Lakers forward Ed Davis to opt out after season

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Why did they sign [insert overpaid player here] when they could have had Ed Davis on a minimum salary?

The Lakers got one of the biggest steals of the summer – one that has been used to criticize other front offices all season – by giving Davis a two-year minimum contract.

To ink Davis to such a low-paying deal, the Lakers had to give him a player option on his $1,100,602 salary for next season.

Unsurprisingly, Davis has out-produced his current deal and wants a new one.

Mark Medina of the Los Angeles Daily News:

Davis said in an interview with the Los Angeles News Group that he will opt out of his player option worth around $1 million that would secure his Lakers’ future for the 2015-16 season for one specific reason.

“I’m hoping for a long-term deal,” said Davis, who has until June 25 before formally deciding his move. “I’d love to return here. I know this will turn around eventually.”

Davis has switched agents from Kobe Bryant’s representative Rob Pelinka to Leon Rose, whom Davis will defer to on weighing whether to take an offer from the highest bidder or accept a hometown discount with the Lakers to secure a multi-year contract. Davis said he “definitely” understands the risk that move entails.

“This is definitely my first option,” Davis said of the Lakers. “They’re a team that gave me a look last summer when not too many teams were calling. This is definitely where I want to be at. Hopefully I can stay here for the rest of my career.”

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Davis will count $947,276 toward the Lakers’ team salary until signed or renounced. The largest deal they could exceed the salary cap to give him would be structured:

  • 2015-16: $1,320,722
  • 2016-17: $1,380,155
  • 2017-18: $1,439,587
  • 2018-19: $1,499,020
  • Total:$5,639,485

That would be another bargain for the Lakers, but if Davis takes it, they could leverage a small bit of extra cap room. They could first spend $373,446 – the difference between his cap hold ($947,276) and first-year salary ($1,320,722) – and then officially re-sign Davis.

But if Davis wants more money – and I think he could get it, though I thought he’d get more last summer and didn’t – the Lakers will have to use cap room to re-sign him.

Davis has helped the Lakers, and they should try to keep him. But they’re also in a unique position with their large market and storied history. They can draw elite free agents like few franchises can. If that means a role player – albeit a good player – like Davis gets squeezed out, it’s well worth the tradeoff.

The Lakers should think big this summer, but they should do their best to keep Davis on the line in case they strike out on the big fish. He’s worth keeping around, just not at any (opportunity) cost.

Arizona State leading scoring Remy Martin declares for 2020 NBA Draft

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Arizona State junior Remy Martin has declared for the 2020 NBA Draft:

The six-foot point guard took on more of scoring role in his third season with the Sun Devils than he had in his first two seasons. Martin averaged 19.1 points per game on 43.2% shooting from the field. Martin also dished out 4.1 assists per game, after averaging 5.0 assists as a sophomore.

Arizona State’s leading scoring may just be testing the waters, as he’s expected to go undrafted. NBA scouts have concerns over Martin’s size at the NBA level. One concern is his ability to hold up defensively, as NBA point guards are trending bigger and bigger in recent years.

As a smaller guard, Martin was one of the players who could have benefited from the traditional pre-draft process. With in-person workouts on hold, and potentially cancelled entirely, players have limited opportunities to improve their draft stock. Teams may be drafting off previous in-person scouting and off of tape.

NBA players reportedly to take part in televised NBA 2K tournament Friday

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If we can’t watch NBA players on the court, at least we can watch them control their digital selves and teammates in a live basketball tournament.

ESPN plans to broadcast an NBA 2K tournament with only NBA players at the controllers, a story broken by Chris Haynes at Yahoo Sports. The hope is to have it air Friday, with the players competing from their homes around the country.

The NBA is planning a players-only NBA 2K tournament that will feature the league’s sharpest video gamers and it will be broadcast on ESPN, league sources told Yahoo Sports…

Players competing against their peers in the comfort of their own homes could offer a distraction for fans who are missing the game and a little competition.

Esports are incredibly popular and growing as a spectator sport, both in person and on Twitch and other platforms. With there being a pent-up demand for sports programming, this seems a smart attempt to draw eyeballs. Even people who are non-esports viewers could tune in just to check it out, because it’s that or rewatching Tiger King.

You can bet that if it works, we will see a lot more of it in the future.

(Inside baseball note: I would love to see the emails/texts flying around ESPN about Yahoo breaking a story about what is coming in their network.)

 

Shaquille O’Neal: I had no idea what was happening with Joe Exotic of Tiger King

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On a recent episode of “The Big Podcast with Shaq” former NBA superstar Shaquille O’Neal said that “he had no idea” what was happening at the zoo run by Joe Exotic. Joe Exotic was recently made famous through the popular Netflix documentary “Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem and Madness”.

Footage of O’Neal appeared in the first episode of the show and was shown taking photographs with the animals.

The documentary also showed a cut of O’Neal on TNT saying “Shoutout to Exotic Joe. I got two more tigers.”

On his podcast, O’Neal explained:

“So we go in there, and it’s a beautiful place, and the character that was there was Exotic Joe. We’re there and I dropped some donations for the tigers’ foods and all that. We take pictures with (the) tigers. We went back a couple times. Then we go back another time and we found out that he’s involved with all the stuff, and then, actually, I stopped going.”

Joseph Maldonado-Passage, also known as Joe Exotic, was sentenced to 22 years in prison after being found guilty of 19 different charges. Those charges included murder-for-hire plot, illegally selling endangered species and other animal-related offenses.

O’Neal clarified that he never bought any animals, but often donates to charities that help animals. He also made it clear that he’s not friends with Joe Exotic, nor anyone involved in the trade of endangered species.

“I don’t harm tigers,” O’Neal said. “I love tigers. I love white tigers. Do I put donations to these zoos to help these tigers out? I do it all the time. Do I own tigers personally at my house? No. But I love tigers. Listen, people are going to make their own opinions, but, again, I was just a visitor. I met this guy — not my friend. Don’t know him. Never had any business dealings with him, and I had no idea any of that stuff was going on.”

Report: Brooklyn Nets looking to hire a blue-chip head coach

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When the Brooklyn Nets and Kenny Atkinson parted ways in early-March, the team installed Jacque Vaughn as the interim head coach.

According to ESPN’s Brian Windhorst that’s a short-term appointment. On his podcast “Brian Windhorst and The Hoop Collective”, the reporter said the Nets are looking to hire a coach with a track record of NBA success.

“One of the things that has been expressed sort of the grapevine, that’s the way I’m going to say it to protect myself from the aggregators, is that Durant and Irving would like a blue-chip coach. I don’t know what this says about the way they thought about Atkinson, but they want a big-name coach.”

Names linked to the Brooklyn opening are Tom Thibodeau, Mark Jackson, and both Jeff and Stan Van Gundy.

Atkinson leaving Brooklyn was a surprise, considering he had led the Nets back to the playoffs in 2019. That success came after a three-year rebuild. That process was kicked off when general manager Sean Marks hired Atkinson to lead the on-court development. Under Marks and Atkinson, the Nets developed several players who had been given up on by other teams.

Brooklyn was 28-34 when Atkinson was let go. The Nets had gone 2-0 under Vaughn before the NBA suspended play in mid-March.