NBA Commissioner Adam Silver keeps insisting teams don’t tank, but that gets really hard this time of year.
Have you seen the 76ers play? Plus, more and more teams will start tanking as they’re eliminated from playoff contention. Rarely do teams begin the season tanking, but once the postseason is out of the picture, increasing lottery odds becomes more tolerable. Players will miss games with minor injuries. Coaches will use experimental lineups with young players.
If it hasn’t completely already, Silver’s message will fall on deaf ears.
It definitely doesn’t help when an owner directly contradicts him, either.
Appearing on Pardon the Interruption yesterday, Mavericks owner Mark Cuban was asked about Eastern Conference teams tanking at 14:05. Cuban:
Oh, yeah. There’s no suggestion. It’s an absolute.
The Eastern Conference’s five worst teams: Bucks, 76ers, Magic, Celtics and Pistons.
In the last month, those five teams have gone 4-47 when not playing each other or a couple Western Conference tanking candidates, the Jazz and Kings.
Prior, those five teams went 53-166 against other opponents.
When those teams go from winning 24 percent of games to 8 percent, that says something – that Cuban, not Silver, is right.
Everything LeBron James does and says gets magnified and scrutinized.
So when he put out this photo on Instagram standing shoulder-to-shoulder with Tristan Thompson and the caption “get it done” it seemed a message to the Cavaliers.
LeBron clarified that on Sunday, saying this has become a distraction, and the message was for both sides to bend, as reported by Dave McMenamin of ESPN and Chris Haynes of the Plain Dealer.
When Thompson didn’t sign the qualifying offer he surrendered a lot of leverage, the Cavaliers don’t have to raise their five-year, $80 million offer — but reportedly they still would, a little. Thompson and his agent Rich Paul have pushed for a max contract, but that’s not happening.
At some point, the two sides will come to an agreement. For the Cavaliers, this is a distraction, their star is unhappy with that, and ultimately if they are going to make a title run they need the energy and rebounding Thompson brings (even if it is just off the bench). For Thompson, he can’t make up a year of lost salary, he has to come in and start getting paid at some point.
The two sides will get it done. Eventually. Likely before the season tips off.
China has secured the ninth and final Olympic men’s basketball berth awarded this year.
China earned the bid to the 2016 Rio Games with a 78-67 win over the Philippines. 2016 first-round draft prospect Qi Zhou had 16 points and 14 rebounds, setting up the Olympics to be his big introduction to American fans.
Former NBA player Yi Jianlian won tournament MVP by averaging 16.7 points, 8.8 rebounds, 1.4 assists and 1.2 blocks per game.
This will be China’s ninth straight Olympic appearance.
The Philippines, who got 17 points from Andray Blatche in the final, will still go to an Olympic Qualifying Tournament next summer with a chance to reach Rio.