Lakers forward Kyle Kuzma loses ball right into basket (video)

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The Lakers didn’t need any luck in their 125-100 win over the Suns last night.

Kyle Kuzma got some, anyway.

If the ball hadn’t gone in, would that have been a shooting foul?

Security guard for DeMarcus Cousins, Draymond Green and Rajon Rondo dies of coronavirus

Rajon Rondo and DeMarcus Cousins
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A security guard who protected DeMarcus Cousins, Draymond Green and Rajon Rondo has died from the coronavirus.

Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports:

Noordin Said, a beloved security official to NBA players and numerous musical artists, died Tuesday in New York after contracting COVID-19, his daughter confirmed to Yahoo Sports.

“I was heartbroken,” Cousins told Yahoo Sports of hearing the news of his friend’s passing. “It sucks, especially losing a guy like him. He’s an A-1, first-class-type dude. Anybody he’s ever come in contact with, all you heard was good reviews. He’s just a good, genuine dude. He took his job seriously, did it with class, did it with the best of his abilities, super professional, and the family man in him would give you advice on the daily. He was an OG at the same time. This hurts. It was a bad situation. There wasn’t much you could do. All you could do was sit from afar and hope and pray for the best. And that’s what we did.”

This is obviously heartbreaking for Said’s family and friends. Condolences to them.

It’s also yet another warning to the NBA as the league considers resuming play in a centralized location amid the ongoing pandemic.

Said didn’t work for teams. Cousins, Green and Rondo hired him on their own. If teams congregate in Las Vegas to finish the season, some players will probably want personal security. The number of people – and potential coronavirus connection points – who’d be involved in a restarted season is huge.

Report: New Bulls lead executive Arturas Karnisovas to hire person of color as GM

Bulls lead executive Arturas Karnisovas
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The Bulls picked Arturas Karnisovas as their new executive vice president of basketball operations.

But not before drawing criticism for a search that produced eight known candidates – seven of whom were white and none of whom were black.

Vincent Goodwill of Yahoo Sports:

Karnisovas plans to hire a person of color to be the franchise’s general manager, a league source told Yahoo Sports.

COO Michael Reinsdorf, the son of Jerry Reinsdorf, spearheaded the hiring of Karnisovas, and the Bulls asked for permission to interview Oklahoma City Thunder vice president of basketball operations Troy Weaver, an African-American, but were denied by the Thunder, league sources told Yahoo Sports.

It’s difficult to assess racial bias on a case-by-case basis. Previously unreported consideration of Weaver is one example why. We don’t know everything the Bulls did during this search, let alone what they were thinking.

But in a macro sense, it’s more clear black people get unfavorable treatment in front-office hiring. It’s just unfathomable that, if treated fairly, black people would hold so few executive positions.

The Bulls are clearly trying to change the narrative around them. But the box-checking is disturbing.

Does Karnisovas already have a general manager lined up? If so, it seems cheap to leak his or her identity as only a “person of color.”

Or is Karnisovas narrowing his search to only people of color? If so, that doesn’t address the root of the problem.

The Bulls should hire the best person for the job. They should do their best to eliminate bias in the search process. Without actively taking that difficult step, they won’t actually give themselves the best chance of finding the best person.

If all teams did that, there’d be more black executives. There’d be more women executives. There’d be more diverse executives by any reasonable measure.

A system-wide problem demands a more-holistic solution than a narrowed search in the other direction.

2020 PBT Awards: Sixth Man of the Year

Clippers Montrezl Harrell and Lou Williams and Thunder guard Dennis Schroder
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The NBA regular season might be finished. Heck, the entire NBA season might be finished. Even if play resumes with regular-season games, there’d likely be an abridged finish before the playoffs (which will also likely be shortened).

So, we’re making our 2019-20 award picks now. If the regular season somehow lasts long enough to reconsider our choices, we’ll do that. But here are our selections on the assumption the regular season is over.

Kurt Helin

1.  Montrezl Harrell, Clippers

2.  Dennis Schroder, Thunder

3.  Derrick Rose, Pistons

A Clipper gets my vote, and for the first time in years, it’s not Lou Williams (who would be fourth on my ballot). Montrezl Harrell improved his game this year defensively and he continues to bring energy and grit off the bench that has made the Clippers’ second unit one of the most feared in the league. Schroder had a fantastic season, mostly when paired in a three-guard lineup with Chris Paul and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander. Rose faded a little at the end and the Pistons didn’t win much, but he averaged 18.1 points a game and was the team’s best player for chunks of the season.

Dan Feldman

1. Montrezl Harrell, Clippers

2. Dennis Schroder, Thunder

3. Christian Wood, Pistons

After finishing a deserved third for this award last year, Montrezl Harrell improved his scoring skill and played stingier defense while maintaining his energetic style. That moved him past Clippers reserve teammate and reigning Sixth Man of the Year Lou Williams. Harrell and Williams work well in tandem, but it seems Harrell has taken a little more ownership of their shared production.

Dennis Schroder scored more effectively than ever. He also diversified his all-around game to fit with the Thunder’s other point guards, Chris Paul and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander. Schroder absolutely deserves credit for helping make that trio work.

Christian Wood narrowly topped Bucks guards George Hill and Donte DiVincenzo, who both did plenty to help replace Malcolm Brogdon. Wood made so many productive plays inside and out, especially as a starter after the Pistons traded Andre Drummond. That’s part of being a good reserve, stepping up when the starter is unavailable.

Keith Smith

1. Dennis Schroder, Thunder

2. Montrezl Harrell, Clippers

3. Lou Williams, Clippers

It seemed like this might be another year where the two Clippers could have split the award, but Dennis Schroder was just a bit better than both. In his second year coming off the Thunder bench, Schroder has put together the best season of his career. He’s averaging 19 points per game, while shooting 46.8% from the field overall and 38.1% from three, both career highs. And he’s also averaging 4.1 assists per game and 3.7 rebounds per game. To top it off, Schroder is regularly a part of the closing lineup for the surprising Thunder.

L.A.’s two bench stars could be mainstays on this ballot if they stay in reserve roles with the Clippers. Williams has hit Jamal Crawford-territory, where award could be named for him. He had another outstanding scoring season at 18.7 points per game, but what stood out was Williams’ career-best 5.7 assists per game. Harrell also continued to impress with 18.6 points on 58% shooting, to go along with 7.1 rebounds and 1.1 blocks per game.

Report: NBA players will receive full paychecks Wednesday

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NBA paychecks are due Wednesday, which created a showdown in a league missing out on significant revenue due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Owners reportedly wanted to withhold 50 percent of those paychecks and going forward. Players reportedly countered with a 25 percent reduction beginning in mid-May.

For now, the status quo remains, as desired by the National Basketball Players Association.

Shams Charania of The Athletic:

Players will lose money due to this stoppage. The Collective Bargaining Agreement distributes revenue nearly evenly between owners and players. So, both sides will feel a hit.

The biggest question: When?

So far, owners are suffering the losses. Players are still being paid on time.

But players will eventually relinquish a portion of their paychecks this season. Even the NBPA’s counterproposal ceded that, and the union has warned agents to prepare.

The NBA can withhold salaries through force majeure. But that requires canceling games. According to NBA commissioner Adam Silver, that won’t happen until May at the earliest.

So, that leaves negotiation rather than just relying on CBA mechanisms. Both sides want to maintain some semblance of the current system, including avoiding a huge salary-cap drop next season.

If players want to get paid a “normal” amount next season, they’ll have to relinquish the lost money at another time. Some of that will happen this season, when some owners are hurting.

It won’t start Wednesday. But paycheck reductions are coming soon enough.