Dan Feldman

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Report: Magic, before trading Serge Ibaka to Raptors, feared he’d leave as free agent

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Remember when, upon being traded to the Magic last summer, Serge Ibaka said he wanted to stay in Orlando forever?

A 21-36 record and an overcrowded frontcourt comes at you fast.

The Magic traded Ibaka to the Raptors today, in part, because his feelings about Orlando appeared to change.

Ramona Shelburne of ESPN:

The Magic were right to fear Ibaka walking in unrestricted free agency this summer. But their bigger concern should have been re-signing him.

Ibaka has shown major signs of decline this season. Whether that’s due to aging or being stuck on a bad team, the conditions were likely to remain in place in Orlando during what would have been expensive long-term contract to keep him.

The Magic were never going to recoup what they dealt for Ibaka (Victor Oladipo, the No. 11 pick and Ersan Ilyasova), but at this point, that package was a sunk cost. Orlando did well to get what it did for Ibaka now (Terrence Ross and a first-round pick).

Essentially, the trade with the Thunder was backfiring for the Magic, one way or another. Orlando is fortunate it went south as quickly as it did (and credit the Magic for recognizing that).


Report: Knicks lift ban on Charles Oakley

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Adam Silver and Michael Jordan got Charles Oakley and Jim Dolan to be “apologetic.” (Does that mean they actually apologized or just danced around the feelings associated with apology?) According to Silver, Dolan even expressed hope Oakley would attend a game as his guest.

But the NBA commissioner’s statement said nothing directly about a roadblock to that happening: The Knicks banning Oakley from Madison Square Garden.

It appears that obstacle, a consequence of last week’s incident, has been cleared.


The New York Knicks lifted their ban on former player Charles Oakley on Tuesday, sources told ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith and The Undefeated’s Mike Wise.

A source within the Madison Square Garden organization told Smith of the move, while Wise was informed by a source close to Oakley.


Report: Magic trade Serge Ibaka to Raptors for Terrence Ross, first-round pick

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The Raptors have started at power forward this season:

You know the old saying: When you have six starting power forwards, you have none.

So, Toronto is trading for Serge Ibaka, who’s on an expiring contract.

Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports:

Ibaka will upgrade the Raptors, who might need a shakeup. They’ve lost 10 of 14 to fall to fourth in the Eastern Conference.

Toronto will rely on him to shore up its biggest area of concern: defense. At his best, Ibaka will protect the rim next to Jonas Valanciunas. But Ibaka has slipped considerably on that end. Is that due to playing on a team going nowhere or aging? That’s the big question with this trade.

At least Ibaka should fit well offensively as a jump-shooter next to the interior-focused Valanciunas.

The Magic mitigate their damages after giving up Victor Oladipo, the No. 11 pick and Ersan Ilyasova in a lousy trade for Ibaka last summer. Orlando clears some of its big-man logjam, and Ross adds needed help on the wing. The 26-year-old Ross is in the midst of a career year, and though his level is far more stellar than spectacular, he’s owed owed a reasonable $30.2 million over the next two years. Recouping a first-round pick always helps.

The only thing worse than their trade for Ibaka might have been the Magic signing the declining big man to a big contract this summer. That’s less of a concern for the Raptors, who are trying to win now.

Both on the court right now and with the teams’ long-term visions, Ibaka makes far more sense in Toronto than Orlando.


Marc Gasol throws gratuitous between-defender’s-legs pass (video)

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Luis Scola had his back to Marc Gasol, who could’ve easily thrown this simple pass around the Nets forward. Instead, Gasol showed up Scola with a pass between his legs.

It was so unnecessary — which makes me love the play even more.

Plus, Vince Carter nailed a 3-pointer to make this an even better highlight for Gasol and the Grizzlies.

D-League? It’s now the G-League

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NBA release:

Beginning with the 2017-18 season, the NBA Development League (NBA D-League) will be renamed the NBA Gatorade League (NBA G-League) as part of a multiyear expanded partnership announced today by the National Basketball Association (NBA) and Gatorade.  This marks the first time a U.S. professional sports league has named an entitlement partner.

As part of the partnership, the NBA and Gatorade unveiled a new NBA G-League logo that will be featured across all game balls, team jerseys, oncourt signage, and league digital assets.  Additionally, Gatorade will incubate its latest product and equipment innovations into NBA G-League locker rooms, and teams will have the opportunity to collaborate with Gatorade to help players maximize their athletic potential and oncourt performance.

This is so minor league. And I mean that in every respect.

This is a clever way to generate revenue as the league expands with affiliates for the final NBA holdouts — i.e., the NBA teams most skeptical of the D-League’s value.

It’s also extremely tacky.