Eddie Sefko: Great pregame quote by Gregg Popovich about the play-in games. “I give it no thought whatsoever at my age, because I have to pick and choose how I want to spend my thinking moments. And it wouldn’t matter what I think.”
Connor Letourneau: Steve Kerr on Draymond Green's comments about not being motivated to play in a play-in game: "Well, it motivates me. ... I understand what Draymond is saying. After so many years of being a championship contender, it is tough to just be playing to make the play-in tournament."
The Jump: Draymond: "Fighting for play-in doesn't motivate me" #NBA #NBATwitter #TheJump #DubNation pic.twitter.com/sCFUH5hjvk
The Jump: Approach to new play-in scenario? "It's definitely different. We still want to get there because if you can be in that top 8, it gives you a better chance to get into the playoffs" - @De'Aaron Fox #NBA #NBATwitter #TheJump #SacramentoProud
Golden State Warriors forward Draymond Green says that he is not motivated by the NBA's new play-in games, despite the fact that his team currently sits in 9th place in the Western Conference -- squarely on the fringe of the league's reformatted playoff system. "To be honest with you, I don't go into these games thinking like, 'Man, we need to win these games to get to the playoffs,'" Green said after Thursday's 116-109 loss to the Miami Heat. "I hate f---ing losing, so when I step on the floor I want to win. But I'll be 100 percent honest with you, fighting for a play-in spot does not motivate me. We're in what, [9th]? Fighting for a [play-in] spot doesn't motivate me at all."
Green, who has won three NBA championships during his nine-year career with the Warriors, added that the idea of squeezing into the postseason isn't going to motivate him any more than not wanting to lose already does. "I want to win every game I play because I hate losing," he said. "That s--- really bothers me. So that's what motivates me, not fighting for some play-in spot."
Anthony Slater: Steph Curry: "I know for me and Draymond, we've tried to be conscious of the development but also the understanding we have a lot of growing to do and our leadership has to be consistent in that respect. Nobody has time to sulk. Just go out and hoop." pic.twitter.com/GrS1cCoEUK
The game schedules across TNT and ESPN for the final week of the regular season (May 10-16) will be determined at a later date in order to provide the most compelling matchups to a national audience leading into the NBA Play-In Tournament and the NBA Playoffs. In the final week of the regular season, TNT will present doubleheaders Tuesday, May 11 and Thursday, May 13, and ESPN will televise doubleheaders Wednesday, May 12 and Friday, May 14. ESPN will also air a game Sunday, May 16 on the final day of the regular season. TNT will tip off its coverage of the Second Half of the season Thursday, March 11 with a doubleheader as the Brooklyn Nets host the Boston Celtics (7:30 p.m. ET) and the Golden State Warriors visit the LA Clippers (10 p.m. ET). ESPN will begin its Second Half coverage Sunday, March 14 when the New Orleans Pelicans host the Clippers (9 p.m. ET). On Monday, March 15, ESPN’s first doubleheader in the Second Half will feature the New York Knicks visiting the Nets (8 p.m. ET) and the Lakers taking on the Warriors in San Francisco (10:30 p.m. ET).
Adrian Wojnarowski: The Play-in Tournament still needs to be approved by the Board of Governors, but that is a formality, per sources: No. 7 and No. 8 seeds need to win once to stay in playoffs; No. 9 and No. 10 seeds need to win twice to move up into field. Tentative dates of event: May 17-21.
NBA and NBPA talks continue to include the likelihood of a play-in tournament for both the Eastern and Western Conference playoffs, a mechanism designed to incentivize more teams to aggressively pursue the late season competitively -- and an avenue for the league, players and television partners to create more lucrative revenue streams, sources said.
The play-in tournament proposal has coalesced around the structure ESPN first reported was gaining traction in early 2018: a four-team tournament among the Nos. 7, 8, 9 and 10 seeds for the final two playoff spots in each conference. The tournament would begin with No. 7 hosting No. 8, and the winner locking into the No. 7 spot. Meanwhile, No. 9 would face No. 10, with the winner advancing to play the loser of the 7-versus-8 matchup for the No. 8 seed, sources have told ESPN.
To date, the league's 7-10 proposal has not been tweaked to include any standings trigger, sources told ESPN. The play-in tournament is meant to be a money-generating media property. Reducing the number of teams from four to three would reduce the number of games, and thus the overall revenue generated by the tournament, sources said.
May 17, 2021 | 7:44 am EDT Update
Birch certainly gives the impression that he would love to be back with Toronto and it’s hard to imagine the Raptors wouldn’t have a role for him. But he’ll be 29 next season, so the contract will have to be right also. He’s coming off a two-year deal that paid him $6 million and would doubtless like some security on his next deal. “I think [on-court] fit and financial is probably what’s tied right now,” said Birch. “I’ve seen a lot of guys who actually go for financial but they get flushed out after their contracts [are over]. So I think fit is very important because I don’t want to just be the kind of guy who gets money and gets flushed out. I actually want to have a career and play a big part on a championship-level team or just win. That’s my goal.”
Sports tech company Genius Sports is partnering with the National Basketball Association’s league in Africa, which will see the firm provide official real-time stats and incorporate new technology. The agreement, announced Monday, could be the first step in introducing a wave of new sports data and gaming features for media and betting companies.
Genius is a major player in sports. This deal will allow the company to innovate with BAL and create second- and third-screen engagement for viewers. Genius has clients including top sports betting companies Penn National, DraftKings and Fan Duel, and networks including Disney’s ESPN and ViacomCBS.
May 17, 2021 | 4:43 am EDT Update
With a first-round rematch between their teams set, Dallas Mavericks star Luka Doncic said there are no hard feelings remaining from the heated rivalry that he developed with LA Clippers forward Marcus Morris Sr. during last season’s playoff series. According to Doncic, Morris apologized to him during a game earlier this season about stepping on the back of Doncic’s left ankle in Game 5, a controversial play that the Mavs considered dirty with their star playing on a sprained ankle.
“He’s a hell of a player, hell of a defender,” said Doncic, who averaged 31 points, 9.8 rebounds and 8.7 assists per game in last season’s series during his first NBA postseason. “Trash talk is always there, and if it’s not, you’re not really competing. It’s going to be great.”
When The Athletic recently asked Martins whether the team intends to extend Weltman’s contract, Martins said it is team policy not to comment publicly on contract discussions. But Martins also indicated that he and the DeVos family have been pleased with the performance of Weltman and GM John Hammond.