Dan Feldman

Charles Oakley accepts deal on charges stemming from Knicks-game ejection

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Charles Oakley – ejected from a Knicks game as he fought security, arrested and charged with misdemeanor assault in February – rejected a deal that would have given him a clean record after six months of good behavior.

With his trial nearing, Oakley reversed course… to take essentially the same deal.

Ian Begley of ESPN:

Even if Oakley isn’t banned from Madison Square Garden by the Knicks, this deal will keep him out.

Though the NBA wants to move on, it seems a lawsuit is coming. I don’t know whether Knicks owner James Dolan would win that, but he can’t win in the court of public opinion against fan-favorite Oakley. The longer this drags out, the worse it is for Dolan.

Jason Maxiell signs with Pistons to retire

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Amar’e Stoudemire signed with the Knicks to retire last year. Paul Pierce followed suit with the Celtics this year.

We might be headed into a full-blown trend – and one not limited to players with legitimate Hall of Fame cases.

Pistons release:

The Detroit Pistons announced today that the team has signed Jason Maxiell to a contract, allowing the forward to retire as a member of the Detroit Pistons organization.

“Jason and his representatives reached out to us regarding his desire to sign one last contract with the team in order to retire as a Detroit Piston,” General Manager Jeff Bower said. “Jason made an impact on and off the court with the organization, spending eight seasons in Detroit, many with deep playoff runs. We’re pleased that Jason has chosen to remain connected to our organization and wish him well in the future.”

“The best years of my professional career were spent in Detroit and it’s important to me to retire as a Detroit Piston,” said Maxiell.  “This is a special franchise with great tradition and history.  I want to thank all the fans who supported me during my eight seasons representing Detroit.”

Presumably, Maxiell signed an unguaranteed one-year minimum contract. Then, the Pistons will waive him if they haven’t already.

An undersized and often overweight power forward, Maxiell spent a decade in the NBA, four of those seasons on a $20 million contract extension. That’s a success story.

At his best, Maxiell was an explosive dunker and shot-blocker who played with great effort and toughness. When his weight ballooned higher than usual, Maxiell, who also played for the Magic and Hornets, became ineffective.

Though there were a couple dour years in Detroit, Maxiell’s attitude appeared much more steady. He played with professionalism and a mean streak, and, every so often, outward joy slipped out.

His most memorable highlight came in China last year. Enraged by a hard foul, Maxiell chased a retreating opponent the length of the court – then broke out laughing at the spectacle:

Andre Roberson says he has tried underhand free throws

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In the Thunder’s first-round loss to the Rockets, Andre Roberson shot 3-of-21 from the free-throw line (14%) – the worst free-throw percentage on record by anyone with so many attempts in a playoff series. That wasn’t totally out of character for Roberson, who made just 42% of his free throws in the regular season.

Brett Dawson of The Oklahoman:

He’s tried shooting them underhanded.

So if you’re going to approach Andre Roberson with free-throw shooting advice — and he’d rather you didn’t, but knows from experience that you might — you can scratch that technique off your list.

“I tried it in practice,” Roberson said, mimicking a two-handed underhand toss. “That s— does not work. I’m sorry.”

Like nearly every outside observer, I believe bad free-throw shooters should experiment more with underhand free throws. There seems to be a resistance based on superficiality.

But I also don’t see it as a silver bullet. Rick Barry, who famously shot 89% from the line underhand, probably would have converted a high percentage overhand. Roberson might be a lousy foul shooter either way.

I’ll take his word that he tried this method. If it didn’t work, it didn’t work. Now, it’s on Roberson to keep searching for something that does.

Where have NBA players’, coaches’ and owners’ political donations gone?

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Since President Donald Trump’s election, NBA players, coaches and owners have been outspoken about him.

But that’s not the only way they’ve shown their political leanings over the years.

Money speaks, and the NBA community has made many statements.

Howard Bryant of ESPN:

Bryant also gives examples of NFL and MLB donations on his timeline. Could be an interesting book.

Report: NBA considering limiting pick swaps

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Former Cavaliers owner Ted Stepien traded away so many future draft picks, the NBA had to award Cleveland compensatory picks just to facilitate a sale of the team in 1983. In order to prevent that crisis from repeating, the league implemented what has been dubbed the Stepien Rule: Teams are prohibited from trades that could leave them without first-round picks in consecutive future drafts.

But teams – most notably the Nets – found a way around that restriction with pick swaps.

Teams must have the guarantee of a first-round pick in at least every other future draft. But the first-rounder needn’t be the team’s own.

So, in trading for Joe Johnson, Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce, Brooklyn dealt its 2014, 2016 and 2018 first-round picks – clearly allowed by the Stepien Rule. The Nets also granted the Hawks the right to swap picks in 2015 and the Celtics the right to swap picks in 2017, resulting in Brooklyn dropping from No. 15 to No. 29 in 2015 and from No. 1 to No. 27 this year.

Zach Lowe of ESPN:

The league has since discussed banning pick swaps between drafts in which a team already owes its pick to other teams; the tweak has been on the competition committee agenda, but has not been debated yet at length, sources say.

As long as the NBA deems it appropriate to protect teams from themselves with the Stepien Rule – wise considering revenue sharing – pick swaps should also be restricted. The current setup allows the Stepien Rule to be effectively circumvented.

The Nets are in shambles and probably will be for years to come. That’s a disaster for the league, especially in a large market.

For a while, Brooklyn will serve as a cautionary tale. Teams rarely offer unprotected first-round picks and swaps anymore.

But the Cavs once scared teams off that strategy, and people forgot. It’s only a matter of time until another team gets stuck in the same predicament – unless the NBA preemptively prevents it.