David Stern, Adam Silver

The NBA equivalent of high school drama: Silver hangs out with agency head

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All this is missing is some guy who knows this girl who saw Billy Hunter pass out at 31 Flavors last night. (It seemed pretty serious.)

Okay, so Adam Silver goes to the US Open last week, according to Chris Broussard of ESPN. No biggie. He had a long day in negotiations, wanted to unwind, attends a tennis tournament. No biggie. Except that he ran into a friend there and hung out with him. Who’s that? Oh, Casey Wasserman who is part owner of Wasserman Media Group, which among other things, represents athletes. They bought notable NBA agent Arn Tellem’s firm and all his clients. Thing is, the NBA has a strict policy regarding any NBA representative from top level executives all the way down to an assistant team video coordinator being barred from speaking with or hanging out with a player or anyone associated with the players. Which you would assume includes agents.

Now, Wasserman manages a wide array of talent with only a tiny percentage held in the NBA. But if the pairing seems a bit odd, it’s not just you. Happy Walters quietly represents a pretty stellar collection of talent, and he wasn’t exactly thrilled with the two chilling. Walters later followed up on Broussard’s reports on Twitter, saying:

Even odder… The NBA has implemented a rule that forbids all employees, NBA team employees (coaches, trainers, front office execs), from having any contact with a player, or anyone “affiliated” with a player. Agents are at the top of this list. The rules must not apply 2 the NBA executive offices as Wasserman owns the largest Basketball agency. Things that make you go hmmmmm……

Burn.

The difference of course is that Silver’s at the top of the food chain. Is it hypocritical for the NBA to make a rule regarding all its employees and then say its top people don’t have to obey them? Maybe. But it’s not like you’re concerned Silver is giving away strategies or harming his side by talking to someone whose business is marginally affected by the lockout. It’s not like Silver is compromising anything by watching  a tennis match. All this really does is show how silly the overall rule is. Neither side is going to compromise their side’s efforts. Employees don’t want to get fired, players don’t want to lose any more money than they’ll have to in this deal.

In short, people should be able to sit together at a tennis match without it being a big deal. This isn’t high school. Though if it is, Billy Hunter is totally breaking up with the agents. He’s going steady with Derek Fisher.

Report: LeBron James might not play for Team USA in 2016 Olympics because Kobe Bryant won’t

Kobe Bryant (L) and team mate Lebron James of the U.S. sit on the bench during the game against France during their men's Group A basketball match at the London 2012 Olympic Games in the Basketball arena July 29, 2012. REUTERS/Mike Segar
REUTERS/Mike Segar
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LeBron James admires Kobe Bryant.

How much?

Kobe pulling his name from 2016 Olympic consideration (perhaps an informed preemptive gesture just before the roster finalists were announced) might keep LeBron off Team USA.

Kevin Ding of Bleacher Report:

Bryant not pursuing a spot on the U.S. Olympic basketball team this summer is a very real reason James might also not join the team, according to NBA sources.

James is that disappointed the Rio Olympics will not serve as the final, ultimate celebration of Bryant’s career—and more so that James won’t have the priceless honor of being Bryant’s co-star teammate when it ends.

I don’t buy this.

Kobe said during the 2012 Olympics those would be his final Olympics. Two weeks later, LeBron said he wanted to play in 2016.

Did playing with Kobe on Team USA become more important to LeBron over the last few years?

I suppose it’s possible. Many got behind sending Kobe to Rio as a sendoff into retirement. Perhaps, LeBron got attached to the idea and became bitter once it fell through.

I just have a hard time believing LeBron would tie his decision so strongly to another player. Remember, he left one of his best friends, Dwyane Wade, in Miami to sign with the Cavaliers. Would Kobe’s presence really dictate LeBron’s outlook?

LeBron has been mum on his plans for Team USA. I’m sure the length of Cleveland’s playoff run and the toll it takes on his body will factor. He might not yet know what he’ll do.

The ball is in his court, which can be challenging. There has been backlash from media and fans against players who turn down Team USA, and LeBron could be trying to avoid that.

I trust Ding was told LeBron felt this way, but nobody – including me, including Ding – can know what’s in LeBron’s head. But this report strikes me as LeBron setting up the ability to attribute his absence to Kobe’s rather than facing the full brunt of reaction that comes to turning down Team USA.

Did the Clippers reenact Paul Pierce being stabbed during pregame introductions? (video)

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The Clippers got hyped for Paul Pierce‘s potential last game in Boston by… reenacting the time Pierce got stabbed there? If not, it sure looks like it.

Mock fighting is the norm for the Clippers’ pregame, but I haven’t seen a single player targeted like this. Whatever gets you pumped, I guess.

Markieff Morris flips off Suns fan (video)

Phoenix Suns' Markieff Morris reacts to a call during the second half of the team's NBA basketball game against the Golden State Warriors, Wednesday, Feb. 10, 2016, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Matt York)
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Markieff Morris‘ frustrations last night didn’t end with his scuffle with teammate Archie Goodwin. They didn’t end with the Suns’ loss to the Warriors, either.

As Morris was leaving the court, a fan heckled him: “Markieff, you f—ing suck. I can’t wait until you’re traded.” Though Morris probably agrees with the second sentence, he flipped off the fan:

Though it’s difficult to confirm that video was from last night, it jibes with a previous report of the incident.

John Gambadoro of Arizona Sports 98.7

Morris will likely at least be fined. Considering his previous behavioral problems this season – he threw a towel at Jeff Hornacek – I wouldn’t completely rule out a suspension. But a fine seems most likely.

Dwight Howard commits ridiculously sloppy inbound violation (video)

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An embarrassing lack of focus by the Rockets? I can hardly believe it.

Late in a game against a team Houston is battling for playoff position, Dwight Howard was just careless, stepping on the baseline as he inbounded the ball. It’s a needless goof, and he’ll get plenty of deserved criticism for it.

But don’t overlook Patrick Beverley‘s frustration foul on Damian Lillard before the ensuing inbound. That was nearly as foolish and even more costly.

The sequence sparked a 7-0 run for the Trail Blazers, who seized control of the game en route to a 116-103 win.