Stan Van Gundy: Pistons feared Reggie Jackson taking qualifying offer

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Why did the Pistons give Reggie Jackson $80 million over five years when he was a restricted free agent with no other obvious suitors?

The answer probably starts with Greg Monroe.

A restricted free agent last summer, Monroe accepted the Pistons’ qualifying offer. He played out the season, became an unrestricted and then bolted for the Bucks this summer.

Did the Pistons fear Jackson following the same path – taking the qualifying offer and opening the door to him leaving?

Stan Van Gundy, via NBC Sports Radio:

That was a scenario that we couldn’t have happen. That was really the one.

I think all the teams like us would tell you, when you’re a team that’s been battling below .500 for a number of years, the free agent market, quite honestly, is not kind to you.

We couldn’t afford to lose Reggie. So, yeah, that was certainly a big part of our thinking.

Monroe was the best player ever to accept the qualifying offer. Basing future decisions on that outlier would be a mistake.

That said, there are substantial differences between Monroe’s and Jackson’s situations.

Most importantly, the salary cap will shoot up next season. There will be a lot of money available, and Jackson would have had a good chance to get a sizable portion of it as a restricted free agent.

Jackson has also meshed better with Detroit’s franchise player, Andre Drummond, than Monroe did. The Pistons were certainly more willing to pay Jackson than Monroe.

But the Pistons also had plenty of leverage.

Would Jackson really have taken the qualifying offer ($4,433,683) if the Pistons offered him $65 million over five years? That’s a huge risk for Jackson to take, even if the upside exists. For the Pistons, that extra $3 million of cap flexibility per season could have come in handy.

They apparently didn’t want to find out the answer to that question.

Heat forward James Johnson expected to miss 7 to 10 days

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MIAMI (AP) The Miami Heat will be without starting forward James Johnson for at least two games and probably more after bursitis was found in his right ankle.

Johnson left Miami’s win over the Los Angeles Clippers on Saturday with ankle pain, and an MRI performed Sunday led to the bursitis diagnosis. Johnson is not traveling with the team for its trip for games at Atlanta on Monday and Boston on Wednesday.

The team says Johnson could miss seven to 10 days, which would also mean his status for home games against Dallas on Dec. 22, New Orleans on Dec. 23 and Orlando on Dec. 26 is in some doubt.

Johnson is averaging 10.9 points and 5.2 rebounds for the Heat this season.

LeBron James wears one black, one white LeBron 15 shoes with “Equality” on back (VIDEO)

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LeBron James notched his third-straight triple-double on Sunday, this one coming against the Washington Wizards. But before the game, the story was all about how James was voicing a silent protest — in Washington D.C., no less — by wearing a special version of his shoes.

LeBron took to the floor wearing his LeBron 15s, but this player edition had the word “Equality” on the back of them. James wore one black shoe and one white shoe.

James wore the black versions of this shoe in the Cleveland Cavaliers’ opener to start the season.

Via Twitter:

LeBron finished the game with 20 points, 15 assists, and 12 rebounds. The Cavaliers beat the Wizards, 106-99.

Stephen Curry says he’d want in on potential Panthers ownership

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The Carolina Panthers are up for sale. Owner Jerry Richardson said he would sell the team late on Sunday following an announcement by the NFL that Richardson was under investigation for “workplace misconduct”. The NFL’s investigation and Richardson’s decision to sell was preceded by a report from SI saying Richardson had paid out settlements amid sexual harassment and racial slur claims.

Enter Sean Combs and Stephen Curry.

Combs — that’s Diddy, you to and me — has previously voiced his interest in being involved with the NFL, and after seeing that Richardson would be selling the team, jumped at the chance to boost his profile. Combs tweeted that he wanted to buy the team, and that’s when Curry joined in.

Via Twitter:

Naturally, Curry is from Charlotte and went to both high school and eventually college in the area, playing at Davidson. He’s an avid Panthers fan and has been on the sideline for the team publicly many times over the years.

Curry being part of an ownership group for the Panthers would be pretty wild. Perhaps Charlotte Hornets owner Michael Jordan would like to join in? It seems like they would have the liquidity and credit availability between the three of them to get the team.

Then again, the asking price for the Panthers could be north of $2 billion. The last team to be sold was the Buffalo Bills in 2014 for $1.4 billion. In September, Forbes released a valuation for the Panthers that put them at $2.3 billion.

Might need to get a few others involved in this one.

Watch Raptors fans give Vince Carter a standing ovation in Toronto (VIDEO)

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Vince Carter is 40 years old and playing in what could possibly be his final NBA season. The Sacramento Kings guard started his career with the Toronto Raptors, and on Sunday he played what could possibly be his final game at the Air Canada Centre.

And so, when Carter was subbed out late in the fourth quarter on Sunday, the folks in Toronto did what came naturally: they cheered.

The whole thing was pretty great to watch, and a real testament to how Carter is viewed by fans in Toronto.

Via Twitter:

Carter scored just four points in 25 minutes for Sacramento, going 2-of-5 from the field while adding three blocks, two assists, a rebound and a steal.

The Raptors got the win over the Kings, 108-93.