Kurt Helin

Report: NBA remains best in sports hiring people of color

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ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) The NBA remains the best among its professional sports peers when it comes diversity hiring.

According to the report released Thursday by the Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sport, the NBA received an A-plus for the second year in a row for racial hiring and dropped to a B in gendering hiring practices. The league’s overall grade of A was its eighth in row as the NBA scored higher than other professional sports league in all three categories.

Reports are also issued on the NFL, MLB, MLS, WNBA and college sports.

The NBA has “been the leaders in pretty much both areas since we’ve been doing the report card and they are still ahead of everybody even in gender,” said Richard Lapchick, who authors the Racial and Gender Report Card released by the Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sport. “The NFL had a C-plus last year and MLB had a C-plus. MLS is the only one close with a B but they only had 80.1 points as opposed to the 83.7 the NBA has got. College sport was the worst of all with 78.8 points with a C-plus.”

Even in maintaining the best stands, the NBA did some dips in diversity hiring practices with the biggest coming in gender hiring. The NBA went from a B-plus grade in gendering hiring in 2015 to a B this year with drops coming at the team levels and senior leadership positions. In 2015, the NBA scored 88 points but this year only received 83.7 points on the report card.

Women comprised 39.6 percent of all professionals in the NBA league offices in this past season, which was slightly down from 40.9 percent in 2015. But women continued to hold just a small percentage of team vice president positions, comprising just 21.5 percent of the team vice president titles. Still, there were five women who served as team presidents/CEO during the 2015-6 season, which is the highest of any men’s professional sport.

“The fact there was sort of slippage with the NBA, not only was the grade low but there was actually a decline in the grade is definitely an area of concern,” Lapchick said of the overall dip in gendering hiring. “I think it’s particularly an area concern at the team level and senior leadership positions.”

The NBA, which is the first sports league to have two minorities as majority owners, also had small loses in the number of head coaches and general managers of color this year. The number of general managers went from six in 2014-15 to just four this past season. The head coaching ranks were comprised of 30 percent of men of color, as opposed to 33.3 percent at the end of the 2014-15 season.

This past season began with nine head coaches of color but while some minority coaches lost their jobs during the season that number remained at nine at the end of the season.

“The NBA has gotten it for a long time, including the general manager position, although this year they were down at the general manager position,” Lapchick said. “They have been far and away the leader of all of the sports in those areas.”

Report: Mavericks reach two-year deal with reserve forward Quincy Acy

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There is always a spot on a roster for a big who brings hustle and toughness off the bench.

The Dallas Mavericks have added that — maybe a guy who can be a small-ball, second-unit center — by reaching a deal with Quincy Acy. Shams Charania of The Vertical broke the news.

This is reportedly a deal for the league minimum.

This is a good signing at this price. Acy can play the four (or a small ball five) and is an athletic, hustling big who gave the Kings 5.2 points and 3.8 rebounds in nearly 15 minutes a game. Last season he took almost on three a game and hit 38.8 percent of them, he can also knock down 15 footers.

Dallas will start Dirk Nowitzki at the four, but after that will lean on Dwight Powell and Charlie Villanueva. Andrew Bogut will start at the five, then maybe Salah Mejri and A.J. Hammond get run. There are minutes to be had by Acy.

Andre Iguodala on Thunder: “They were the best team last year in the league in the playoffs”

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This is just salt in the wound of Oklahoma City fans.

The Warriors’ Andre Iguodala was on The Breakfast Club on Power 105.1 in New York and was talking hoops, and then started talking about the Oklahoma City Thunder. Transcription via Anthony Slater of the Oklahoman.

“Now that we got KD, I can say it: They were the best team last year in the league in the playoffs,” Iguodala said. “They were better than us. They were better than Cleveland. They were the best team in the playoffs. They should’ve won a championship.”

Why didn’t they?

“I mean, we just hawked them down,” Iguodala said. “But they were better than us. They played us better than anyone. They played us better than Cleveland. Some of the stuff they was doing, it’s like…oh, man. We gotta play perfect.”

Not a ton but more times than they wanted to admit, the Warriors got bailed out during the regular season because Stephen Curry or Klay Thompson would just get unstoppably red hot and shoot them to a win on a rough night. A night they probably should have lost. That happened again in Game 6 of the Western Conference Finals against Oklahoma City — the Thunder played great ball, but Thompson just could not miss from three.

It also reinforces the fact the Warriors didn’t just add a superstar to their roster, they also cut their main competition in the West off at the knees.

Report: Clippers reach one-year deal with Raymond Felton to be reserve point guard

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The Clippers have added a third point guard to the roster — behind Chris Paul and Austin Rivers — in 11-year NBA veteran Raymond Felton.

Brad Turner of the Los Angeles Times broke the story.

Solid might overstate it slightly, although he is comparable to Austin Rivers. Last season Felton averaged 27 minutes a game and started 31 for the Mavericks, averaging 9.5 points and 3.6 assists per game.

The challenge is he’s not a good shooter — 28.2 percent from three last season — and his numbers are in steady decline in recent seasons. In the past there have been conditioning questions, which has led to defensive problems in the past. There may be slightly better fits on the market.

However, on a one-year minimum deal, this isn’t a bad contract for the Clippers

Spurs reach one-year $14 million contract with Manu Ginobili; Sixers drove up price

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Can you imagine Manu Ginobili ending his career in a Sixers uniform?

Neither could the San Antonio Spurs — but they had to pay Ginobili a massive one-year, $14 million contract to have the legendary Argentinian finish his career in San Antonio. The two sides formally reached and signed a deal on Thursday, a story broken by Shams Charania of The Vertical at Yahoo Sports and since confirmed by the Spurs and Ginobili himself.

Here is the initial report:

Four-time NBA champion Manu Ginobili has signed a one-year, $14 million deal to return to the San Antonio Spurs, league sources told The Vertical.

Both sides had been discussing terms and completed the deal Thursday, sources said. Ginobili, 38, opted out of his $2.9 million contract in June to become a free agent.

Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical had the more interesting details.

The Spurs first offer to Ginobili was for a little more than $3 million. At the urging of coach Brett Brown — who had been an assistant with the Spurs — the Sixers offered Ginobili a two-year deal with at least $16 million guaranteed in the first season, Wojnarowski reports. The Spurs want veterans who know how to win in their young locker room. That forced the Spurs to up their offer — Ginobili would give the Spurs a hometown discount, but not a $13 million one. The Spurs got their man, but it’s part of the reason they couldn’t match the Piston’s offer sheet for Boban Marjanovic.

Ginobili does still bring value on the court as a playmaker off the bench. Last season he averaged 9.6 points and 3.1 assists per game, in what felt like a bounce-back season. Ginobili will play for Argentina this summer at the Rio Olympics.