Dan Feldman

NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 29: Philadelphia 76ers, NJ Devils and Prudential Center CEO Scott O'Neil speaks onstage at the DIALOG SPORTS: IT'S ANYONE'S GAME panel during Advertising Week 2015 AWXII at the Liberty Theater on September 29, 2015 in New York City.  (Photo by Grant Lamos IV/Getty Images for AWXII)
Grant Lamos IV/Getty Images for AWXII

76ers CEO calls New Jersey practice facility ‘biggest and best that’s ever been buit’


PHILADELPHIA (AP) The dazzling rookie with the longest-lasting impact for the Philadelphia 76ers this season might not be Ben Simmons, Joel Embiid or Dario Saric: It could be the 125,000-square foot complex the Sixers expect to set the standard in the NBA.

Yes, perhaps it’s fitting for a franchise that was once home to Allen Iverson – the Sixers are indeed talking about practice.

Philadelphia is set to open their practice facility this week in Camden, New Jersey, complete with two regulation-size basketball courts, a 2,800-square-foot locker room, corporate sponsorship and a chef plucked from one of Philly’s top restaurants.

“It’s a place where players will come and spend time and make it feel like home,” CEO Scott O’Neil said.

It’s not just the current crop of players the Sixers want to keep happy. The Sixers believe the state-of-the art equipment and sports science stations, among other amenities, could help lure free agents who might need a final incentive to sign with the worst team in the NBA.

“It’s the biggest and best that’s ever been built,” O’Neil said.

The Sixers get the keys to the new digs at 4 p.m. Thursday. Coach Brett Brown and his players could start trickling in Friday around the time of the official ribbon cutting.

Even with all the resources available, the Sixers will hold training camp in Stockton University in Galloway Township, New Jersey for the third straight year.

New Jersey approved $82 million in tax breaks over 10 years to move the 76ers’ headquarters out of Philadelphia.

The site is on the Camden waterfront on a plot of land between the Camden Aquarium and the Susquehanna Bank Center. Philadelphia was the only NBA team without its own practice facility. For about 16 years, they had been renting a single court at the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine.

The Sixers front office is based at the Navy Yard, just a few miles away from the Philadelphia sports complex that’s home to the four major professional teams. The business offices open January in New Jersey, putting the entire organization under one roof in a city long known as perhaps the most dangerous in America.

The kitchen will operate under the leadership of chef JaeHee Cho, a veteran of Philadelphia staples Parc and Serpico. Perhaps fittingly for the Sixers’ numbers-crunching front office, Cho also was a statistics crew manager during his time at Haverford College.

The Sixers announced a slew of corporate sponsors Monday, with Toyota, NovaCare Rehabilitation and Virtua all signed on to stamp their logo on various parts of the complex. There’s even a Gatorade Fuel Bar and an innovation lab sponsored by Kimball designed to aid local startup companies. Toyota branding will not only be displayed on pole pads and apron on both courts in the complex, it’s the first sponsor to have apron court branding at Philadelphia’s Wells Fargo Center.

But the 76ers are keeping the team name on the building.

The Sixers will blast “Philadelphia 76ers Training Complex” on the basketball operations side and have eschewed corporate sponsorship – and a potential hefty big-dollar deal – to build the brand. The Sixers planned for a 4,000-square-foot sign with letters up to nine feet high on the three-story office building and a 1,000-square-foot sign on the practice building.

“We’d rather keep the name,” O’Neil said.

The Sixers hope to have 250 employees under the Camden umbrella by January and said the doors will occasionally open to season-ticket holders, corporate sponsors and for select community events throughout the year.

Report: Kings owner Vivek Ranadive thinks he can change Rudy Gay’s mind

Vlade Divac, Vivek Ranadive
AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli

Rudy Gay sounds like he wants the Kings to trade him. If that fails, he reportedly told them he’ll leave in free agency next summer.

But not if Sacramento owner Vivek Ranadive has something to say about it.

Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports:

Ranadive is determined to hold on to Gay, whom he considers a vital talent with All-Star center DeMarcus Cousins as the Kings move into a new arena this season. Ranadive has told associates that he believes he can change Gay’s mind this year and persuade him to stay, league sources said.

Gay’s lack of faith in ownership’s ability to create a sustainable, winning environment has strongly influenced his decision-making process, league sources told The Vertical.

Ranadive is right. Free agency is about 10 months away. That’s a long time, and lot can change between now and then.

All the Kings have to do is break a 10-year playoff drought, give Gay a bigger offensive role and operate with a functionality so far nonexistent under Ranadive’s watch. Then, I bet Gay would re-consider.

Easy peasy.

Knicks re-sign Lou Amundson

NEW YORK, NY - NOVEMBER 17:  Lou Amundson #17 of the New York Knicks walks off the court after a flagrant foul by Marvin Williams #2 of the Charlotte Hornets at Madison Square Garden on November 17, 2015 in New York City.Williams was ejected from the game.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.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
Elsa/Getty Images

The Knicks continue to build a roster of players who were better about a half decade ago.

The latest: Re-signing Lou Amundson.

Knicks release:

New York Knickerbockers President Phil Jackson announced today that the team has re-signed forward Lou Amundson. T

Michael Scotto of Sheridan Hoops:

The Knicks had only the minimum to offer, so that’s surely what Amundson got. Amundson is New York’s 15th player – the regular-season roster limit – with a guaranteed salary, though it wouldn’t be costly to eat a guaranteed rookie minimum deal of Maurice Ndour or Marshall Plumlee and. Ron Baker, J.P. Tokoto and Chasson Randle have partial guarantees.

Amundson provides an abundance of insurance behind big men Kristaps Porzingis, Joakim Noah, Kyle O’Quinn and Guillermo Hernangomez.

After earning a one-year contract last summer with his play the second half of 2013-14, Amundson sharply declined last season. He didn’t finish well at the rim, could barely convert at all from mid-range and fouled way too much defensively. That came in a small sample of 204 minutes in 29 games, but there’s a reason Amundson played so little. He’ll still hustle, but age 33, that’s becoming less useful.

Report: Giannis Antetokounmpo’s $100 million contract extension has no options

CHARLOTTE, NC - JANUARY 16:  Giannis Antetokounmpo #34 of the Milwaukee Bucks reacts to a call during their game against the Charlotte Hornets at Time Warner Cable Arena on January 16, 2016 in Charlotte, North Carolina. 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.  (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
Streeter Lecka/Getty Images
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Giannis Antetokounmpo‘s four-year, $100 million contract extension looks even better for the Bucks.

Brian Windhorst of ESPN:

Convincing Antetokounmpo to accept less than the max? Good work. Doing it without giving him a player option? Nearly unfathomable.

Milwaukee has Antetokounmpo locked up through age 25. The final year of his deal, based on reported terms, can be $27,528,090 at most. I bet he’ll be worth more than that in 2020-21.

Whether he hit unrestricted free agency at age 24, 25 or 26, Antetokounmpo was always going to be well-positioned to command another monster deal through the rest of his prime. The Bucks are fortunate to save what they can now and, more importantly, gain control of Antetokounmpo for so long.

Giannis Antetokounmpo signs four-year, $100 million contract extension with Bucks

Milwaukee Bucks' Giannis Antetokounmpo flies in for a dunk agains the Los Angeles Lakers during the second half of an NBA basketball game Monday, Feb. 22, 2016, in Milwaukee. (AP Photo/Tom Lynn)
AP Photo/Tom Lynn

The Bucks have a franchise small forward. Or maybe it’s a franchise point guard. Or even someday center!

Most importantly, they have him for a while.

Giannis Antetokounmpo has agreed to a rookie-scale extension with Milwaukee.

Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports broke the story, which has since been confirmed by the Bucks (there is a press conference scheduled for Tuesday):

How did Antetokounmpo get less than C.J. McCollum, whose extension is worth $106 million? Debate which player is better, but Antetokounmpo being more than three years younger makes him substantially more valuable.

The Bucks re-upping Antetokounmpo for anything less than the max – projected to be about $106 million, though potentially more, in a four-year deal – is a win for them.

Antetokounmpo will now count next offseason at his 2017-18 salary rather than his far-lower cap hold, which would have been $7,488,552. But Milwaukee’s 2017 cap space would have been largely dependent on Greg Monroe‘s player option anyway, and the way things are going, he might opt in. This savings – which could well trump $6 million over the life of the extension once the max is determined – offsets the loss of flexibility next summer (especially if Antetokounmpo didn’t get a player option).

For his part, Antetokounmpo gets security. A guarantee of $100 million is a lot to pass up, even if he should have been relatively confident he could get a few million more. Injury risk is always real.

So should be the jubilation in Milwaukee’s front office.