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Report: Raptors close to hiring Stefanski for front office

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The whole thing went down like the plot of some terrible Hugh Grant romantic comedy. It was on. Then it was almost off. But now it is back on again.

We will see if Ed Stefanski and the Toronto Raptors can live happily ever after.

The two sides are close to a deal to make Stefanski the team’s Executive Vice President of Basketball Operations, a deal that should be finalized in the coming days, reports Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo on twitter.

Stefanski was the GM of the Philadelphia 76ers but was pushed aside as part of the new ownership change. In Toronto he will work with Bryan Colangelo, the GM and the guy still ultimately calling the player/personnel shots.

Toronto is in a rebuilding mode right now and Stefanski had mixed success with that process in Philly. He did draft or bring in Jrue Holiday, Lou Williams and Marreese Speights, plus he kept Andre Iguodala as a cornerstone. All good moves. Except he overpaid Iggy and the Elton Brand deal has not worked out well (despite a bounce-back season last year Brand is remains overpaid, although that doesn’t mean you should throw him out).

Toronto, which has a history of overpaying underproducing big men, should be a good fit for Stefanski that way.

We’ll see if he and Colangelo can have a happy marriage in Canada.

Players’ union, NBA to set up cardiac screening for retired players

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First it was Darryl Dawkins. Then it was Moses Malone.

Two all-time great players who recently died — and at t0o young an age, 58 and 60 respectively — from undiagnosed heart conditions. Even before that, recognizing the issue the NBA players union and the league itself were setting up supplemental health coverage to provide cardiac screening for retired players, something ESPN’s Jackie MacMullan recently broke.

The joint effort between union executive director Michele Roberts and NBA commissioner Adam Silver — at a time when there still may be potentially acrimonious labor negotiations looming for their sides — is intended to ease the health concerns of its retired players.

Roberts said action from the players’ association on providing screening for its retired players is “imminent.”

“I wish I could give you an exact timetable, but we have to make sure all the components are in place,” Roberts told ESPN recently. “I will tell you we hope to have something sooner than later.”

The Cardiologists are affiliated with the NBA already, and some of the money will come from the league, while the union is both pitching in a chunk of cash and is the one organizing this, according to the report.

It’s good to Roberts and Silver working together on this. While you’d like to think this would be the kind of no-brainer move that the league and union would work together on, in the past the relationship didn’t always facilitate this sort of cooperation even on the obvious.

I’d like to think this bodes well for future labor talks, but I’m not willing to completely draw that parallel.


Stephen Curry drops 30 on Portland in preseason (VIDEO)

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Somebody is in midseason form.

Stephen Curry put up 30 on Portland in a preseason game Thursday night, hitting six threes and getting to the line 15 times over the course of his less than 26 minutes. It was quite a show.

Portland won the game 118-101 behind 25 points from Allen Crabbe and 22 from Damian Lillard. Not a lot of defense in this one but it was fun to watch.