NBA owners and executives are now treating the words “LeBron James” like they would treat the Hantavirus — staying the hell away from it.
Not the player, they all want to talk to him and sell him on why he needs to come to their fair town. But before July 1 they are afraid to say even the words in the presence of a media member because David Stern is handing out tampering fines like a rib joint hands out moist towelettes. Mark Cuban has $100,000, and Hawks owner Michael Gearon got fined $25,000 for having the temerity to say he’d go over the luxury tax line to get LeBron. Crazy. Stern might fine Mikhail Prokhorov $50,000 for just looking at LeBron.
However, Dwyane Wade can say he plans to talk to LeBron — and Chris Bosh and Joe Johnson — and the league will do nothing, according to our own Ira Winderman, writing or the South Florida Sun Sentinel.
“We understand that players talk and interact with each other all the time and there’s no real way to regulate that,” he said. “We therefore reserve discipline only for the most egregious player tampering cases.”
Um, the four biggest free agents on the market getting together to talk about their plans with each other isn’t egregious? I’m curious where the NBA chooses to draw that line.
What would be really interesting to hear is that conversation, but like the owners the players will soon stop talking all together. They’re smart enough to do that without fines.
On Monday, Dion Waiters agreed to a one-year, $2.9 million deal with the Heat, far less than most people thought he would get as one of the few significant free agents still on the market. Tuesday afternoon, he posted an explanation on Instagram for his deal.
Here’s what he said:
I didn’t do it for the money… I did it for the opportunity to go out & ball & have fun. Everything else will take care of its self!!! I just felt like it was the best situation for me…& my family. I could have waited & got wat I wanted. But I rather be happy then miserable at the end of the day!!! Meaning Yu can have everything & still not be happy… #heatnation let’s get it!!! #provethemwrong #stamped #Philly
It seems clear, based on the market, that the kinds of offers Waiters was hoping for weren’t out there for him. In Miami, with Dwyane Wade gone, he’ll probably start at shooting guard and have plenty of opportunities to prove himself in hopes of landing a long-term deal next summer.
While we wait for the Celtics to make a bigger move to trade for another star, they’re filling out the end of their roster. Sheridan Hoops’ Michael Scotto is reporting that they’ve signed Demetrius Jackson, the No. 45 pick in last month’s draft, to a four-year deal.
Jackson declared for the draft after his junior season at Notre Dame. Talent-wise, he has the chance to be a major steal for Boston — DraftExpress has him ranked as the 17th-best overall prospect in this year’s draft class. But he might not play much his first year. The Celtics’ roster is already crowded and there’s still the chance that they’ll make another move with some of their much-vaunted assets if the right star becomes available.
ATLANTA (AP) — The Atlanta Hawks have signed undrafted rookie free agent center Matt Costello of Michigan State.
The 6-foot-9, 245-pound Costello averaged 5.7 points and 5 rebounds on the Hawks’ summer league team in Las Vegas.
Costello averaged 10.7 points and 8.2 rebounds as a senior at Michigan State. He holds the school’s career record with 146 blocked shots.
Terms of the deal were not released.
Jamal Crawford knows how to get buckets.
He does it against NBA level defenders, so put him in a free-flowing pro-am — let’s say the Seattle pro-am in his hometown — and he barely breaks a sweat dropping 44. And nailing the game winner.
Doc Rivers hopes to see a lot of that next season.