Tuesday And-1 links: Seattle’s Chris Hansen gets slap on the wrist

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Here is our regular look around the NBA — links to stories worth reading and notes to check out (stuff that did not get its own post here at PBT) — done in bullet point form. Because bloggers love bullet points like European big men love three pointers….

• Chris Hansen, the driving force behind the effort to buy the Kings and move them to Sacramento, has been fined $50,000 by the California Fair Political Practices Commission because a couple of days after Sacramento won the rights to keep the team Hansen donated $100,000 to efforts to block the new arena in Sacramento (if that city didn’t build an arena the Seattle group would get the team). Not a cool move by Hansen, I get he was frustrated but that was just petty. However, a $50,000 fine to a billionaire is not exactly going to hurt him.

• By the way, a Seattle judge threw out an environmental challenge to the new Seattle Arena Hansen wants to build for an NBA and/or NHL team. The idea that the challenges up there were a serious threat to the Seattle arena was always spin out of Sacramento.

• Lamar Odom says there is no drug issue, says he is fine. Take it for what it’s worth, which isn’t much.

• Zach Lowe at Grantland makes the case for the 40-minute NBA game. It’s an interesting argument because if the goal is to make the NBA less favorite-heavy and more unpredictable, this would help do it. This is also moot. I like the idea of a shorter NBA season as well but both of those would reduce revenue (from television, ticket sale prices, etc.) and that will never fly with owners and players.

• Celtics coach Brad Stevens talks about how he selected his assistant coaches.

• Avery Bradley has been away from the Celtics, dealing with the death of his mother. Our thoughts are with him and his family.

• By the way Celtics fans, in case you missed it here is the link to Bill Simmons interviewing Danny Ainge.

• Stephen Curry is getting back in basketball mode. It will be fun to see how he improves when he has an offseason where he is not recovering after surgery.

• Speaking of Curry, over at Eye on Basketball Zach Harper did an interesting look at how three-point shooters have replaced big men in the NBA (thanks both to the three-point line and the change that allows zone defenses). This trend is going to continue, and the NBA is okay with a league that is about up-tempo play and gun slingers with the ball on the perimeter.

• Over at EuroBasket, the Wizards’ Jan Vesely averaged 17 points and 11 rebounds a game, but in the Czech Republic’s final game he was 1-of-10 from the free throw line. He looked better than he has in the NBA, but don’t count on that translating into improvement when the Wizards tip-off.

• Nicolas Batum missed one game for France at EuroBasket with a mildly sprained ankle, but it is not expected to keep him out of the next round of games.

• The Heat will have 2012 draft pick Justin Hamilton at their training camp.

• Bradley Beal’s high school retired his number.

• Finally,  Riquna Williams of the Tulsa Shock set a WNBA record with 51 points. She did it on 28 shots and knocked down 8 three pointers.

Report: Kyrie Irving’s top choice for trade is Spurs

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Kyrie Irving, in requesting a trade, reportedly gave the Cavaliers a list of preferred destinations – Knicks, Heat, Spurs and Timberwolves. But those teams aren’t all equal to Irving.

Adam Zagoria of Zagsblog:

One league source told ZAGSBLOG that the Knicks were not Irving’s preferred destination, and that San Antonio was atop his list.

Irving is locked up for two more years and doesn’t possess a no-trade clause. Where he’d re-sign in 2019 and his agent’s agitating could play small parts in which teams offer the most for him, but he has minimal control of where he goes.

Still, San Antonio is an interesting first choice.

Irving reportedly wants to escape LeBron James‘ shadow and lead his own team. But Kawhi Leonard is far better than Irving and already has Spurs president/coach Gregg Popovich’s trust. Leonard has even turned himself into a 25-point-per-game scorer and MVP runner-up. So, even though the biggest difference between Leonard and Irving is defense (an oft-overlooked area), Leonard still shines in ways that get noticed.

So, why does Irving want to join San Antonio?

Maybe he underestimates Leonard. He wouldn’t be the first star to do so. See Kevin Durant and LaMarcus Aldridge.

Maybe Irving has a sliding scale of priorities. Sure, he’d like preeminence on a team, but maybe he’d relinquish that to join Leonard and Popovich. At least the reserved Leonard would cede the spotlight to Irving as much as possible (which LeBron would never do), and Popovich is more respected than Tyronn Lue.

But back to reality: The Spurs lack assets beyond Leonard to trade for Irving – Aldridge would be a horrid fit with LeBron, Kevin Love and Tristan Thompson, and San Antonio’s first-round picks are always in the low 20s – and the Cavs control where Irving goes. It’s very hard to see Irving landing in San Antonio.

Report: John Wall’s extension includes player option

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The Wizards had John Wall under contract for the next two seasons then signed him to a super-max extension that locks him in for an additional four three years.

Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN:

I’m a little surprised the Wizards gave Wall a player option considering their leverage.

Wall’s extension projects to pay him $169 million over four years – $30 million more than another team’s projected max offer over the same span. Even if Wall wanted to stay in Washington, this was the only offseason he could’ve ensured receiving the super-max rate. Had he rejected the extension now, he would have been eligible for the super max only by making an All-NBA team either of the next two years – far from guaranteed.

Still, the Wizards gave Wall everything – the highest-possible salary, max raises, a player option and a trade kicker.* There’s value in pleasing the franchise player. Wall will be the team’s third-highest-paid player for the next two years (behind Otto Porter and Bradley Beal), which might have bothered Wall if not for the super-max extension about to kick in. This deal makes locker-room harmony more likely.

But it also allows Wall to hit free agency in 2022 rather than 2023. Maybe that won’t matter. Wall’s salary option-year salary projects to be $47 million when he’s 32-years-old. I doubt Wall opts out then, though it’s certainly possible.

Effectively, if Wall is worth that much in 2022, he’ll be a free agent. If he’s not worth that much, Washington committed to pay him.

*The trade kicker is unlikely to to matter unless the salary cap unexpectedly increases significantly. It can’t lift Wall’s salary above 35% of the salary cap in the season he’s traded, and he’ll likely be at or above that mark throughout the extension anyway.

Basketball Hall of Famer John Kundla dies at 101

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MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — John Kundla, the Hall of Fame coach who led the Minneapolis Lakers to five NBA championships, died Sunday. He was 101.

Son Jim Kundla said his father died at an assisted living facility in Northeast Minneapolis that he has called home for years.

Kundla coached George Mikan and the Lakers in the 1940s and 1950s, helping them become the NBA’s first dynasty. He went 423-302 before retiring at the age of 42 and went on to coach his alma mater, the University of Minnesota.

Kundla was the oldest living Hall of Famer in any of the four major pro sports.

Kundla was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1995. A year later, he was named one of the league’s 10 greatest coaches as part of the league’s “NBA at 50” celebration.

 

Report: Magic signing Marreese Speights to one-year, minimum contract

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It’s a tough market for free-agent centers, as Marreese Speights learned the hard way.

Jeff Zillgitt of USA Today:

I wonder whether Speights regrets opting out with the Clippers, who were also slated to pay him a minimum salary. Not only is he stuck with a low-paying deal, he’s on a worse team and one with center depth.

Nikola Vucevic and Bismack Biyombo should play only center, where Speights is best. Speights can also play power forward, but Aaron Gordon should get all his minutes there. Maybe Jonathan Isaac should, too, though it’s more tolerable to play him at small forward while the rookie adjusts to the NBA.

Simply, there won’t be much playing time for Speights unless Orlando makes a trade (maybe this is a harbinger) or plays too big of lineups (a lesson it should have learned last season).

Likewise, the Clippers will be fine, though less versatile, without Speights. The acquired Willie Reed (free agency) and Montrezl Harrell (Chris Paul trade) to play behind DeAndre Jordan.

Speights clearly isn’t essential, but he has expanded his range beyond the 3-point arc. He defends with effort, though not necessarily well. There’s a place in the league for stretch fives like him. But he turns 30 in a couple weeks, and his stock is clearly low. At least he’ll have a chance for a bigger payday next summer.