This shouldn’t have Stan Van Gundy looking over his shoulder…. too much.
Pistons owner Tom Gores has wanted a way to involve franchise legend Isiah Thomas in the organization, just not with any power to make any kind of basketball decisions (that has never ended well). He apparently has found it.
Ownership. Thomas is in talks to buy a piece of the team, reports Vincent Goodwill of The Detroit News.
Thomas and team officials are in preliminary discussions to make Thomas a minority owner, but the exact percentage hasn’t been agreed upon. It would make Thomas one of a few African-Americans with a stake in an NBA team.
“Not a ceremonial piece, but a respectable piece,” was how a source with knowledge of the negotiations termed the potential deal.
Gores strikes me as one of those owners that enjoys rubbing elbows with celebrities, of enjoying the perks of ownership. Not that he doesn’t want to win or set up a stable organization, but he likes the celebrity perks. He likes Thomas.
This is a good way to include Thomas while not having him have any real power — the key is not giving him any power. Don’t start taking his advice on basketball issues, that is why you brought in Van Gundy.
Also, it puts some of that money James Dolan paid Thomas for running the Knicks to good use.
Tristan Thompson is a man without a contract. By not signing the qualifying offer with the Cleveland Cavaliers he put himself in limbo, the rare NBA holdout. Right now his options are to sign the deal on the table (the Cavs still have the five-year, $80 million offer out there), get the Sixers or Blazers to offer him a max contract (which neither team has shown any interest in doing), or hold out and hope the Cavaliers make a better offer. If he holds out for the entire season he becomes a restricted free agent again next summer — exactly like he is right now.
Without signing the qualifying offer and the threat of leaving, Thompson hurt his leverage.
But he has a little leverage. He and his agent Rich Paul had one other card, and it got played Saturday.
LeBron James and Thompson share an agent in Paul. LeBron has largely remained silent through this process but if he wants something in the Cleveland organization, he usually gets it. And he wants Thompson back at practices.
LeBron’s leverage is going to be put to the test. The Cavaliers have let it leak they are not that concerned about LeBron leaving them next summer over this — and they’re right. The damage to LeBron’s brand if he broke the hearts of Cleveland fans again would be crushing, unless he leaves for a very good reason. Overpaying Thompson is not that reason.
However, LeBron’s comment could push the Cavaliers to try to find a compromise.
For the Cavaliers, a lot of how they view all this comes down to their tax bill. The Cavaliers already have $94.9 million in guaranteed salary on the books, putting them $10.2 million over the luxury tax line, at a cost of more than $16.25 million. What this means if (or when) they sign Thompson is his first $10 million in salary would cost them $28.75 million in tax and every dollar above that for the next $5 million costs them $3.75-to-$1. Look at it this way, by my count $14 million this year to Thompson would cost $43.75 million in tax — the total for Thompson at that price is $58 million. While that’s not all on Thompson it’s a lot of cash, and Thompson wants a max deal that starts at more than $16 million a year.
Owner Dan Gilbert is already going to pay the highest tax bill in the NBA this season, but if he balks at those figures it’s hard to blame him.
Mario Hezonja, the No. 5 pick in this year’s draft, has never lacked for confidence. The Croatian guard made his pro debut in the Magic’s preseason game against the Hornets on Saturday and did this:
Between Hezonja, Elfrid Payton, Victor Oladipo and Aaron Gordon, the Magic have a nucleus of young players that has the potential to be a lot of fun. Even if they’re still a few years away from contending, they’re definitely going to be a League Pass favorite this year.