Seattle skyline

Adam Silver: There are no expansion plans for Seattle right now

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Back when Sacramento was feverishly putting together a plan to keep their Kings from moving to Seattle (remember the Maloofs had a deal to sell the team to Chris Hansen’s Seattle group) a compromise often floated by fans and media was to put an expansion team in Seattle — both markets get a team. That never gained traction at the league office as most owners apparently did not want to further divide their revenue pie.

And it’s still a dead idea. At least for now.

Newly seated NBA Commissioner Adam Silver spoke with Brian Windhorst of ESPN and said that expansion to Seattle, or anywhere else, is not on the table right now.

“Seattle is a wonderful market. It would be very additive to the league to have a team there,” Silver said in an interview this week with ESPN. “But we’re not planning on expanding right now, so it’s not a function of price.”

Of course, price is the main issue here — it’s all about the money for the owners. As Mark Cuban laid out recently (quoted in that same story), the question the owners would consider is would their share of the expansion fee (whatever that would be) make it worth dividing up the television revenue pie a little bit more?

Silver needs to think about more than money, he needs to think about the good of the game.

“I and the owners will look at not only the dilution of economic opportunities with one more partner to divide national and international money but also dilution of talent,” Silver said. “Right now some are already making comments about the [Eastern Conference], so is it the ideal time to be adding another 15 or 30 players to the league?

“Ultimately I’m responsible for the financial and competitive health of a 30-team league, and while we made tremendous strides in the last collective bargaining agreement, we’re still not there yet. We don’t have 30 profitable teams in the NBA, and while we’ve made progress, there are still teams that aren’t competitive enough.”

Two things will keep any expansion plans on hold for at least a few more years. First, the NBA is in negotiations with its current partners (ESPN and Turner) as well as others about the next national television deal. Owners are not going to surrender any more television revenues until they see what kind of revenue bump they get with the next deal.

Also, remember that Milwaukee is in a substandard building (according to Silver) and it can move out come 2017. Bucks owner Herb Kohl is looking for investors to join him with the Bucks, but has said he only wants ones that would not move the team. Still, the league likes the idea of having Seattle and its deep pockets sitting out there as leverage (it worked in Sacramento, and the NFL has used Los Angeles in that way for more than a decade).

Seattle fans feel they were burned twice by the NBA, once when the Sonics/Thunder moved then with the Kings situation. How eager that ownership group and that market is to jump in and try to swipe another team remains to be seen.

But expansion is not coming to Seattle anytime soon.

NBA: Foul on Cavaliers that sparked Celtics’ comeback called in error

Cleveland Cavaliers' J.R. Smith makes a move on Boston Celtics' Evan Turner (11) during the third quarter of a NBA basketball game in Boston Tuesday, Dec. 15, 2015. (AP Photo/Winslow Townson)
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The Cavaliers were in great shape against the Celtics on Friday, leading by four points with seven seconds left.

Then, it all went so wrong for Cleveland.

J.R. Smith was called for fouling Evan Turner on a made layup, cutting the margin to two points. Turner missed the free throw, but the ball went out of bounds off the Cavs. Then, Avery Bradley made a buzzer-beating 3-pointer to give Boston the win.

Rewind, though, and an incorrect call drove the sequence, according to the NBA.

Smith shouldn’t have been called for fouling Turner, per the Last Two Minute Report:

Smith (CLE) makes incidental contact with Turner’s (BOS) body as he attempts the layup.

If this were officiated correctly, the Cavs would’ve had the ball and a two-point lead with 5.9 seconds left. That’s not a lock to win – they’d still have to inbound the ball and make their free throws – but it’s close.

Cleveland is definitely entitled to feel the refs wronged them out of a victory.

Report: Kevin Durant has “done his due diligence on the Bay Area”

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Kevin Durant has not made up his mind about what he will do as a free agent this summer. Until his playoff run ends, whenever that may be for the Thunder, his focus will be on bringing a title to Oklahoma City.

But even he admits he can’t help but think about free agency a little.

The buzz around the league is Golden State is at the front of the line if Durant decides to leave OKC, and he has done some research, reports Marc Spears of Yahoo Sports.

The Warriors play in front of an intimidating Oracle Arena crowd and are expected to debut a new San Francisco arena in 2019. Durant has quietly done his due diligence on the Bay Area, too, sources told Yahoo Sports.

His people — specifically agent Rich Kleiman and personal manager Charlie Bell — would be stupid not to have done some research on not only Golden State but on every other team he might consider: Houston, Miami, Washington, both teams in Los Angeles, the Knicks, and on down the line. Golden State, playing with Stephen Curry, certainly would have its attractions.

I’m still in the camp that Durant signs a 1+1 deal to stay in Oklahoma City (meaning he can opt out after one more season, in 2017), and it’s all about the cash. While he could get 30 percent of a $90 million cap this summer (about $27 million a season to start), with one more year of service in 2017 Durant could get 35 percent of $108 million ($37.8 million to start). That’s a lot of cash. Plus he gets one more chance at a ring with Russell Westbrook and Serge Ibaka, who both are 2017 free agents.

But you can be sure whatever Durant decides, it will be well researched and thought out. And he’s not going to announce it in a live special on ESPN.

Byron Scott expected to start D’Angelo Russell after All-Star break, but hasn’t talked to him about it

Byron Scott D'Angelo Russell
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Communication.

When we talk about Lakers’ coach Byron Scott’s questioned player development skills with young players Julius Randle, Jordan Clarkson, and particularly D'Angelo Russell, it is his old-school lack of communication that comes into question. It’s what is different from what Gregg Popovich or Quin Snyder or other guys developing strong young players have done. From the outside (we’re not in practices/film sessions), we see Scott was not letting Russell play through mistakes — feeling that was rewarding bad behavior — but then not doing a good job communicating what the player is doing wrong.

This comment from Scott, via Mark Medina of the Los Angeles Daily News, sums it up perfectly.

Scott plans to start Russell after NBA All-Star weekend (Feb. 12-14). But Scott said the two have not talked about that issue.

“He’s not old enough for me to have a meeting and discuss, ‘What do you think?’” Scott said.

I would say you should have that meeting — it’s called a teachable moment. “What do you think? Well here is what I see that is different.”

Part of what is going on with Scott and Russell is the concern from some in the Lakers’ camp that Russell is a little too full of himself, that his ego is too big, and it could become a problem. So they are trying to take him down a peg. I would say that for a smart player — and Russell is that — the game is humbling and will take care of the ego issue. But you’ve got to give him run to develop him.

Play him, and then communicate with him. It’s a system that does worth with modern players.

Nikola Vucevic hits fade-away game winner for Magic against Hawks

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The Hawks almost came back and won this — Atlanta went on an 8-0 run in the final minutes to tie the game at 94-94 with Orlando. The Magic had one last chance with 2.2 seconds left.

Nikola Vucevic nailed it.

Can’t blame Al Horford‘s defense on this one, he pushed Vucevic out and contested the shot. But in a make-or-miss league Vucevic nailed the game winner, Orlando wins 96-94.

If that looks familiar, Vucevic knocked down pretty much the same shot against the Lakers earlier this season.