Dan Feldman

2012 Sports Illustrated Sportsman Of The Year Award Presentation - Arrivals
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LeBron James ‘very optimistic’ about new Collective Bargaining Agreement

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Previously: Adam Silver: Collective Bargaining Agreement negotiations going ‘very well,’ could be done ‘relatively soon’

Both NBA owners and players are reportedly optimistic about agreeing to a revised Collective Bargaining Agreement before the Dec. 15 deadline to opt out of the current deal (effective July 1).

But don’t take anonymous sources’ word for it.

NBA commissioner Adam Silver Cavaliers star and union vice president LeBron James makes a similar implication.

Silver, via Fran Blinebury of NBA.com: LeBron, via Joe Vardon of Cleveland.com:

“We’re very optimistic on both sides, from the players’ association to the owners, to (NBA commissioner) Adam Silver that we can get something done, and I think we can get something done.

“And I think it all started because we started the conversations early, ways we could better our league.”

I don’t know precisely how close the sides are in CBA talks. But I believe they wouldn’t have allowed news of their optimism to leak if they weren’t legitimately confident they’ll get a deal done. I especially believe Silver LeBron wouldn’t have used the words “very well” and “relatively soon” “very optimistic” if he weren’t confident about a deal.

It’d just be so detrimental to raise false hope.

But there are benefits to assuring fans that a work stoppage is not in the cards – if a work stoppage is not in the cards.

I’m taking Silver LeBron at his word and preparing for a 2017-18 season that starts on time, including the free agency that precedes game play.

Fired-up Brandon Jennings claps in Casper Ware’s face (video)


Brandon Jennings was in the zone and producing highlights.

The Knicks point guard was so pumped about playing in Madison Square Garden, he shared his excitement with Casper Ware – by taunting him with claps to the face.

76ers coach Brett Brown wants to play Joel Embiid 20-24 minutes per game in regular season

TARRYTOWN, NY - AUGUST 03: Joel Embiid #11 of the Philadelphia 76ers poses for a portrait during the 2014 NBA rookie photo shoot at MSG Training Center on August 3, 2014 in Tarrytown, New York. 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 Nick Laham/Getty Images)
Nick Laham/Getty Images

The 76ers will predictably limit Joel Embiid‘s minutes season.

Just how strict will they be?

Jessica Camerato of CSN Philly:

With No. 1 pick Ben Simmons injured, Embiid is far and away the 76ers’ main source of intrigue. That ought to be enough playing time to satisfy most palettes.

It won’t make it much easier to juggle a big-man rotation that also includes Nerlens Noel, Jahlil Okafor, Richaun Holmes and Dario Saric and even Jerami Grant and Robert Covington getting minutes at power forward. Simmons’ absence doesn’t solve the dilemma, either.

But that’s Brown’s problem. If Embiid plays well in his minutes, no matter how many, everything gets much easier for Philadelphia.

Vivek Ranadivé says he wanted Kings to draft Elfrid Payton over Nik Stauskas

NEW YORK, NY - JUNE 26:  Nik Stauskas (R) of Michigan shakes hands with NBA Commissioner Adam Silver after being selected with the #8 overall pick by the Sacramento Kings during the 2014 NBA Draft at Barclays Center on June 26, 2014 in the Brooklyn borough of New York City. 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 Mike Stobe/Getty Images)
Mike Stobe/Getty Images

Fact: Kings owner Vivek Ranadivé and then-general manager D’Alessandro had this exchange during the 2014 draft, when Sacramento selected Nik Stauskas over Elfrid Payton (who went No. 10 and ended up with the Magic) with the No. 8 pick:

  • Ranadivé: “Stauskas or Payton? For me, Stauskas.”
  • D’Alessandro: “I say Stauskas.”
  • Ranadivé (pointing at someone else in the room): “Stauskas.”
  • Ranadivé (smiling): “Stauskas.”

Rumor: The front office wanted to draft Payton, but Ranadivé overruled in favor of Stauskas.

Ranadivé, via Sam Amick of USA Today:

“So what happened (in the 2014 draft in which ESPN cameras were allowed into the draft room), and again – these guys didn’t want me to talk about this. I’d had another player who had tried out for us that I had liked, and that I had thought was great. And by the way, I’ll tell you, it was (Orlando Magic point guard) Elfrid Payton. But everybody else wanted another player – (Nik) Stauskas (now of the Philadelphia 76ers). And so they told me to say (Stauskas), and obviously I’m not going to say that I wanted Payton but they picked Stauskas. I made a big deal of all-for-one and one-for-all, so ‘Whatever you guys decide, I’m going to say yeah to Stauskas.’ That got put on camera, but what was I going to say, that ‘Hey, I don’t agree with their choice?’ Even now, with Vlade, I have a private joke with him, that if his choices don’t work out with him in a couple of years, that he’ll be shaving his head.

It seems Ranadivé and someone who was in Sacramento’s front office are just slinging mud at each other in the media. If it’s D’Alessandro, this is just a continuation for Ranadivé.

We’re left not knowing who wanted Stauskas and who wanted Payton (who has looked like a better prospect, though hardly infallible, so far). If he really wanted Payton, Ranadivé could’ve demanded it. He’s the controlling owner. If Ranadivé enabled a general manager and scouts who did poor work, that’s on Ranadivé.

We at least now know Ranadivé will publicly throw employees under the bus after the fact. That will hinder his ability to hire quality staff. And in that light, his joke about Vlade Divac shaving his head over a draft mistake doesn’t seem so funny – unless you’re laughing at Ranadivé leadership.

Kings owner Vivek Ranadivé: Former GM Pete D’Alessandro and former coach Michael Malone ‘hated each other’s guts’

Oklahoma City at Sacramento
Hector Amezcua/Sacramento Bee/TNS via Getty Images
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Vivek Ranadivé’s first move upon buying the Kings was hiring coach Michael Malone. The new owner followed by hiring general manager Pete D’Alessandro.

Critics decried the timeline.

How could Ranadivé hire a coach before a general manager? A general manager wants to pick his own coach. That dynamic will never work.

Ranadivé admitted his error – though there’s a catch (more on that later).

Ranadivé on D’Alessandro and Malone, via Sam Amick of USA Today:

They hated each other’s guts.

These two guys (Malone and D’Alessandro), they never spoke. They hated each other. They hated each other’s guts. It was like one person would say one thing, and then the other person would say another thing. And they wanted to get rid of him very early on, and I was the one who said ‘No, no, let’s make it work. Let’s make it work.’

After being ousted in Sacramento, D’Alessandro returned to the Nuggets, whose front office he worked in before getting the Kings job. This isn’t a case where a team hires someone only to find out the new employee doesn’t live up to expectations. D’Alessandro is known in Denver, and the Nuggets thought enough of him to re-hire him.

Then, the Nuggets hired Malone, who had been fired by Sacramento.

If D’Alessandro and Malone loathed each other so much, would Denver have really hired Malone? Would Malone – who was highly coveted due to his work with the Kings, including jelling with DeMarcus Cousins – have taken the Nuggets job?

It’s difficult to believe.

But let’s just say Ranadivé is telling the complete truth. Who hired Malone and D’Alessandro? Ranadivé. Who fostered their work environment? Ranadivé. The owner is not exempt from blame here.

D’Alessandro and Malone are in Denver, but one way or another, the Kings still have their problem.