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Supreme Court strikes down sports-gambling ban, which is good news for NBA

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The NBA wants widespread legalized sports betting.

The NBA will get widespread legalized sports betting.

Pete Williams of NBC News:

The U.S. Supreme Court acted Monday to bust Nevada’s monopoly on legal sports betting, allowing more states to get in on the action and reap the tax benefits.

The court struck down a federal law that required states to ban gambling on the outcome of sporting events. The Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act was highly unusual: it did not ban sports gambling nationwide as a matter of federal law, but it said the states were not allowed to permit it.

New Jersey and then-Gov. Chris Christie challenged the law, arguing that it violated the Tenth Amendment, which the Supreme Court has said prohibits federal laws that compel states to carry out federal dictates. The gambling law, Christie said, commandeered the states by forcing them to prohibit sports wagering.

Writing for the majority, Justice Samuel Alito said the problem with the federal law is that “state legislatures are put under the direct control of Congress.”

“A more direct affront to state sovereignty is not easy to imagine,” he wrote.

This a good ruling for the American people. Let the states decide. (And, psst, hey states, let people bet on sports.)

It’s also, incidentally, a good ruling for the NBA. The league is pushing for a cut of the action, and increased betting on basketball will drive interest in the games themselves. People with money on the line are more likely to watch, either by buying tickets or watching on television.

States will set up sports betting at different paces. New Jersey appears nearly ready. Others will follow.

But this is coming – to the delight of the NBA.

Stan Van Gundy reverses course, says he’s open to coaching another team after Pistons fired him

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Shortly after the Pistons hired him, Stan Van Gundy said that would be his last NBA job.

But he didn’t want his Detroit tenure to end as quickly as it did.

So, four years later, Van Gundy is backing off his declaration that he wouldn’t coach elsewhere.

Vince Ellis of the Detroit Free Press:

“If the right situation came along, I wouldn’t dismiss it,” Van Gundy said. “I’m not going out on the terms I would like.”

Van Gundy was highly successful with the Heat and Magic. He’s probably still good enough to coach in the NBA, especially when not also splitting his time as team president.

After getting fired in Orlando, Van Gundy waited three years to return to the sideline. He accepted the Pistons’ job only when they offered front-office control. He probably won’t get that anywhere again, but he’ll also likely remain choosy.

The Bucks and Raptors are good teams with vacancies. Van Gundy still has plenty of Florida ties, and the Magic are also looking. Would any of those jobs intrigue him?

Raptors (59-23) had one of best records ever for a team firing its coach

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The Raptors firing Dwane Casey was both unsurprising and understandable.

There had been signs for days. Really, for years.

And maybe Toronto could use a shakeup after repeatedly faltering in the playoffs, including getting swept by LeBron James and the Cavaliers in the second round the last two years. It’s easier to change the coach than the players, especially with Kyle Lowry, DeMar DeRozan, Serge Ibaka and Jonas Valanciunas locked into expensive, multi-year contracts.

Nonetheless, it’s still shocking on a certain level to see a coach fired after guiding a team to a 59-23 season.

That’s the fifth-best record ever for a team that changed coaches after the season:

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It can murky whether a coach got fired or resigned.

But the 76ers (62-20) definitely fired Alex Hannum in 1968. The Cavaliers (61-21) definitely fired Mike Brown in 2010. The SuperSonics (61-21) definitely fired George Karl in 1998. The Pistons (59-23) definitely fired Flip Saunders in 2008.

They all had final-year records at least as good as Casey’s. Like Casey, most of them just didn’t advance far enough in the playoffs over multiple years.

The exception: Hannum, who lasted just two years in his second stint coaching the 76ers franchise (previously, the Syracuse Nationals). He won a championship in the first season then got fired after going 62-20 in the second.

So, it could be worse than the treatment Casey received.

Report: Hawks moving toward hiring 76ers Lloyd Pierce as head coach

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The Hawks reportedly narrowed their coaching search to four assistants – the 76ers’ Lloyd Pierce, Trail Blazers’ Nate Tibbetts, Hornets’ Stephen Silas and Celtics’ Jay Larranaga.

Now, it appears Atlanta is closing in on one.

Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN:

Philadelphia 76ers assistant Lloyd Pierce met with Atlanta Hawks officials for a third time on Friday, emerging as the primary focus of the franchise’s head-coaching search, league sources told ESPN.

A formal offer is expected as soon as today, league sources said.

Pierce is experienced in player development, especially with the 76ers tanking the previous few years. The Hawks, as they just get started rebuilding, will need plenty of that.

Atlanta has John Collins, Taurean Prince, three first-round picks in the upcoming draft (the fourth slot in the lottery, No. 19 and No. 30), all its own future first-rounders and an extra top-10-protected selection from the Cavaliers. It’s a decent start, but the Hawks must draft well then groom that young talent.

They’re apparently counting on Pierce for the latter.

Report: Klay Thompson could sign contract extension this offseason, which would save Warriors many millions

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Klay Thompson wants to stay with the Warriors. More specifically, he wants to stay with the dominant Warriors who have Stephen Curry, Kevin Durant and Draymond Green.

So, Thompson might put his money where his mouth is this summer.

Marcus Thompson of The Athletic:

According to multiple sources, Thompson and the Warriors have already engaged in discussions regarding a contract extension.

Thompson is already under contract next season at $18,988,725.

The largest extension he could sign, starting July 1 through the following June 30, would be worth $102,083,386 over five years ($25,520,846 annually). He could earn far more if he makes an All-NBA team this season, but with James Harden, Damian Lillard, Jimmy Butler, Russell Westbrook, Chris Paul, Victor Oladipo, Stephen Curry and DeMar DeRozan at guard, that’s highly unlikely.

If Thompson let his current contract expire then re-signs with Golden State in 2019 free agency, his max projects to be about $188 million over five years (about $38 million annually). That’s about $86 million more overall and $12 million more annually than an extension this offseason.

By signing an extension this summer, he’d also forfeit the chance to earn a super-max contract as a 2019 free agent. That projects to be worth about $219 million over five years (about $44 million annually) – about $117 million more overall and $18 million more annually than an extension this offseason.

For what it’s worth, Thompson’s max with another team in 2019 free agency projects to be about $139 million over four years (about $35 million annually). So, he definitely has the leverage to get far more from Golden State than an extension this summer would allow.

Thompson signing an extension now would be a major gift to Warriors owners Joe Lacob and Peter Guber, following Durant taking his own discount last summer. Why would Thompson (and Durant, at least his salary reduction below his Non-Bird amount) so willingly grant this favor to these billionaires?

Golden State has Bird Rights for all its stars. It’d be costly to keep those four together, especially considering the luxury tax, but no Collective Bargaining Agreement rule will break up this team. Thompson could put the burden on ownership to pay up. His talent gives him leverage.

And Lacob and Guber might have the means. The Warriors’ revenue is through the roof, and they’re moving into a sparkling new arena in San Francisco.

But not only did the Warriors build a team of great players, they apparently found the great players willing to make major financial sacrifices. That’ll only infuriate the rest of the league even more.