David Stern didn't and wouldn't have stopped the free agent summit

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davidstern-ap.jpgEnforcing tampering rules practically begs for a witch hunt. At some point everyone is culpable, and questions of who is punishable under NBA rules can start to get a little fuzzy as the types of personnel accused of tampering become more and more diverse.

It makes sense that players under contract could be accused of tampering, but does that mean they’re not allowed to give advice to their friends around the league? Or does it mean they’re not allowed to give advice that pushes them towards coming to the team they’re currently under contract with? What about free agent players? And free agent players that are pretty much certain to re-sign with their team? Coaches that are former players? Team broadcasters, that are technically team employees, making comments on the air? It really never ends.

David Stern and the league office will have it tough in choosing which violations are worthy of punishment, and that’s why the enforcement of the rules have been so selective of late. That said, the Commish made it clear that the “free agent summit” was not put on trial by the league, and was not the latest victim in the tampering hunt. From the Associated Press:

There will be no free agency summit. So says NBA commissioner David Stern, claiming he’s been assured at the “highest level” that there will be no sitdown among LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, and the other superstars who could hit the market on July 1. And that was the players’ choice, not an order from him. “I would expect our players to talk to one another, and we don’t
have any problem with that,” Stern said Thursday during his annual NBA
Finals news conference. “If some kind of tampering is implicated, I
will have a later and different view, but we’re not expecting that.”

…”They
can have it,” he said. “I was wondering whether they would get
together, eight players and they’ll all look at D-Wade’s ring? They’d
be better off watching these finals to see how you construct a team and
how you play and the like. There’s not going to be a summit.”

This is probably the most reasonable stance Stern could’ve taken on the issue, although I’m not exactly sure how the implication of tampering would arise, at least more so than already exists. Barring the league employing Joe Johnson as a mole, the NBA won’t exactly have eyes and ears on this thing. Still, the fact that Stern didn’t and wouldn’t try to stop it is a minor victory in itself, as the the tampering enforcement could’ve taken a leap towards lunacy had he done otherwise.

Kobe, LeBron, other NBA players react to President Trump’s stunning speech

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When President Donald Trump doubled-down on his support of the white supremacists and neo-Nazis who conducted a racist rally in Charlottesville, making a false moral equivalency with protestors of racism, it had television news anchors stunned, drew condemnation from both sides of the political aisle, and left most Americans queasy.

Count NBA players among those disgusted by the president’s comments.

That includes Kobe Bryant and LeBron James.

(Note: As part of that press conference, Trump said he owns one of the largest wineries in the nation right near Charlottesville.)

On Monday and earlier Tuesday — before the president’s latest salvo of stupidity but after the “unite the right” rally to “protect” a statue of a man who fought to keep slavery in place, where violence the protesters courted broke out and left one woman, Heather Heyer, dead — the Bucks’ Jabari Parker took part in an anti-racism rally, and LeBron had said this about Charlotte and moving the country forward.

Chris Paul had this to say before the latest press conference.

Maybe the only good thing to come of all this, you can now own a T-shirt of vintage Team USA Vince Carter dunking over Trump.

Report: Grizzlies about to hire Tayshaun Prince for front office job

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Tayshaun Prince spent 14 years in the NBA as a long, defensive minded wing, one of the early “3&D” guys but one who, in his prime, could be more than that. He won a ring in Detroit in 2004 and was a four-time NBA All-Defense selection.

Now he’s stepping into the front office.

The Grizzlies, one of his former teams, is about to hire him, reports Ronald Tillery of the Memphis Commercial Appeal.

Retired forward Tayshaun Prince will soon be named special assistant to Grizzlies general manager Chris Wallace, according to several NBA sources…

Prince is widely considered a big influence in NBA locker rooms and operated as a calming voice with Grizzlies players.

The Grizzlies believe Prince will bring a unique voice to front office decisions.

Prince came to the Grizzlies in the Rudy Gay trade and made a real impression there — and elsewhere — as a locker room leader and rational voice. He was in the NBA until last season.

This could and should be a good hire for a Grizzlies team transitioning out of the “grit n’ grind” era (albeit slowly, they could still bring Tony Allen back). The best GMs don’t go it alone but get information and perspectives from a lot of sources, and a high IQ former player would be a good one.

Watch LeBron James, Kevin Durant, and Carmelo Anthony ball in a summer pickup game

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While a lot of you goobers have just been sitting here pining for the release of the 2017-18 NBA schedule, this is what I’ve been waiting for.

In videos posted to social media this week, trainer Chris Brickley — the guy Phil Jackson made answer just three questions in an interview for the New York Knicks — showed us what players like LeBron James, Kevin Durant, and Carmelo Anthony look like in summer pickup games.

It’s not a full NBA game of course, but it is a game of basketball featuring NBA players. Give me that any day in mid-August.

Via Instagram:

Sweat Now, Shine Later‼️ @carmeloanthony // @academy.basketball // 📸 @victory

A post shared by Chris Brickley (@cbrickley603) on

I love summer but my Twitter feed is all NFL preseason as of late. There’s nothing that makes you miss the NBA regular season more than that.

Training camp can’t get here soon enough.

Jabari Parker at anti-racism rally: “We all came here to build, not to destroy”

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Events at a racist rally in Charlottesville, VA made national headlines this week after significant violence broke out and one woman, Heather Heyer, was killed after a car ran her over. The “Unite the Right” rally and subsequent coverage illustrated the continued rise of the alt-right and neo-Nazism in America, and the NBA has not turned a blind eye to the news. Stars like LeBron James have spoken out about the need to join together and find individual responsibility on a daily basis for bettering our world.

Milwaukee Bucks forward Jabari Parker is one of the NBA players that have also taken to public discourse on the subject. During an anti-racism rally in Salt Lake City on Monday, Parker spoke to the crowd about his own struggles and diverse background.

Parker said he would be doing a disservice to his own people if he didn’t come to the rally to support their cause.

In part, here’s what Parker had to say, via the Salt Lake Tribune:

“Good evening, everybody. I know a lot of you guys already know me, but I play in the NBA for the Milwaukee Bucks.

“I just want to give you guys a brief background on me. My mom, she’s from Tonga. My dad is [inaudible]. My best friend is Jewish. My uncle is gay. I could go on and on. I came from welfare, government cheese.

“I would be doing a disservice for my people if I didn’t come here today. So I’m here to speak for diversity. I’m diverse. It’s in my DNA. I love my culture. I love you.

It’s great to see more NBA players step out like this and support against the rise of mobilized political racism, white supremacy, and anti-American neo-Nazism. Big kudos to Parker, hopefully his example will help lead the way for his contemporaries.