Author: Brett Pollakoff

Mitch Kupchak

Report: Lakers, Celtics looking to trade out of late first round picks in NBA Draft


The Lakers and Celtics each have two picks in the first round of the upcoming NBA Draft, but if the teams get their way, they’ll only be selecting one player apiece to add to their respective rosters.

L.A. has the second overall pick, along with the 27th. Boston, meanwhile, has picks at 16 and 28.

But because those late first round picks represent guaranteed salary commitments, both the Lakers and Celtics would rather trade them and look to add talent somewhere else.

From Steve Kyler of Basketball Insiders:

Lakers are also trying to move out of the 27 and Boston trying to move out of 28 too… no surprise on either – both covet capspace

The 27th overall pick will receive a guaranteed first year salary of $930,500, while the 28th overall pick is guaranteed $924,800.

Since both Boston and L.A. have picks early in the second round (at 33 and 34, respectively), and since there isn’t a huge gap there in terms of what may be available from a talent perspective, they would rather not tie up valuable cap space with players who may or may not be ready to provide an immediate contribution.

The interesting part about this is that teams (like the Celtics, especially) are constantly looking to accumulate draft picks, in order to have “assets” that they can package in theoretical trades in the future. But for teams looking to maximize available space under the salary cap, late first-rounders like these can sometimes be viewed as the opposite.

NBA League Pass to include single game option beginning next season

nba league pass

NBA League Pass is the subscription model that allows you to watch every game, every night all season long. While it’s not a complete cord-cutting solution due to the fact that games televised on ABC, ESPN, TNT or NBA TV aren’t included in the package, it’s still a fantastic product that allows fans of the league access to a ridiculous amount of content on what is essentially a nightly basis.

The league is doing what it can to provide even more options to fans who are interested in purchasing the service, with single game and individual team packages on deck for the 2015-16 season.

From the official release:

NBA LEAGUE PASS, the out-of-market live game service, will tip off the 2015-16 NBA season by providing fans with the opportunity to purchase single games and individual team packages.

The single game offering will allow fans to select individual NBA LEAGUE PASS live games on a given day during the regular season.  The individual team package, available for all 30 NBA teams, will give fans the option to follow one team through the regular season. …

These new offerings will be made available during the 2015-16 season by NBA Digital to broadband and mobile subscribers on iOS and Android devices.  Details on where else these new offerings may be purchased, and information regarding 2015-16 pricing for all NBA LEAGUE PASS packages, will be announced in mid-July.

The individual game option is what’s really exciting, here, and will likely bring in more casual fans than ever on a night when the games on the national telecast are, should we say, less than desirable due to the fact that they’re scheduled so far in advance.

The pipe dream for League Pass would be a flat fee to have access to every single game throughout the regular season in real time, regardless of the market one lives in or the network that happens to hold a particular game’s broadcast rights. But until we get there, the product (especially on the broadband side, in my experience) is amazing, and these additional offerings will only serve to enhance what’s largely an already-great service.

Jahlil Okafor goes through second workout with Lakers in advance of NBA Draft


Just about every credible projection out there has Karl-Anthony Towns and Jahlil Okafor going (in some order) one and two in next Thursday’s NBA Draft.

The Lakers hold the No. 2 pick, and have put plenty of players through their paces while doing their due diligence. But with Okafor being the most likely selection for Los Angeles, the team decided to get a second private look in just to solidify any opinions that might be influencing that very critical decision.

From Mark Medina of the Los Angeles Daily News:

The Lakers will host a private workout for Duke center Jahlil Okafor on Friday afternoon at the team’s practice facility in El Segundo, marking the second individual workout Okafor has had wearing a purple and gold practice jersey. The Lakers also plan to host a private workout on Saturday both for Ohio State guard D’Angelo Russell and for prospects that might be available at the No. 27 and 34th draft slots. The Lakers will then have private workouts next Monday and Wednesday just for prospects they would consider with the 27th and 34h picks. …

The Lakers have also become increasingly doubtful they will have a workout for Kentucky center Karl-Anthony Towns. The Lakers believe their lack of progress with those efforts stem from most NBA mock drafts predicting the Minnesota Timberwolves will select with their No. 1 pick. But the Lakers will accommodate their workout schedule should Towns and his representatives express interest in a workout.

Towns is the heavy favorite at this point to be the No. 1 overall pick by the Timberwolves, and if he’s passing up workouts with a team just one slot lower on the draft board, he may already know that’s what’s coming.

As for Okafor, the Lakers have looked hard at Emmanuel Mudiay and D’Angelo Russell, just in case they believe a perimeter player may be a better option. But barring something unexpected occurring during Friday’s workout, all signs will continue to point to the Lakers landing the big man from Duke on June 25 — provided the Timberwolves snatch up Towns at one as virtually everyone expects.

Phil Jackson remains committed to Triangle Offense: ‘Players who are resistant to it shouldn’t be here’

Arkansas v Kentucky

Phil Jackson won 11 championships as a head coach, and ran the Triangle Offense exclusively in each of those seasons.

His detractors will tell you that Jackson did more ego management than he did Xs and Os wizardry, with teams that included some of the greatest players of all time in Michael Jordan, Scottie Pippen, Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O’Neal, along with many others.

But Jackson remains a firm believer in the previously successful offensive system, and in his role with the Knicks as president of basketball operations, he intends to bring in players, through the draft and free agency, who will be good fits for what he is trying to accomplish.

From Ian Begley of ESPN New York:

Jackson made it clear that he’s committed to running his triangle offense — and he will recruit players based on their ability to fit the system.

“I don’t think the offensive system has to take a back seat to anything we do,” Jackson said. Later, he added: “Players who are resistant to it shouldn’t be here.”

Jackson delivered another not-so-subtle message to potential free agents when he talked about branding.

“We’re not interested in guys who are just interested in the money and in their branding. They have to have a little more to their life than just those selfish desires,” Jackson said.

This is probably pretty far from what most fans want to hear. After enduring such a disastrous 2015 season, getting the most talent on the roster in advance of next year, while not being married to any one system or style of play, would seem to make the most sense.

But since Jackson believes he should have received Executive of the Year votes for the decisions he made during his first season in New York, perhaps this latest revelation shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise.

Report: Mo Williams ‘more than interested’ in making return to Cavaliers

Charlotte Hornets v Indiana Pacers

Mo Williams is a 12-year NBA veteran who proved last season he’s more than capable of continuing to contribute at a very high level.

He also spent time with the Cavaliers, during the final two seasons LeBron James was in Cleveland before making the move to join the Miami Heat.

Williams is an unrestricted free agent this summer, and with his previous experience playing alongside James in Cleveland, he would welcome the opportunity to once again be a part of LeBron’s squad.

From Chris Haynes of

Soon-to-be unrestricted free agent point guard Mo Williams is “more than interested” in making a return to Cleveland, sources close to the guard informed Northeast Ohio Media Group.

However, due to their own pending powerhouse free agents, the Cavaliers will be limited in what they can offer. All they will have at their disposal is the taxpayer mid-level exception and the veteran’s minimum. Williams is seeking a multiyear deal and the Cavaliers and Hornets are two of the teams at the top of his wish list, a source revealed. …

Williams and James have a great relationship, I’m told. If a deal could be worked out, I’m told the four-time MVP would welcome him with open arms.

That last part is important, especially in light of what’s gone on between LeBron and his head coach for the bulk of the season.

The reality is that James has as much power in the Cavaliers organization as he wants. He can make demands about who his head coach will or will not be, and just as we saw with guys like Mike Miller and James Jones (who played very sparingly in the postseason overall, but especially during the Finals), he can push the front office in a particular direction where acquiring his former teammates is concerned.

Williams started the year in Minnesota but finished the season as a member of the Hornets, and averaged 17.2 points and six assists in 30.8 minutes per contest in Charlotte, while making 27 appearances. He was an All-Star in 2009, after Chris Bosh was forced to miss the midseason exhibition due to injury.

As you can see in the clip below, Williams was more than happy to give thanks to Bosh for unintentionally giving him that opportunity.