Alexis Ajinca, Ryan Anderson, Steve Novak

Mavs’ Alexis Ajinca likely to be traded to Raptors

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Before Dallas can sign Peja Stojakovic after he clears waivers next week — both of those things will happen — they have to clear out a roster spot for him.

Meet Alexis Ajinca, the project big man out of France who has been languishing at the end of the Mavericks bench. Toronto is the kind of place young project centers can get some burn, and the Raptors have interest in him.

We’ll let you connect the dots with what Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle told the Associated Press before Thursday night’s Mavericks game.

“Ajinca is not here tonight because he’s inactive. We’ve sent him to the hotel because there is a possibility that he will be traded. … Nothing has happened yet and I’m not sure anything is going to happen tonight.”

The trade likely would be for a second round pick.

Ajinca is a physical specimen — 7-foot, 220 pounds — but one who is still figuring out the game and how he can impact it, now entering his third year in the league (with some time in the D-League as well). This past Summer League you could see moments of progress — games where there were more good plays than bad, games where he was a beast on the boards — but there were always mental errors. The game does not always flow naturally for him.

The Mavericks are in it to win it, they don’t have time for a raw youngster to learn on the job (although they were so banged up for a while he got two starts). The Raptors have room to let him learn. This might be a good fit. Maybe better than Peja in Dallas, but that’s another discussion.

Report: Some Hawks executives doubt Danny Ferry’s contrition

Danny Ferry, Mike Budenholzer
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Since his racist comments about Luol Deng, Danny Ferry has mostly avoided the public eye.

He apologized through a couple statements released around the beginning of his leave of absence. He met with black community leaders. He claimed “full responsibility.”

A cadre of NBA people vouched for him. A law firm the Hawks hired to investigate themselves essentially cleared of him of being motivated by racial bias.

But there’s another side.

Kevin Arnovitz and Brian Windhorst of ESPN:

Ferry’s efforts at contrition sometimes fell short to some inside the organization. Several Hawks executives were at times put off by Ferry’s behavior during a compulsory two-day sensitive training session, especially since they considered his actions triggered the assembly in the first place. He came across as inattentive and dismissive of the exercise, some said, and fiddled with his phone quite a bit. Ferry contends he was taking notes on the meeting.

“It was awkward for everyone because I had not seen or been around Hawks employees for three months,” Ferry told ESPN this summer about the sensitivity training. “I took the seminar seriously, participated in the role-play exercises and certainly learned from the two-day session.”

the Hawks satisfied Ferry on June 22 by releasing both the written Taylor report and a flowery press release in which Hawks CEO Koonin was quoted saying, among other things, that “Danny Ferry is not a racist.” Some Hawks executives grumbled that the team overreached in exonerating Ferry, but doing so — not to mention paying Ferry significantly more than the $9 million he was owed on his “golden ticket” deal — was the cost of moving on.

I don’t know whether Ferry has shown the proper level of contrition, whether he was playing on his phone or taking notes.

But I know what he said:

“He’s a good guy overall, but he’s got some African in him, and I don’t say that in a bad way other than he’s a guy that may be making side deals behind you, if that makes sense. He has a storefront out front that’s beautiful and great, but he may be selling some counterfeit stuff behind you.”

He was not reading directly from a scouting report. He did not stop when his paraphrasing repeated a racist trope.

That’s a problem.

I don’t think Ferry intended to say something racist – but he did.

It’s a fixable issue, though. Through introspection and a desire to change, he can learn from this mistake. Maybe he already has.

That some around him don’t think he took that process seriously is worth noting. They might be off base, and Ferry obviously disagrees with their perception. But this is a two-sided story despite the common narrative focusing on Ferry’s redemption.

It’ll be up to any potential future employers to sort through the discrepancies.

Gilbert Arenas: Caron Butler’s version of gun incident ‘false’

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Caron Butler recently detailed the Gilbert Arenas-Javaris Crittenton gun incident.

In a since-deleted – but screenshot-captured – Instagram post, Arenas gives his description:

The biggest differences between Butler’s and Arenas’ versions:

1. Arenas claims he wasn’t the one who owed Crittenton money, that the feud escalated over Arenas prematurely showing his hand during a card game.

2. Arenas says he told Crittenton to pick a gun to shoot Arenas with – not to pick a gun he’d get shot by Arenas with.