NBA suspends Hornets’ Jeff Taylor for 24 games following guilty plea for domestic violence

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Charlotte swingman Jeff Taylor has been away from the team since before training camp opened, sidelined by the organization following an arrest on domestic violence charges that took place in East Lansing, Michigan. Taylor has already pled guilty those charges, which were misdemeanors.

Considering that and the league’s own investigation, NBA Commissioner Adam Silver handed down a 24-game suspension to Taylor on Wednesday. Taylor has already missed 11 games on paid leave, he will miss 13 more games but suffer the financial hit of missing 24 games, the league announced. (That works out to about $268,000.)

This is a much stiffer penalty for domestic violence than the league has handed out in the past, amounting to almost 30 percent of the season.

“This suspension is necessary to protect the interests of the NBA and the public’s confidence in it,” Silver said in a released statement explaining his decision. “Mr. Taylor’s conduct violates applicable law and, in my opinion, does not conform to standards of morality and is prejudicial and detrimental to the NBA. While the suspension is significantly longer than prior suspensions for incidents of domestic violence by NBA players, it is appropriate in light of Mr. Taylor’s conduct, the need to deter similar conduct going forward, and the evolving social consensus — with which we fully concur — that professional sports leagues like the NBA must respond to such incidents in a more rigorous way.

“Because education and training is just as important as the imposition of discipline, Mr. Taylor must also satisfactorily complete the terms of his sentence, including the domestic violence intervention program, alcohol counseling, and community service (which we recommend be directed toward efforts to help victims of domestic violence). ln addition, he will be required to attend individual counseling sessions with a counselor jointly selected by the NBA and the National Basketball Players Association.

The league also gave its description of what happened that night in East Lansing, based on its investigation.

Based on the NBA’s investigation, the following summary of facts is undisputed After a night of heavy drinking on September 24,2014, Mr. Taylor and the woman had an intense and high-volume argument that began in the hotel room where Mr. Taylor was staying, prompting hotel guests to call Marriott security. The argument escalated and resulted in Mr. Taylor shoving the woman in a violent manner into the hotel hallway so that she fell to the ground and struck her head on the opposite door, slapping her arm, and punching a hole in a wall near his hotel room. She had marks on her upper arm and a bump on her head but declined medical treatment.

In the wake of the NFL’s fumble of the Ray Rice domestic abuse situation, the NBA had to come down harder on Taylor than it had in the past (you know other leagues will follow suit). The NBA wants to make a statement to its fans and also to its players — domestic violence will not be glossed over by the league. At least anymore. More than that, this was just the right thing to do. The NBA has been too soft on domestic violence, drunk driving arrests and other crimes by players.

While there will be tougher tests to come for the league — ones where the player does not plead guilty — Silver again passed this test.

Rumor: Patrick Beverley may meet with five teams before Clippers

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The Los Angeles Clippers want to bring Patrick Beverley back next season, his spark was at the heart of why this team made the playoffs and impressed with their potential.

First, however, the Clippers are going big game hunting for the likes of Kawhi Leonard and/or Kevin Durant (even with the Achilles injury). Beverley isn’t just going to sit around and wait for them, reports longtime NBA reporter Sean Deveney Tweeted.

The Bulls need a point guard and Beverley — a Chicago native — has said he is interested.

The Lakers also are reportedly big game hunting, but Beverley is the kind of guard they could use around LeBron James and Anthony Davis. Phoenix and other teams have been mentioned.

Beverley is going to have options, but he loved his time with the Clippers last season, and that means something.

Pelicans reportedly pick up option year on coach Alvin Gentry

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David Griffin, the guy with the hammer in New Orleans, likes Alvin Gentry. They have a relationship that goes back to Phoenix, where Gentry was the coach and Griffin was in the front office (and was eventually GM).

Gentry also has a style of play — he wants to run and be up-tempo. That should fit very well with soon-to-be No. 1 draft pick Zion Williamson.

So it shouldn’t be a surprise the Griffin and the Pelicans want to keep Gentry around, as reported by Malika Andrews of ESPN.

This is another smart, stabilizing move by Griffin. The Pelicans want to build an athletic, fast-paced team and Gentry is the right coach for that style.  Maybe it doesn’t pan out, maybe the Pelicans ultimately need to go another direction with their coach, but right now this seems a good fit.

Report: Utah “frontrunner” to land Mike Conley Jr. if Memphis trades him this week

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Utah feels like it is close — a 50-win team two seasons in a row, an elite defense, an All-NBA center in Rudy Gobert and an elite shot creator in Donovan Michell. They look at the West next season, with a depleted Warriors team, and see an opening.

Yet when Utah fell to Houston 4-1 in the first round of the playoffs this year, it was reminded of what is keeping the team from being truly elite, and another shot creator and shooter is at the top of that list.

Enter Mike Conley Jr. He averaged 21.1 points and 6.4 assists per game last season, shot 36.4 percent from three, and plays strong defense. Conley would be an upgrade over Ricky Rubio at the spot.

The almost All-Star point guard out of Memphis is available via trade. He’s the kind of veteran floor general, shooter, and shot creator Utah could use. The Jazz and Grizzlies talked but couldn’t come to an agreement at the trade deadline, but the sides are talking again and conversations are “intensifying” in the run-up to the NBA Draft Thursday, reports Shams Charania of The Athletic.

The Grizzlies are intensifying talks to potentially move franchise cornerstone Mike Conley Jr., league sources told The Athletic. Memphis has been in conversations with the Jazz and Utah is a frontrunner to acquire Conley should the Grizzlies trade the point guard during draft week, league sources said.

What would be in a trade package? Certainly the No. 23 pick in this draft, plus some young players the Grizzlies like (maybe Grayson Allen, Royce O’Neal, and even someone like Jae Crowder. Reports say Derick Favors is not part of the discussion.

While anything can happen the week of the draft — and things change quickly — don’t be surprised if some version of this trade gets done.

Kawhi Leonard wins day with last laugh — his viral laugh — at end of speech

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Kawhi Leonard just won again.

He won his second NBA title leading the Toronto Raptors to the franchise’s first crown. He earned his second Finals MVP in the process.

Then on Monday he had the last laugh and won the Raptors’ championship parade in Toronto by ending his speech with his laugh, the same one that went viral at the start of the season.

Of course, what Leonard will do on July 1 was a cloud hanging over the parade, Leonard is a free agent this summer. Kyle Lowry at one point started a “five more years” chant during the parade, which is the maximum number of years Toronto can re-sign Leonard for.

Leonard, exactly as we all should have expected, dodged the question, while praising his time in Toronto.

Unfortunately, this was a parade marred by more serious concerns.