Kurt Helin

Dario Saric

76ers sign prospect Dario Saric two years after draft-night trade

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PHILADELPHIA (AP) — The Philadelphia 76ers have signed international prospect Dario Saric two years after they acquired his rights on a draft-night deal.

Saric was originally drafted by the Orlando Magic with the 12th overall pick of the 2014 NBA draft and he was quickly traded to the Sixers for Elfrid Payton.

“We are thrilled to finally announce the highly anticipated signing of Dario Saric to an NBA player contract with the Philadelphia 76ers,” said Sixers President of Basketball Operations Bryan Colangelo in a statement. “Our basketball team stands to benefit from both the on-court development and physical maturation of Dario as a professional player in Croatia and Turkey over the last few years.”

The 22-year-old Saric, a 6-foot-10, 243-pound power forward, played the last two seasons with the Turkish team Anadolu Efes. He was named MVP of the 2016 FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament after averaging 14 points, 10 rebounds and two assists for his native Croatia.

Saric and fellow 2014 draft pick Joel Embiid have yet to play for the Sixers. Embiid should make his debut after missing the last two seasons with foot injuries.

Saric and Embiid join a roster that includes fellow lottery picks Nerlens Noel, Jahlil Okafor and this year’s No. 1 overall pick, Ben Simmons.

Cavaliers’ coach Tyronn Lue defends Kevin Durant’s move to Warriors

CLEVELAND, OH - JUNE 10:  Head coach Tyronn Lue of the Cleveland Cavaliers talks to his team during a break in the action against the Golden State Warriors in Game 4 of the 2016 NBA Finals at Quicken Loans Arena on June 10, 2016 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 the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)
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Deep down, Tyronn Lue has to be a little frustrated with Kevin Durant.

Lue just led the Cavaliers to an NBA title, his team beat the Golden State Warriors in seven games (twice on the road) and gained confidence that could carry over into next season. Then Durant goes and makes the Warriors much better. Lue’s life got harder. The Cavs aren’t in a position to make big roster moves to counter KD, they need to do it with internal improvement.

But when asked about it by Jason Lloyd of the Akron Beacon Journal, Lue put on his former player hat and backed Durant’s right to choose.

“People get mad about what he did, but to me, I’ve been a player and I’ve been a coach. When you’re free, that means you’re free. You can do what you want to do. He opted to go to Golden State. That’s his choice,” Lue said. “But they don’t say anything or get mad when guys get cut or they trade guys. Nothing is said about that. But as soon as a guy picks a team he wants to go to, it’s a big deal. I don’t understand it. I like KD. I support him in whatever he wants to do.”

Lue makes a point a lot of players make — guys have no control over where they get drafted, over trades, and players lower down on the food chain from Durant get cut and waived all season long. The one time players get control over their working environments is free agency, and they want to take advantage of it. Just like the rest of us would with our jobs.

Adam Silver may not like what it does to competitive balance. Fans may turn on the Warriors and see them as villains. But Durant had the hammer and made the choice he felt was best for him and most likely to get him rings — you can’t judge a player by how many rings he gets then question him making a move to improve his chances of getting one.

Guys who played — like Lue — get that.

 

Steve Ballmer says not to expect NBA return to Seattle for a couple of years, at least

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Seattle still has great basketball fans. Just ask Nate Robinson, Jamal Crawford, and the other players who have come out of that area — the city loves hoops.

And it wants an NBA team again.

But that’s not going to happen for a few years, at least, according to Clippers owner Steve Ballmer, the former Microsoft CEO who lived a large part of his life in Seattle (and was part of the group trying to buy the Kings and move them up there a few years back). Ballmer is in Seattle for the Geek Wire Sports Technology Summit and was asked by Geoff Baker of the Seattle Times if an NBA team could be on its way to Seattle soon (hat tip Dan Devine at Ball Don’t Lie):

“It’s just not likely to happen,” Ballmer told those attending the conference. “There has been no discussion about expansion since I have been involved with the league. So, I don’t think that will happen. The league has really moved to favor teams staying in their current markets. You’d have to find a team that’s at the end of their (arena) lease, where it looks hard to build an arena and where they’ve tried really hard to build an arena.

“And you’d have to show that an arena can get built in Seattle,” he added. “Because unlike most other cities that build an arena before they have a team, I don’t think an arena is going to get built here before a team comes here unless it gets done in the context of hockey.”

A couple of years may be optimistic, Ballmer was likely just being nice. Even with the explosive growth in television revenue, there seems to be no appetite among the owners to divide that revenue pie up into thinner slices. Balmer is far from the only one to say this, and NBA Commissioner Adam Silver has echoed the point recently as well. Expansion remains off the table for now.

Seattle’s best hope for a while may have been the Milwaukee Bucks, but after threats of leaving the state government caved and pitched in $250 million, making the deal possible. The Bucks broke ground on their new arena downtown last month. Nothing imminent is on the horizon with teams that are likely to consider a move.

Sorry Seattle.

And don’t ask about Ballmer’s Clippers.

“The Clippers are not going anywhere — ever,” he said. “I will die owning the L.A. Clippers.”

Andre Drummond on free throws: “We’ve found something that works”

HOUSTON, TX - MARCH 6: Andre Drummond #0 of the Detroit Pistons attempts a free throw against the Houston Rockets on March 6, 2015 at the Toyota Center in Houston, 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. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2015 NBAE (Photo by Bill Baptist/NBAE via Getty Images)
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Friday, Andre Drummond officially became a very rich man signing a five-year, $127 million max contract with the team.

Then at his press conference, the topic of free throws came up. Again. Drummond shot a career-low 35.5 percent on free throws.

That led to 88 times he was hacked last season, according to the numbers kept by the brilliant Kevin Pelton of ESPN. That is 88 times — 80 in the regular season, eight in the playoffs — he was intentionally fouled off the ball to force free throws; that number does not include times he was fouled shooting or in the run of normal play.

At one point in a January game, the Rockets hacked him six straight times to force a dozen consecutive free throws. While the NBA tried to put a band-aid on the issue, the reality is from the Pistons perspective he just needs to knock the free shots down. Not all, just get to 55-60 percent and the hacks go away.

Drummond and coach Stan Van Gundy sounded optimistic about his shot, via Rod Beard of the Detroit News.

I’m going to assume Drummond didn’t go Chinanu Onuaku and start shooting underhand, but maybe he’s found something that works for him. I’m going to sound like a Missourian on this one — show me. I need to see it to buy it.

Just know that he does work on it. During the off-season and in-season. This isn’t a matter of “he should just practice,” that’s a mindless complaint. For the record, DeAndre Jordan puts in the work, too – at every practice, before every game as part of his warmup routine at the arena, Jordan and a Clipper coach work on shots from the stripe. Jordan tries to get into a rhythm (and he hits a better percentage pregame, just based on my eyes). I know Drummond does the same.

We’ll see if Drummond has figured something out.

Report: Warriors asking $15 million minimum per year for ad on NBA jersey

OAKLAND, CA - JULY 07:  Kevin Durant #35 of the Golden State Warriors poses with his new jersey 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)
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If the Philadephia reportedly got $5 million per year for ticket broker StubHub to put their logo on Sixers jerseys, how much could the rating darlings Golden State Warriors get?

How about $15 million to $20 million a season?

That’s the current asking price, according to Darren Rovell of ESPN.

The Golden State Warriors are asking for $15 million to $20 million per year for the rights for a company to put its logo on their jersey starting in the 2017-18 season, sources told ESPN.

It is believed that the Warriors, who won the NBA title in 2015 but lost in the Finals to the Cleveland Cavaliers in seven games this year, are asking for more money than any other team.

If you want to complain in the comments about ads on jerseys, go for it. Just know your argument is moot — they are coming. And will stay because there’s not going to be a fan backlash over a small patch on the shoulder. Did you even notice the KIA ones on the All-Star Game jerseys?

The Warriors should get what the market will pay (much like players getting what they can on contracts). Golden State is in the seventh largest media market in the NBA, they have had fantastic ratings and streaming numbers locally, they have two massive stars in Stephen Curry and Kevin Durant, they will certainly be on national television the maximum number of times, they will go deep into the playoffs, and as Mark Cuban said love them or hate them people will watch them.

The Warriors, along with tradition big market teams with huge fanbases (Lakers/Knicks), can get more than anyone else. The Sixers have struggled on the court, but they are the fifth largest market. Teams such as New Orleans, Memphis, and Oklahoma City are going to struggle to get much ad jersey revenue unless their team is dynamic and good.