Almost any team in the league would love to have Chris Paul, but they’d better not tell Paul or his agent that.
According to Marc Stein of ESPN.com, the NBA has issued a memo to warn teams about the consequences of making illegal contact with Paul:
ESPN.com learned that the memo spells out that “no team should be having communications with Chris Paul or his agent or representative about a potential trade for Paul that have not been authorized in advance by the New Orleans Hornets.”
This measure comes in the wake of various media reports in recent days that Paul’s new agent, Leon Rose, has been talking to a handful of teams about pursuing trades for his client.
The memo, sources said, also threatens penalties for any such communications that could potentially include “suspension of the offending person, prohibition of the offending team from hiring the person being tampered with, forfeiture of draft picks and individual and/or team fines of up to $5 million.”
It’s clear that the league didn’t enjoy the collusion rumors that have dogged LeBron, Wade, and Bosh, and would like to nip any similar rumors about CP3 in the bud.
As we saw with LeBron, it can be extremely difficult to enforce anything that could be considered tampering. Would Kevin Durant giving a twitter shout-out to Paul be tampering? What about Dwight Howard sending Paul a FaceBook message? Or a general manager saying that he loves Paul’s game in a radio interview? Or LeBron giving Paul advice after a summer camp session?
This was a memo the league had to send for the sake of its image, but the bottom line is that this will be nearly impossible to enforce. Information is everywhere now, and Paul and Rose can be reached by a million different people through a number of mediums. Trying to stop Paul and his agent from making an under-the-table agreement with another team is one thing, and I’m sure teams will be very careful about making direct contact with Paul or Rose. But teams will continue to talk about Paul, rumors will continue to spread, those rumors will reach Paul and Rose somehow, and the flow of information and misinformation surrounding a potential Paul trade will continue. In this day and age, no memo can change that.
As if Golden State was not already a prohibitive favorite Saturday night.
DeMarcus Cousins, who has missed the last two games for Sacramento with a strained back and that will continue Saturday. Our old friend Bill Herenda tweeted it first.
Not only are the Kings 1-6 without Cousins, but they were also on their way to beating Charlotte Monday until Cousins had to leave the game.
Golden State will likely be without Harrison Barnes in this game after spraining his ankle in the last game. Expect Andre Iguodala to get the start, or if interim coach Luke Walton doesn’t want to mess with the bench rotation he could go with Brandon Rush.
Watching Anthony Davis fall to the court clutching his knee, not being able to put any pressure on his leg as he was helped to the locker room, it was frightening Friday night in Los Angeles.
It turns out it’s not that bad. After the game the injury was described as a “knee contusion” and not the serious damage that was feared. Saturday the Pelicans said Davis was good to go.
Whew. Nobody wants to see Davis miss time.
The Pelicans had won three in a row until they ran into the Clippers Friday night. Davis has played better of late — the New Orleans defense is 7.2 points per 100 better when he is on the court — and New Orleans has gotten better point guard play out of Ish Smith.
That is just cruel.
An on-fire Warriors team dropped 44 on the Suns in the first quarter Saturday, and Curry had 19 of those points going 5-of-6 from three. The Suns’ had no defender who could begin to hang with him. Certainly not Ronnie Price, who came in off the bench and got abused for his efforts.
Curry finished with 41 points, never had to set foot on the court in the fourth quarter, and the Warriors improved to 17-0 on the season. Just another day at the office for them.
We tend to think of record streaks having to be in one season, not broken up across two.
But if you can suspend that, the Philadelphia 76ers are now the owners of the longest losing streak in NBA — and major professional sports — history.
With their tough two-points loss to Houston Friday night, the Sixers have lost 27 in a row. The Sixers dropped their final 10 last season and with the loss to the Rockets are 0-17 to start this one.
That bests the 26-game losing streaks of the 2010-11 Cleveland Cavaliers and these same Sixers from 2013-14. Looking across sports, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers of 1976-1977 also lost 26 in a row, which when you consider the length of the NFL season is pretty embarrassing.
The Sixers struggles are born from a plan by GM Sam Hinkie (and approved by ownership) to get better long-term by being bad now and hoarding draft picks. It’s a strategy that can work if Hinkie nails the draft picks (the book is out on how Hinkie is doing on that front). And they are committed to it through at least this draft.
But don’t think for a second the players and coach are trying to lose.
If you have watched the Sixers play their last few games you know the players are trying hard to get that victory (and almost have a couple of times). The effort is there, they are just outmatched and lack the kind of presence at the end of games to execute under pressure (something a couple of quality, regularly-playing veterans might help, but that’s another discussion). They have the point differential of a team that should have a couple wins; they just haven’t been fortunate. It happens. Go ahead and blame management if you think this plan is an abomination. Just don’t question the desire or effort of the players or coaches, that is not in doubt.
The Sixers play at the Grizzlies Sunday, then have maybe their best shot at a win for a while when they host the Lakers on Tuesday.