Jeff Green’s agent says things are going great for Jeff Green on the free agent market. Yeah.

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You have to be rooting for Jeff Green. The Oklahoma City scapegoat before Russell Westbrook took over the mantle, Green was traded to Boston with huge expectations, and before he could settle in, a serious heart condition that proved to be life-threatening ended his season and put his life in danger. Now he’s on the comeback trail. There’s every indication that Green will return none for the worse, ready to hit threes and probably not rebound, but make big plays (people tended to underrate his ball pressure skills on the perimeter).

One person who’s going to make sure everyone knows how great Green’s doing? His agent, David Falk who released a slew of advance reviews to S.com of Jeff Green like he’s selling the summer blockbuster.

“Audiences are thrilled! They say ‘Jeff Green’s Comeback’ is ‘Inspirational!’ – Bismarck Independent Christian Monitor, and ‘an action-packed ride that rivals ‘Die Hard!’ – the Hutchinson Free Conservative Report. ‘The most fun I’ve had with a combo-forward since Anthony Randolph!’ raves the Beaumont County Clerk’s Office.”

From SI.com:

Because Green became an unrestricted free agent in December after Boston withdrew its $9 million qualifying offer, teams are already calling Falk’s office to discuss his possible exodus from Beantown. Free agency negotiations won’t officially begin until July 1, but Falk said he has already had exploratory discussions with “12 to 14 teams.”

While there is a strong mutual interest in Green returning to the Celtics, Falk said it’s far from certain that it will turn out that way. Boston has nine unrestricted free agents in all, most notably Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen. And judging by his view of the free agent market on the whole, Falk — who is best known as the longtime agent of Michael Jordan and an influential advocate of the league’s stars for the last 30 years — will be driving a hard bargain as always.

“With the possible exception of (Brooklyn point guard) Deron Williams, I think that Jeff will probably be the No. 1 unrestricted free agent on the market,” Falk said. “It’s not like we have LeBron (James) and (Dwyane) Wade and all these guys floating around.

“I’d be very surprised if Deron Williams winds up anywhere besides Dallas or New Jersey (Brooklyn). So the next guy in the pecking order is Jeff Green.”

via Jeff Green garnering plenty of interest while ex-team contends for a title – Sam Amick – SI.com.

Woah, woah, there, David. Don’t blow all your promotional budget in the first three weeks! Saves something for the Oscar push!

But you know what? Green can play. He needs to rebound better. He needs to find a solidified spot on the floor, a role with a team. But he can play. There’s been no indication that the heart condition is going to give him further problems. He’s got range to 30 feet. He’s athletic, and make plays, and may just need the right coach to put him in a position to succeed.

But wow, you have to be impressed with this effort from Falk. Dude that sold Michael Jordan isn’t backing off of the full-court press. Guy could sell ice cream to people living in Antarctica.

Rumor: Indiana coach Nate McMillan is on hot seat

Indiana coach hot seat
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Last season, Indiana’s Nate McMillan finished fourth in Coach of the Year voting, taking a team that lost star Victor Oladipo after just 36 games and still got them into the playoffs. McMillan is going to get COY votes again this year for much the same reason — his teams play good defense and overachieve.

Indiana coach Nate McMillan is also on the hot seat.

It’s surprising, and it’s just a rumor, but ESPN’s Jeff Van Gundy and Zach Lowe had this conversation on a recent episode of The Lowe Post podcast (hat tip PacersTalk.net).

Van Gundy: “I had two people come up to me since I’ve been here [in the NBA restart bubble] and say, ‘Nate McMillan’s in trouble.’”

Lowe: “It’s been the hottest rumor all season… What you’ve heard in Orlando’s been going around all season…

“Let me be clear: It’s just a rumor. I don’t know if it’s true. When you talk to people around the Pacers, they say, ‘It’s not true’ or ‘Where you’d hear that from?’”

Maybe management wants a more modern offense, the Pacers are bottom eight in both three pointers attempted and pace. Overall, Indiana’s offense is middle of the pack (18th in the league), which is not bad considering it was without Oladipo for most of the season (and he was playing his way into shape when he returned and was not at an All-NBA level).

It’s hard to imagine that the Pacers would make a change this offseason, which will be short and give a new coach less time to ramp up a program. Plus, does owner Herb Simon want to pay two coaches? The finances of the league are helping other coaches keep their jobs.

More than all that, McMillan doesn’t deserve to be fired.

Not that “deserved” has had much to do with NBA coaches keeping their jobs in the past.

 

Report: NBA players bypassing ‘snitch’ hotline to call Adam Silver directly

NBA commissioner Adam Silver
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No NBA players have been diagnosed with coronavirus in the bubble. And they want to keep it that way. A championship and a lot of money are on the line.

That means preventing players from having close contact with anyone outside the bubble. And, in case someone contracts coronavirus, wearing masks (intact masks) to prevent a wider outbreak.

The NBA set up a hotline – quickly dubbed the “snitch” hotline – for players to report violations.

Chris Haynes of TNT:

Players have been circumventing that process. Sources informed me that multiple players are personally calling commissioner Adam Silver to issue their complaints with things they’re seeing in the bubble.

Adam Silver is accessible to players – particularly the president of the union.

I’m not sure about tattling straight to the top boss when there are other protocols in place. Are hotline calls not resulting in changed behavior?

Either way, it’s important for the NBA to keep players safe – both for their health and the league’s revenue (about half of which goes to players in salary). So, cut Chris Paul anyone calling Silver a break. They’re at least trying to help. And so far, violations inside the bubble have led to reminders, not harsher discipline.

Zion Williamson sitting out Pelicans-Wizards (rest)

Pelicans big Zion Williamson
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The Pelicans have been one of the NBA’s most disappointing teams in the bubble. New Orleans has gone 1-3 at Disney World and fallen to 13th in the Western Conference.

Still (barely) hanging in the race to make the play-in, the Pelicans must face the Wizards without Zion Williamson.

Pelicans:

The Pelicans are treating Williamson carefully – and they should. He’s their 20-year-old franchise player with major health concerns.

But New Orleans still has its highest ceiling now with Williamson on the floor. He’s an offensive force. His interior scoring and gravity create efficient looks for himself and teammates.

Williamson has been woeful defensively, and the Pelicans have bigs – Derrick Favors and Jaxson Hayes – to take Williamson’s minutes. New Orleans can go small, too.

The Pelicans should still beat Washington, even without Williamson. Ideally, this will have Williamson ready for a closing stretch against the Spurs, Kings and Magic without sacrificing today’s game.

Yet, this is really just proof New Orleans isn’t as ready to launch as it appears during Williamson’s most exciting moments. His availability remains murky. His team has run hot and cold. I wouldn’t assume a win over the Wizards – though it’s a game the Pelicans need to preserve their fading playoff hopes.

Rumor: Next NBA season could begin in March

Wizards guard Bradley Beal and 76ers center Joel Embiid
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The NBA could reportedly delay the start of next season – currently planned for Dec. 1 – if fan attendance becomes foreseeable.

How long would the league wait?

Joe Cowley of the Chicago Sun-Times:

one plan includes starting in March if the NBA feels they can get fans in the arena by then, as well as not lose personnel and viewership to the Summer Olympics.

I understand the temptation to delay. The coronavirus pandemic has made it more difficult for NBA teams to turn a profit.

But this plan would invite all sorts of complications:

  • What if there’s no vaccine, cure or comparable solution by March? Then, the league would have wasted months getting practically no revenue – rather than reduced revenue – without reaching a more favorable point. (However, maybe owners could also reduce costs with a lockout.)
  • Starting the season in March would radically alter the NBA’s calendar. Shifting back to an October – or even December – start date would mean even more upheaval, potentially for several years.
  • The Tokyo Olympics are scheduled for July and August 2021. The Olympics have been a powerful tool for the NBA and its players expanding their global reach.

These are unique and trying circumstances. Coronavirus is a massive and confounding variable. Everything should be on the table.

Do I predict next season will begin in March? No. But apparently the possibility is being considered, which is something.