Dan Feldman

Oklahoma City Thunder Media Day
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Report: Mitch McGary’s problems more peculiar than just failed marijuana test

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Mitch McGary tested positive for marijuana in college. The Thunder center has apparently violated the NBA’s marijuana policy four times.

But the latest infraction was different than at least the first.

Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports:

The violation isn’t believed to be another positive test, but rather a failure to live up to procedural guidelines set forth in the program, league sources said.

McGary’s career is in peril because of his inability to maintain a lifestyle that’ll allow him to play in the NBA. McGary left the Thunder for the final few weeks of the season for what the franchise termed “personal reasons.” McGary essentially left the team on his own, league sources said.

What is going on here? Are these problems all related to marijuana? Did McGary skip a test – an automatic violation – because he knew he’d fail it anyway? Are there deeper issues?

McGary is just 24 , and he’s in the third (and final guaranteed) season of his low-paying rookie scale contract. The Thunder won’t get an asset for him, but there appeared to be a chance he could stick in the league – either after a trade that’s primarily a salary dump, claimed off waivers or signed after clearing waivers.

But not like this. McGary isn’t nearly good enough for a team to invite these issues.

Report: NBA suspends Mitch McGary another 10 games, bringing total to 15

2014 Oklahoma City Thunder Media Day
Layne Murdoch/NBAE via Getty Images
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Everything we understood about Mitch McGary is still true.

It’s just a little more.

Suspended, likely finished with the Thunder.

Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports:

The initial five-game suspension matched a third marijuana violation. An additional 10 games matches a fourth marijuana violation.

McGary entered the NBA to avoid a one-year NCAA suspension for marijuana. Since, he apparently hasn’t followed his own advice.

He also hasn’t contributed much in Oklahoma City. The Thunder traded for Joffrey Lauvergne, giving them a more viable big man and 16 players – one more than the regular-season roster limit – with guaranteed salaries.

The odd man out is even clearer now.

2014 second-rounder DeAndre Daniels signs with Italian team rather than Raptors

PERTH, AUSTRALIA - FEBRUARY 15:  DeAndre Daniels of the Wildcats looks to pass the ball against Cedric Jackson of the Breakers at Perth Arena on February 15, 2015 in Perth, Australia.  (Photo by Paul Kane/Getty Images)
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Joel Embiid is reportedly healthy. Dario Saric signed with the 76ers.

That leaves No. 27 pick Bogdan Bogdanovic and No. 37 pick DeAndre Daniels as the only players picked higher than 50 in the 2014 draft who’ve yet to play in the NBA.

Bogdanovic, whose rights are held by the Kings, impressed in the Olympics. On the other hand, Daniels – drafted by the Raptors – isn’t gaining much traction.

After spending his first pro season in Australia and his second in the D-League, Daniels signed with Italian team Pallacanestro Mantovana.

He could have signed with Toronto, which extended the required tender – a one-year contract, surely unguaranteed at the minimum, a team must offer to retain exclusive negotiating rights on a second-rounder. That would’ve meant going to training camp to compete with Fred VanVleet, Jarrod Uthoff, E.J. Singler Yanick Moreira and Drew Crawford for the Raptors final regular-season roster spot.

Daniels making the team obviously would’ve been his best-case scenario. But even getting waived would’ve allowed him to become an NBA free agent before heading overseas.

As is, even if he plays his way up to NBA-caliber in Europe, he can sign in the NBA only with the Raptors (unless they trade him).

Daniels has battled injury since leaving Connecticut, and maybe he realized he wasn’t ready to beat out VanVleet and Uthoff. Perhaps, it was prudent to secure the deal in Italy rather than what might have been available overseas come October.

But with Toronto having fewer guaranteed salaries than regular-season roster spots, this might have been the year to try out for the team – and at least open other NBA doors if waived.

While a questionable decision by Daniels, this is a win for the Raptors. They maintain his exclusive negotiating rights among NBA teams – without paying him or using a roster spot on him.

Of course, that matters only if Daniels eventually belongs in the NBA, and this indicates he doesn’t yet feel he does.

Mark Cuban calls out Donald Trump’s son, Eric, for inaccurate Dallas photo

Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban yells at an official during the second half of an NBA basketball game against the San Antonio Spurs, Sunday, Jan. 17, 2016, in San Antonio. San Antonio won 112-83. (AP Photo/Darren Abate)
AP Photo/Darren Abate
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Hillary Clinton said, “You can put half of Trump supporters into what I call the ‘basket of deplorables.’ Right? Racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, Islamaphobic, you name it.”

In a pretty lame attempt to refute that statement,* Donald Trump’s son, Eric Trump tweeted a photo he claimed was from a Friday rally in Pensacola, Fla.:

But Donald Trump drew that large crowd a year ago in Dallas, not last week in Pensacola. Mavericks owner Mark Cuban pointed out the inaccurate photo:

Here are actual photos of the Pensacola rally:

Campaign 2016 Trump

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump gives a thumbs up during a rally, Friday, Sept. 9, 2016, in Pensacola, Fla. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump gives a thumbs up during a rally, Friday, Sept. 9, 2016, in Pensacola, Fla. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

(AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

*Of course Donald Trump has supporters. Showing them – even accurately – does not invalidate Clinton’s claim. We should spend more time evaluating Clinton’s statement on the merits rather than denouncing its shock value.

Report: Wizards signing Johnny O’Bryant

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The Cavaliers present a wide opening for a fringe NBA player trying to make a regular-season roster.

The Wizards provide an even better opportunity.

Washington has just 12 players – three below the regular-season roster limit – with guaranteed salaries, and there’s no J.R. Smith waiting to fill a spot. The competition for those three roster slots isn’t fierce, either.

Jarell Eddie, Daniel Ochefu, Danuel House and Sheldon McClellan are signed to barely guaranteed deals. Ochefu, House and McClellan are undrafted free agents.

By comparison, Johnny O’Bryant looks like a seasoned veteran.

Jeff Goodman of ESPN:

The Bucks drafted O’Bryant No. 36 in 2014, and he spent the last two seasons in Milwaukee. He played as much as possible – starting 15 games as a rookie and playing 66 total last year – without making a noticeable dent one way or the other.

A 6-foot-9 power forward, O’Bryant relies on a mid-range jumper. Though improved, he’s not good enough from that range to overcome the inherent inefficiency of it. He at least bolsters his offensive contributions by hitting the glass hard.

O’Bryant’s lack of mobility and leaping ability hinder him defensively. He competes on that end, limiting his downside. But he’s still a defensive minus.

O’Bryant fits the mold of jump-shooting power forwards the Wizards favor, and he could help the team keep its style when Markieff Morris and Andrew Nicholson are out. If Washington values that over versatility, O’Bryant has a good shot of making the regular-season roster.

Even if not, he has a leg up on his current competition.