Dan Feldman

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Report: NBA again pursuing lottery reform

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When draft-lottery reform was defeated in 2015, NBA commissioner Adam Silver said the issue was on hold for a couple years.

Well, it’s been a couple years.

The cap has surged higher under new national TV contracts, and a new Collective Bargaining Agreement is in effect. With the league relatively stable, it’s time to revisit the issue.

Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN:

The National Basketball Association is aggressively pursuing draft lottery reform that could be voted into legislation before the start of the 2017-’18 season, league sources told ESPN.

Commissioner Adam Silver is a strong advocate to de-incentivize tanking by implementing lower odds on the NBA’s worst teams to gain the top picks in the draft, league sources said.

If passed, the lottery reform would be phased into use over time, and there’s no indication that the 2018 NBA Draft would fall under new legislation, league sources said.

Wojnarowski added on ESPN that one of the proposals is that no team can have a top three pick in consecutive drafts. The Celtics have had top three picks in the last two drafts, the Lakers the last three, and the Sixers the past four.

This won’t eliminate tanking, but it could curb the most extreme forms. Currently, the team with the worst record has a 25% chance of picking No. 1, 47% chance of picking top two, 64% chance of picking top three and a 100% of picking top four. If those odds were lower, teams would presumably be less eager to chase last place.

However, by consequence, better lottery teams would be more likely to land a high pick. That could invite some unintended consequences:

Will fans of awful teams lose hope and become less likely to spend money on the NBA? Might teams tank into the lottery rather pursue a playoff berth likely to end with a quick exit? What else could happen that’s not predicted today?

A majority of NBA owners, 17 of 30, voted in 2015 to smooth the lottery odds. But the proposal fell short of the 23 votes necessary to change the system. At one point it looked like lottery reform would pass, but there was a push back by smaller and middle market teams that thought this could hurt their chances to rebuild down the line. Has that sentiment changed?

It’s so unclear what’s in each team’s self interest, especially because the reform could take effect at any time. Not only does every team have at least most of its own first-round picks, six – the Cavaliers (with that 2018 Nets pick acquired from Boston in the Kyrie Irving trade), Celtics, 76ers, Hawks and Suns – own another team’s pick that could land in the lottery.

Silver wants reform, and I think the owners will get behind him to pass something. But it’s far from certain.

Tracy McGrady’s highlight reel is so, so fun (video)

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Tracy McGrady is heading to the Basketball Hall of Fame.

Is his career Hall-worthy? It’s debatable.

Are his highlights Hall-worthy? No question.

Report: Grizzlies discussed paying JaMychal Green $8 million-$9 million

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The Grizzlies reportedly offered JaMychal Green significantly more than his $2,820,497 qualifying offer earlier in the summer, and now they’re progressing toward a two-year deal.

Steve Kyler of Basketball Insiders:

the Grizzlies were rumored to be talking about a deal in the $8-9 million range.

I wonder whether that’s still the range being discussed. Memphis has a lot of leverage on Green, a restricted big – a double whammy for free agents this year. That salary for Green might be about “fair,” but with so much of the market dried up, the Grizzlies might have lowered their offer.

Green has earned just the minimum in his two-plus NBA seasons. This is finally his opportunity to bank life-changing money, and even if it’s not as much as he hoped, it’ll probably still far exceed the qualifying offer.

Isaiah Thomas to miss start of season, but Cavaliers otherwise secretive/uncertain

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Isaiah Thomas was better than Kyrie Irving last regular season.

If Thomas maintains that advantage next postseason, the Cavaliers – whose championship window is open with LeBron James – will be massive winners in their trade with the Celtics. But that’s uncertain given Thomas being three years older, six inches shorter and far more injured than Irving.

The age and size difference are known quantities. The status of Thomas’ hip is not.

So, that became the obvious discussion point at Cleveland’s press conference to introduce Thomas, Jae Crowder and Ante Zizic.

Isaiah, how is your hip? Isaiah, what’s your timetable? Isaiah, what can you do right now? Isiah, when did you know you tore your labrum?

“I don’t want this to be the Isaiah Thomas hip press conference,” Cavs general manager Koby Altman interjected. “So, I’m just going to – with all due respect – shut down the hip questions. If we’re going to talk about Isaiah, let’s talk about Isaiah the All-Star.”

But will the Cavaliers ever get Isaiah the All-Star? If so, when?

“Isaiah’s not going to be starting the season,” Cleveland coach Tyronn Lue let slip when asked to compare Thomas to Irving.

It was tough watching Altman battle Thomas-hip questions, which barely relented despite the general manager’s decree, when Cleveland extracted an extra second-rounder from Boston due to Thomas’ physical and Thomas himself declared he wouldn’t lose a step. The Cavs can’t simply dismiss this as an issue not worthy of discussing.

Altman said surgery wasn’t in the cards – “Y’all hear that?” Thomas added. “Everybody want to be doctors now” – and that the the Cavaliers wouldn’t rush anything. But Altman wouldn’t even disclose whether a private timeline exists, going only as far as saying the goal is for Thomas to return “at some point this year.”

It’s a big season for everyone involved, with free agency for Thomas and LeBron looming. Hopefully, the Cavs have a firmer grasp on the situation than they revealed today.

Pau Gasol passes Tony Parker as leading scorer in Eurobasket history (video)

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Tony Parker‘s reign as Eurobasket’s all-time leading scorer is over.

His Spurs teammate, Pau Gasol, has taken the title.

Gasol reached 1,111 points in Spain’s win over Hungary today:

Gasol has had a great career, both in Europe and the NBA.

If only San Antonio could count on the 37-year-old to maintain his production over the next three years.