Argentina is back in the Olympics, and this time Scola isn’t just leading the basketball team.
He’s leading the whole delegation.
The veteran forward will carry the flag in the opening ceremony
How could the NBA pull the All-Star game from Charlotte due to North Carolina’s anti-LGBT law and move it to New Orleans, considering Louisiana is suing the Obama administration over its directive on sex discrimination?
This leak from the Board of Governors meeting proves illustrative.
In a poignant address, Golden State Warriors president and chief operating officer Rick Welts, 63, who is openly gay, explained his meaningful and lifelong affiliation with the NBA and told league owners he didn’t feel comfortable attending the All-Star Game in Charlotte if the law remained as is.
He then said if the All-Star Game remained in Charlotte, he wouldn’t feel comfortable attending, and he said he has spoken to employees in the LBGT community from half of the league’s teams who didn’t feel comfortable attending either.
Another influence on the NBA owners: A number of NBA sponsor/partner businesses have told the league they would not be involved if the game remained in North Carolina.
This isn’t so much about a moral stance or punishing North Carolina. It obviously isn’t about punishing Louisiana.
It’s about treating employees and customers with respect.
Putting valued employees in uncomfortable positions is bad business. Holding All-Star Weekend in North Carolina would have done that. Maybe Welts and those he spoke with wouldn’t immediately quit in protest, but why should the league put them in such harsh work conditions? Imagine being forced to choose between your job and traveling to a place you’re denied fundamental protection under the law. Welts earned his position for a reason. The NBA should make reasonable efforts to retain him and other talent.
The same is true of potential customers, some of whom would have been reluctant to attend All-Star Weekend in North Carolina for the same reasons. Maybe the NBA still would have sold out every event, but it’s not worth alienating a portion of the fanbase. (Though the league’s decision inevitably alienated some fans on the other side of the issue. There is some moralism at play here.)
Maybe Louisiana will eventually succeed in its lawsuit and enact its own anti-LGBT laws. But right now, New Orleans doesn’t legally discriminate against the LGBT community. That makes it an acceptable place to host the All-Star game.
This isn’t about sending a message. It’s about finding a location people like Welts — people the NBA value — feel comfortable.
The Celtics are slowly but surely taking care of their eight (!) 2016 draft picks.
Adam Himmelsbach of The Boston Globe:
As second-rounders, neither Jackson nor Bentil count against the cap until signed. So, the Celtics — with a little cap space plus the room exception and minimum-salary exceptions available — might wait a while to officially sign either player.
Jackson would give Boston 16 players — one more than the regular-season roster limit — with guaranteed salaries. Obviously, the Celtics will have to make a move — a big one, they surely hope.
With this roster crunch, Bentil will probably head to the D-League after training camp. The partial guarantee is likely just designed to entice him to stick in Boston’s system rather than sign overseas.
This leaves just No. 58 pick Abdel Nader unaccounted for among the Celtics eight (!) 2016 draft picks.
With the 76ers signing Dario Saric, that left just five players drafted in the first round before this year who are still active but haven’t played in the NBA:
- Nikola Milutinov (No. 26 by Spurs in 2015)
- Bogdan Bogdanovic (No. 27 by Suns in 2014)
- Livio Jean-Charles (No. 28 in 2013 by Spurs)
- Petteri Koponen (No. 30 in 2007 by 76ers)
- Fran Vazquez (No. 11 in 2005 by Magic)
San Antonio trimmed the list by one.
The San Antonio Spurs today announced that they have signed forward Livio Jean-Charles.
Because Jean-Charles was drafted more than three years ago, he’s not bound by the rookie scale. San Antonio could have signed him to a scale or standard contract.
The Spurs could use more length and athleticism on the frontline behind LaMarcus Aldridge and Pau Gasol, and Jean-Charles fit the bill when drafted. But he tore his ACL and missed the following season. It’s less clear the 22-year-old is still on track to help.
Count on Dewayne Dedmon as a far safer bet to provide San Antonio with that dimension. If Jean-Charles helps, that’d just be a bonus.
The Kings center made the second team behind DeAndre Jordan.
Credit voters for seeing past Sacramento’s dismal record and recognizing Cousins’ individual excellence. He has only so much power, and it would’ve been unfair to disqualify him due to his subpar teammates and coaching.
Cousins’ voting breakdown:
- First team: 32
- Second team: 28
- Third team: 33
- Not on ballot: 33
I wouldn’t have picked Cousins for an All-NBA team, but this struck me as voters being open-minded about an unconventional candidate — one from a losing team.
Cousins sees it differently.
Cousins, via Michael Lee of Yahoo Sports:
“I don’t even know what an expert is any more,” Cousins told The Vertical about the all-NBA votes. “I mean, I had some guys, didn’t even vote for me, and that’s absurd. It’s a joke. It really is. It’s a popularity contest. It’s the guys who like them, it’s the guys they like, the guys they get to see on a nightly basis. I still don’t feel I get the respect I deserve. But I’m going to keep grinding. I’m going to stick with it.”
Likewise, I wouldn’t have found including Cousins absurd. He wasn’t far behind in a deep crop of center candidates that also included Andre Drummond, Anthony Davis, Hassan Whiteside and Karl-Anthony Towns.
Though Cousins posted monster numbers — 26.9 points, 11.5 rebounds, 3.3 assists, 1.6 steals and 1.4 blocks per game — he contributed to the toxic environment that derailed Sacramento’s season. That counts, too. So does Cousins missing 17 games.
But before we get too far down the rabbit hole of sober analysis, remember this: Cousins, for better or worse, always has a huge chip on his shoulder. Of course he thinks he was slighted.
In fact, many voters find that stubbornness endearing. That’s why a popularity contest didn’t keep Cousins off some All-NBA ballots.
His season, while very impressive, just wasn’t overwhelmingly dominant enough to demand inclusion on every single ballot.