Getty Images

Adam Silver wants to fix NBA’s draft hat game, changes to rules on draft trades possible

3 Comments

LAS VEGAS (AP) — NBA Commissioner Adam Silver wants the hat game fixed.

Mindful that it was awkward for draft picks this year who were selected by one team and had already been traded to another – but because of league rules, were unable to be introduced by their actual franchise for more than two weeks – Silver said there was discussion Tuesday at the league’s board of governors meeting about how to change that going forward.

Several ideas are under discussion, including changing the rules about how and when draft-night trades can be announced. It could be earlier next season and not necessarily attached to the early July end to the moratorium on trades and certain signings.

“We’ve got to fix that,” Silver said.

First-round picks were issued hats to wear on stage at the draft, corresponding with the team that chose them. De'Andre Hunter went No. 4 overall, taken by the Los Angeles Lakers. His rights had been traded twice – first to New Orleans as part of the Anthony Davis deal, then to Atlanta. But since neither of those trades could be finalized before July 6, Hunter wore a Lakers cap on stage.

“We talk about being fan friendly, and that isn’t fan friendly,” Silver said.

There are plenty of changes that will be under consideration in the next few months, including one about the rules regarding the start to the negotiating period for free agents. Silver said that was also a topic among the board of governors on Tuesday.

For the draft night-traded players, it’s about more than the hats. Because some draftees couldn’t be part of their franchises before July 6, they were assured of missing the start of NBA Summer League. It cost a few players the chance to play in summer league at all, which disappointed many of them.

That won’t be an issue next year, with Summer League in Las Vegas scheduled to begin on July 10, 2020, long after the NBA’s new league year is likely to begin. So any draft pick that gets traded on draft night should, in theory, be with his actual team in plenty of time to take part in summer contests.

But this year, it was an issue.

“I was really disappointed,” Phoenix rookie Ty Jerome said.

Former North Carolina forward Cam Johnson wound up with Phoenix after being drafted No. 11 by Minnesota. By the time the draft could be executed, the Suns felt it was too late to put Johnson and Jerome – the No. 24 pick whose rights were traded twice on his way to Phoenix – on the floor for summer league.

So they remained in a cautious state of limbo for a couple of weeks, because an injury could have potentially derailed any trades.

“The one thing I was told was just to lay low,” Johnson said. “As much as I wanted to go out there, I wanted to play pickup, I was back at Carolina for a week and there were alumni games and all that that I didn’t really take part in because I was told to lay low – which I did. A lot of court workouts, a little one-on-one every now and then, a lot of lifting, staying under the radar but continuing to work.”

Atlanta general manager Travis Schlenk said he thought this year was an outlier on the picks-being-traded front, simply because of how many teams found themselves in situations where moves were possible.

The Hawks introduced their draft picks, Hunter and Bruno Fernando, in Las Vegas this past weekend instead of in Atlanta, because both were draft picks whose rights were held up in trades until the moratorium was lifted and swaps could be finalized.

“It’s a hard situation, because you don’t have their rights even though everyone kind of knows it,” Schlenk said. “I’m sure the league will look into it to see what they can do. They take, obviously, tampering and salary-cap circumvention and trying to get around it very seriously, so I’m sure they will take a look at it.”

 

NBA veteran Jason Terry takes job as assistant coach at Arizona

Ronald Martinez/Getty Images
Leave a comment

Jason Terry played four years for the legendary Lute Olsen at Arizona, winning a national championship in 1997 and averaging 21.9 points a game his senior year. The Jet went on from there to play 19 years in the NBA, winning a Sixth Man of the Year award in 2009, and he was part of the 2011 Dallas Mavericks championship team.

Terry had moved into the front office side of the business and was serving as the assistant GM of the Texas Legends, Dallas’ G-League affiliate. Now, however, he is jumping back to his alma mater, reports Shams Charania of The Athletic.

This is a smart hire by Arizona and head coach Sean Miller. High schoolers going to a major D-1 school all have NBA dreams and having a respected NBA veteran who can say “this is what it takes” on staff is a big plus. Besides, Terry was a smart player who knows the game and had a mentality suited to coaching.

For Terry, he’s back in a place he likes, he’s young (42) and has a world of options ahead of him.

Scott Foster says it’s going to be different officiating without fans in building

Rocky Widner/NBAE via Getty Images
Leave a comment

The noise from 18,000 people can cover up a lot of sounds in an NBA arena. So when a back-bench assistant coach yells “bulls****” after a call he doesn’t like, the official never hears it and the game moves on.

Not when NBA games restart in fan-less facilities in Orlando in a couple of months. Without those fans, referees are going to get to hear that coach. And a whole lot more.

It’s going to be weird for referees in Orlando, just like for players, veteran official Scott Foster said recently on NBA TV.

I know I don’t want everything that we normally say to each other going out. But normally we’re all in a professional manner out there. But it is going to be different. There’s going to be some assistant coaches that we haven’t really heard from before sitting in the second row that we’ll be able to hear now, so there’s going to be some adjustment there. And then I think we’re going to need to really talk about and analyze what is OK for the public to hear and how we’re going to go about our business.

But it’s definitely going to be a different thing. I’m definitely looking forward to it. I think it’s going to be a really unique experience for the referees, players, coaches, everybody who’s going to go through this.”

It is going to be unique. Everybody is going to hear everything, and that is going to be very different from most nights when coaches have to go to hand signals because it’s too loud just to call out a play. It’s going to lead to some awkward and tense moments.

Everyone is going to have to adjust to the new reality, and that includes the referees, too.

 

Report: NBA group stage could include 24 teams

Wizards guard Bradley Beal and Bulls guard Zach LaVine
Patrick McDermott/Getty Images
Leave a comment

The initial report on the NBA resuming with a group stage presented a 20-team scenario. There’d be four groups with five teams each – one from each tier of the current standings:

  • Tier 1: Bucks, Lakers, Raptors, Clippers
  • Tier 2: Celtics, Nuggets, Jazz, Heat
  • Tier 3: Thunder, Rockets, Pacers, 76ers
  • Tier 4: Mavericks, Grizzlies, Nets, Magic
  • Tier 5: Trail Blazers, Pelicans, Kings, Spurs

Teams would play each other team in its group, and the top two finishers in each group would advance to an eight-team tournament (effectively the second round of the playoffs, though without conference splits).

But that format could apparently include four more teams.

Zach Lowe of ESPN:

In brief, per several sources who have seen the league’s proposal: The NBA could take 20 (or 24) teams and divide them into groups

The simplest way to expand to 24 teams would be adding a sixth tier then forming four groups of six. That’d mean adding:

  • Tier 6: Suns, Wizards, Hornets, Bulls

Bleh.

The more games the NBA holds, the more money the league will make. But the more people involved, the more risk of someone contracting and spreading coronavirus. It’s a fine line, and the league has sought a middle ground.

Phoenix, Washington, Charlotte and Chicago strike me as too lousy to include. Those teams are well outside the normal playoff race, and there’s no good reason to believe they would’ve made a late push.

In this environment, they might have shot, though. Coronavirus increases variability. Players have had differing access to resources and differing motivation to train during the hiatus. Once play resumes, positive tests could be scattered randomly. Would anyone view the Suns, Wizards, Hornets or Bulls as deserving of a berth in the eight-team tournament? If one of those four teams qualified, that’d probably just show the setup was flawed.

The fairest way to set the playoffs is with 20 teams, depending on structure. Resuming with just 16 teams wouldn’t be that far behind. The highest financial upside comes with all 30 teams, but that seems infeasible.

Setting the line at 24 teams seems like the worst of most worlds – including four bad teams that wouldn’t generate much interest but would threaten to disrupt everything else.

Michael Porter Jr.: Pray for both George Floyd’s family and police officers involved in ‘this evil’

Nuggets rookie Michael Porter Jr. and Knicks forward Maurice Harkless
Bart Young/NBAE via Getty Images
Leave a comment

Several NBA players posted about George Floyd, a black man who died after being pinned to the ground by a Minneapolis police officer for about eight minutes.

Nuggets rookie Michael Porter Jr. struck a different tone than most.

Porter:

Knicks forward Maurice Harkless:

Harkless, whose dismay was shared by many, is a seasoned veteran. Porter has made made rookie gaffes.

But I’m uncomfortable criticizing someone for calling for prayer for anyone. For some, prayer can be effective way to cope amid tragedy. Many believe prayer can change the world.

Porter didn’t say prayer alone should be the solution. In fact, he called the situation “evil” and “murder,” seemingly suggesting the need for criminal justice, too.