Report: NBA says Michael Jordan can’t decide who gets Air Jordan shoe deal

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This ties into why Clippers offering DeAndre Jordan a $200,000 a year sponsorship with Lexus led to a $250,000 fine

Michael Jordan’s Air Jordan shoe brand through Nike dominates the market — 58 percent of basketball shoes sold last year were Jordans. That 13 times more than LeBron James, who has the best selling shoe among active players. Nike owns 95.5 percent of the basketball shoe market (according to Forbes).

One of the NBA’s concerns with Michael Jordan as the owner of the Charlotte Hornets is that he could supplement players’ salaries with shoe deals. So the NBA cut that option off, reports Darren Rovell of ESPN.

This isn’t just a Jordan rule, pretty much any NBA owner could pull off something similar (at least Ballmer didn’t offer a Microsoft endorsement). The rule is there for a reason.

The Jordan brand is well managed and not hurting in the least. It still has deals with Russell Westbrook, Chris Paul, Blake Griffin, Carmelo Anthony and nearly two dozen more current and former NBA players. There are Hornets — Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Cody Zeller — on that list.

In fact, Kidd-Gilchrist just took what could be seen as a below-market $52 million contract extension to stay in Charlotte. Not that there was any quid pro quo here, but the NBA wants to avoid that appearance.

It’s easy to understand the NBA’s concern — if Jordan could say “I’ll pay you a couple hundred thousand extra to wear my shoes” it would be an unfair recruiting advantage. So they are trying to tie his hands.

Not that it is impacting shoe sales, or how much Jordan rakes in from Nike.

Adrian Wojnarowski: Knicks firing David Fizdale ‘inevitable’

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Knicks president Steve Mills is reportedly laying the groundwork to fire coach David Fizdale.

One step: Mills and general manager Scott Perry addressing the media after Sunday’s loss to the Cavaliers while Fizdale was still in the locker room. Mills and Perry stressed that the team wasn’t meeting expectations, seemingly a veiled shot at the coach.

Adrian Wojnarowski on ESPN:

The dismissal of David Fizdale is inevitable, and there was, I think, a bond broken between management and their head coach with how they handled things after that loss Sunday night.

Coaches are hired to be fired, but this sounds far more urgent than that.

As long as Fizdale has his job, he has a chance to save it. If the Knicks start playing better, they could keep him.

But that seems unlikely with this underwhelming roster.

Which is why New York is reportedly also considering a front-office change.

Austin Rivers calls for Doc Rivers to get technical foul (video)

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When Doc Rivers coached Austin Rivers on the Clippers, accusations of favoritism ran rampant. Playing with the Rockets against the Clippers tonight, Austin showed where his loyalties lie.

Not with his father.

The Clippers were letting the game (an eventual 102-93 Houston win) get away from them when Doc argued a call. Austin stood nearby and urged the referee to call a technical foul. The official eventually obliged and ejected Doc.

That’s when Austin really hammed it up – waving off Doc then making the call-me gesture. The disrespect!

Ja Morant hits game-winner in Grizzlies-Hornets (video)

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Grizzlies rookie Ja Morant has had a game-saving block and game-winning assist.

Now, he has the glory of a game-winning shot.

Morant sealed the Memphis’ 119-117 win over the Hornets with a driving scoop in the final second tonight. He led Memphis with 23 points and 11 assists.

P.J. Tucker misses open fastbreak layup, trips on stanchion (video)

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I want to give P.J. Tucker a break. He’s the Rockets’ most (only?) reliable defender. He has such a heavy burden covering for James Harden, Russell Westbrook and just generally undersized lineups.

But this missed layup was so bad. And that stumble over the stanchion really seals the goof.