NBA allegedly controlling media as it refutes Paul Allen story

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Paul Allen did not come across very well after all was said and done on Thursday after the NBA negotiations fell apart broke apart blew apart like a soda can with a pound of C4 inside it. One writer outlined Allen’s history of random and reckless spending and decision making, another suggested that Allen may be on the way out and looking to improve his sale price, while also not caring about offending the players. It was Allen who was allegedly brought in to pull the NBA back from the brink of compromise on behalf of the hard-line owners.

On Friday, the NBA decided to respond to those allegations, in a conversation between Adam Silver and the Oregonian. 

“I do not understand why his presence has taken on a life of its own as if he was sent in to deliver a message to the players,” Silver said.

“Paul is in the same position as every other owner. He wants a system where every team is in a position to compete for a championship and every team, if managed properly, has a chance to make a profit.

“In no way was his presence intended to send a message.”

via Paul Allen takes center stage in NBA labor dispute | OregonLive.com.

Blazers president Larry Miller also told the paper that the Blazers are “absolutely not for sale.”

Well, that clears up.  A nice, friendly round of damage control and clarification with the Blazers beat writers and… wait, what? What’s that?

Oh, dear.

Note: NBA/Blazers insisted Silver interview be w/biz guy not one of the Blazers beat guys. Said they’d go to other publication if not.Sat Oct 22 08:39:42 via TweetDeck

Here, let me just let Ben Golliver of BlazersEdge.com and CBSSports.com handle this.

Yes, you read that correctly. The NBA just allegedly disputed that one of their owners issued a “take it or leave it” ultimatum to the players by issuing a “take it our leave it” ultimatum to a newspaper. They allegedly decided to make it clear that Allen didn’t issue a statement that pre-conditioned the negotiations by pre-conditioning their disputed account. They allegedly defended Allen from charges of a “my way or the highway” attitude by threatening the paper with the most basic “my way or the highway” tactic known to media.

via NBA disputes Paul Allen reports, digs deeper – CBSSports.com.

The NBA is trying to fight what it feels are misrepresentations of its opinions and the behavior in these sessions. They’re faced with an uphill battle against a media that in their mind is unfairly taking the side of the players. They’re trying to do the best they can with limited resources while maintaining a general wall against transparency in order to keep negotiations confidential. That’s part of what was so stunning about Hunter’s revelations on Thursday. It pulled back the curtain, which neither side wants because in tense situations, people say things that aren’t going to look right in public without context. And so the NBA is trying to clear this up as quickly and quietly as possible. And that’s a reasonable position.

It’s just that they kind of suck at it. Not really badly, and not as badly as I would suck at it, and not as badly as the players have sucked at getting their message across, but still. This comes across as bullying. It’s just trying to keep things in perspective and control the story as much as possible to avoid damage. But giving media outlets ultimatums? That’s a bad look. The media’s got no league to cover, so it’s jumping on everything (he said mid-jump). Talking to the Oregonian to clear up concerns about a possible sale and to lessen the damage of Allen looking like a bad guy? Good idea!

Doing it by demanding that only the business writer and none of the beat writers be involved? Bad idea.

This concludes your lockout “what the hell” story of the day. Join us tomorrow for what we’re sure will be the players’ turn!

(HT: EOB)

Report: Pelicans picked up Alvin Gentry’s option for next season before sweep

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Last summer the buzz was all over the league: Pelicans GM Dell Demps and coach Alvin Gentry were given a “playoffs or bust” mandate by management. If the Pelicans were not in the postseason — and just barely getting in and then blown out in the first round might be good enough — there was going to be a housecleaning.

The Pelicans made the playoffs as the six seed with 48 wins despite losing DeMarcus Cousins to a torn Achilles midway through the season.

That alone was good enough to get Gentry another season in New Orleans, reports Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN.

As noted, this happened before the Pelicans swept the Trail Blazers out of the first round and into a summer of re-evaluation. This option season is the last of Gentry’s original deal with the Pelicans.

Gentry has the Pelicans playing fast, using the elite defense of Anthony Davis and Jrue Holiday to get stops, and right now Davis is leading an offense that is just getting it done, with guys such as Nikola Mirotic stepping up. Gentry has earned another year, and a shot to integrate Cousins into this style and level of play, to see where that could take New Orleans next season.

It will be interesting to see if Demps can add more shooting and versatility with a capped out roster.

Report: Suns talk to Jason Kidd, Vinny Del Negro about coaching job

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Mike Budenholzer is out (and may be thinking New York). Suns’ interim coach Jay Triano and former Grizzlies head coach David Fizdale are still in the mix.

The Suns also have reached out to Jason Kidd — who was let go by the Bucks mid-season — and former Bulls and Clippers head coach Vinny Del Negro, reports Scott Bordow of the Arizona Republic.

This is still early in a lengthy search process, there is a long way to go before anyone gets offered this job.

Kidd now lives in Phoenix. He’s considered a smart coach but one who falls in and out of love with players fast, pushes hard for the players he wants (and against those he doesn’t), and didn’t utilize the talent on the Bucks to its best advantage. The Suns have to ask if he is the right guy for a rebuild. He can coach, he’s going to get another chance, but do the Suns want to give it to him?

Mentioning Del Negro will lead to howls from the Suns’ fanbase, but to be fair he gets a bit of a bad rap as a coach. Del Negro won 53.3 percent of his games as a coach, and no team he coached ever finished below .500. He’s had some success developing players, starting with Derrick Rose. All that said, there are reasons Suns’ fans are right to howl: simplistic offenses, a heavy reliance on pick-and-roll sets, and remember he broke the confidence of DeAndre Jordan (Doc Rivers had to build it back up).

Phoenix fired Earl Watson just three games into the season and are looking to replace him. The new coach will have a very good young scorer in Devin Booker on the roster and after that a lot of young question marks. This is a development job where the Suns need to hire a guy who can put in a system, then bring in more talent and stay out of the new coach’s way. We’ll see if the Suns can do that.

Hours after game-winning tip, restaurant told Giannis Antetokounmpo he had to wait

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Giannis Antetokounmpo was the toast of Milwaukee Sunday night: With the game on the line after a Boston comeback, he tipped in a missed Malcolm Brogdon lay-up that proved to be the game winner. (Jayson Tatum was in good position for Boston, he tried to move Antetokounmpo out of his rebounding spot, it just didn’t matter.)

Well, you would have thought Antetokounmpo was the toast of the town, but when he went to BelAir Cantina (a chainlet of Mexican restaurants in the area) he was told he had to wait. And wait. To the point he eventually left.

As you might imagine, the 6’11” Antetokounmpo walking into a restaurant a couple hours after tying up the series with the Celtics drew fast attention on social media. So did the fact he couldn’t get service.

First, good on Antetokounmpo for not pulling the “do you know who I am?” line. He was reportedly unassuming and just left after a while. No hard feelings, his girlfriend later tweeted this out.

As for BelAir Cantina, I kinda get it — I worked my way through college as a waiter and bartender. The restaurant got slammed, everyone working there was in the weeds, and things fall through the cracks. It happens.

But when the 6’11” toast of the town walks in, he cannot slip through the cracks. Cannot. Rather than social media posts about him not getting served and walking out, there would have been pictures all over of him eating the lamb barbacoa or whatever. It’s good for business. If you give the man a little special treatment after the game, nobody is going to complain (except the people who were going to complain about everything anyway… in that sense working in a restaurant was good preparation for me to use Twitter someday).

 

 

Kevin Durant apparently likes Instagram comment critical of Russell Westbrook (photo)

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Last summer Kevin Durant tweeted and deleted that the Thunder’s surrounding cast around him and Russell Westbrook was lacking when he played for Oklahoma City. Those tweets – another criticized Thunder coach Billy Donovan – appeared to be intended to come from a burner account, but Durant said he actually meant to send them from his own account.

Now, he apparently liked an Instagram comment with the opposite message about Westbrook. (I say apparently, because I can’t verify the authenticity of these screenshots, but they at least pass the initial smell test.)

“Like” is Instagram’s word. Maybe Durant uses the function for a different purpose – to note a comment, rather than endorse it.

Perhaps, Durant misread the conversation. The comment he liked rejected the notion that the Thunder were “subpar,” but it criticized Westbrook for them not living up to their ability. Perhaps, Durant focused on the comment sticking up for Oklahoma City overall and missed the part about Westbrook being the shortcoming. Skimming that conversation, it’s a plausible mistake.

Maybe Durant just actually hit the like button. It’s easy enough to do.

Or maybe Durant and Westbrook haven’t really gotten less hostile toward each other. Maybe Durant meant to like this from a burner account.

Those nefarious possibilities are the scintillating ones.

After getting crushed for those tweets last summer and repeatedly downplaying his feud with Westbrook, the Warriors star clearly wanted to move on from these storylines. But all those questions have suddenly reemerged. Perhaps for legitimate reasons, perhaps for benign ones. But we won’t know more about Durant’s intent until he answers to this.