Dan Feldman

DALLAS, TX - JUNE 12:  Dallas Mavericks fans celebrate at American Airlines Center after the Dallas Mavericks defeated the Miami Heat in the NBA Finals on June 12, 2011 in Dallas, Texas.  (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)
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Is Mavericks’ class for women sexist?


A majority of of NBA fans are men. So targeting women just seems like smart business.

But how the Mavericks are doing it is questionable – and I mean that in the true sense of the word, not hinting at wrongdoing.



NBA 101 for women is an annual event hosted by Mavs players, coaches and staff. It’s an opportunity for women to learn and understand the fundamentals of basketball in a fun, light and interactive atmosphere.

This women-only event, held at American Airlines Center practice court and locker room, provides basic instruction on topics including offensive and defensive sets, coaching strategy, as well as a Q&A session with a player and behind the scenes information about workouts and life on the road.

Get the inside scoop on the Mavs, learn about the game of basketball, and meet some of the Mavs coaches, staff, and players.

Kelly Dwyer of Yahoo Sports aggregated and amplified the criticism of this event and how the Mavericks promoted it.

I don’t see major problems

Is “Hey girl, hey” a little patronizing? Maybe, but I think that’s more a problem of trying too hard to be trendy rather than being degrading.

Was there a good reason to include pink rather than team and neutral colors on the event’s webpage? Probably not, but I’m not going to make a mountain of that molehill.

Sports teams outreach to women has far too often been wildly inappropriate. I think some have just come to expect sports teams to cross the line, so they looked for reasons to take offense in the Mavericks’ class.

The Mavericks didn’t say women are the only group that needs basketball lessons. Of course, plenty of men would become better fans by taking this course. But for some women, it can be more inviting to learn the sport in a women-only environment. This is directed to them – not all women.

That seems fine to me.

Report: Cavaliers likely signing Cory Jefferson

PHOENIX, AZ - JANUARY 21:  Cory Jefferson #55 of the Phoenix Suns during the NBA game against the San Antonio Spurs at Talking Stick Resort Arena on January 21, 2016 in Phoenix, Arizona.  The Spurs defeated the Suns 117-89.  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 Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
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The Cavaliers offer a dream scenario for fringe NBA players.

Not only is Cleveland the defending champion and still capable of a long playoff run that boosts perception of everyone in the organization, no team has more clear regular-season roster vacancies.*

The Cavs have just 12 players – three fewer than the regular-season roster limit – with guaranteed salaries. J.R. Smith is expected to raise that to 13, but Mo Williams‘ potential retirement could drop it back down.

*The Wizards also have just 12 players with guaranteed salaries.

Jordan McRae and DeAndre Liggins are already signed to deals that aren’t fully guaranteed. Now, it seems power forward Cory Jefferson will also compete for the final two or three roster spots in Cleveland.

Joe Vardon of Cleveland.com:

former Baylor power forward Cory Jefferson will likely attend training camp as a non-guaranteed invitee, a source said.

After being picked No. 60 in 2014, Jefferson played for the Nets in 2014-15 and the Suns last year. Phoenix waived him before guaranteeing his contract, and he went to the D-League – which signals the Cavaliers’ intentions.

Because Jefferson’s D-League rights are already held by the Bakersfield Jam, the Cavs can’t take advantage of a rule that allows them assign the D-League rights of certain players waived in the preseason to their affiliate. Jefferson will be in camp to earn a roster in Cleveland, not Canton.

In addition to clarifying his standing here, Jefferson used his time in the D-League to refine his offense. An improved jumper gives him a chance of sticking as a stretch four.

Blake Griffin: ‘I didn’t deserve a summer break’

NORMAN, OK - MARCH 1: Blake Griffin of the  Los Angeles Clippers sits next to David Boren, President of Oklahoma, watching game action against Baylor during the first half of a NCAA college basketball game at the Lloyd Noble Center on March 1, 2016 in Norman, Oklahoma. Griffin is being honored by Oklahoma during half time ceremonies. (Photo by J Pat Carter/Getty Images)
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Blake Griffin is still trying to make amends after punching a Clippers equipment staffer, breaking his own hand and sideling himself for months. It didn’t help that the Clippers had a better record without him than with him (even if level of competition and sample size affected that).

He expressed remorse, risked aggravating a quad injury to play in the playoffs (and paid the price), used his comedy to improve his likability and saw his camp leak that he plans to re-sign with the Clippers next summer.

Now, he’s touting his work ethic.

Griffin on The Vertical Podcast with J.J. Redick, as transcribed by Rowan Kavner of Clippers.com:

“I took a week off after I had surgery and then started rehab a week after that, and I’ve been going all the way through,” Griffin said. “I actually just got back from vacation, so I took a week off there, so basically two weeks (off) this whole summer. I kind of had in my mind, I’m just going to go all the way through. In my mind, I didn’t deserve a summer break.”

“My parents, I’ve always said, are two of the hardest working people I know,” Griffin said on the podcast. “My dad, I used to watch him get up at 7 a.m. and he taught and coached in high school, which is kind of a thankless job. So he’d be gone all day teaching, coaching, then come home and he had a second job.

“My parents had a small trophy company we ran out of the back of our house, so I’d watch him come home 8 o’clock at night, eat dinner really quick and then work until 2 o’clock in the morning every single day most of my childhood, just to provide for my brother and I and our family. My mom was the same way, tireless work ethic; my brother was the exact same way. When he started getting recruited, I watched him get serious about basketball. He’d go to the gym and spend four hours in there, and I just thought that’s what I was supposed to do.”

Griffin screwed up. He battered a friend and team employee and let his teammates down. They certainly noticed that they were competing every night while he sat on the sideline.

Griffin’s image took a justifiable hit last season, even if the Clippers’ early success without him allowed some people to wrongly downgrade his playing ability. It appears he’s doing everything he can to change the perception of him, and that’s great.

The proof will be in sustaining it.

Cavaliers haven’t heard from Mo Williams on potential retirement, considered waiving him before stretch deadline

CLEVELAND, OH -  JUNE 22: Mo Williams #52 of the Cleveland Cavaliers celebrates with fans during the Cleveland Cavaliers 2016 championship victory parade and rally on June 22, 2016 in Cleveland, Ohio. (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)
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Mo Williams is reportedly considering retirement.

Joe Vardon of Cleveland.com:

The front office has heard the same thing, on numerous occasions, just not from the player.

The Cavs weighed waiving Williams now — influenced by the appearance that he doesn’t seem to intend on playing — and having his salary spread out over three years

The Cavaliers’ bind: Williams opted into the final year of his contract at $2,194,500. He probably wants as much money as possible. They’d obviously prefer not to pay him, especially since the luxury tax multiplies their cost.

One option was waiving and stretching Williams, so his salary would count only a third this year (and a third each of the next two years), but the stretch deadline was yesterday. That drew consideration because of the implicit threat Williams would forge through the season at less than full ability and collect all his money.

That’s probably why Williams hasn’t talked to the Cavs directly. To get any of his salary, he needs them to believe he might play.

But if he doesn’t report, Cleveland doesn’t have to pay him. The team could just wait that out.

Or this stalemate could open the door for a buyout. Williams gets some, but not all, his salary to walk away.

Now that the stretch deadline has passed, the Cavs are even more incentivized to wait for Williams’ next move.

51Q: How big a next step forward can the Detroit Pistons take?

AUBURN HILLS, MI - April 12: Andre Drummond #0 of the Detroit Pistons talks with head coach Stan Van Gundy while playing the Miami Heat at the Palace of Auburn Hills on April 12, 2016 in Auburn Hills, Michigan. 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 Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
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We continue PBT’s 2016-17 NBA preview series, 51 Questions. Between now and the start of the NBA season we will tackle 51 questions we cannot wait to see answered during the upcoming NBA season. We will delve into one almost every day between now and the start of the season (we’re taking some weekends off).

How to rebuild without trying in six simple steps: Lose, lose, lose, lose, lose, lose.

That was the dirty secret to Detroit’s breakthrough last season. Though the Pistons never set out to tank, they built a solid young core by drafting in the top 10 five of the previous six years. The only year Detroit didn’t pick in the top 10 was because it traded the No. 8 pick in a disastrous salary dump that led to signing Josh Smith – whom the Pistons expected to jumpstart their rise.

But it still happened eventually. Lose enough in the NBA, and it’s hard to remain bad – especially when you draft well (which Joe Dumars did in this era) and trade well (which Stan Van Gundy has done). In the last six years, the Pistons have drafted:

Suddenly, Detroit had a bright future. Its first playoff appearance in seven years, even if it ended in a first-round sweep to the Cavaliers, was exceedingly welcomed.

What now?

The Pistons should be done with top-10 picks for a while, so they can no longer back their way up the standings. They’ll have to earn the rest of their ascension.

That starts with internal growth. Not only were the Pistons’ the youngest team in last year’s playoffs (weighted by minutes played), they were the seventh-youngest all-time:


Drummond (23), Caldwell-Pope (23), Harris (24), Jackson (26) and Johnson (20) will continue developing, and that alone will make Detroit better.

But Van Gundy didn’t stop there.

The Pistons signed Ish Smith and Jon Leuer to relatively hefty contracts, hoping to address holes in the bench.

After trading Jennings at mid-season, Detroit was left with Steve Blake as backup point guard. The 36-year-old was a liability on both ends of the floor. For $18 million over three years, Smith provides an upgrade.

The Pistons had a couple burlier centers in Drummond and Aron Baynes. Marcus Morris, Tobias Harris and the since-departed Anthony Tolliver could play stretch four against other combo forwards. But against a legitimately sized power forward with 3-point range, Detroit was in trouble. Enter Leuer, who at 6-foot-10, will play both big-man positions and receive $41 million over the next four years.

The Pistons built their young core. They signed veteran reinforcements. They even added Henry Ellenson and Boban Marjanovic with an eye toward the future.

But they’re unlikely to draft high again anytime soon. They’re capped out and will be limited in free agency.

Forming this team came at a cost.

Detroit should take a step forward – but far enough to justify the years of losing and pricey backups? Van Gundy is just trying to win as much as he can, but that question looms over the Pistons’ accomplishments.