Report: Former Portland Trail Blazers president Larry Miller candidate for players union executive director

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The National Basketball Players Association still hasn’t replaced Billy Hunter, who was ousted as executive director 11 months ago. Ron Klempner has held the title in an interim capacity, but the union is still looking for a permanent director.

Enter Larry Miller.

Chris Haynes of CSN Northwest:

The National Basketball Players Association reached out to former Portland Trail Blazers president Larry Miller, now president of Jordan Brand, to gauge his interest in their vacant executive director position, a league source informed CSNNW.com.

According to the source, who spoke on the condition of anonymity due to the sensitive nature of the search, said Miller politely declined to entertain the proposition, being that “he’s extremely happy in his current role.”

Miller’s work with Jordan Brand has put him position to foster relationships with some NBA players, including NBPA president Chris Paul, a Jordan Brand endorser.

But re-read the previous sentence, emphasizing the word “some,” and the meaning changes.

For this to work, Miller would have to put aside his allegiance to Nike. That was the case when Miller left Jordan Brand to work for the Trail Blazers, but immediately after his time in Portland, he returned to a second stint with Jordan Brand.

The players association, with differing opinions on Hunter and former president Derek Fisher, has experienced too much fragmentation recently. Drawing lines based on shoes could create new problems.

I believe Chris Paul was a good choice to serve as the union’s president, but the members should at least be wary of Paul pushing in an executive director whose professional interests intersect Paul’s in a way that has nothing to do with the union on the whole. Maybe Miller is the best choice, but if he’s nominated, he deserves scrutiny from the rank-and-file before confirmation.

Trail Blazers beat Suns by 48, biggest season-opening rout in NBA history

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Any controversy over C.J. McCollum‘s suspension for the season-opener should be put to rest. The Trail Blazers fared fine without him.

More than fine.

Portland beat the Suns, 124-76, Wednesday. The 48-point margin is the largest ever in a season opener, even as the Trail Blazers let a 58-point fourth-quarter lead dwindle.

Here are the most lopsided season-openers in NBA history (openers for both teams appearing twice):

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The 48-point defeat is also the Suns’ worst lost in franchise history, topping a 44-point loss to the Seattle SuperSonics in 1988. It could be a long year in Phoenix.

Marcus Smart and Matthew Dellavedova scrap (video)

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Marcus Smart and Matthew Dellavedova thrive on aggravating opponents, so when matched up, of course they aggravated each other.

Deduct points from Smart for pulling the hold-me-back charade behind a referee. Plus, Dellavedova’s Bucks beat Smart’s Celtics, 108-100.

Report: ‘Tremendous concern’ for Jeremy Lin’s knee injury

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The Nets’ projected record this season came under greater scrutiny when the Celtics traded Brooklyn’s unprotected first-round pick to the Cavaliers in the Kyrie Irving trade. After finishing third-to-last and last the previous two years, were the Nets poised to take a step forward, or would they convey a very high pick to the Cavs?

Jeremy Lin, who missed 46 games last season, getting healthy was a reason for optimism in Brooklyn and pessimism in Cleveland. But it appears the veteran guard could be out a while.

Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN:

Billy Reinhardt of Nets Daily:

If the injury is as bad as feared, what a bummer for Lin. He came to Brooklyn expecting to play a leading role on a developing team, and he just can’t stay healthy.

The Nets were probably more focused on developing their younger players, but – especially without their own draft picks – there was no harm in shooting for the playoffs. This appears to a blow to that (already unlikely) dream.

It’s a boon to the Cavaliers, though. And whenever something significantly affects LeBron James‘ team, it has ramifications into the entire power dynamic of the Eastern Conference. For an injury to a player on a team most expect to be bad, the medical developments here will be tracked closely around the league.

Aaron Gordon throws himself alley-oop off backboard (video)

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Remember when Aaron Gordon was a promising fun player?

The Magic sidetracked him by playing him at small forward most of last season. But back at power forward, Gordon showed how he could push the pace as a four in Orlando’s season-opening win over the Heat.

There’s obviously flair in passing to yourself off the backboard, but it’s a sound way to improve position. Gordon did that to fantastic effect.