Dan Feldman

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Magic waive Adreian Payne, who was implicated in Michigan State scandal


Michigan State allowed a culture in which Larry Nassar used his position as a doctor treating athletes to molest girls and young women for decades.

He might not have been the only one to take advantage of Michigan State’s athletic culture, and allegations are now reaching the NBA.

The Clippers placed minor-league assistant coach Travis Walton on administrative leave after an ESPN report detailed accusations of him hitting one woman and raping another. Those alleged incidents occurred in 2010 while Walton was an assistant coach at Michigan State, following his time playing for the Spartans.

The report also detailed rape allegations against Adreian Payne and Keith Appling while they played at Michigan State. The Magic waived Payne, on a two-way contract, shortly after the report. Appling, who previously played for Orlando, was already out of the league after being jailed for gun offenses.

Paula Lavigne and Nicole Noren of ESPN:

A FEW MONTHS later, on Monday, Aug. 30, 2010, a different MSU student — Carolyn Schaner — and a friend walked into the campus police department and told investigators about an incident that had occurred the night before.

Schaner had moved into Wonders Hall that weekend and attended an orientation meeting. Though she did not know who they were, she saw top basketball recruits Adreian Payne and Keith Appling during the orientation, but she did not speak to them. Later that evening, Schaner ran into them in the dorm’s lobby and talked with them before she accepted an invitation to go back to their room, where the three started playing miniature basketball. The two men began taking their clothes off with each missed basket, but Schaner told police she refused to take off any more than her T-shirt, under which she was wearing a sports bra. She told police the two men ended up cornering her and turning off the lights. She told police she felt trapped and fearful of refusing their advances.

Appling, she told police, removed her underwear, and then the two men pulled her to the ground and started penetrating her vaginally, anally and orally. She told police that she said to the men, “I don’t want it,” “stop” and “don’t.”

In a video interview obtained by Outside the Lines, Payne told detectives that Schaner had indicated she wanted to leave.

According to a police report, Payne told officers that he could “understand how she would feel that she was not free to leave.” Payne was concerned about her reaction to the circumstances and had even asked Appling to apologize to her, the report stated. Payne told officers that he had apologized to Schaner because “it seemed she felt that they ‘disrespected’ her.” ESPN does not typically identify people who report acts of sexual violence, but Schaner sought to publicly reveal her identity.

Appling did not talk to detectives at the time, but he granted a phone interview with Outside the Lines late last year while he was in jail near Detroit serving time for a weapons charge.

“It was consensual,” he says, adding that he never heard Schaner say “no” or “stop.” “Had that been the case, I would have completely granted her wishes. We’re not even those type of guys. We wouldn’t want anybody to feel uncomfortable around us.”

Schaner says campus police investigators told her that, because of Payne’s police interview, they had a solid case to pursue. Once the case was forwarded from police to Ingham County prosecutors, Schaner was interviewed by an assistant prosecutor, Debra Rousseau Martinez. Schaner says Martinez told her she did not seem strong enough to stand up to questioning that would come as a result of making allegations against MSU basketball players.

No charges were filed in the case. The assistant prosecutor, Martinez, now works for Michigan State’s Title IX office. She declined to comment on Schaner’s case.



Why is Orlando waiving him now? It was reported in 2010 two Michigan State basketball players were accused of sexual assault. In 2014, a federal investigation examined the incident. It was known enough in Michigan that Payne and Appling were the accused. Did the Magic not do enough diligence before signing Payne? Do they care about having accused rapists on their team, or do they care only about having heavily discussed accused rapists on their team? Should the distinction matter?

Payne wasn’t charged with, let alone convicted of, a crime. Should this accusation still prevent him from playing in the NBA? What jobs should he be allowed to hold?

Rape is obviously bad, and that notion is being treated as a given more than ever before – a positive development. But waiving Payne is a simple solution to a complex issue.

Rumor: Kevin Love was trying to embarrass Isaiah Thomas by handing short guard ball


Isaiah Thomas said there’s no bad blood between him and Kevin Love.

Does Love know that?

After Thomas reportedly led the charge against Love during a recent team meeting, Love rather demonstrably bent down to hand the ball to Thomas – who, at 5-foot-9, is the NBA’s shortest player – during the Cavaliers’ win over the Pacers on Friday.

Dave McMenamin of ESPN:

One team source suggested to ESPN that it was a clear sign of Love trying to embarrass Thomas after the point guard was one of the instigators in calling out Love on Monday for leaving Cleveland’s loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder early last weekend during an explosive team meeting.

Joe Vardon of Cleveland.com:

Love was not asked in his group session with the media about the play, but there was little doubt, based on several conversations after the game with Cavs players, that he meant what he did.

Spiraling dysfunction in Cleveland? Maybe.

But this also seems how friends might treat each other when annoyed with each other. Thomas didn’t like Love leaving the loss to Oklahoma City then missing practice the next day. Love didn’t like being called out for how he handled an illness. So, Love responded by trying to embarrass Thomas during a game. The back-and-forth could end here, both Thomas and Love satisfied they inflicted appropriate repercussions on the other. Deeper bonds prevent these issues from snowballing.

So does winning. The Cavaliers beat the Pacers on Friday then the Pistons on Sunday, Cleveland’s first win streak in more than a month. Keep that going, and Love and Thomas are more likely to leave any problems behind them.

Report: Avery Bradley ‘available’ in trade talks, but Pistons’ asking price ‘significant’

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The Pistons were backed into a corner last summer, staring down Kentavious Caldwell-Pope‘s free agency and contract demands that would have pushed Detroit into the luxury tax. So, the Pistons kicked the can to next summer.

Detroit traded for Avery Bradley, who’s earning just $8,808,989 this season but will surely seek a massive raise in unrestricted free agency come July. The Pistons have lost eight straight to fall three games out of playoff position, and Bradley has struggled this season.

Maybe it’s time to cut bait.

Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN:

The Detroit Pistons have made starting shooting guard Avery Bradley available in trade talks, league sources told ESPN.

So far, Detroit’s asking price for Bradley, who is scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent this summer, is significant, league sources said.

If the Pistons’ asking price is significant, just how “available” is Bradley? Available for the right offer, but so is pretty much everyone, especially players of Bradley’s caliber.

He jacks – and misses – too many long 2s, a rate high enough to undermine his effectiveness this season. He remains an excellent perimeter defender, but he doesn’t help on the defensive glass enough nor is he comfortable switching onto bigger players. And then there are those contract demands.

The Pistons should explore trading him. There’s a good chance he’d provide more value to another team, one more likely to reach the postseason. And Detroit will face dilemmas in trying to re-sign him without paying the luxury tax. This should be a discussion of whether the teams that could get more from Bradley – i.e., playoff games – and/or are better-positioned to use Bird Rights to re-sign him have the right assets to deal for him.

But Pistons president/coach Stan Van Gundy seems more inclined than most front-office leaders to value the present over the future, especially as his seat warms amid another losing season. He absolutely could trade Bradley for assets that would help more in future seasons, but it just seems Van Gundy would require a greater return than most to actually accept a deal. He can convince himself Reggie Jackson‘s return from injury will right the offense and his team hasn’t dug itself into too deep a hole.

Or Van Gundy could get an offer for Bradley worth accepting. Plenty of teams could use another shooting guard, especially one with a history of (relative) success against the Warriors. But the way Bradley has played this season, will anyone meet Detroit’s asking price?

Kevin Love says he won’t request trade from Cavaliers

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Playing with LeBron James isn’t for everyone.

Perhaps, no two players show this better than Kevin Love and Kyrie Irving.

Love and Irving never made the playoffs until joining forces with LeBron James. LeBron led Love, Irving and the Cavaliers to the last three NBA Finals, and they won the 2016 title. LeBron’s teammates get plenty of open shots, team success and big contracts.

But Love and Irving got the ball far less than they were used to. They were pulled into drama created by and just surrounding LeBron, who can be passive-aggressive, attention-hungry and egocentric.

Irving requested a trade and was dealt to the Celtics.

Love, even among increased disarray, is digging in in Cleveland.

Jason Lloyd of The Athletic:

In Love’s mind, regardless of how bad it looks right now, he absolutely believes this Cavaliers team can still win another championship in June – and there aren’t many teams that can realistically think that way. That’s why he hasn’t and won’t go to management or ownership and ask to be traded between now and the Feb. 8 deadline, Love told The Athletic.

Love doesn’t get enough credit for getting over his ego and helping the Cavaliers. He’s not as good as he was with the Timberwolves. He doesn’t match up well against the Warriors. But he does plenty to to help, and he takes a lot of grief in the process.

Though he was never going to publicly request a trade – not even Irving did that – Love didn’t have to specify that he wouldn’t. He could have simply said his future in Cleveland is up to management, not him, and left all options on the table. He went a step further. Nothing will stop him from changing his mind, but I doubt he would have said this publicly if he hadn’t already considered his options and made what he believes to be a final decision.

The Cavs could still trade Love. They don’t need his consent. But on a team with chemistry issues, Love’s dedication ought to count for something.

Rumor: Jason Kidd wanted to leave Bucks to coach Suns

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As Nets coach, Jason Kidd sought front-office control then, when that gambit failed, engineered his exit to the Bucks.

Did Kidd, whom the Bucks fired this week, try another wild ploy in Milwaukee?

Gery Woelfel of The Journal Times:

Coinciding with the erosion of his influence in the organization, several NBA sources told me Kidd wanted out of Milwaukee and was interested in the head coaching job with the Phoenix Suns.

Some speculated Kidd was paranoid that he was going to be fired. Some thought Kidd was using it as a ploy to leverage a new contract while some thought Kidd simply didn’t like Milwaukee, that the mid-sized Midwest city wasn’t a bright enough stage for him.

The Suns have an opening with Jay Triano serving as interim coach for the fired Earl Watson. Kidd also played in Phoenix.

But I can’t help but wonder whether people are just speculating, because – based on Kidd’s time in Brooklyn and other circumstantial evidence – this scenario sounds plausible. It might be more tantalizing than realistic, which wouldn’t interfere with the joy of gossiping about the possibility. People inside the NBA like juicy rumors, too.

The Suns can probably do better than Kidd. But was Kidd brash enough to believe they’d hire him if he got out of his current job? Hey, it worked once.