find myself. I had to find something that drives me and makes me want to play. In the NBA, you kind of get lost in the shuffle because you have so many games, and when I got out there in [the Chinese Basketball Association] it was kind of a retreat for Jared Sullinger to learn himself and fall in love with the game again.”
Smith aspires to be a general manager, but the NBA has had issues in recent years with diversity in front offices. He hopes that recent events will cause the NBA power structure to closely examine hiring. “To think people don’t gravitate toward people who are like them, look like them, or are like-minded, then you don’t understand the basis of stereotypes and racism, which is two different things,” he said. “If I make my decisions based on race and not having the ability to have the opportunity, then I’m a racist. It’s a simple process. White America is like how do I figure it out? You’re making the decision and you’re taking into account that it will hinder someone based on their race. That’s a racist act, period.”
What bothers Smith and many other former players is that front office candidates who did not play the game but are astute analytically are somehow seen as more qualified than former players. “You mean to tell me LeBron James couldn’t put a team together? He puts it together now. You’re telling me his production and consumption of information is not more valuable than someone who’s never played the game? It’s impossible. It’s an awareness.”
Though Marlowe said he would’ve preferred the NBA scrap the regular-season games and jump straight to the playoffs, he did find an advantage for the Nuggets. Their grueling schedule, featuring games against both Los Angeles teams, the Raptors and the Thunder, is a perfect primer for the postseason, he said. The Nuggets were 15-11 against teams that were .500 or better throughout the season, which was a better record than all but three teams in the NBA. In addition, as Marlowe pointed out, seeding doesn’t really matter since there’s no homecourt advantage. “I think the eight play-in games are interesting because I believe six of the last eight for the Nuggets were going to be played away from Pepsi Center, so the Nuggets don’t have to do that,” he said. “That being said, I don’t think winning is the preeminent goal in these (seeding) games. I don’t think it really matters to the Nuggets to finish third, fourth, fifth or sixth. I think the key is, can coach Malone and the rest of the coaches get this team playing at its zenith in these eight games and going into the playoffs?”
Storyline: Orlando Bubble
Meanwhile, high atop the Chicago skyline, Bosh was in a conference room receiving a pitch from the Heat — a meeting punctuated by Pat Riley unfurling a small velvet carpet onto the table, followed by the presentation of a small velvet bag. “Oh, yeah, Pat brought his rings out. It looked just like a Crown Royal bag,” Bosh said. “He puts it down, like boom. Big boy talk. When he ended the meeting, Pat gave me a 2006 Heat championship ring.” “Take it. Keep it. Give it back to me when you win one,” Riley said to Bosh. “I still haven’t given it back,” Bosh said. “I wonder if he even remembers that? I think I mentioned it once, like, ‘Yo, do you want that ring back?’ And he said, ‘What are you talking about?’ And I kept it moving.”
A generation ago, it was tough to find any Warriors fans outside of the Bay Area, let alone at some desolate outpost in Southeast Europe. But by now, such encounters no longer count as shocking. After five consecutive trips to the NBA Finals, with a roster that features some of the game’s most marketable players, and after a concerted effort to raise their profile abroad, the Warriors emerged as a certifiable global brand. According to the team’s internal tracking, the majority of the Warriors’ social media followers reside outside the United States — that’s 80 percent of their followers on Facebook, 70 percent on Instagram, 52 percent on Twitter.
He recalled over the phone last week that in the late ’80s, growing the NBA meant Stern handing a baffled TV executive from Italy a stack of videocassette recordings in hopes the exec would air them when he got back home. “The victories were getting a game that was played 10 days ago aired at a terrible time on Italian television,’’ Welts said. “That’s the kind of thing we considered a victory back then.” Around that time, league officials also attended an international market show in Cannes. “With pretty much a cardboard table and a bunch of business cards,’’ Welts said. “We just tried to grab any television programmer who was there to try to explain to them what the NBA was and why it would be such a great property for their company to air on television.”
July 5, 2020 | 4:34 am EDT Update

Nets to make 'godfather offer' to Gregg Popovich?

In an appearance this week on the “Let’s Get Technical” podcast with retired NBA stars Rasheed Wallace and Bonzi Wells, Gerald Brown of SiriusXM NBA Radio noted the presence of rumors linking Popovich to the Brooklyn Nets. The rumors state that Nets owner Joe Tsai is looking to make a “godfather offer” to Popovich for him to come coach the team.

Stone Cold Shea Jackson: It’s mostly trolls I guess. But even homie callin him entitled. Earlier in June and people siding with him. Now they talkin bout him demanding a trade and shit but it ain’t never from him. And that got niggas callin him a bum. And he the realest dude you could find in the league. Damian Lillard: My stance ain’t changed. This is a result of a pandemic and lack of content lol.
Storyline: Damian Lillard Trade?
Add in Nic Claxton’s season-ending injury, and that leaves Jarrett Allen as the only healthy Net taller than 6-foot-9. Expect GM Sean Marks to sign a big man as a substitute player for Jordan. “We have to definitely think about that,” Vaughn said. “Sean and I talked this morning on a call and we talked about addressing our size and not putting extra demand on Jarrett. So that could definitely be a route we take for sure.
From the moment he and his teammates reconvened in Florida last week, Toronto Raptors forward Serge Ibaka said everyone was “locked in” and ready to get to work. “I saw just how everyone is in great shape,” Ibaka said on a conference call with reporters Saturday. “They came here in great shape and as soon as we got here everyone was starting to put in work. “I’ve been in the league for 11 years. You can see when people’s locked in and they are ready mentally, and when they are not. “So I can tell you right now, mentally, everybody is ready. Everybody is ready.”
Storyline: Orlando Bubble
Josh Lewenberg: Serge on COVID-19 numbers in Florida: “Honestly, it’s a little concerning. Hopefully everybody follows the rules when we get into the bubble in Orlando… I have my daughter, who lives here. It’s kinda scary a little bit.” Ibaka on Raptors: “Man, listen, we believe in us. We have the experience, we have the championship mentality already, we’ve got confidence. It’s time to go to work. We’re ready.”
“I’m happy now. I’m in a good place, you know,” Gobert told reporters Friday. “And I’m happy that I get the joy back from playing basketball with my team and the competitiveness is back. I’m ready to try to go out there and try to win the championship. That’s the goal. And to be honest, after everything we’ve been through as a team and as human beings, it would be a great comeback.” Gobert answered questions for about 11 minutes. He talked about the relationship with Mitchell. (“It’s never going to be perfect,” he said, acknowledging strains that have been no secret.) He talked about the potential of signing a lucrative extension — he’s supermax-eligible — with the Jazz, which could happen before next season. (“I don’t plan on leaving right now,” he said.) He talked about his recovery from the virus, which is ongoing, at least in how his sense of smell hasn’t totally recovered. (“Smelling, I took that for granted too. It’s back now, it’s back at 80%, I’m not worried,” he said.)
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