Boris Stankovic, the longtime head of basketball’s worldwide governing body and a driving force in the fight to allow N.B.A. players to participate in the Olympics, died on Friday in Belgrade, Serbia. He was 94. His death was announced by the International Basketball Federation, or FIBA. He was its secretary general from 1976 to 2002.
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The National Basketball Association had virtually no relationship with FIBA when Mr. Stankovic requested a meeting with the N.B.A.’s commissioner at the time, David Stern, in the mid-1980s, during the latter years of the Cold War. “His goal was very much to unify the world of basketball,” Russ Granik, a former N.B.A. deputy commissioner, said of Mr. Stankovic in a phone interview.
Mr. Stankovic told N.B.A. officials about his vision of having the best players in the world participate in major FIBA events, Mr. Granik said. “It wasn’t ready to happen yet,” he said, “but he wanted to start working toward that.” He added, “We were kind of surprised by all this, coming from him, because we’d always been told that they don’t want N.B.A. players in their events — they want to keep their world separate.”
Jeff Zillgitt: Former FIBA secretary-general Borislav Stankovic died. He was 94. Stankovic was instrumental, along with David Stern, in getting NBA/pro players into the Olympics in 1992 — which was a seminal moment in international basketball and its growth.
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September 21, 2021 | 1:36 pm EDT Update
Complicating matters with that caveat of right now, of course, is the reality that the Sixers also do not appear close to a trade they are willing to go through with that gives Simmons his desired fresh start. More than two months after posting one of my Tuesday newsletter extravaganzas on Substack for the first time on July 13 — also a breakdown, on that occasion, of the latest on the Simmons front — Philadelphia looks no closer to a trade to bring an end to this stalemate.
Weeks of Philadelphia’s Simmons talks with various teams haven’t brought the Sixers to the brink of a deal, largely because Morey is the one faced with trying to get commensurate value for his All-Star and still asking for so much in return in his determination to recoup a trade package that, as one source put it, keeps Philadelphia in title contention. History, however, says that Philadelphia’s president of basketball operations shouldn’t count on getting a glittering package back when a deal finally materializes — his own history.
I reported Monday that the Sixers don’t expect Simmons to show and are resigned to try to keep working behind the scenes to try to convince him to reconsider that stance. After I published that, another source close to the situation told me: “Right now, I don’t see a scenario where Ben is back in Philly.” The source meant it with permanence. As in: Simmons’ career with the Sixers, to the source, is over.
I was told very clearly that the Sixers do not liken these circumstances to Al Horford’s last season in Oklahoma City or John Wall’s in Houston. As the start of training camp draws near, Philadelphia has shown zero interest to date in striking the sort of mutual agreement that Wall and the Rockets just hatched to shelve the former All-Star point guard.
The Sixers have not lowered the bar on what they’re seeking in a Simmons trade — yet. Toronto, Minnesota, Cleveland, San Antonio and Sacramento — all of them, league sources say, have engaged with Philadelphia in Simmons trade talks. They’re also all bubble playoff teams at best based in markets not known for attracting free agents and surely love the idea of acquiring Simmons when the 25-year-old is locked into three guaranteed seasons on his contract after this one.
Yet league sources maintain, as noted above, that the Sixers are actively trying to convince Simmons to rejoin the team even though he has made it clear to management that he doesn’t want to spend another second as a Sixer. I was told very clearly that the Sixers do not liken these circumstances to Al Horford’s last season in Oklahoma City or John Wall’s in Houston. As the start of training camp draws near, Philadelphia has shown zero interest to date in striking the sort of mutual agreement that Wall and the Rockets just hatched to shelve the former All-Star point guard.
Ian Begley: Nets GM Sean Marks says BKN has had ‘very positive’ conversations with both Kyrie Irving and James Harden about signing extensions. Says they are looking forward to continuing to talk to Irving and Harden about extensions over the next week or two.