Chicago Bulls v Washington Wizards - Game Three

Trevor Booker says ‘a lot of teams’ are tampering

12 Comments

Wizards forward Trevor Booker will become a free agent for the first time this offseason.

It shows.

Booker would become a restricted free agent if Washington extends a $4,677,708 qualifying offer. Otherwise, he’d become an unrestricted free agent.

Either way, he’s technically still under contract with the Wizards through June 30 and isn’t free to negotiate with other teams until July 1.

So, this quote –  during an interview at a basketball camp he held at his former high school – is a little curious. Booker, via Matt Connolly of GoUpstate.com:

“It’s the first time so my agent is talking me through it, letting me know every step. A lot of teams are calling right now that are interested,” he said. “We’re in negotiations with a few different teams, so I guess we’ll just see how the summer pans out.”

Asked whether the Wizards had granted Booker permission to speak to other teams, a Wizards spokesman wrote in an email, “NBA players can’t negotiate with other teams until July 1st.” He did not immediately respond to a follow-up question about whether Washington has or will file a tampering complaint.

Neither the NBA nor Booker’s agent, Andy Miller, immediately returned requests for comment.

I see three possibilities:

1. Miller and Booker have miscommunicated about the amount of interest he’s received.

2. Booker is embellishing his value during a hometown interview.

3. Teams have contacted Booker’s agent to express interest, likely violating unenforced NBA tampering rules.

All three are relatively harmless in this case.

However, No. 3 – the most likely scenario in my estimation – can be dangerous in the long run. The NBA’s rules are vague and arbitrarily enforced, leaving the league too much discretion to punish as it sees fit – or carry out any vendetta it chooses. The NBA basically has free reign to selectively enforce.

Overhauling the tampering rules is long overdue. The letter of the law should match what the league actually permits.

Booker is just one example, and likely the only consequence will be his agent telling him to stop talking. But the issue is much more pervasive than this.

Kings’ Rudy Gay suffers apparent torn left Achilles tendon, would be done for season

1 Comment

This not only changes the Kings dreams of making the playoffs in the West, it also alters the trade deadline and free agency.

Rudy Gay, the Kings wing and second-leading scorer, has been diagnosed with a torn left Achilles tendon, according to the team. During the third quarter of Wednesday night’s game against the Pacers, Gay drove out of the right corner and, untouched, fell to the floor hard. He had to be helped off the court by teammates.

Team doctors made the initial torn Achilles diagnosis, which will need to be confirmed by an MRI scheduled for Thursday. He would be out not only for this season but likely the start of the next one as well.

Without Gay, a lot more will fall on Matt Barnes and, once he returns from his calf injury in a couple of weeks, Omri Casspi. Those two are a drop off from what Gay brought to the Kings — this season the team gets outscored by 10 points per 100 possessions when he is off the court — and with that team’s playoff chances have taken a hit (they are 1.5 games out of the eight seed after Wednesday’s loss to the Pacers). Don’t be surprised if the Kings look to add a scorer at the trade deadline.

Gay was not happy in Sacramento and said he planned to opt out of the $14.3 million final year of his contract to be a free agent next summer, which made him someone potentially traded before the deadline (although the Kings being in the playoff hunt impacted that). Gay averaged 18.7 points and 6.4 rebounds a game for the Kings, and while his game was a little old school — more isolation and midrange shots than teams prefer — he put up points. Enough that he was drawing trade interest heading toward the deadline from Oklahoma City and other squads.

That is all off the table now. At age 30, if Gay does still opt out of his contract for next season this will impact what he would make on the free market.

Zaza Pachulia lays out Russell Westbrook, stands over him (video)

6 Comments

Kevin Durant playing the Thunder invites extra emotions.

Russell Westbrook felt them – in the form of a flagrant foul by Warriors center Zaza Pachulia, who stood over Westbrook for emphasis.

Pachulia is really embracing his role doing the dirty work for star-studded Golden State.

Report: 76ers’ Ben Simmons sitting entire season still on table

TARRYTOWN, NEW YORK - AUGUST 07:  Ben Simmons of the Philadelphia 76ers poses for a portrait during the 2016 NBA Rookie Photoshoot at Madison Square Garden Training Center on August 7, 2016 in Tarrytown, New York. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2016 NBAE  (Photo by Nick Laham/Getty Images)
Nick Laham/Getty Images
3 Comments

That rumor No. 1 pick Ben Simmons won’t play this season?

It just won’t die.

Even after Simmons tried to quash it, even after the 76ers’ CEO outright denied it, even after Simmons returned to practice, even in an otherwise optimistic report.

Chris Haynes of ESPN:

76ers rookie forward Ben Simmons could make his much-anticipated NBA debut shortly after the All-Star break, league sources told ESPN.

Barring a setback in his recovery, sources say the No. 1 overall pick in the 2016 NBA draft has a chance to take the hardwood near March. There still remains the possibility Simmons sits the entire season, sources said, but his situation will continue to be thoroughly evaluated throughout his comeback quest.

76ers coach Brett Brown said there’s “no chance” Simmons plays in Philadelphia’s nationally televised game against the Rockets next week. Other than that, there isn’t much clarity.

It mostly sounds as if Simmons is still too far from returning to say something definitive.

Roy Hibbert passes ball into hoop, reacts with perfect facial expression (video)

1 Comment

The Hornets did so much right in their 107-85 win over the Trail Blazers, even a bad pass went through the hoop.

Roy Hibbert reacted fantastically to blunder/basket (blasket?).