The NBA and the fine folks at adidas have gotten more aggressive in their jersey marketing strategy recently, adding a version with sleeves to the rotation last season and expanding that offering to more teams during the current campaign that just began.
Christmas Day is often viewed as the time that the game’s more casual fans begin to pay attention, and that opportunity won’t be wasted as all 10 teams playing on the holiday will be wearing unique versions of the sleeved jerseys for that special occasion.
Some photos circulated on Thursday of what these jerseys would look like, and despite the lack of any official announcement, it’s been confirmed that these are in fact the ones that the teams will wear on December 25.
ESPN.com can confirm that photos circulating on the Internet on Thursday are what NBA teams will be wearing on Christmas Day. The jerseys will have sleeves and, more intriguingly, will not have uniform numbers on the front. Instead, they will carry a team logo on the chest, similar to a hockey jersey, with the uniform number moved to the left sleeve. Each player’s name and number will remain on the back, as usual. The overall visual effect is that of a glorified T-shirt.
Several of the jerseys were offered for sale earlier this week by an eBay seller called “erikdeals,” whose listings for the Christmas jerseys included versions for the Bulls, Heat, Nets, Lakers and Thunder, all of whom are playing on Christmas Day. Although erikdeals’ auction listings referred to the jerseys as “warm-ups,” the designs matched the Christmas Day game jerseys shown in a recent adidas catalog obtained by ESPN.com.
It’s purely a commercial enterprise eschewing tradition in favor of these versions, but keep in mind they’ll look a little better on the players in a game situation than they do laid out in these photos.
Warriors hope to get Shaun Livingston, Matt Barnes back for second round
OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — The Golden State Warriors hope to get injured reserves Shaun Livingston and Matt Barnes back from injuries for the second round of the playoffs after getting more than a week off between series.
The Warriors said Saturday that Barnes has been upgraded to probable for Tuesday night’s Game 1 and Livingston remains questionable but is hopeful he will be ready to return. Star forward Kevin Durant is expected to be a full go after missing two games and being limited to 20 minutes in Game 4 last round because of a strained left calf.
Barnes has been sidelined since April 8, while Livingston sprained a finger on his right hand in Game 1 of the first-round against Portland.
Golden State begins the second round at home on Tuesday night against the winner of Sunday’s Game 7 between the Los Angeles Clippers and Utah Jazz. The Warriors have been off since sweeping the Trail Blazers last Monday, giving them more than a week between games.
“I’m trying to make sure I rest it as much as I possibly can, because when I do come back I plan on staying all the way back,” Livingston said Saturday. “Hopefully it will be ready for Tuesday.”
After taking Tuesday and Thursday off following their first-round sweep, the Warriors practiced for a second straight day Saturday. They plan to practice again on Sunday and then again Monday once they know their second-round opponent.
There is no update on the status of coach Steve Kerr, who missed the final two games of the first round because of complications from two back surgeries. Kerr talks daily with interim coach Mike Brown and took part in coaching meetings Friday but was not at practice on Saturday.
PBT Extra: Rockets vs. Spurs far more than Kawhi Leonard vs. James Harden
There are no NBA playoff games Saturday night, the first night since the start of the postseason there hasn’t been one game. Don’t worry, there are two games on Sunday, including Game 7 between the Jazz and Clippers.
But if you need a Saturday night fix, this will have to do: 15 minutes of the best plays from last season, as compiled by NBA.com.
Go ahead, watch it. You’ve got nothing better to do.
Paul Millsap says the expected, he will “most likely” opt out of contract
Atlanta’s owner as well as Mike Budenholzer, the coach and head of basketball operations, have both said they plan to do whatever it takes to re-sign Millsap with the Hawks. Millsap didn’t sound like someone eager to leave after the Hawks were eliminated from the playoffs Friday.
“It’s been great. I’m looking to expand this and see where the franchise can go. These last four years has been great. I couldn’t ask for anything more.”
Even with both sides singing Kumbaya, keeping Millsap in Atlanta likely means a five-year contract at or near the max, which for a 32-year-old player means the Hawks would regret the last year or two of that deal.
Not that the Hawks have much of a choice here, they have to come in big and keep him. For one, they can’t afford to lose Al Horford and then Millsap for nothing in back-to-back years. If they were going down the rebuilding road, they needed to trade Millsap at the deadline (or last summer) to make sure they got something in return. Atlanta explored trade options at the deadline, but then pulled back (rumored to be because of an edict from ownership, which didn’t want to see the team blown up after the Kyle Korver trade).
By not making that trade the Hawks signaled their intention to remain a good team — a 43-win team this season that got them the five seed — with Dennis Schroder and Dwight Howard, one that draws well at an arena that historically has not been that full, and see if they can add on. They strike me as a team that will win between 42-50 games a year and be middle of the pack in the East for the next few years, unless they can find a way to add an elite player (which is incredibly difficult).
But if the Hawks can’t re-sign Millsap, then the plan gets blown up. So expect them to come in with a big offer come July 1.