Stephen A. Smith had the first and last words in his back–and–forth with Kevin Durant, but the ESPN commentator is still going.
Smith actually makes some good points in that video, at least if you can look past the vague threats. He doesn’t need to speak to Durant to report on Durant, and Durant doesn’t necessarily know which of his friends and family talks to Smith.
But Smith is dead wrong about Durant ending this by signing a contract extension. The largest extension Durant could sign is three years, $69,887,423 ($23,295,808 per season). If he waits until the offseason to re-sign, his max contract projects to be five years, $144,536,025 ( $28,907,205 per season). I don’t know whether Durant wants to stay in Oklahoma, but even if he does, an extension is not a real consideration.
Potential No. 1 NBA draft pick LaMelo Ball and his manager, Jermaine Jackson, have purchased his Australian NBL team, the Illawarra Hawks, Jackson told ESPN on Thursday.
“When Melo wants to do stuff in the summertime, we’ll be there,” Jackson said. “We’ll take a tour with his family all over Australia, doing basketball camps and connecting with the youth. He wants to inspire the next generation.
“That’s how he was raised by his family. People have a perception of his father, but he has a heart of gold and it trickles down to his kids. His father didn’t take him on a traditional route. He started his own sneaker company, Big Baller Brand. We’ve always talked about ownership. Melo wants kids to think big, especially in times like this.”
This is a heck of a headline for an 18-year-old.
I’m curious about the details. What share of the franchise do Ball and Jackson now own? How much did it cost? Did they assume debt to complete the deal? How profitable are NBL teams, especially considering coronavirus-caused uncertainty?
A team source on Wednesday confirmed Brand is under contract beyond this season and said the organization is very happy with his work since being named GM in 2018. The source cited Brand’s leadership and strong working relationships with players, agents, and executives around the league.
The 76ers are so pleased with Brand… someone said so without under the cloak of anonymity. If he wants to back Brand, 76ers owner Josh Harris can do so publicly. Otherwise, this is so weak.
Teams generally express support toward employees while the employees are still working for the team – whether or not the employees actually hold approval. A key way to tell whether the support is genuine? Check the source. Harris doesn’t want to look like a hypocrite. If he endorses Brand now then fires him soon, Harris would look silly. With this sourcing, nobody would get egg on his or her face if Brand gets ousted, because we don’t know the source.
Inertia will probably keep him in his job. Philadelphia overachieving in the playoffs (whatever form they take) – certainly possible – would make that an easier call. It’s just difficult to build an affirmative case for Brand as a team’s lead executive.
Report: No chance of traditional NBA playoffs this season
But even that comes with major complications, especially containing coronavirus from undermining the entire operation. It could be a long time until its safe to hold games, even in a centralized location without fans.
It could be so long… a traditional playoffs could be back on the table. Though I find that unlikely, I’m still not convince people have a proper understanding of how lengthy this hiatus could be.
Everyone wants to finish the season. The playoffs are the NBA’s most lucrative time, and it feels right to crown a champion.
So, it’s good the focus is on alternative formats. It’d be naïve to expect business as usual when the NBA resumes.
Who should be drafted No. 1? Podcast talking NBC Sports mock NBA Draft.
More importantly, how is anyone preparing for a draft when nobody knows when it will take place?
Rob Dauster of NBC Sports — who just completed his mock draft — joins me to discuss what they know and don’t know about the 2020 NBA Draft, starting with having no idea when it will take place. We discuss Obi Toppin, Lonzo Ball, sleepers to watch, and everything in between in a draft preview podcast.