Dan Feldman

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Rockets owner Leslie Alexander says he’s increasing Hurricane Harvey-relief donation to $10 million

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Rockets owner Leslie Alexander donated $4 million $10 million to Hurricane Harvey relief efforts.

Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle:

Well done, Leslie.

Bucks unveil vanilla classic uniform for old-arena game

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The Bucks will go across the street to their old arena – MECCA, now called UW-Milwaukee Panther Arena – to play the Celtics on Oct. 26.

That’s both cool and a sign of a smaller fan base, as Milwaukee will go from a 20,000 capacity in its current arena to just 12,700 for the one-time venue change.

The Bucks also released a classic uniform that will debut at the game:

These are pretty bland, which would be more acceptable if not for the garish jersey ad. There’s nothing classic about that.

At least the deer logo on the shorts is a strong element.

Kevin Durant: Pacers just gave away Paul George

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Dan Gilbert said the Pacers “could have done better” in the Paul George trade, which brought Victor Oladipo and Domantas Sabonis to Indiana.

The Cavaliers owner isn’t the only one speaking out about the Pacers’ paltry return from the Thunder.

Warriors star Kevin Durant, via Bill Simmons of The Ringer:

I think Paul George is so good. A lot of people disrespect him. Because I play against him and I respect my position.

So that was shocking because Indiana just gave him away. And I ain’t think OKC would even think about giving up anything to trade for him. I didn’t think they would do it, but that was a ballsy move.

I appreciate Durant sharing his opinion, which he has become eager to do. He’s also right.

Oladipo doesn’t carry much surplus value, if any, while owed $21 million each of the next four seasons. Sabonis is a middling prospect.

It’s just surprising to see Durant publicly critique another team like this. It’s especially surprising to see him implicitly disparage Oladipo, who – like Durant – grew up in Prince George’s County, Maryland.

But Durant will get plenty of leeway from me – especially because he’s right.

Rumor: Cavaliers gained no new information in Isaiah Thomas physical

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The Celtics acknowledged that Isaiah Thomas‘ hip factored into their decision to trade him for Kyrie Irving.

But when the Cavaliers put Thomas through a physical, they clearly found something concerning. After all, that’s why this deal remains in limbo.

Right?

Steve Bulpett of the Boston Herald on The Vertical Podcast with Chris Mannix (hat tip: Tom Westerholm of MassLive):

My read is actually from the Cleveland side, and what I hear from there is that nothing they’ve found is anything different than what was conveyed to the Cavaliers in the trade discussions, and certainly in the medical information that was passed forward.

Both sides are posturing. This report would clearly fit – except it’s coming from Cleveland.

If the Cavaliers saw what they expected in Thomas’ physical, they should approve the trade. Period.

Otherwise, what are they going for? Trying to destroy Boston’s chemistry if Thomas and Jae Crowder get returned? Trying to extort another asset, as the Celtics now have greater incentive to get a deal done and avoid the disharmony that would come with reintegrating Thomas and Crowder? (Cleveland’s situation wouldn’t change nearly as much, with Irving unhappy there even prior to the trade).

If I were NBA commissioner Adam Silver, I’d have huge problems with either tactic. Teams can’t be allowed to leverage the existence of physicals (differentiated from the results of physicals) into holding other teams hostage and making players – like Thomas, who will become a free agent next summer but is now treated as damaged goods – collateral damage. I’d be looking into punishing the Cavs. The NBA constitution gives Silver broad power:

The Commissioner shall, wherever there is a rule for which no penalty is specifically fixed for violation thereof, have the authority to fix such penalty as in the Commissioner’s judgment shall be in the best interests of the Association. Where a situation arises which is not covered in the Constitution and By-Laws, the Commissioner shall have the authority to make such decision, including the imposition of a penalty, as in his judgment shall be in the best interests of the Association. The penalty that may be assessed under the preceding two sentences may include, without limitation, a fine, suspension, and/or the forfeiture or assignment of draft choices. No monetary penalty fixed under this provision shall exceed $2,500,000.

The Cavaliers have a right to conduct a physical. They needn’t rely on Boston’s evaluation. But that physical should also be conducted in good faith. If Thomas’ condition is no worse than the Cavs believed when agreeing to the trade, what’s the holdup?

That said, maybe this report isn’t completely accurate. It’d make sense coming from Boston, where there’s incentive to paint the Cavaliers as the problem. Coming from Cleveland? I just don’t get it, to the point I wonder what we’re missing.

It’s also worth noting, as of last check, the Cavs haven’t requested anything of Boston. We mostly presume they will. But until they do, there’s obviously no problem – and only a problem if this report is accurate.

Report: Thunder’s Enes Kanter expected to exercise 2018-19 player option

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Thunder center Enes Kanter has a $18,622,514 player option for 2018-19.

Fred Katz of The Norman Transcript:

I’d also be shocked if Kanter declined a $18,622,514 guaranteed salary. But sometimes players have different ideas about their own values. It’s nice to have confirmation from someone who has more direct insight into his thinking.

Kanter is an efficient scorer inside and from mid-range, and he hits the offensive glass hard. But he’s also a defensive liability, which is why he has settled in as a sixth man.

If Russell Westbrook signs his contract extension or re-signs and Paul George re-signs, Oklahoma City would be in for a sizable luxury-tax bill in 2018-19. The Thunder could look to unload Kanter if he follows through with opting in, but good lock finding takers who don’t require major sweeteners to absorb his contract.

At least, if the Thunder are stuck with an overpaid backup center, they’d have someone who also contributes positively on the court.