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.
I love the drive by dunk challenge (if you prefer, the #drivebydunkchallenge), it would be the best thing on NBA Twitter this summer, if it wasn’t for Kyrie Irving.
But the best one yet comes from Boston’s Jaylen Brown.
He steals the ball, and the best part is the guy who comes over like he’s going to stop Brown from throwing it down.
The Nets went 20-62 then traded their best player (Brook Lopez) for a worse player (D'Angelo Russell). Brooklyn’s biggest free-agent signing this summer (Otto Porter) plays for the Wizards. Rondae Hollis-Jefferson and Caris LeVert are nice developmental pieces but hardly seem on the verge of breakthroughs.
Still, Nets guard Jeremy Lin expects big things next season.
He set expectations in an Instagram Live video (hat tip: AJ Neuharth-Keusch of USA Today):
We’re making the playoffs. I don’t care what anybody else says.
The Nets are on the right track given their asset constraints. Though worse than Lopez now, Russell – eight years younger and on a low-paying rookie-scale deal – is more valuable. Brooklyn made the favorable swap by absorbing Timofey Mozgov‘s awful contract, a wise use of assets considering the difficulty of attracting free agents. An aggressive offer sheet for Porter was a reasonable swing in that situation, as well.
But that’s all helpful in the long run. In the short term, the Nets are almost certainly stuck as lousy. Maybe they can sneak into the playoffs in a weak Eastern Conference, but even that is a huge longshot.
Not that Lin cares what I say.
When you think of Summer League basketball, sharp defensive rotations is not the first thing that comes to mind. Defense, in general, tends to be an after thought.
But there were some great blocks.
Here are the top 10 blocks from the Las Vegas Summer League. Enjoy the flashes of defense from Vegas.
MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) The Memphis Grizzlies have signed former Oregon forward Dillon Brooks, a second-round pick in last month’s NBA draft.
Shams Charania of Yahoo Sports:
Brooks was selected by the Houston Rockets with the 45th overall pick. The Grizzlies acquired him in exchange for a future second-round pick.
Brooks, 21, averaged 16.1 points, 3.2 rebounds and 2.7 assists as a junior at Oregon last season. He was named the Pac-12 player of the year and helped Oregon earn its first Final Four berth since 1939.