That’s one for the thumb.
A few players – Mitch McGary, Jordan Adams and R.J. Hunter – had their rookie-scale-contract team options declined as their teams waived them this offseason. Another player, P.J. Hairston, had his third-year option declined last fall.
But only one player that we know of so far from the 2013 and 2014 draft classes remains on a team but won’t finish his rookie-scale deal:
Timberwolves forward Adreian Payne, the No. 15 pick in 2014.
Minnesota will decline his $3,100,094 team option for 2017-18, a decision that will become official Tuesday.
Darren Wolfson of 1500 ESPN:
Payne will become an unrestricted free agent next summer. The Timberwolves can re-sign him, but only at a starting salary up to $3,100,094. Any other team can offer up to the max.
Payne probably won’t be worth $3,100,094 next summer. He’s a stretch four without 3-point range and a long 2-point jumper that is expectedly inefficient. He doesn’t move well enough in any direction, including vertically, to defend well. The concern on him coming out of Michigan State – that he relied too heavily on beating up on younger players – looks valid. Payne will be a 26-year-old free agent.
But $3,100,094 is a small amount against a large salary cap. Is it really worth letting Payne hit the open market without seeing what he does this season first?
This is the problem the Pacers ran into with Solomon Hill. They declined his $2,306,019 2016-17 team option, and he had a breakout year. He signed a four-year, $52 million contract with the Pelicans this summer as Indiana could do nothing but watch.
I don’t expect Payne to duplicate Hill’s emergence, but the Pacers obviously didn’t see it coming with Hill, either. As long as Payne remains on the team, it’s probably worth Minnesota buying itself an extra year of potentially cheap labor.
If Payne develops, he could be an irreplaceable bargain. If he doesn’t, it won’t cost much to waive him – especially because the Timberwolves can stretch him.
Even if the odds are against that plan bearing fruit, the upside is high enough to justify exercising the option.
But Minnesota apparently feels differently. Barring a sudden change of plans in the next few days, Payne will be on an expiring contract.
Already eliminated from the playoff chase, the Jazz weren’t focused for Kobe Bryant’s final game. They ceded 60 points to the over-the-hill superstar.
How locked in was Kobe?
“I was actually at the office until 4 or 4:15 editing a bunch of short stories, and lost track of time,” Bryant told the Wall Street Journal’s Dennis K. Berman. “And I looked at my watch, ‘Oh…I better go home. I got my last game to play.’”
Kobe clearly summoned a will to compete by the time he reached the arena. That was a sendoff for the ages.
But this is another sign he was ready for the next chapter in his life.
Michael Jordan’s most famous moment in collective bargaining came when, as a Bulls player in 1998, he told Wizards owner Abe Pollin to sell his team if he couldn’t turn a profit.
NBA commissioner Adam Silver, via Ohm Youngmisuk of ESPN:
“Let me just single out one owner in particular, Michael Jordan,” Silver said during his upbeat update on CBA negotiations this week following the Board of Governors meetings in Manhattan.
“I think having Michael Jordan as part of our negotiating committee, the unique perspective he brings to the bargaining table because of his playing career, having been, of course, a superstar player. Now for players to see him in that position, it doesn’t mean that if Michael says it, it necessarily means that they accept that as the position they should take. But I think that’s really added a special element unique to this league.”
I don’t know to what degree Silver is just crediting the biggest-name owner vs. someone truly influential.
But if this is the formula that achieves historic labor peace, I don’t care.
Let’s hope Jordan takes the exact same role and gets the owners and players to compromise just as quickly next time, too.
Sevyn Streeter said the 76ers stopped her from singing the national anthem last night because she wore a “WE MATTER” jersey.
The 76ers said they use their games to bring people together.
Jan Carabeo of CBS3 (hat tip: CSN Philly):
This has been taken by some as proof Streeter was in the wrong. But the 76ers have a right to determine who uses their platform and how. That legality of the 76ers’ actions isn’t in question.
What should be questioned is the message they sent.
That they’re against any and all political statements defies belief. They have allowed their invited guests to display political messages on the court before. If Streeter wore a shirt that said “Support our troops” – no less of a political statement – would she have been barred from performing? You must believe the answer is yes to believe political statements themselves, not the specific content of Streeter’s, were the problem here.
There’s also something troubling about “WE MATTER” being a political statement, but in the reality of America, the jersey is undoubtedly political. The 76ers silencing Streeter will keep it that way.