Mavericks owner Mark Cuban (AP Photo/Ron Jenkins)

Report: Mavericks photographer accused of sexual harassment

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As the investigation into sexual misconduct within their organization dragged on, the Mavericks put out word the delays were due to investigators “being as thorough as humanly possible.”

But when the report was finally released, one name that didn’t appear in it: Danny Bollinger.

Brandon George of The Dallas Morning News:

Four former female employees who spoke on the condition of anonymity said team photographer Danny Bollinger has a history of propositioning female co-workers and making lewd comments in the workplace.

Bollinger, 50, has worked in the Mavericks’ marketing department for more than 18 years, spanning Mark Cuban’s ownership. He has the title of publishing manager and has been friends with Cuban since the 1990s.

Three of the women who worked for the Mavericks, and an additional female who volunteered for the team, told The News they were surprised Bollinger was not included in the report. Two said they told investigators about Bollinger’s sexual advances and lewd comments. One said investigators were aware of Bollinger’s reputation, confirming that an investigator first brought up his name in an interview.

Two say Bollinger propositioned them for sex multiple times, and one said he showed her inappropriate photos while at work of Mavericks dancers and female fans sitting in the front row at games.

I suggest reading George’s report for more details, but these specific allegations stood out to me:

A female community services volunteer for the Dallas Mavericks Foundation said that early in Bollinger’s tenure, he twice jumped into her vehicle as she was pulling out of a parking lot at the American Airlines Center and propositioned her for sex.

The former volunteer said Bollinger approached her car waving his arms to get her to stop. He opened her door and jumped into a passenger seat, she said, and started to come on to her. She said she told Bollinger that she was happily married with children and that he needed to get out of her car. She said she argued with Bollinger for a few minutes until he left.

The woman said she reported the incident to Pittman in human resources, who assured her he’d handle it. However, a few weeks later Bollinger again approached her car as she was leaving the parking lot. This time, she said, Bollinger walked in front of her car to get her to stop. She said she stopped because she was naive enough to think that maybe he had come to apologize for the first incident.

Instead, she said, Bollinger again started to come on to her. She said she again rejected his advances before telling him to get out of her car.

“I’ve never experienced someone so bold in my life,” she added.

Around the same time as the first incident involving Bollinger, the volunteer was offered a full-time job by the Mavericks. But she said that shortly after she complained to Pittman about Bollinger’s first sexual advance, the job offer was rescinded.

Bollinger’s alleged conduct sounds horrible. The Mavericks’ response looks horrible.

This is not how to treat people. Less importantly, it’s not how to run a company. If this woman were the best person for a job, it would have hurt the Mavericks to run her off for retaliation. Other employees clearly felt uncomfortable around Bollinger, and no doubt, that adversely affected their work.

The Mavericks’ human-resources department, under Buddy Pittman, was a failure. Mistreated employees had nowhere within the company to turn. This was clearly an awful workplace environment.

Now, new questions arise about how the Mavericks are fixing it. The investigative report released last month had sections on six people: Terdema Ussery, Chris Hyde, Earl Sneed, Buddy Pittman, George Prokos and Mark Cuban. All six were already accused of wrongdoing in the initial Sports Illustrated report and/or other reporting. Did the investigation aim to fully understand and convey the extent of the Mavericks’ problematic workplace or just detail the issues the public already knew about?

It’s not just a matter of naming Bollinger in the report, either. He was on the team’s China trip until being sent home yesterday, according to The Dallas Morning News. Were these allegations taken seriously and addressed promptly?

NBA commissioner Adam – who has already had to defend penalizing neither the Mavericks nor Cuban, who agreed to donate $10 million to charity – is doing more damage control.

Silver, via ASAP Sports:

I will say that, when the investigators did their review of the Mavericks’ organization, they made a decision to not make public allegations that were brought by employees who chose to remain anonymous. What they did at the end of the investigation was, in essence, shift to the new management of the Dallas Mavericks, run by Cynthia Marshall, their findings with an understanding that Cynthia Marshall, then using a more traditional human resources process, would continue to investigate particular employees and then act on them.

Part of the process, the new process we put in place with the Mavericks, was an ongoing reporting obligation to the league office. So Cynthia Marshall has been in constant contact with Kathy Behrens at the league office. We were aware of those additional allegations, and we are monitoring how they are responding to them.

The investigative report noted it granted anonymity to most of its sources. No victims are named. I don’t understand this distinction between the allegations listed in the report and the ones about Bollinger. They all came from anonymous employees and anonymous former employees.

All along, the investigate report was painted as a full reckoning. It was a chance for the Mavericks to uncover all their errors then take responsibility for them.

But it increasingly looks like a public-relations document designed to limit damage.

If that was a goal, it didn’t work. These new revelations are especially damaging given the expectation this saga had concluded.

This story won’t go away until the Mavericks fully handle their problems. It seems they haven’t yet.

Report: Doc Rivers accepts deal to become Philadelphia 76ers head coach

Doc Rivers philadelphia
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Doc Rivers was not out of a job long.

Considered an elite coach and leader of men, a guy pushed out the door in Los Angeles by a frustrated owner in Steve Ballmer, Doc Rivers has accepted a deal to become the new head coach of the Philadelphia 76ers, a story broken by Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN.

This was expected, and it came together fast. Rivers was let go by the Clippers on Monday and by Thursday had agreed to the deal with Philly.

Philadelphia had been looking for not only a coach but other voices in the front office to work with GM Elton Brand. Rivers, who had been team president in Los Angeles at one point, had that kind of voice with the Clippers in a collaborative front office. He likely will assume a similar role with the Sixers, having input on player and personnel decisions, not just Xs and Os.

Rivers also jumps from one roster expected to contend for a title but having fit and chemistry issues to another.

Doc Rivers needs to find an offensive system in Philadelphia where both Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons can thrive next to each other, along with Tobias Harris, Josh Richardson, and Al Horford. There’s not much spacing or shooting there, which is why Shake Milton was getting a lot of run from former coach Brett Brown.

Roster tweaks would be coming, but with Rivers the idea will be making better use of the existing roster — and the style of play it forces.

The buzz around the league is that Tyronn Lue will take the Clippers job, which leaves Mike D’Antoni looking at places such as Indiana and New Orleans.

Vince Carter wins NBA Sportsmanship Award

Hawks forward Vince Carter
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Vince Carter’s 22-year NBA career ended amid the chaos of coronavirus, preventing him from getting the deserved fanfare.

But fellow players will send Carter into retirement with the NBA Sportsmanship Award.

NBA release:

NBA players have selected Vince Carter as the recipient of the 2019-20 NBA Sportsmanship Award, the NBA announced today.

Carter, who spent the 2019-20 season with the Atlanta Hawks, announced his retirement from the NBA in June after playing a league-record 22 seasons.  He receives the Joe Dumars Trophy as the winner of the NBA Sportsmanship Award.  Dumars, a two-time NBA champion and Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Famer, played 14 NBA seasons and won the inaugural Sportsmanship Award in the 1995-96 season.

Each NBA team nominated one of its players for the NBA Sportsmanship Award, which is designed to honor a player who best represents the ideals of sportsmanship on the court.  From the list of 30 team nominees, a panel of league executives selected one finalist from each of the NBA’s six divisions.  Current NBA players selected the winner from the list of six finalists, with more than 250 players submitting their votes through confidential balloting conducted by the league office.

Full voting (with first-, second-, third-, fourth-, fifth- and sixth-place votes and voting points):

1. Vince Carter (Hawks): 143-70-34-13-4-2-2,520

2. Garrett Temple (Nets): 22-78-63-52-25-26-1,746

3. Steven Adams (Thunder): 34-57-41-52-58-24-1,632

4. Harrison Barnes (Kings): 24-25-75-48-35-59-1,418

5. Langston Galloway (Pistons): 23-22-29-60-79-53-1,244

7. Tyus Jones (Grizzlies): 20-14-24-41-65-102-1,016

What a nice honor for Carter, who gracefully aged from high-profile star to veteran mentor.

Heat: Bam Adebayo, Goran Dragic doubtful for Game 2 of NBA Finals

Heat players Bam Adebayo and Goran Dragic
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Bam Adebayo‘s and Goran Dragic‘s injuries… not looking great for the Heat approaching Game 2 of the NBA Finals.

Heat:

This is a disaster for Miami. The Lakers dominated Game 1, and now the Heat have two starters hobbled at best. At worst and more likely, Adebayo and Dragic are out.

Adebayo would be the bigger loss. Miami was completely overmatched when facing Anthony Davis without a center. Kelly Olynyk and Meyers Leonard can try to keep up, but they’re far from great solutions.

At least the Heat have more options at point guard. Kendrick Nunn can get an elevated role (especially after excelling in garbage time of Game 1). Jimmy Butler can become the de facto point guard. Tyler Herro can also play the position. But Dragic was playing so well during Miami’s run through the Eastern Conference. This is also a major setback.

 

Report: Tyronn Lue ‘early favorite’ to become Clippers head coach

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Doc Rivers is gaining momentum in the 76ers’ coaching search.

As for the job Rivers left behind with the Clippers… Clippers assistant and former Cavaliers head coach Tyronn Lue, unsurprisingly, has the inside track.

Marc Stein of The New York Times:

Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN:

The Clippers are planning to interview other candidates, starting soon, sources said.

The New Orleans Pelicans are planning to interview Lue in the near future too, sources said.

Lue would be a sensible hire. He has championship experience, which would help the Clippers hit the ground running in a make-or-break season before Kawhi Leonard and Paul George can become unrestricted free agents. Lue managed stars in LeBron James and Kyrie Irving. The Clippers must improve their chemistry around their stars. And the last time Lue got promoted from assistant to head coach, his team won a title.

New Orleans also has an appealing job. But the Clippers are far closer to championship contention. And if both teams want Lue, I bet Clippers owner Steve Ballmer would outspend Pelicans owner Gayle Benson.

Still, the Clippers are conducting a coaching search. Other candidates could emerge. This isn’t necessarily Lue’s job for the taking.

How long would he wait on L.A. if the Pelicans make an offer? Lue has shown he values being entrusted.