Dan Feldman

BOSTON - JUNE 08:  (L-R) New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady and former NBA player Joe Bryant sit courtside as the Los Angeles Lakers play against the Boston Celtics in Game Three of the 2010 NBA Finals on June 8, 2010 at TD Garden in Boston, Massachusetts. Bryant is the father of Lakers star Kobe Bryant. 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 Elsa/Getty Images)
Elsa/Getty Images

Kevin Durant says he nearly committed to Celtics because of Tom Brady

16 Comments

Celtics co-owner Wyc Grousbeck said Boston, not the Thunder, were runner-up to the Warriors for Kevin Durant.

Maybe Grousbeck wasn’t just blowing hot air.

The Celtics brought Tom Brady to their meeting, and the New England Patriots quarterback apparently made a big impression.

Durant, via Steve Bulpett of the Boston Herald:

“I was ready to just say, ‘All right. Let’s go. I’m ready to go,’ seeing Tom Brady there,” Durant said. “Just seeing someone so successful at his craft and just a great ambassador for the game of football and the city of Boston, it was just great to be in the presence of greatness.

“But at the same time, I knew I couldn’t let that distract me. But he was great. It was great to see him.”

If you’re a Thunder fan, here’s the narrative: See, this proves Durant is impulsive.

If you’re not a Thunder fan, here’s the narrative: This proves Durant made a rational decision after months of considering Golden State, because he didn’t overreact to the Brady show.

Or maybe Durant was just harmlessly complimenting another superstar.

Report: Marc Gasol not playing for Spain in Olympics

2014 FIBA Basketball World Cup - Iran vs Spain
Raul Perez/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images
2 Comments

Spain coach Sergio Scariolo wanted Marc Gasol to play in the Rio Olympics.

You can’t always get what you want.

E. Carchia of Sportando:

Marc Gasol will not play in Rio for Spanish National Team.

The news was reported by ABC.

Gasol, who broke his foot in February, was always a long shot to play in Rio. This just confirms the widely held assumption.

Spain should be alright with big men Pau Gasol, Nikola Mirotic and Willy Hernangomez. But it just got that much harder for anyone to take down Team USA.

Warriors president: Kevin Durant hasn’t committed to re-signing in 2017

OAKLAND, CA - JULY 07: Kevin Durant speaks to the media during the press conference where he was introduced as a member of the Golden State Warriors after they signed him as a free agent on July 7, 2016 in Oakland, California. (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)
Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images
13 Comments

The Warriors landed the biggest catch in free agency since the Heat signed LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh in 2010.

Next year, Golden State will have to do it all over again.

Kevin Durant signed a two-year contract with a player option with the Warriors. Barring an unlikely setback, he’ll opt out to become an unrestricted free agent next summer.

Then what?

Warriors president Rick Welts on CBS Radio: (hat tip: Dan Devine of Yahoo Sports):

There’s no commitment from Kevin. He signed a one-year contract with a player option. So, I think the hope and expectation is there’s a business reason for doing that more than there is a basketball reason for doing that. And we’ve got to be a place that is as good as he thought it was when he selected the Warriors over the other options that he had.

Durant has nine years of NBA experience. Next summer, he’ll have 10 and qualify for the highest tier of max salary. Combined with the salary cap making another sizable jump, Durant stands to earn about $5 million more in 2017-18 by going this route.

He might even sign another 1+1 deal, because the Warriors could offer jut 4.5% raises. It might make more sense to lock in long-term once they can use his Early Bird rights to offer 7.5% raises.

And I think he will lock in long-term. He expressed his intent to re-sign, and I believe it’s sincere. Golden State will obviously want him back, especially because the team should have enough cap space to re-sign him and Stephen Curry. (The exact cap line could determine whether Andre Iguodala also returns.)

Why not just say that? Agreements on future contracts are strictly forbidden by the Collective Bargaining Agreement. They commonly happen, but a team executive isn’t going to confirm one publicly.

So, the Warriors must keep up this charade that Durant’s next deal isn’t already agreed to. The system demands it.

That said, a year is a long time. The system also opens possibilities for the best-laid plans to go awry in the next 12 months.

Report: Pacers agree to one-year, $2.5 million contract with Aaron Brooks

CHICAGO, IL - MARCH 18:  Aaron Brooks #0 of the Chicago Bulls collides with Roy Hibbert #55 of the Indiana Pacers at the United Center on March 18, 2015 in Chicago, Illinois. The Bulls defeated the Pacers 103-86. 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 Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images
1 Comment

The Pacers want to run a more dynamic up-tempo offense, and that meant changing point guards.

They traded for their starter in Jeff Teague, and now they’ve signed a backup in Aaron Brooks.

Shams Charania of Yahoo Sports:

This would fit into the $2,898,000 room exception. So, the Pacers will probably wait to make the deal official, using the rest of their cap space first. Renegotiating and extending Teague’s contract appears to be a priority.

In a thin field of free agent point guards, it was hard to do much better than Brooks at this point. But that doesn’t make him a safe choice. At age 31, the undersized quick point guard has already begun to show signs of decline. His penetrating skills have slipped, and he was never a good defender.

At least it’s just a one-year deal, so Indiana isn’t stuck. And if Brooks doesn’t work out this season — when the Pacers are a trendy choice to secure home-court advantage in the first round — Monta Ellis and Rodney Stuckey can always work as primary ball-handlers.

Report: LeBron James tells Cavaliers he’ll re-sign

CLEVELAND, OH -  JUNE 22: LeBron James #23 of the Cleveland Cavaliers celebrates during the Cleveland Cavaliers 2016 championship victory parade and rally on June 22, 2016 in Cleveland, Ohio. (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)
Jason Miller/Getty Images
9 Comments

LeBron James had been taking his time telling the Cavaliers he’d re-sign, though his agent rebuffing outside suitors sent a pretty clear message.

It has finally been sent directly to Cleveland.

Brian Windhorst of ESPN:

LeBron James has informed the Cleveland Cavaliers he will re-sign with the reigning NBA champions this summer but still has no timetable for negotiating or signing a deal, sources told ESPN.

Why wait? LeBron faces a decision: Make more this season on a two-year contract (not counting option years) that locks him into a 2017-18 salary or make less this season on a one-year deal and leave the door open for a bigger 2017-18 salary.

A lower-than-expected 2017-18 salary cap could push LeBron toward a two-year deal. Then again, the Collective Bargaining Agreement could be revised into a completely new system by then.

LeBron, a players union vice president, could have more information on the 2017 landscape later in the summer. He certainly won’t have less. So, he should take his time — just in case developments in CBA negotiations affect his decision.

Then, he can dictate his terms, because that’s how this will end: Rich Paul drawing up LeBron’s contract and the Cavs happily signing it no matter what it says.