Dan Feldman

CLEVELAND, OH - JUNE 16:  Head coach David Blatt of the Cleveland Cavaliers speaks to the media after their loss to the Golden State Warriors in Game Six of the 2015 NBA Finals at Quicken Loans Arena on June 16, 2015 in Cleveland, Ohio. 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 Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)
Jason Miller/Getty Images

David Blatt expected to interview with Rockets, still in Knicks mix


Are the Knicks actually interested in David Blatt?

Though Kurt Rambis remains the apparent frontrunner, Phil Jackson seems to keep pushing the idea that there’s another candidate.

Marc Berman of the New York Post:

David Blatt “still is in the mix” for the Knicks head job, according to an NBA source.

Blatt is expected to be interviewed for the vacancies with the Rockets and Kings

The Kings’ interest was known, but the expected Houston interview is news. The Lakers and Nets were both reportedly interested in Blatt before they hired Luke Walton and Kenny Atkinson, respectively.

Blatt won 67% of his games and reached the NBA Finals in his only full season. Yes, he had LeBron James, Kyrie Irving, Kevin Love and an expensive supporting cast, but that’s still impressive. Blatt has replaced Mark Jackson as the preeminent “I’m not sure he’s actually a good coach, but his record was so darn good that I have to take a look” coaching candidate. That’s clearly getting him interviews, but will it get him a job offer?

Magic Johnson says Lakers should pursue LeBron James, Kevin Durant and DeMar DeRozan, probably tampers


Magic Johnson is terrible on Twitter.

His tweets are simplistic nonsense. He obviously knows a lot about basketball, but instead of sharing that expertise, he sounds like a cross between a lowest-common-denominator fan and low-rent news service.

He spouts ideas like the Lakers trying to sign DeMar DeRozan, Kevin Durant or LeBron James:

Which OK, whatever. Usually, I’d roll my eyes and move on. Thanks for the brilliant insight, Magic.

But these specific tweets are little different.

DeRozan (Raptors), Durant (Thunder) and LeBron (Cavaliers) are still under contract with other NBA teams, and they will be until July 1. Johnson is a Lakers Vice President.

That’s clearly tampering.

Per the Collective Bargaining Agreement, an employee of an NBA team can’t permissibly “induce, persuade, or attempt to entice, induce or persuade, any Player who is under contract to, or whose exclusive negotiating rights are held by, any other Member of the Association to enter into negotiations for or relating to his services or negotiate or contract for such services.”

Johnson often doesn’t sound like a Lakers executive, and the role is probably ceremonial. But Drake got the Raptors fined for recruiting Durant. Drake obviously isn’t integral to Toronto’s basketball operations. But he holds a title – Global Brand Ambassador – with the team. Why wouldn’t the same rule apply to Johnson?

The simple answer is because the NBA’s tampering rules are vague and arbitrarily enforced. As long as that remains the case, this could end in a number of ways – nothing the most likely, a small fine a close second.

Report: Dirk Nowitzki to opt out of Mavericks contract

Dallas Mavericks forward Dirk Nowitzki (41) celebrates scoring a 3-point basket during the second half of an NBA basketball game against the Portland Trail Blazers, Sunday March 20, 2016, in Dallas. (AP Photo/Brandon Wade)
AP Photo/Brandon Wade

Dirk Nowitzki has said and re-said and re-said he’d opt into the final year of his contract.

But maybe not?

Dwain Price of the Star-Telegram:

Nowitzki plans to opt out of the last year of his current contract

I’d be absolutely shocked if this about leaving the Mavericks. If Nowitzki is opting out, it’s probably to re-sign on more favorable terms.

But what’s more favorable to Nowitzki? A higher salary? Additional years? A lower salary that would allow Dallas to acquire more support around him? After all, he already took a big pay cut for that reason on this contract.

Nowitzki’s salary if he opts in would be $8,692,184. If he opts out, he’d count $12,500,001 against the cap until signed or renounced. If he’s renounced, the Mavericks couldn’t use Bird Rights to exceed the cap to sign him. So, Nowitzki opting out would increase Dallas’ cap room only if he’s willing to take a lower salary. There’s no way to work the cap for additional room and give Nowitzki his original salary.

If Nowitzki wants a big raise, he could command one. The salary cap is skyrocketing, and his salary is low even by old-cap standards. The 37-year-old is still Dallas’ best player.

That’s also an age where many players sacrifice to win a title, and Nowitzki has shown a willingness to do so. Accepting a lower salary could help the Mavericks sign another player. If Dallas strikes out in free agency, Nowitzki could always re-sign for more than the minimum he was willing to accept.

Opting out would give Nowitzki options, but we’re left with a big question: What are his priorities?

Kristaps Porzingis won’t play for Latvia in Olympic Qualifying Tournament

NEW YORK, NY - MARCH 26:  (NEW YORK DAILIES OUT)    Kristaps Porzingis #6 of the New York Knicks in action against the Cleveland Cavaliers at Madison Square Garden on March 26, 2016 in New York City. The Cavaliers defeated the Knicks 107-93.  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 Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
Jim McIsaac/Getty Images
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The Knicks got their wish with Kristaps Porzingis.

Andrejs Silins of Sportacentrs.com:

Latvia is set to compete in an Olympic Qualifying Tournament, but reaching Rio will be much more difficult now. I’m not sure Porzingis would’ve put Latvia over the top, but he at least would have made the team more competitive.

Now, he’s more likely to provide that for the Knicks next season. They wanted him training under their watch, and hopefully they provide instruction that maximizes his ability to produce in the NBA. The sky is the limit for Porzingis, and a little more strength and polish would make him only better.

Report: Chandler Parsons to opt out of Mavericks contract

DALLAS, TX - MARCH 03:  Chandler Parsons #25 of the Dallas Mavericks takes a shot against Omri Casspi #18 of the Sacramento Kings during the second half at American Airlines Center on March 3, 2016 in Dallas, Texas.  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 Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

Chandler Parsons has a player option on what was nearly a max contract when he signed it in 2014. He’s coming off his worst season since his rookie year. And he missed the end of the season with troubling knee issues.

Would he really opt out?

Welcome to 2016 NBA free agency.

Eddie Sefko of The Dallas Morning News:

Chandler Parsons already has said he will exercise his option to become a free agent this summer.

Parsons’ player option is worth $16,023,000. His max salary in free agency will be more than $20 million.

With the salary cap skyrocketing to about $92 million and so many players locked into low old-money contracts, this summer will be a spending bonanza. So many teams will have cap room, Parsons will almost certainly get a raise. In fact, he’ll probably get a max contract. His knee presents a risks, but at age 27, Parsons will probably convince a team shut out of better free agents to take a risk. His window for being healthy and productive is still open, and he started playing well before getting hurt.

The Mavericks could keep Parsons, though him opting out provides flexibility to explore the market. Justin Anderson‘s ability to handle an increased role as the season progressed also provides cover for letting Parsons walk.

Dallas projects to have about $24 million in cap space (counting cap holds for Chandler Parsons, Deron Williams and Dwight Powell). In other words, the Mavericks could spend that $24 million then exceed the cap to re-sign Williams, Parsons and/or Powell. Renouncing Parsons ($19,969,950 cap hold), Williams ($6,454,769 cap hold) and/or Powell ($1,180,431 cap hold) could give Dallas even more space to chase stars.

Expect the Mavericks to keep one foot in pitching Parsons to return, the other in looking for upgrades. Even if Dallas doesn’t work out, Parsons should have options elsewhere – unless his knee causes major concern in physicals. That’s the risk here, but you hope he got proper medical evaluations before making this decision.