Dan Feldman

NEW YORK, NY - JUNE 23: Guerschon Yabusele poses with Commissioner Adam Silver after being drafted 16th overall by the Boston Celtics in the first round of the 2016 NBA Draft at the Barclays Center on June 23, 2016 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

Report: Celtics’ first-rounder Guerschon Yabusele to play in China next season

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When the Celtics drafted Guerschon Yabusele at No. 16, he seemed destined to spend next season overseas. But it also seemed slightly more likely than not No. 23 pick Ante Zizic would go straight to Boston.

Did Zizic getting stashed alter the plan for Yabusele?

Adam Himmelsbach of The Boston Globe:

Celtics forward Guerschon Yabusele, the 16th overall pick of last month’s NBA Draft, has agreed to a one-year deal with the Shanghai Sharks of the Chinese Basketball Association, according to a league source.

With bonuses, Yabusele could make up to $1.5 million next season, the source said.

The standard 120% of the rookie scale would’ve paid Yabusele $1,888,200. But Boston might have offered just the minimum 80% ($1,258,800) to entice Yabusele not to sign yet. Presumably, this was agreed upon before the draft.

The Celtics have a deep roster and would’ve had little room to groom Yabusele in a win-now season. They clearly prefer him developing without occupying a roster spot, advancing toward free agency or receiving any of their money.

It’s a pretty good situation for Boston, which can focus on just No. 3 pick Jaylen Brown rather than all three of its first-round picks.

Harrison Barnes on Warriors landing Kevin Durant: ‘I guess I died’

OAKLAND, CA - JANUARY 05:  Kevin Durant #35 of the Oklahoma City Thunder drives on Harrison Barnes #40 of the Golden State Warriors at ORACLE Arena on January 5, 2015 in Oakland, 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 Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
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The Warriors have been anointed so resolutely, it’s almost easy to forget there was a time before Kevin Durant played for Golden State.

Remember that guy Harrison Barnes, who started at small forward for a championship and 73-win season?

 

Marcus Thompson II of The Mercury News:

It took coach Steve Kerr to go off script and interrupt the end of Durant’s introductory news conference, thanking the departed Warriors, for Barnes to be remembered.

“I guess I died,” Barnes said with a shoulder shrug, before breaking into a smile. He then explained why he was prepared for his departure.

“Dwight trade rumors. Kevin Love trade rumors. Kevin Durant … oh, that one happened. There’s been a few instances where you consider what might happen. I was just more so glad to be there as long as I was.”

There are segments who overrate and underrate Barnes — and not enough who properly appreciate his ability.

Too many still see Barnes as the prospective go-to player he was hyped as when Golden State drafted him No. 7 in 2012. They saw him stuck behind Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green, unable to show his full potential. And while Barnes can probably do a little more, they’ll be disappointed if they’re counting on him to be the No. 1 option.

But too many others blame Barnes for not living up to his billing. Just because he’s not a high-end scorer doesn’t mean he failed. His ability to defend bigger opponents inside and improved 3-point shooting opened the Warriors’ death lineup.

Obviously, Golden State did well to upgrade from Barnes to Durant. But that’s far more Durant compliment than Barnes insult — or at least should be.

San Antonio police and firemen honor Tim Duncan Day with body formation (photo)

DENVER, CO - DECEMBER 18:  A Denver City policeman instructs Tim Duncan #21 and the San Antonio Spurs to not pass midcourt as the referees review a play on video as the San Antonio Spurs face the Denver Nuggets at the Pepsi Center on December 18, 2012 in Denver, Colorado. The Nuggets defeated the Spurs 112-106. 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 Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)
Doug Pensinger/Getty Images
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It’s Tim Duncan Day in San Antonio, honoring the recently retired Spurs great — No. 21 — on July 21.

The city’s police and firemen celebrated with this body formation:

Isn’t that pavement pretty hot today?

DeAndre Jordan interrupts Kevin Durant interview, asks why Durant didn’t sign with Clippers

LOS ANGELES, CA - MAY 15: DeAndre Jordan #6 of the Los Angeles Clippers grabs a rebound against Kevin Durant #35 of the Oklahoma City Thunder in Game Six of the Western Conference Semifinals during the 2014 NBA Playoffs at Staples Center on May 15, 2014 in Los Angeles, California.  The Thunder won 10-98 win the series four games to two.  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 Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)
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DeAndre Jordan continues to do free agency wrong.

First, he reneged on his commitment to the Mavericks last year.

Now, he’s pressuring Durant to sign with the Clippers after Durant signed with the Warriors.

Courtney Cronin of The Mercury News:

Better luck next year, DeAndre.

WNBA fines teams, players for black warmup shirts

FILE - In this Wednesday, July 13, 2016 file photo, members of the New York Liberty basketball team await the start of a game against the Atlanta Dream, in New York. The WNBA has fined the New York Liberty, Phoenix Mercury and Indiana Fever and their players for wearing plain black warm-up shirts in the wake of recent shootings by and against police officers. All three teams were fined $5,000 and each player was fined $500. While the shirts were the Adidas brand - the official outfitter of the league - WNBA rules state that uniforms may not be altered in any way. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan, File)
AP Photo/Mark Lennihan
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NBA commissioner Adam Silver often gets caught between his personal progressiveness and the fact he’s running a multi-billion-dollar business.

My favorite example: When asked about players wearing “I Can’t Breathe” shirts a couple years ago, Silver always started by enthusiastically praising them speaking their minds then added a caveat. Seemingly sighing, Silver noted he preferred the players follow the league’s on-court dress code.

I found it all quite charming.

But NBA players made their point then quit wearing the shirts. In the WNBA, where the Minnesota Lynx wore anti-violence shirts that caused off-duty police to walk off their security jobs, it has been a prolonged protest.

And now, that league has reached a point Silver seemingly dreaded the NBA reaching.

Doug Feinberg of the Associated Press:

The WNBA has fined the New York Liberty, Phoenix Mercury and Indiana Fever and their players for wearing black warm up shirts in the wake of recent shootings by and against police officers.

All three teams were fined $5,000 and each player was fined $500.

The Liberty have worn the plain black shirts four times, including Wednesday morning against Washington. The Mercury and Fever wore them Tuesday night. While the shirts were the Adidas brand – the official outfitter of the league – WNBA rules state that uniforms may not be altered in any way.

“We are proud of WNBA players’ engagement and passionate advocacy for non-violent solutions to difficult social issues but expect them to comply with the league’s uniform guidelines,” WNBA President Lisa Borders said in a statement provided to The Associated Press on Wednesday night.

The league sent out a memo earlier this week to the teams reminding them of the uniform policy.

The NBA and WNBA are businesses — not civil-rights organizations. I’m OK with the leagues acting like the businesses they are, except the way they also hold themselves up as moral leaders first.

The WNBA’s president tries to have it both ways, and it clearly doesn’t work. Phoenix Mercury’s Mistie Bass sees right through it:

The WNBA surely didn’t want to reach this point — fining players for social activism to protect a brand. The NBA doesn’t, either.

It’s OK for players to wear a protest shirt once. Multiple times and after the league sent a memo? That’s the breaking point set by the NBA’s sister league. We’ll see whether any NBA players similarly challenge authority now that they know the line.