Dan Feldman

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NBA gets high grades again for race, gender hiring

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ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) — A diversity report shows the NBA “significantly ahead” again in professional sports in racial and gender hiring practices.

The league received an A for racial hiring and a B for gender hiring practices for the 2016-17 season. The NBA drew an overall grade of A-minus, continuing its run of A grades since the start of the 2000s.

The report card was released Thursday by The Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sport. The report was written by Richard Lapchick.

The NBA sets the pace, with people of color making up 30 percent of the head coaches and 45 percent of the assistants. The NBA is also the first major sports league to have three owners of color.

Report cards are also issued for the NFL, MLB, WNBA, MLS and college sports.

“They have been significantly ahead of the other leagues from the time we started it in the 1980s,” said Lapchick, the chair of University of Central Florida’s sports business management program. “Other leagues have closed the gap and improved a little bit but the NBA has continued to improve as well to stay the industry leader.”

The league, however, did receive an F for race representation this season at the levels of team president/CEO and general manager. There are just four people of color at the top tier of team management and three general managers of color.

The NBA also received a D for gender hiring for team vice presidents, with women making up 24 percent of the workforce in that area. Although women in team senior administrative positions jumped from 24 percent in 2015-16 to 29 percent this past season, the league earned a C-minus for gender hiring at the team level.

“There are obviously areas in there that need improvement,” Lapchick said. “This is the second year in a row that we’ve talked to about the lack of women in senior leadership positions at the team level.”

Still, the NBA receives overall high marks for hiring practices at the team and league offices. In the NBA league office, 35 percent of the professional staff positions were held by people of color at the beginning of this season, with women at nearly 39 percent.

Deputy Commissioner Mark Tatum is the highest ranking African-American of any of the professional American sports leagues.

Lapchick attributes the NBA’s strong marks to its past two commissioners – David Stern and Adam Silver. Months after he became commissioner in 2014, Silver led the way in ousting Los Angeles Clippers Donald Sterling after it was discovered he made racist remarks.

“That kind of out-front posturing is important,” Lapchick said. “It sends a signal to the teams and obviously to the league office that diversity and inclusiveness is very important. I think all commissioners feel that way but I think the NBA has made its stamp even more powerful.”

 

Report: Pacers seeking 2018 Nets and Lakers picks, starter from Celtics in Paul George trade

AP Photo/Michael Conroy
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The Celtics reportedly plan to sign Gordon Hayward and trade for Paul George.

They’ll have their crack at Hayward, but they don’t sound particularly close to getting George from the Pacers.

Mark Murphy of the Boston Herald:

That offer – which presumably includes Jae Crowder or Avery Bradley as the starter – is an outrageous asking price for a player on an expiring contract who has professed a desire to join the Lakers.

But it’s just an asking price. Indiana surely knows it won’t get that much. It’s all part of the negotiation (as is Boston seemingly leaking the offer).

There’s still time for both sides to find common ground.

Jimmy Butler’s phone-number reveal was either a stunt, or he has an insane voicemail message

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At his introductory press conference with the Timberwolves today, Jimmy Butler revealed his cell phone number – 773-899-6071 – and told his critics to call him directly.

I tried and got an error message, but Joon Lee of Bleacher Report got through:

Butler’s voicemail message:

Jimmy Butler. Sorry I couldn’t get to the phone, but leave your name and number, and I’ll hit you back. If you’ve got any beef, definitely leave a message.

Butler has to be a little crazy to make the journey he has, but, “If you’ve got any beef, definitely leave a message”? That almost had to be orchestrated as part of his press conference answer.

Jimmy Butler gives out cell phone number at Timberwolves introductory press conference (video)

AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast
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Sometimes, Jimmy Butler is a superstar.

Sometimes, he’s still just a kid from Tomball, Texas, who believes he can just give out his phone number to anyone who cares.

I don’t know whether 773-899-6071 is Butler’s actual number, but if it is, it’s hard to believe it will remain his actual number.

Report: Phil Jackson thought Carmelo Anthony was trying to sabotage him

Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE via Getty Images
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In March, Kristaps Porzingis offered a strong endorsement of the triangle.

That put him between then-Knicks president Phil Jackson and forward Carmelo Anthony.

Marc Berman of the New York Post:

According to an NBA source, Anthony was furious to read Porzingis’ positive sentiments on an offense he disdains.

“Melo really chewed him out, lit into him,’’ the source said.

Actually, some Knicks officials believe Anthony’s influence on Porzingis has been detrimental and a key reason why Jackson became adamant about removing him from the roster any way he could.

“Phil thought Carmelo was trying to sabotage him,’’ an NBA source said.

Jackson tried to pressure Anthony out of New York, tweeted criticism of Anthony, sidestepped Anthony’s requests to meet, seemingly pushed an anti-Anthony narrative, publicly called Anthony a ball hog and used racially insensitive language to discuss Anthony’s friend, LeBron James.

But Anthony was trying to sabotage Jackson?

It’s unhealthy for a team’s president and highest-paid players to be on such different pages, but it’s also unhealthy for a team to be caught up on an antiquated offensive system. Anthony acquiescing to Jackson might have made the Knicks’ better in the short term. But if he widened the fractures that eventually caused the Knicks to split from Jackson, Anthony did the team a favor in the long run.