Commissioner Adam Silver talked television money, what it could mean for potential 2017 lockout

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If you’re hoping the NBA can avoid a lockout in the summer of 2017, Adam Silver did not make you feel particularly good on Wednesday.

The big news out of the NBA Board of Governors meeting (the owners and their committees) was the rejection of a draft lottery reform proposal. However much of Silver’s post-meeting press conference focused on the massive influx of money coming into the system in the new $24 billion television deal the league just signed and how that will impact things going forward with the owners and players.

Silver said it was too early to think about the next CBA talks (even though you know they are planning for it already) and that even with the new CBA there are issues.

“So what this new television money will mean, of course, is that teams will have a greater opportunity to be profitable because remember, this money doesn’t come into our system until 2016 and ’17,” Silver said in his press conference broadcast on NBA TV. “ We still have roughly a third of our teams that are not profitable under the current system, despite revenue sharing.”

The opportunity to be profitable was one of Silver and then Commissioner David Stern’s big talking points during the last CBA negotiations and lockout. The owners won big in that negotiation and, in their view, came closer to a system where every team has the opportunity to be profitable and every team can compete for a title. After the public press conference Ken Berger of CBSSports.com pressed the Commissioner on how exactly that should play out. Does every team have to be profitable?

“No,” he said. “No, because the caveat has always been, if well managed. And I would also say, if you don’t have a hard-cap system, for example, one of the teams that isn’t profitable are the Brooklyn Nets. That’s an election they’re free to make under our compensation system. They’ve elected to be unprofitable. My preference would be to have a harder cap, where teams couldn’t elect to spend so much more than other teams.

Ahh, the “hard cap.” A more NFL style cap. A lot of owners would love that. You can bet that is back on the table from the owners in 2017. If that’s on the table the players will oppose… and here we go again.

“There’s gradations of hardness in terms of the cap as well. I wish our current cap system was harder. It’s what we proposed last time around, but we compromised.”

• The other main money topic was “smoothing in” of the money from the $24 billion television deal, so that the salary cap doesn’t just jump massively in the summer of 2016 and throw off the system. Silver said talks are underway.

“So first of all, on the television money, we have begun a discussion with the union where we would in essence  the expression we use is create a smoothing of the money in essence, rather than having in ’16’17 such a dramatic increase in the cap in one year, we would smooth the increase in. The players would still receive what becomes 51 percent…” Silver said.

“What we’ve begun discussing with the union is a plan in which, for a smoother operation of the cap, while the players would still receive every nickel of their 51 percent that year, we in essence would artificially lower the cap and then make a shortfall payment directly to the union, and then they would then distribute that money, presumably proportionately, to the players.”

Expect the players union to sign off on a version of that. Remember that teams have a spending floor — they have to get up to 90 percent of the cap — so if the cap makes a massive leap in one season that summer’s free agent class is going to disproportionally benefit (those dollars have to be spent). If you smooth this in over three or four years, then multiple free agent classes get a kick at the can and make more money.

• Silver discussed what derailed the lottery reform proposal that seemed a lock 48 hours ago:

“I think in essence, the owners were concerned about unintended consequences. I think we all recognize that we need to find the right balance between creating the appropriate incentives on one hand for teams to of course win, and on the other hand allowing what is appropriate rebuilding and a draft to work as a should, in which the worst performing teams get the highest picks in the draft, and we’ve tinkered with the draft lottery several times over the years. I don’t necessarily disagree with the way it works now. I’d say from a personal standpoint, what I’m most concerned about is the perception out there right now. Frankly the pressure on a lot of our teams, even from their very fans, to somehow underperform because it’s in some people’s view the most efficient and quickest way to get better, so I think that’s a corrosive perception out there….

“…but I think there was a further concern, too, that we’re changing the rules midcourse, that based on the current odds in the draft lottery, teams made certain selections in the draft, traded accordingly, and now we’re already in essence midseason, because we’re into the preseason already, rosters to a certain extent have been decided, and now we’re changing the rules, and I think the sense from the Board was the competition committee, one, needs to continue to make sure they understand potential unintended consequences, and also we have to come up with a timeline for implementing it where teams are appropriately on notice so that they draft and trade accordingly.”

• Silver said multiple bidders have stepped up looking to buy the majority share of the Atlanta Hawks that is up for sale, but that the current ownership’s stated timeline of the end of the year to get it worked out is likely optimistic.

• Finally, the NBA set up a new David J. Stern Sports Scholarship to “provide talented and promising students the opportunity to further their study of sports management.” Those that win the scholarship with both get $30,000 a year toward college and get to intern a couple summers at the NBA league offices.

Steven Adams inks two-year, $25.2 million extension with Grizzlies

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Steven Adams signed a two-year, $25.2 million contract extension with Memphis, which will keep him tied to the team through the 2024-25 season. ESPN’s Adrian Wojanrowski broke the news on Saturday.

Adams has been crucial to the Grizzlies’ recent success. He’s coming off his first season with the team, where he averaged career-highs in rebounds (10.0) and assists (3.4). He also helped them lock up the No. 2 spot in the Western Conference and make it to the Conference Semifinals, where they lost to the eventual-champion Warriors 4-2. Despite the improved numbers, a lot of his value is from intangibles that don’t show up in the box score.

Adams spent the first seven years of his career with the Thunder before being traded to New Orleans in the four-team deal that sent Jrue Holiday to Milwaukee. Adams was moved again to Memphis in a package for Jonas Valanciunas.

Adams has found a new home with a young Grizzlies team that is looking to win a championship. The team is built around Ja Morant, Jaren Jackson Jr. and Desmond Bane, but Jackson Jr. is expected to miss time after being diagnosed with a stress fracture in his left foot. Memphis will rely on Adams more than ever to begin the season.

Watch Curry, Klay in 3-point shooting contest in Japan. Yeah, they’re good at this.

NBA Japan Games Saturday Night
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The NBA went to Japan to promote the brand, play a few games in a huge market — Japan specifically but Asia as a whole — and put on a show.

Is there a better show than Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson draining 3s? Here they are in a 3-point contest during a basketball exhibition (there were some pro dunkers) in Tokyo on Saturday.

Stephen Curry, was there any other possible outcome?

It’s preseason and they are the defending champs — they should be having fun, playing with some joy.

Thompson took part in the shooting contest but is not playing in either of the exhibition games in Japan as the Warriors ease him back into play this season. It’s a marathon of a season and the Warriors need the best version of Klay starting in April, not October.

Report: Pelicans, Nance agree to two-year, $21.6 million extension

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Larry Nance has been a stabilizing influence in New Orleans since coming over mid-season as part of the trade for CJ McCollum. Nance is a versatile player who can play the four or the five, knocks down his threes, is very strong on the glass, can be a disruptive defender in passing lanes, and fits in — and he has the veteran attitude of work this team needs.

So the Pelicans have reached an extension to keep the 29-year-old around for two years past this coming season, reports Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN.

This is a signing that should make Pelicans fans happy. Importantly, it makes CJ McCollum happy — they are tight and this is something McCollum wanted to see. The money on this deal seems fair, about the league average for a solid rotation player.

Nance is the kind of veteran this team needs considering its young core of Zion Williamson, Brandon Ingram (just turned 25), Herb Jones, and guys like Trey Murphy III, Jose Alvarado, and others. Nance compared it to the young Lakers teams he was on, but noted that team lacked the same level of veteran leadership this Pelicans team has.

We may see more Nance at the five lineups — small ball with Zion at the four — to close games this season in New Orleans, that could be their best lineup because Nance can defend but also spaces the floor for Zion on offense. Coach Willie Green has a lot of different players and matchups to experiment with.

And now he has the stability of Nance for a few more years.

Durant tired of talking Nets dramatic offseason: ‘I didn’t miss any games’

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No team had an offseason quite like the Brooklyn Nets. First, they would not give a long-term extension to Kyrie Irving, which sent the star guard looking for a new team (but there were no offers that worked for everyone, so he opted in with Brooklyn). Then Kevin Durant asked for a trade, and to gain a little leverage reportedly threw down an ultimatum of him or the coach and GM. No trade could be found — how much the Nets wanted one is up for debate — so he is back in Brooklyn. And all that is not even getting into the return of Ben Simmons, a trade for Royce O’Neal, or anything else.

The Nets drama and how they move past it has been the talk of training camp. The only talk at training camp, it feels like.

When asked Friday if there were any inaccuracies in the reporting of the Nets summer he would like to clear up, Durant sounded weary of rehashing the summer.

The only thing that will start to move the conversation in a new direction is the Nets playing and winning games (they open the preseason Monday against the 76ers). And even those wins will have the shadow of the offseason cast over them. Durant and Irving made this bed.

Part of the fascination is the Nets remain the team hardest to predict in the league. They arguably have the most talented roster in the league and, if everything comes together just right, they can contend for a title. It’s also possible the wheels fall off early and by Christmas the Nets are looking to trade Durant again. Both things feel possible (even if reality most likely lands somewhere in the middle).

That uncertainty about the Nets’ future is the drama that will keep eyeballs on them — which also means more questions about this past offseason. Durant can choose not to answer them, but the questions aren’t going away.