The NBA-champion Cavaliers visited the White House today for the customary ceremony with the president.
With Donald Trump succeeding Barack Obama, will the 2017 champs make a similar trip to Washington?
At least one Cavalier doesn’t think so.
Richard Jefferson, via HoopsHype:
Lee Jenkins of Sports Illustrated:
Jenkins – who co-wrote LeBron James‘ famous coming-home letter – added that he wasn’t talking about Jefferson.
And those Cavaliers might be right, but I’m not sure.
Trump ran on ideas of maintaining and expanding white nationalism, and that has justifiably caused fear and anger among American minorities and those empathetic to them. That is especially prevalent in the NBA, where a majority of players are black.
But there is still a chance a Trump presidency is benign enough that the 2017 NBA champions accept being honored by him as a representative of the office he holds. No other presidential candidate in American history has more regularly lied – ignoring the long-standing limitation of bending the truth – during the campaign. Trump will say anything. He is unpredictable, and so are the next four years.
The office of the presidency still carries gravitas and warrants respect. Obama met with Trump today.
I understand why so many players don’t feel comfortable validating Trump, but I’m not totally convinced that feeling will remain a year from now about what’s essentially an apolitical photo-op.
The Cavaliers visited the White House today to commemorate their NBA championship, and you know what that means:
As he did when congratulating Cleveland coach Tyronn Lue, President Barack Obama kept his sense of humor. Among the highlights
- Obama thanked J.R. Smith‘s shirt for showing up. “I wasn’t sure if it was going to make an appearance today. I’m glad you came. You’re a very nice shirt.”
- A Bulls fan, Obama brought up Chicago. “By knocking off the Warriors, they cemented the 1996 Bulls as the greatest team off all time. So, your president thanks you for that.”
- Obama praised “Richard Jefferson, Dahntay Jones providing leadership and providing inspiration to all of us old people that you can still do something at that age.”
- The president singled out Iman Shumpert for delivering his daughter using headphones. “That was an All-Star move. You’ve got the MacGyver flattop, which we miss”
- When presented a jersey, Obama – channeling LeBron James – quipped: “These sleeves get tight. Can I tear these out? Can I rip them?”
The Hawks are the latest team to secure a D-League affiliate.
They also might wind up the last to actually get one.
The NBA Development League and the Atlanta Hawks Basketball Club today announced that the Hawks have acquired the right to own and operate an NBA D-League team that will play in College Park, Ga., beginning with the 2019-20 season. Additionally, the City of College Park has agreed to construct a 3500-seat arena in which the new franchise will serve as the primary tenant.
D-League expansion is happening rapidly. Just eight NBA teams – Hawks, Nuggets, Clippers, Bucks, Timberwolves, Pelicans, Trail Blazers and Wizards – lack an affiliate. Denver will get one next season, and other teams probably aren’t far behind.
If the Hawks wait until 2019, other teams – maybe even all seven – could jump ahead to get affiliates sooner.
The new Collective Bargaining Agreement is increasing the advantage of having an affiliate, allowing for two-way contracts. It’s only a matter of time until all 30 NBA teams have their own affiliate.
Ray Allen finally announced his retirement after two seasons since his last NBA game.
He had offers all the way up until the end, but did he ever come close to accepting one after his Heat contract expired?
Jeff Zillgitt of USA Today:
What was the right situation for Allen? He explained it was a combination of factors: offer, playing time, ability to help a team compete for a championship, playing for a coach who didn’t wear players out through grinding practices and family considerations.
Houston made an enticing offer in 2014, Allen said. But the deal – the full mid-level exception according to a person familiar with the situation – wasn’t enough to lure him into another season.
Allen doesn’t outright say the Rockets made the most enticing offer, but they are singled out here. Maybe I’m incorrectly assuming, but I’m inferring this one stood out.
That Houston team won 56 games and reached the Western Conference finals. Could Allen have put the Rockets over the top? He would’ve offered an intriguing contrast on the wing to Corey Brewer, who made just 29% of his 3-pointers in the playoffs. Allen might have even pushed James Harden to point guard sooner – a tweak that is paying big dividends this season.
Last year, Mavericks president Donnie Nelson said Rick Carlisle could coach Dallas as long as he wants.
That was a lot easier to say when the Mavericks had won a championship and 60% of their games and never had a losing season under Carlisle.
What about now that Dallas is 2-6?
A. Sherrod Blakely of CSN New England:
Rick Carlisle’s future as the Dallas Mavericks head coach is still on fairly solid ground, and I’m told that’s not likely to change even as they endure what has been a historically bad start to the season.
Carlisle signed a five-year, $35 million contract extension last season that probably gets him plenty of security. It’s not just because Mavericks owner Mark Cuban is unwilling to eat the cost of firing Carlisle, but because Carlisle’s deal signals Dallas’ commitment to him. The Mavericks wouldn’t have granted that lucrative extension unless they believed in Carlisle.
Even if this season continues on the same path, one year would not be enough to undo all that.
The problem, though, is Dallas is both bad and old. That makes a turnaround difficult in coming seasons. Even if a lackluster roster isn’t Carlisle’s fault, it’s standard for the coach to take the fall.
That’s a way off, and the Mavericks could still build a better roster for Carlisle with shrewd drafting, signings and trades. Heck, the team could still right the ship this season.
So, Carlisle probably doesn’t need to worry about his future anytime soon. But if Dallas continues to decline, it’s only a matter of time until Carlisle is blamed.