Dan Feldman

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Report: Jazz signing Jonas Jerebko to two-year, $8.2 million contract

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The Jazz have avenged the Celtics poaching Gordon Hayward.

Utah is signing Jonas Jerebko, who spent the last few years in Boston.

Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN:

When the Jazz agreed to terms with Thabo Sefolosha earlier today, it was unclear whether they’d sign him with the mid-level exception or clear cap room for him. This suggests they’ll waive Boris Diaw, whose $7.5 million salary is fully unguaranteed and becomes fully guaranteed Saturday,* to create cap space. Jerebko wouldn’t fit into the remainder of the mid-level exception or bi-annual exception.

*Utah could also clear space by trading someone, including Diaw. Waiving him is the simplest, and therefor most likely, outcome.

Jerebko would fit into the room exception, allowing the Jazz to use the rest of their cap space before finalizing his deal. If they also delay making Joe Inglescontract official – his cap hold is low, and they have his Bird Rights – they’d have a little less than $3 million available.

I’m not sure how far that money would go for Utah, which was already pretty deep even before adding Jerebko.

The 30-year-old Jerebko has seemed to figure out that his place in the league is as a hustle player who makes 3-pointers, not as the scorer he flirted with trying to become. As long as he maintains that mindset, he should be helpful as a combo forward.

Derrick Favors is better than Jerebko, but considering the tough fit with Rudy Gobert, Jerebko might even start at power forward. Though injuries factored, Diaw held down that role late last season for similar reason. Jerebko isn’t nearly the distributor Diaw is, but Utah has less use for frontcourt playmaking with Ricky Rubio. Jerebko’s floor-spacing could be sufficient, even if Joe Johnson takes over to close games.

Boston had to renounce Jerebko to clear room for Hayward. Though Jerebko had some nice moments there, I’m sure the Celtics are just fine with the de facto swap.

Report: NBA trying to implement rest days before nationally televised games

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NBA commissioner Adam Silver practically confirmed the 2016-17 season would start Oct. 17 – the earliest start date (by eight days) in 37 years. That will allow the league to spread 82 games per team over a longer period, offering more rest days.

Some of those off days will be reserved for the day prior to nationally televised games.

Zach Lowe of ESPN:

This is a good idea, but hardly foolproof.

Travel and arena conflicts will arise. The league should also try to ensure nationally televised games are followed by rest days, because teams don’t always pick the second game over the first game of a back-to-back for resting. Games will get flexed onto national television later in the season, and those won’t necessarily include teams with ideal surrounding schedules.

The rest issue isn’t going away, but this is a small step the NBA can take on the margins to improve the product when it matters most – when the most people are watching.

Peyton Manning’s Kevin Durant joke didn’t land with Warriors star (video)

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Peyton Manning is hosting the ESPYs, and he told a joke at Kevin Durant‘s expense.

It didn’t appear to go over well with Durant. Looping in Russell Westbrook didn’t help, either.

Was Durant feigning disdain as part of the show? Has he just maintained the steely resolve he showed during the Finals? Or was he legitimately upset?

I don’t know, but The Real MVP seemed to enjoy the joke.

Report: Pelicans want to be part of Knicks-Rockets Carmelo Anthony trade

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The Knicks and Rockets may or may not be close on a Carmelo Anthony trade. The latest iteration is reportedly a four-team deal (because, when three teams don’t want Ryan Anderson‘s burdensome contract, why not rope in another team that doesn’t want it either?).

Which other teams are involved? Maybe New Orleans.

Marc Berman of the New York Post:

The Pelicans, once the home of Ryan Anderson, expressed interest in being one of the clubs involved, according to a source.

Anderson spent four years in New Orleans, and it became clear he’d leave in free agency as soon as he could. Lo and behold (after the going-nowhere Pelicans somehow didn’t preemptively trade him), he signed with Houston last summer. Sending Anderson back to New Orleans would be a cruel fate.

Anderson would also be a strange fit on a team that has Anthony Davis and DeMarcus and Dante Cunningham‘s Bird Rights. But the Pelicans also have their own bad contracts with Omer Asik and Alexis Ajinca, and dealing those two for Anderson would be a major talent upgrade and fit improvement.

Still, that leaves a new problem: Who takes the undesirable Asik and Ajinca? Must be that mysterious fourth team.

Of course, all that presumes New Orleans would accept Anderson. If not, we’re left the original problem: Who will take Anderson?

Adam Silver: Mark Cuban’s tanking comments ‘not what you want to hear as commissioner’

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Mavericks owner Mark Cuban repeatedly used the word tanking to describe his team’s plan during last season. After the season, he put it even more bluntly: “Once we were eliminated from the playoffs, we did everything we could to lose games.”

NBA commissioner Adam Silver at today’s Board of Governors press conference:

Yes, it’s not what you want to hear as commissioner. I will say that Mark has a long track record of being provocative, and it was something that we spoke to him directly about. I think he acknowledged it was a poor choice of words. When we looked at what was actually happening on the floor, which is most important to me, there was no indication whatsoever that his players were intentionally losing games. And so we were satisfied with that, and again, and we moved on.

Silver denies tanking occurs by defining it in its most narrow scope – players on the court actively trying to lose. That doesn’t happen, not so directly at least. So, it’s easy for Silver to brush off Dallas waiving its starting point guard, Deron Williams, as an issue unrelated to tanking.

I take a much broader view, defining “tanking” as any decision a team makes that is at least partially driven by a desire to improve draft position by losing more. In that sense, the Mavericks were definitely tanking – as many teams do annually. Cuban was exceptional – though not unique – by admitting it.

Is this strategy problematic? I think it’s bad for the product when teams prefer to lose. I also think it’s good for the product when bad teams at least receive the hope that comes with a high draft pick. Ideally, Silver struggles with the issue of tanking more privately than he does publicly, where he just glosses over it.

Silver is right that Cuban was exaggerating for attention. If the Mavericks were doing everything they could to lose, they would have gone worse than 2-5 after being eliminated from the playoff race. (Cuban’s initial tanking comments came more than a month before official elimination.)

But Cuban’s underlying point – even if Silver found reason to convince himself everything was fine – is also correct: It became beneficial for the Mavericks to lose, so they did.