Jerry Buss

The NBA owners’ ‘undecideds’ will likely decide the season

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We know where James Dolan, Mark Cuban, Jerry Buss, and Micky Arison stand. And we certainly know where Dan Gilbert, Robert Sarver, Peter Holt, and Michael Jordan stand. But what about the rest of the NBA ownership? Media reports have been sorely lacking a “whip count” of where the owners land since negotiations have progressed as far as they have in the last few weeks. The Salt Lake Tribune provided a rough one last night, via Twitter:

Then there’s owners: High-ranking league source says #NBA billionaires are divided. Five will sign off on 50-50 split, 11 oppose it, 14 …Sat Nov 05 03:41:29 via web

… are on fence, leaning toward first gaining more system concessions and better BRI take before agreeing to anything.Sat Nov 05 03:42:17 via web


Most important votes are decided by the moderates, the undecideds who choose their side and carry the day. This is no different. We’ve heard more than enough about Dan Gilbert’s gut and Sarver’s wife’s handbag. We know Micky Arison wants to wash his hands of the whole thing. But it’s the owners in the middle that have the power to switch a vote. If the moderates get a few more concessions, a reasonable deal (at least comparatively, there is no “reasonable deal” from the players’ side, they’ve already been forced to surrender too much) might be had. But it’s up to the moderates to take charge and move those 14 to the left if a deal is going to get done to save a season. Stern has been working for a deal that will make every owner happy with the results. It’s becoming clear that’s not going to happen. This deal is probably going to come down to a tense vote on both sides.

That’s the biggest reason why losing a whole season is so likely right now. It’s no longer “the worst case scenario has to occur” for the season to be lost, nor is time on their side. The window for saving the season is narrow, dark, and way on the other side from where things stand now.

It would be sad if we hadn’t seen it coming for so long. No, wait, it’s still sad.

Reggie Jackson to return to Pistons lineup Sunday vs. Orlando

AUBURN HILLS, MI - APRIL 24: Reggie Jackson #1 of the Detroit Pistons tries to get around the first quarter defense of Kyrie Irving #2 of the Cleveland Cavaliers in game four of the NBA Eastern Conference quarterfinals during the 2016 NBA Playoffs at the Palace of Auburn Hills on April 24, 2016 in Auburn Hills, Michigan. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
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The Detroit Pistons’ playoff dreams hinged on them being able to hang around until point guard Reggie Jackson got back from this thumb and knee injuries. They have done just that — the Pistons are 11-10 and would be the eighth seed if the playoffs started today.

And now they get Jackson back. Stan Van Gundy made the announcement Sunday at shootaround, before the team takes on the Orlando Magic.

It will take a few games to get his conditioning back, but this is huge for Detroit. Jackson running the pick-and-roll with Andre Drummond is at the heart of Detroit’s offense – the Pistons were 2.3 points per 100 possessions better with the ball in his hands. Ish Smith played well for the Pistons in his absence — 10.8 points per game, 6.4 assists, and he’s been solid. Move his playmaking to the second unit and suddenly the Pistons become a lot more dangerous.

Jakob Poeltl with huge poster dunk for Raptors. Yes, Jakob Poeltl. (VIDEO)

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The scouting report on Jakob Poeltl coming out of Utah said he could run the floor well and he was a good finisher around the rim.

But we didn’t expect this.

During the Raptors win Sunday against the stumbling Hawks, Poeltl filled the lane on the break, got the rock, and nobody was going to stop that finish. Least of all Tim Hardaway Jr., he just ends up in the poster.

Hassan Whiteside: “Portland was my second option”

MIAMI, FL - OCTOBER 28: Hassan Whiteside #21 of the Miami Heat looks on during a game against the Charlotte Hornets at American Airlines Arena on October 28, 2016 in Miami, Florida. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
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Entering free agency last July, Hassan Whiteside said his first choice was to stay in Miami — then Pat Riley gave him 98 million reasons to stick around. While the Heat have been up and down this season, Whiteside has thrived as the franchise player in Miami.

Last July he also met with Dallas, but it turns out that was not his second choice. Here is what Whiteside told Erik Gunderson of the Miami Herald before his team fell to the Blazers on Saturday.

“Portland was my second option,” Whiteside said at the team’s Saturday shootaround in Portland. “I would have came here.”

Interesting. There were reports the Blazers chased Whiteside, but it didn’t seem that serious. Apparently, it was. If The Blazers got Whiteside, would they still have spent $70 million on Evan Turner? Probably not. And suddenly a lot of things look better in Portland.

For Blazers fans, watching their team try to outscore opponents while playing terrible defense this season — in part because of a lack of rim protection behind their undersized guards — it’s easy to imagine how much Whiteside would have changed the picture in the Northwest. But at this point, that’s just fan fiction.

JaVale McGee tries to inbound ball for wrong team, Warriors bench cracks up (VIDEO)

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JaVale McGree has become a solid contributor for the Warriors off the bench, giving them a needed shot blocking presence. He’s not getting a ton of run (seven minutes a night), but he’s efficient when he’s out there.

Still, there is his reputation as the guy most likely to end up on Shaqtin’ a Fool. He hasn’t done anything like that for a while… until Saturday night, when after a made free throw he tried to inbound the ball for the Suns for a second.

The Warriors bench was laughing under their shirts and towels.