Kurt Helin

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Photo courtesy Philadelphia 76ers

Philadelphia 76ers announce jersey patch deal with StubHub

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Adam Silver and a vote of the owners has cleared the way, and by the 2017-18 season every team will have an advertisers patch on the left shoulder. Purists will howl because that is what they do, but there was a Kia patch on the NBA All-Star Game jerseys this past season and it was met with a collective yawn by the public.

The 76ers have announced a deal with secondary ticket market broker StubHub to sponsor their jerseys starting in the fall of 2017 (the season after next), the team has announced Monday. They are the first team to strike and announce a deal.

“This marks another groundbreaking first for the Philadelphia 76ers and StubHub. Our brands are now inextricably linked as we create lifelong memories for our fans in Philadelphia and around the world,” Sixers CEO Scott O’Neil said in a statement. “Our partnership with StubHub continues to generate progressive and forward-thinking platforms created to improve the fan experience and advance our industry.”

While there had been resistance from some owners, the NBA had been moving toward doing this for some time. Is it about making more money? Duh. Sorry to break it to you, but this is a business. It’s an entertainment business that counts on people being emotionally invested in the product, but it’s still a business. These NBA owners didn’t get to be billionaires by leaving a few million on the table.

While the finances of the deal were not publicly made official, ESPN’s Darren Rovell reports this is a three-year deal at $5 million per year. That’s more than most teams expected to be available (or at least that number was thought to be the max teams in L.A. or New York would get). This may bring in more revenue than expected.

The league approved a three-year trial of this program then the owners will revisit the issue (if you think the owners are going to give back a revenue stream after three years, I’d like to sell you a bridge).

The NBA is not going NASCAR with the number of patches, nor is it going European soccer (or WNBA) where the name across the front of the jersey gets replaced by corporate sponsorships. This is one small patch on the left shoulder. But go ahead and howl in the comments.

Celtics’ Kelly Olynyk may put off “inevitable” shoulder surgery to play for Canada

Boston Celtics' Kelly Olynyk, left, reacts after being called for an offensive foul against Atlanta Hawks' Mike Scott, right, during the second quarter in Game 1 of a first-round NBA basketball playoff series Saturday, April 16, 2016, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/David Goldman)
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Boston’s Kelly Olynyk is going to have shoulder surgery. He has admitted it’s inevitable The only question is when.

He could get it done now, but the Canadian sees an Olympic qualifying tournament coming up where he would play a vital role and Canada has a legitimate chance to advance out of the group (despite recent players bowing out, France is still the favorite). Because of that national commitment, Olynyk is considering postponing the surgery, he told A. Sherrod Blakely of CSNNE.com.

But Olynyk isn’t quite ready to commit to having it surgically repaired this summer, a summer in which the Canadian National team for which he is a key member, is still in the process of trying to qualify for the summer Olympics in Rio.

“If I rest it, I would definitely partake in the Olympic (qualifying tournament),” Olynyk told CSN at a fundraising event for Horizons for Homeless on Sunday. “That would be the reason to not get surgery at this point. If you rest it, it’ll get better but never solve the problem. That’s what we’re looking at….

“I’m still looking at it,” Olynyk said. “Probably make a decision sooner than later because the recovery is so long if you do get it. It’s hard to give up, Olympics, but when you do look at it, if you get hurt it’s even worse to give up the next season. It’s a tough decision.”

The recovery time on the surgery is five months, meaning even if Olynyk got the surgery today he would miss most of training camp and possibly the start of the season.

The “club vs. country” debate is not new to the Olympics or to international basketball competitions — Canadians are understandably excited about their national team and Olynyk doesn’t want to let them down. You can understand the tug of war he is having over this.

But when there is needed surgery on the line, the club should win out. Canada’s Olympic prospects are going to be better in four years, and Olynyk likely gets another crack at the games in Tokyo in four years. What he doesn’t want is a more involved surgery or a shoulder issue that becomes a lingering thing because he put it off.

Expect his decision in the coming days.

Derrick Rose, son P.J. throw out first pitch at Cubs game (VIDEO)

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The Chicago Cubs are the hottest team in baseball, and on Sunday they welcomed the Bulls’ Derrick Rose to throw out the first pitch.

But he turned the job over to his son P.J., which was much cuter.

Heat vs. Raptors Game 7 preview: Three things to watch

TORONTO, ON - MAY 11:  Kyle Lowry #7 of the Toronto Raptors drives to the basket as Dwyane Wade #3 and Josh Richardson #0 of the Miami Heat defend in the first half of Game Five of the Eastern Conference Semifinals during the 2016 NBA Playoffs at the Air Canada Centre on May 11, 2016 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.  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 Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images)
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Aesthetically, maybe this wasn’t the series everyone hoped would go seven games, but it has been close throughout. Here are three things to keep an eye on in Game 7.

1) Can Toronto counter the Heat’s small lineup? We know that home teams have won 80 percent of the Game 7s in NBA playoff history, which is a big leg up for Toronto. But if they are going to continue that trend the Raptors need to come up with an answer for the Heat’s small ball lineup that plagued them last game. Rookie Justise Winslow started at center, and Toronto’s Bismack Biyombo could not make him pay a price. What the Heat had with him — along with Luol Deng and Dwyane Wade — were active defenders flying in to block shots and protect the rim as a unit. It worked well enough, and on offense having five wings — with Winslow slipping picks — had the Raptors scrambling in Game 6. The line is simple, the tw0 key lineups with Winslow at center were +7 in 21 minutes. Do that again — and get another strong game from Josh McRoberts — and the Heat will win again.

The logical counter here is Biyombo — the only real center still standing in this series, he has to be a force defensively and get some rebounds and points at the rim on offense. Toronto must make Miami pay for going small.

2) Which team’s role players step up? This is the fun thing about Game 7s — random, unexpected guys come up with the game of their lives. For both of these teams, their chances of winning starts with their star guards: In Game 6 Toronto’s Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan combined for 59 points, while Miami’s Goran Dragic and Dwyane Wade countered that with 52. If these teams are to have a chance in Game 7, their guards are going to have to lead. But the key to Miami’s Game 6 win was Joe Johnson added 13 points, Justise Winslow 12, and Josh McRoberts 10. No other Raptor broke double digits.

Which team’s role and bench players steps up will be halfway to the win.

3) Can the Raptors handle the pressure of a Game 7? Toronto had to go seven games last round to knock off Indiana, and if you remember that Game 7 the Raptors led from the second quarter on, were up 16 in the fourth, and then got tight and almost choked it away. Toronto has never been to a conference finals as a franchise, this could be history, and with that comes pressure. Will Lowry feel tight and have another off shooting night?  Same for DeRozan? Wade has been on bigger stages, he will bring his best game, and the Heat will come along with him. Can the Raptors handle the pressure?

Report: Memphis to interview Portland assistant Nate Tibbetts for coaching job

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With former coach Dave Joerger now in central California, the Grizzlies are ramping up their coaching search.

Memphis has reached out to Frank Vogel, interviewed Patrick Ewing, and is got permission to set up an interview with Heat lead assistant David Fizdale. Next up on that list is Portland assistant Nate Tibbetts, reports Chris Haynes of the Cleveland Plain Dealer.

The Memphis Grizzlies have been granted permission to interview Portland Trail Blazers assistant coach Nate Tibbetts for their vacant head coach position, league sources informed cleveland.com….

Tibbetts is a well-respected and innovative young coach who was once an assistant for the Cleveland Cavaliers for two seasons beginning in 2011. Prior to joining the Cavaliers, he was the head coach of the Tulsa 66ers of the NBA Development League.

Players such as Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum praise Tibbetts, he’s respected in the locker room. He’s the guy players reach out to when they want to get in some odd-hours work, knowing he will be game.

Tibbetts also has been a head coach in the D-League, a useful experience for those adjusting to the big chair in the NBA. He’s a player development guy, and if the Grizzlies are now (or in the next few years) going to have to blow up the grit and grind era and start rebuilding, he could be a fantastic fit.