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Adam Silver says free agency negotiation rules need to be changed, then enforced

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LAS VEGAS (AP) — The NBA knows its rules about when teams can negotiate with free agents are not being followed.

So expect changes on that front for 2020.

The NBA’s board of governors discussed ways Tuesday to fix that process — either by changing rules, adding rules or potentially eliminating some rules that may be outdated — and decided that it’ll all be worked on over the next several months in an effort to ensure fairness across the league.

“The one strong conviction I have is that we should not have rules that are not strictly enforced,” NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said. “And we know that’s the case right now. And whether that’s by virtue of practice, whether it’s because just the world around us has changed, whether it’s because players have power that they didn’t use to have … let’s step back, let’s reset, let’s talk to our players’ association about what system makes sense going forward.”

This year’s free-agent negotiating period was to begin on June 30 at 6 p.m. Eastern. But it was known within the first few minutes of that period that several deals had already been agreed upon — and in a few cases, deals were apparently struck even before the negotiating window opened.

There’s always been an understanding that some players are talking to other players about teaming up, which is legal. And there’s also been the same sort of understanding that teams will talk to their own free agents to strike deals before negotiations are technically supposed to begin.

This year, the rules simply seemed to be ignored.

“It’s pointless, at the end of the day, to have rules that we can’t enforce,” Silver said.

Kevin Durant’s decision to join the Brooklyn Nets was one of the major pieces of free-agent news this summer. The Nets said Tuesday that when word leaked before 6 p.m. on June 30 that Durant had made his decision and would announce it on social media, they were concerned — since they had not spoken with him yet.

“We weren’t even sure we were getting a meeting that night,” Nets general manager Sean Marks said.

Durant eventually came in that night and spoke with the Nets, but after he made the announcement that he would be signing a max contract — four years, $141 million — with the team.

Teams couldn’t sign players until the offseason moratorium ended, which this year meant Saturday. Some deals that are known to be happening still aren’t completed, meaning teams still have not had the chance to celebrate certain signings or acquisitions. And by now, in some cases, the buzz surrounding those still-unannounced moves is largely gone.

“We have work to do,” Silver said.

When the Paul George trade and Kawhi Leonard signing — both players are headed to the Los Angeles Clippers — get finalized, it’ll mean five of the 10 All-Star starters from last season will have changed teams this summer. Durant went from Golden State to Brooklyn, Kyrie Irving went from Boston to Brooklyn, Kemba Walker went from Charlotte to Boston, George is leaving Oklahoma City and Leonard is leaving Toronto.

Seeing big names on the move is nothing new in the NBA, of course. Of the 25 players who were on the 2017 All-Star rosters, 17 have changed teams since and seven of them have switched jerseys at least twice.

“Players want to know that they’re in a fair system as well, where they have the opportunity to compete,” Silver said. “You want to know that the rules are known, and that they’re being enforced. Again, I think we have some work to do there when it comes to free agency. There’s always been stuff around the edges that have gone on. It may have moved to a new level.”

Kosta Koufos heading to Europe, agrees to terms with CSKA Moscow

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After spending 11 seasons in the NBA, the last four years in Sacramento, Kosta Koufos has found a new home for next season.

In Moscow. With EuroLeague powerhouse CSKA Moscow.

Koufos struggled to fit in his big-man game with the new up-tempo Kings last season. Add to that the NBA moving toward “small ball” — which is more about skill and mobility than size — Koufos has decided to head overseason. He’s making more than the NBA veteran minimum, which is likely what he would have gotten from an NBA squad.

All but the elite big men in the NBA are finding reduced demand and with that reduced pay scale, so good on Koufos for doing what is best for himself.

Watch Trae Young drop 31 at Drew League, lose to Montrezl Harrell who has 46

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The Drew League in Los Angeles is one of the premiere — for my money the best — summer pro-am basketball league in America. There is some serious talent getting run on that court.

But drop in NBA talent and it’s another level.

That’s what happened Saturday in Los Angeles. Atlanta’s Trae Young showed up, went head-to-head with the reigning Drew League MVP Frank “Nitty” Session (who has embarrassed guys like Denzel Valentine in Drew games), and dropped 31.

But Young’s team lost because Clippers’ stud  Montrezl Harrell dropped 46.

You can see the highlights above thanks to BallisLife.

 

Manny Pacquiao says he has thought about buying part of NBA team when he retires

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At age 40, Manny Pacquiao is not retiring. Even if you and some boxing pundits think he should. Tonight (Saturday) he fights Keith Thurman at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas and is expected to pull down about a cool $26 million for his trouble. If you’re getting paid like that, why retire exactly? He has said he wants to fight another five years or so.

After that, he’d like to buy part of an NBA team.

That’s what he told TMZ in a pre-fight interview.

He said he has thought about buying a piece of an NBA team after he retires. Pacquiao, a basketball nut who uses the sport as part of his training, owns an entire semi-pro league — the Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League — in the Philippines (one of the most basketball-crazy nations on earth). Pacquiao said he thinks his experience with that league would help him as an NBA owner, that some of the skills will translate, which is likely true. Pacquiao said it’s about finding the right opportunity.

Forbes estimates that Pacquiao will have earned, after Saturday’s fight, more than $500 million in his career. Various websites estimate his net worth in the $200 million range. He’s got the money to jump in as a part owner.

In an NBA that loves personalities and characters — and one always trying to gain more traction in Asian markets — don’t be shocked if this happens someday.

Once Pacquiao retires.

C.J.McCollum, Eric Gordon both withdraw from USA Basketball for World Cup

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First Anthony Davis. Then James Harden.

Now add C.J. McCollum and Eric Gordon to the list, as reported by Shams Charania of The Athletic and Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports.

Don’t be surprised if a couple of new players are added to the USA roster for training camp.

The loss of those four stars strips the Team USA of some international experience. As pointed out by John Schuhmann of NBA.com, now only four members invited to USA camp have played in the World Cup or Olympics: Harrison Barnes, Andre Drummond, Kevin Love, and Kyle Lowry — and Lowry just had thumb surgery and is questionable for the playing in China.

USA Basketball can still roll out this starting five:

Damian Lillard
Bradley Beal
Khris Middleton
Tobias Harris
Andre Drummond

Then off the bench have Kemba Walker, Donovan Mitchell, Kyle Lowry, Jayson Tatum, P.J. Tucker, Kevin Love, Brook Lopez.

That’s still enough talent, coached by Gregg Popovich, to win the World Cup. The USA remains the heavy favorites for a reason.

USA Basketball is scheduled to begin its pre-World Cup camp in Las Vegas Aug. 5, with an intrasquad exhibition game at the T-Mobile Arena on Aug. 9. Then the team heads to Southern California for more training followed by an exhibition against Spain on Aug. 16 at the Honda Center in Anaheim, Calif. Then the team heads overseas for the World Cup, which begins in China on Aug. 31.