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.

Bradley Beal, Kent Bazemore get technicals for scuffle in Hawks, Wizards

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It’s been a chippy kind of playoff series — one where Paul Millsap gets called a crybaby — and with the Hawks on the brink of elimination emotions were especially high on Friday night.

Kent Bazemore had been frustrated with a couple of calls (and no calls) and he took that out on the play above — he got picked by Kelly Oubre, who threw the ball ahead to Bradley Beal for a layup, and Bazemore gave him a little push in the air. It wasn’t much, but when a guy is airborne and defenseless that touch throwing off balance can lead to serious injury.

Beal bounced up and got in Bazemore’s face. Then an NBA version of a scuffle started.

The referees reviewed it and Beal and Bazemore got technical fouls with Tim Hardaway Jr. and Jason Smith also getting them for their role later in the “festivities.”

The league should come in with a fine for Bazemore on this — you cannot let guys push other guys who are airborne, even slightly. That was a dangerous play, and I’m surprised the officials did not call a technical.

Report: Kevin McHale also in mix for team president in Orlando

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Cavaliers GM David Griffin — who doesn’t have a contract with the team beyond this year, but who LeBron James has endorsed — is on their radar.

Larry Bird, who is stepping down in Indiana, is a potential target.

You can add Kevin McHale to the list of former NBA executives the Orlando Magic are taking a look at in their search for a new head of basketball operations, reports Sam Amick of the USA Today.

The Orlando Magic have serious interest in Hall of Famer and TNT analyst Kevin McHale for their team president position, according to two people with knowledge of the situation….But McHale, who served as Minnesota Timberwolves vice president of basketball operations from 1995 to 2008 while also serving as the team’s head coach on two occasions, is known to be on the Timberwolves’ short list as well. The Magic would strongly prefer someone who has previously been a general manager for the president position.

But McHale, who served as Minnesota Timberwolves vice president of basketball operations from 1995 to 2008 while also serving as the team’s head coach on two occasions, is known to be on the Timberwolves’ short list as well. The Magic would strongly prefer someone who has previously been a general manager for the president position.

McHale made some franchise-defining moves as the head man in Minnesota — he drafted Kevin Garnett and he brought Flip Saunders into the organization, he brought in Sam Cassell and Latrell Spreewell and that got the Timberwolves to the conference finals in 2004, to use a few examples.

He had his share of mistakes, too. Like drafting Ray Allen then trading him for Stephon Marbury, or drafting Brandon Roy and trading him for Randy Foye.

The Orlando roster has talent on it — Aaron Gordon, Evan Fournier, Nikola Vucevic, maybe Elfrid Payton — and a quality coach in place with Frank Vogel. That said the talent on the roster does not fit and Orlando desperately needed someone willing to shake things up, who wasn’t too invested in “their guys” to realize the roster’s serious shortcomings.

McHale could do that. It looks like we are a month or more from finding out, however, as Griffin isn’t going anywhere until after the Cavaliers season — which likely extends into June. If the Magic are serious about him, this process is going to drag out.

Joel Embiid was hanging out with Philly fans at the NFL Draft

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Joel Embiid is a man of the people.

And last night the people in Philadelphia were all Eagles fans, watching the NFL Draft unfold.

Embiid was out there with them. Literally.

Ben Simmons was there as well with Embiid, according to CSNPhilly.com.

Philadelphia fans can only hope the Eagles draft as well — and have WAY better injury luck — than the Sixers.

Moving to new arena, Detroit Pistons submit bids to host 2020 or 2021 All-Star Game

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DETROIT (AP) — The Detroit Pistons have put in bids to host a future NBA All-Star Game at Little Caesars Arena.

The team says in a release Friday that bids were submitted to the league for 2020 and 2021.

Little Caesars Arena is being built just north of downtown Detroit and is expected to open this year. It also will be home to the NHL’s Detroit Red Wings.

In November, the Pistons announced the team was moving back to Detroit from The Palace of Auburn Hills.

The city of Detroit last hosted the NBA’s All-Star Game in 1959. The 1979 game was played in Pontiac when the Pistons’ home court was the Silverdome.

NBA All-Star events include the All-Star Game, NBA Rising Stars Challenge, a celebrity game, skills competition and fan events.