There will be thousands upon thousands of photos taken of NBA games this season, but none will be better than this. We bring you “Shelden Williams dunks on his own face.” Enjoy and revere this as the work of art it is. No other caption is needed (but if you’ve got one put it in the comments).
As a result of the investigation into his team’s hostile work environment, Mavericks owner Mark Cuban will donate $10 million “organizations that are committed to supporting the leadership and development of women in the sports industry and combating domestic violence.” The Mavericks will also report to the NBA on structural changes to their organization.
And Cuban showed accountability by granting an interview to Rachel Nichols of ESPN:
I appreciate Cuban sitting for this interview with Nichols, who grilled him. I appreciate him apologizing to the actual victims. I appreciate him taking responsibility for the wrongdoing that happened beneath him. I appreciate him explaining what he did wrong and what he learned. I appreciate him, along with Mavericks CEO Cynthia Marshall, explaining the changes they’re making to rectify the situation.
But, though he explained his logic and subsequent lesson from handling Earl Sneed’s domestic violence, Cuban gave no real answer to how he let former CEO Terdema Ussery – found to be an serial sexual harasser – remain in power for 15 years. Taking Cuban at his word – that he was blind to the sexual harassment prevalent in the Mavericks business office – means shattering his image as a great businessman. The sharp and in-charge owner Cuban presented himself as would never grant Ussery such unchecked power for so long. “If I was in our business office five times in 15 years, that was a lot,” Cuban told Nichols. “I mean, it’s embarrassing to say.”
And that’s the benign explanation. Embarrassing is nothing compared to the alternative – that Cuban was as involved as he portrayed, which would mean he knew about Ussery’s misconduct and excused it. The choices are that Cuban’s first-rate businessman image was fraudulent or that he’s directly complicit in Ussery’s sexual harassment.
More than anything, hopefully Cuban has truly learned how not to repeat his prior errors.
Does Kawhi Leonard prefer the Clippers or Lakers in 2019 free agency? Reports have been mixed, though credible journalists have increasingly favored the Clippers since LeBron James signed with the Lakers. Yet, Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN held out on the Lakers being Leonard’s top choice.
The Clippers have two max contract slots available in July, and are emerging as a front-runner for Toronto’s All-NBA forward Kawhi Leonard when he becomes a free agent in July, league sources said.
Leonard and Butler would form a tantalizing tandem.
Though Butler’s demanding style has worn on teammates in Minnesota, nobody has ever accused Leonard of lacking work ethic or competitiveness. I bet Butler would respect Leonard.
They’re both elite defensively and at least very good offensively. There could be issues with how often each likes to isolate, but get all that talent to L.A. then figure out the rest later.
The question for the Clippers: Do they trade for Butler now or wait to try signing both stars in free agency next summer? The latter option carries more upside, allowing the Clippers to preserve assets. But it also risks Minnesota trading Butler and his Bird Rights to another team and him re-signing there.
The Clippers have several veterans – Tobias Harris, Lou Williams, Patrick Beverley, Avery Bradley, Danilo Gallinari – who might appeal to Tom Thibodeau, who seemingly wants to win now. L.A. could also offer 2018 lottery picks Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Jerome Alexander. However, the Clippers can’t convey a first-round pick until 2021 at the earliest.
I don’t know whether they’ll trade for Butler, but if the Clippers do, I know we’ll crank up the Leonard-Clippers speculation even higher. There’s value in putting that in Leonard’s mind while the Raptors are trying to woo him first-hand over the next year.
Knicks president Steve Mills said New York wouldn’t trade its draft picks and wouldn’t trade for players it could just sign in free agency. In other words: No more Carmelo Anthony– or Andrea Bargnani-type deals.
Then, Jimmy Butler – who can become an unrestricted free agent next summer – requested a trade from the Timberwolves and put the Knicks on his list of preferred destinations (with the Nets and Clippers).
Will Mills hold firm in his patient plan?
Brooklyn and the Clippers appear motivated on Butler, while the Knicks have been firm all summer that the team does not want to part with assets and instead prioritize signing free agents outright, according to sources.
The Knicks should be reluctant to trade for Butler now. Especially with Kristaps Porzingis injured, Butler is unlikely to help New York win meaningfully this season. It’d be much better to sign him next summer and preserve assets.
But there’s no guarantee the Knicks sign him next summer. Whichever team has his Bird Rights and ability to offer him a larger contract will have the upper-hand. There is value in trading for him now.
Perhaps, the Knicks can find a worthwhile Butler trade that includes trading picks. The only way to find out is negotiating with Minnesota. For New York to eliminate the idea outright because the team made mistakes in similar situations would be misguided.
But Knicks are going to Knick.
At least New York isn’t Butler’s first choice.
Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN:
First, L.A. must make the best offer to the Timberwolves and one acceptable to a reportedly reluctant Tom Thibodeau. Then, the Clippers must lure Irving – or any star (Kawhi Leonard?) – from his team.
It’s easy to imagine. It’s far more difficult to turn into reality.
Maybe his trade request from the Timberwolves – ideally to the New York Knicks, Brooklyn Nets or L.A. Clippers – is the next step in this evolution.
He is enamored with the idea of playing a central role in a big market, sources said. Butler had once imagined playing for the Los Angeles Lakers, but LeBron James‘ arrival as the franchise’s cornerstone made it less appealing for Butler in the prime of his career, league sources said.
Playing with LeBron isn’t for everyone. Kawhi Leonard reportedly became more reluctant to join the Lakers once they got LeBron. (Interestingly, Leonard is reportedly dissuaded by the hoopla LeBron would attract while Butler apparently believes he wouldn’t get enough of a spotlight).
I’m not sure how this report fits with Butler wanting to play with Irving, though. Irving is more popular than Butler. Perhaps, Irving holding a smaller stature than LeBron is enough for Butler. Maybe playing with Irving would be the exception to Butler’s desire to have his own team in a big market.
Or maybe Butler still winds up in Los Angeles with LeBron. Butler was reportedly open to it, though that’s a pretty low standard.
No matter what, Butler should pursue what he wants. NBA careers are short. Players should make the most of theirs, whatever that means to them.
Butler has so far shown he can balance working hard and playing well with stardom. He has earned the right to seek a larger public profile without major consternation about what it’d mean to his on-court production.