Author: Dan Feldman

John Henson accepts jewelry-store owner’s apology


Bucks big man John Henson went to a jewelry store, and he alleged employees discriminated against him

Police said an employee, even after learning Henson played for the Bucks, asked the cops to stay for the transaction.

The store owner apologized in a statement and expressed a desire to meet with Henson personally.

Charles F. Gardner of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel:

That should close this episode.

Unfortunately, the wider issue of racism remains a problem.

Lakers waive Robert Upshaw, Michael Frazier II

Robert Upshaw, Rene Rougeau, Amir Celestin

The Lakers did such a good job filling their roster with quality players on partially guaranteed or unguaranteed contracts, they must now face difficult decisions.

Behind 12 players with guaranteed salaries, the Lakers had:

How will the Lakers trim their roster to the regular-season limit of 15?

Lakers release:

The Los Angeles Lakers have waived guard Michael Frazier II and center Robert Upshaw, it was announced today by General Manager Mitch Kupchak.

Eric Pincus of the Los Angeles Times:

These concerns are not new about Upshaw, who was dismissed by both Washington and Fresno State reportedly for failing drug tests.

But Upshaw’s potential is as enormous as his 9-foot-5 standing reach. Why would the Lakers – who are very unlikely to even make the playoffs this season – keep veterans who’ve established their ability over promising young players like Upshaw and Frazier? Robert Sacre, though just 26, has drawn particular scrutiny for remaining on the roster.

I don’t know the particulars of Upshaw’s latest off-court issues, but this strikes me as a poor allocation of resources.

At least the Lakers can assign Upshaw’s and Frazier’s D-League rights to their affiliate, the L.A. D-Fenders, if the pair clears waivers. The small guarantees those players received were probably meant to entice them to pick the low-paying D-League over overseas options.

However, Upshaw and Frazier would be NBA free agents – free to sign with any team. The only way for the Lakers to retain exclusive NBA rights to those two was keeping them on the 15-man roster.

The Lakers still must waive two more players. Byron Scott is talking about Huertas running the second unit. Holmes is out at least a couple weeks, and his salary becomes guaranteed while he’s injured. If he’s getting paid anyway, why not keep him?

An over-the-hill World Peace should be the easiest cut, leaving one of Black or Brown as the other. But the way the Lakers prioritize experience, maybe World Peace makes it.

James Dolan: No scenario Isiah Thomas returns to Knicks

Isaih Thomas Introduced as New Knicks GM
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The Knicks demoted Isiah Thomas from team president in 2008 and fired him as coach a couple weeks later.

But they hired him as a consultant in 2010 (though the NBA nixed it because he was still coaching Florida International), probably used him as a consultant in 2011 and offered him a job in 2012. The WNBA’s New York Liberty, also owned by James Dolan, named Thomas president in May.

As long as Dolan, a friend to Thomas, is around, the threat of Thomas returning to the Knicks looms.

Can Dolan imagine any scenario where that happens?

Dolan, via HBO Real Sports:


There’s 29 teams, right, out there in the NBA, any one of which would be an easier assignment than this one. I don’t think that the New York market would ever give him a fair chance at this. And I can’t imagine why that would be. what would make it worthwhile to go and try and get one.

Knicks fans everywhere: “Promise?”

There’s only one reason Thomas should never return to the Knicks: He did a terrible job the first time. It should have nothing to do with whether the New York market would forgive him. That’s a ridiculous excuse, one that shows how detached from reality Dolan is.

Asked about returning to the Knicks, Thomas wasn’t quite as resolute.


That’s a slippery-slope question. I can comfortably tell you this: I don’t see myself ever coaching the New York Knicks.

Coaching?! I thought we were all thinking front office. Thomas clearly leaves that door open.

As long as Dolan doesn’t change his mind, Thomas won’t be back – not nearly enough of an assurance for Knicks fans.

LaMarcus Aldridge: Kobe Bryant was silver lining bad Lakers meeting

LOS ANGELES, CA - NOVEMBER 07:  Kobe Bryant #24 of the Los Angeles Lakers cuts in for a layup in front of LaMarcus Aldridge #12 and Nicolas Batum #88 of the Portland Trail Blazers during the first half at the Staples Center on November 7, 2010 in Los Angeles, California.  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 Harry How/Getty Images)

The Lakers’ first meeting with LaMarcus Aldridge in free agency went poorly.

Another example of Kobe Bryant costing the Lakers a star?

Aldridge says no.

Aldridge, in a Q&A with Chris Mannix of Sports Illustrated: There was a lot of talk about the Lakers free agent meeting. It seemed like it went badly. What happened?

LA: I’m not going to get into details, but it was just a couple of meetings. The first meeting didn’t go as well as they said and then the second meeting went better. I’ll go on the record as saying Kobe was not an issue at all. He was a very positive part of the meeting. I’ve always had a very cordial relationship with Kobe. I see him all the time in Newport [Beach], and it was really messed up that [the media] put it on him when he was one of the best parts of the meeting. But like I said, the first one didn’t go as well, the second one went a little bit, but at the end of the day going back home was more valuable.

On one hand, I want to believe Aldridge. There were reports at the time of Kobe impressing in the meeting.

But the same reports also said the meeting went well overall, which clearly wasn’t the case. That’s why the Lakers needed a second meeting.

Plus, Aldridge previously tried to downplay the ineffectiveness of the first meeting. Here, his tone is a little more negative about that first meeting.

It seems to me like Aldridge, who signed with the Spurs, is just trying to put this behind him. Minimize the problems of the first meeting. Say nice things about Kobe, a respected veteran nearing the end of his career. Move on.

Ultimately, I respect that Aldridge put his name on these comments. Whatever anonymous sources have said about Kobe’s impact and the meetings, this is Aldridge’s account.

What’s unsaid: Kobe’s influence probably pushed Aldridge away from the Lakers. No matter how much he impressed the power forward in a conference room, Kobe makes a salary that limits the Lakers’ ability to compete right now. They wouldn’t have had sufficient cap space to put a quality supporting cast around Aldridge. D'Angelo Russell, Julius Randle and Jordan Clarkson are too young to win on Aldridge’s timeline. Kobe is too old.

Kobe can do everything right – though he shoots too much – and still hinder the Lakers.

They’re just stuck hoping he dazzles in free agent meetings that probably don’t matter anyway.

Andre Drummond won’t sign contract extension with Pistons

Detroit Pistons v Washington Wizards
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Andre Drummond is the Pistons’ franchise player.

Owner Tom Gores called the center a “max player” as soon as last season ended. President/coach Stan Van Gundy has consistently praised Drummond.

So, with Drummond eligible for a contract extension this offseason, the Pistons had one clear goal:

Convince Drummond NOT to sign an extension.

Mission accomplished?

Keith Langlois of

If this happened for the reasons they wanted, this is potentially a nice victory for the Pistons.

They can give Drummond a max contract in free agency that’s worth exactly as much as an extension would have paid, projected to be worth about $120 million.

The key difference: Drummond’s cap hold will be just $8,180,228 as a free agent. The Pistons can sign other free agents and then exceed the cap to re-sign him. If he’d signed a max extension now, his cap number would be his 2016-17 salary, projected to be nearly $21 million.

This will get the Pistons nearly $13 million more in cap space next summer.

Drummond is taking a risk, but I bet the Pistons promised him a max contract next summer.

The Pistons are taking a risk, too. Drummond could bolt sooner by not signing an extension. But the Pistons shouldn’t fear that too much.

Drummond will be a restricted free agent, allowing the Pistons to match any offer sheet. If they extend a maximum qualifying offer, he can’t sign an offer sheet for less than three seasons (not counting option years).

So, if the Pistons are absolutely set on keeping him, the soonest Drummond could leave while making a maximum salary until then is 2019. The only way he could leave in 2017 is to accept the one-year, $4,433,683 qualifying offer. Would he really do that if $120 million is on the table? He couldn’t leave at all in 2016.

The Pistons have two years to convince Drummond to re-sign, and one of those years, he’ll be a restricted free agent. Considering it seems he’s already on board with staying, they’d really have to screw it up not to re-sign him long-term.

Delaying this extension is a technicality, one that should benefit the Pistons – including their franchise player, who’s more likely to have a better supporting cast in the years to come.