Well, at least now the NBA players union has decided on who is going to help them decide who should be executive director.
Former NBA player and current Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson will head up a search committee to find a new executive director for the National Basketball Players Association, the union announced on Monday.
That job has been vacant since Billy Hunter was let go 14 months ago following a scathing report that questioned his management and said he made preferential dealings with family members. The union press release says the goal is to have someone in place by the start of next season.
“Mayor Johnson is in a unique position as a former player and someone skilled in the politics of negotiations to lead this effort,” said union president Chris Paul in a released statement.
“I have a deep passion for the NBA and the promise it has for everyone connected to it,” Johnson said in his statement. “Everything I’ve been able to achieve in life was a result of embracing the opportunities that I had as an NBA player.”
Johnson is a polished consensus builder — remember he spearheaded the effort to keep the Kings in Sacramento — and those are the kinds of skills needed to help pick someone for a position where a lot of different people have varied interest in who gets selected. There are agents and others that want to push back against the owners after gains the owners made in the last collective bargaining agreement, while others see those percentage points as gone and want instead someone who can hold that line and find ways to increase the league’s revenue pool. Also, there has long been an “what is good for the elite players may not be good for the average player” tension in the union and in its bargaining sessions.
Whoever is ultimately selected for this job will be the one sitting across the table from Adam Silver in 2017 when one side — probably the owners but maybe the players — opts out of the current Collective Bargaining Agreement. A lockout that year seems likely, at least as viewed right now, and how that plays out will in large part be about who is picked and what their view of the negotiations.
There already has been one round of searches and this past All-Star weekend in New Orleans the union’s executive committee met with two candidates: David White, former director of the Screen Actors Guild; and Michele Roberts, a respected corporate attorney.
After those interviews the union has decided to open up the process again.
Golden State Warriors general manager Bob Myers said on Tuesday that Kevin Durant and Draymond Green had not yet spoken after the two had a dust-up during Monday night’s overtime loss to the Los Angeles Clippers.
Green was suspended for one game, apparently for repeatedly calling Durant “bitch” while the two were still on the court with the Clippers. It was testy, and Durant was even seen saying what appeared to be the words, “That’s why I’m out.”
Things didn’t calm down when the Warriors returned to the locker room after the game, and a suspension was issued by the team.
Meanwhile, Warriors coach Steve Kerr said that he felt that the team would be fine. He reiterated that no team he had ever been on had always experienced smooth sailing. Kerr famously got into a scuffle with Michael Jordan in Bulls training camp in 1995.
To that end, Kerr joked on Tuesday that he had, “Kicked MJ’s ass.”
Will things be okay in the Bay moving forward? The team has such a strong culture it’s hard to bet against things getting patched up, especially with regard to how the team will play as they seek another championship this season. Remember, Green was one of the guys who recruited Durant to Golden State in the first place, and the two have the same goal.
The real question many have is whether this spat will have an impact on Durant staying with Golden State this offseason. That’s anybody’s guess, seeing as how Durant is nearly impossible to predict.
For now, we just have to wait.
Is Kevin Durant leaving the Golden State Warriors? That has been the question on the minds of many NBA fans for some time now, and the big dust-up between Durant and teammate Draymond Green on Monday night has continued to fuel the speculation that the superstar wing might be headed elsewhere.
That was before any of us saw the following video, where Durant appears to mouth the words, “That’s why I’m out” after he and Green had to be separated during their OT loss to the Los Angeles Clippers.
Take a look for yourself and tell me that’s not what it appears Durant is saying in this clip.
I’m no professional lip-reader, I just play one here on the internet. But it does seem that Durant said to himself, “That’s why I’m out.”
Meanwhile, Green will serve a one-game suspension and new doubt has been cast on the inevitability of the Warriors sweeping through the rest of this season.
I don’t know where Durant will end up next year, but the journey we’re going to be on until he decides is going to be a bumpy one.
The Washington Wizards have been an absolute train wreck this season, a team where the players’ clearly do not like each other.
The Minnesota Timberwolves started the season as a train wreck, with Jimmy Butler doing his best to burn the franchise down in an effort to get traded.
That led to Minnesota reaching out to Washington with a “want to swap problems” proposal, which was shot down by Washington, reports Marc Stein of the New York Times in his latest newsletter.
Word is the Wolves did try to engage Washington — another team falling well short of expectations — in trade talks for the sharpshooting guard Bradley Beal.
But the Wizards have kept Beal off limits amid their 4-9 start. They would naturally prefer to trade the struggling Otto Porter, or perhaps even John Wall, but both possess hard-to-move contracts.
This follows the buzz around the league — Washington is open to a change, but teams are calling about Bradley Beal but the Wizards know he’s their best player and are not interested in moving him.
John Wall is almost impossible to trade (read ESPN’s Zach Lowe’s primer for details) because his designated veteran max extension kicks in NEXT season, and if he is traded before then there is a 15 percent trade kicker. Otto Porter has been a pretty average player on a max contract, the kind of deal every team is trying to avoid.
Minnesota made it’s move, trading Butler to Philadelphia. The Timberwolves didn’t get better talent-wise with the trade, but they did start to restructure the team around Karl-Anthony Towns (as it should have been for a while now). They made a move, even if it started with a step back.
Washington may be stuck with this roster until at least next summer. Just add it to the list of dysfunctional things in our nation’s capital.
Trading for Jimmy Butler was the right move for Philadelphia, an all-in kind of play that ends the slow-play “process” and pushes championship dreams to the forefront.
It’s also risky — Butler has some Thibodeau-miles on his body, making the need to win sooner rather than later more urgent. It also comes with the problem that while the core three are elite, this team doesn’t have the depth and shooting to compete with Boston or Toronto (or maybe Milwaukee) right now, especially after having to trade Robert Covington and Dario Saric to get Butler.
Everyone around the league expects Philadelphia GM Elton Brand to be aggressive from here on out, looking for trades that bring in veterans who can help right now. One target: Cleveland’s Kyle Korver, reports Marc Stein of the New York Times in his weekly newsletter.
The desperate-for-shooters Sixers remain highly interested in acquiring Cleveland’s Kyle Korver.
But that will be harder for Philadelphia to make happen without Jerryd Bayless‘ handy $8.6 million expiring contract to help facilitate a trade.
Korver is in the second season of a three-year, $22 million deal he signed with the Cavaliers in 2017. The Sixers instead plugged Bayless into the Butler trade to help make that salary cap math work.
There are options to get this deal done. Korver for Markelle Fultz straight up works, but that likely doesn’t work personnel wise for either side (the Sixers probably will want more for the former No. 1 pick, while the Cavs may want a pick as a sweetener to take on a “broken” player, the trade value of Fultz is an interesting question but it’s not high around the league). Korver for Mike Muscala and Zhaire Smith also works financially. Future picks also can be part of any package, which may interest Cleveland now that they figured out they’re supposed to rebuild after losing the best player of a generation.
However it gets done, what Stein reports follows the buzz around the league — expect the Sixers to be aggressive going after guys who can help them win right now, and Korver is at the top of the list. He’s been available since this summer, the Cavaliers have just been holding out for more than the market will offer.
Korver, at age 37, has not looked as sharp this season, he’s not moved as crisply and his three-point shooting percentage has dropped to 38.7 — which is still better than any of the regular three-point shooters on the Sixers right now (J.J. Redick is a better shooter overall but is hitting 34.9 percent this season so far). Korver has been in and out of the Cavaliers rotation as the franchise tries to figure out what it’s doing.