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.

Report: Cavaliers nearly traded Richard Jefferson last year when he revealed championship rings on Snapchat

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Richard Jefferson announced his retirement after the Cavaliers won the 2016 championship, changed his mind, re-signed with Cleveland then played another season there. He played big playoff minutes for the Cavs both years.

But they traded him to the Hawks (who waived him, allowing him to sign with the Nuggets) in a rather abrupt end to his Cleveland tenure.

His exit could have been far more strained.

Dave McMenamin of ESPN:

Then he was nearly traded the summer after the championship because he revealed what the Cavs’ rings looked like on his Snapchat account before the team was ready to release them to the public. Then-GM David Griffin was so ticked that he was ready to ship him out of town, sources told ESPN, before eventually calming down and accepting Jefferson’s apology.

Talk about some petty nonsense. And Griffin was known for soothing tension!

Thankfully for Jefferson – at least if he wanted to stay in Cleveland – he revealed the ring design in September. As a newly signed player, he couldn’t be traded until Dec. 15. That gave Griffin time to cool down.

Carmelo Anthony: Phil Jackson was willing “to trade me for a bag of chips”

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Carmelo Anthony wanted to be traded to the Houston Rockets. Badly. (Whether that was good for Houston is a different discussion.) His time in New York was over by mutual consent, but now was time to move on, however, thanks to a no-trade clause Phil Jackson gave him, Anthony had leverage. And he wanted to be a Rocket with James Harden and Chris Paul.

It looked at one point like a deal would get done between New York and Houston, then it fell apart. So what happened?

Phil Jackson was booted, that’s what happened, Anthony told Marc Stein the New York Times.

The delay to find a workable trade, in Anthony’s view, stemmed from the fact that Jackson was willing “to trade me for a bag of chips,” while Scott Perry, who became the Knicks’ new general manager after Jackson’s departure, took a harder line in trade talks with Houston and Cleveland that eventually fizzled.

“They went from asking for peanuts to asking for steak,” Anthony said with a laugh.

‘Melo can laugh, he landed in a good spot with Oklahoma City. He’s on a potential contender.

As for his feelings on Jackson and leaving the organization? Still some hard feelings there.

“There was no support from the organization,” he said. “When you feel like you’re on your own and then on top of that you feel like you’re being pushed out …”

Kobe Bryant sends inspirational recovery message to Gordon Hayward

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Kobe Bryant has been there. He tore his Achilles at an age most players would have said: “that’s it, I’m out.” Not Kobe. He fought through it, came back, and was able to leave the game on his terms — and with a 60-point night.

So when Kobe sends an Instagram recovery message to Gordon Hayward, he knows of what he speaks.

Be sad. Be mad. Be frustrated. Scream. Cry. Sulk. When you wake up you will think it was just a nightmare only to realize it’s all too real. You will be angry and wish for the day back, the game back THAT play back. But reality gives nothing back and nor should you. Time to move on and focus on doing everything in your power to prepare for surgery, ask all the questions to be sure you understand fully the procedure so that you may visualize it in your subconscious while being operated on and better the chance of it’s success. Then focus on the recovery process day by day by day. It’s a long journey but if you focus on the mini milestones along the way you will find beauty in the struggle of doing simple things that prior to this injury were taken for granted. This will also mean that when you return you will have a new perspective. You will be so appreciative of being able to stand, walk, run that you will train harder than you ever have. You see the belief within you grow with each mini milestone and you will come back a better player for it. Best of luck to you on this journey my brother #mambamentality always.

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The message was vintage Kobe, all about the drive and steps to recovery. Focus on the next thing, don’t let any obstacles stop you.

Let’s just hope Hayward can take this to heart and make a full recovery.

PBT Podcast: Gordon Hayward injury, Celtics’ future, opening night news

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The buzz of the NBA’s opening night was killed just a 5:15 into the first game when Gordon Hayward went down with what could be a season-ending ankle and leg injury.

What’s next for Boston now? Kurt Helin and Dan Feldman of NBC Sports get into that with this latest PBT Podcast.

They also discuss the opening night game between the Celtics and Cavaliers and what we can take away from it, same with the Houston Rockets upset of the Golden State Warriors. The pair also gets into the Nikola Mirotic/Bobby Portis incident in Chicago (this was recorded just before the Portis suspension came down), the LaMarcus Aldridge extension with the Spurs, and if Joel Embiid should be ticked about being on a minutes limit to start the season.

As always, you can check out the podcast below, or listen and subscribe via iTunes (just click the button under the podcast), subscribe via the fantastic Stitcher app, check us out on Google play, or check out the NBC Sports Podcast homepage and archive at Art19.