Kevin Winter/Getty Images for Turner Sports

NBA endorses Chuck Schumer’s plan for federal regulation of sports gambling


Widespread legalized sports gambling is here/coming.

What will the NBA do about it?

Apparently get behind Chuck Schumer.

Darren Rovell of ESPN:

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) became the latest member of Congress to put forth specific suggestions for a federal framework for sports betting Wednesday in a memo first provided to ESPN.

Schumer’s suggestions include the idea that all sportsbooks only use official league data to determine outcomes and that the sports leagues themselves should be involved in determining what bets would be accepted.

Schumer also suggested leagues would have to reasonably step up monitoring, but did not mention so-called “integrity fees,” the idea that leagues should be paid a portion of bets on their sport as compensation for ratcheting up security associated with sports gambling out in the open.

Schumer also puts forth more obvious suggestions, such as making it illegal for anyone under 21 to place a sports bet in any state; requiring entities taking bets to responsibly advertise by not targeting youth and to properly disclose dangers of betting; and reporting suspicious activity and sharing information among sportsbooks, the leagues and state regulators that could help uncover anything that compromises the integrity of games.

Statement from the National Basketball Association, Major League Baseball and the PGA Tour

As legalized sports betting spreads across the states, there is a need for consistent, nationwide integrity standards to safeguard the sports millions of fans love. We strongly support the legislative framework outlined by Senator Schumer and we encourage Congress to adopt it.

Of course the NBA likes Schumer’s plan. It gives the league a monopoly in handling the necessary data. The NBA could extract many millions from sportsbooks, building on one casino partnership already in place.

Why not allow other parties to supply data? As long as bettors understand who’s tracking results and how, they can make an informed decision on where to gamble. Giving the NBA a monopoly would hurt consumers, as the league’s inevitable high charge to sportsbooks would get passed down to bettors.

And why is 21 a logical age minimum for sports betting? People can already gamble in many places at 18 or 19.

People bet plenty on sports while it was illegal (illegal because of Congress, no less). Where was Schumer’s concern for the integrity of sports then? That integrity was far more likely to be compromised while sports gambling was an underground market. Bringing the activity into the light should alleviate concerns of integrity.

Integrity seems like just an excuse for more federal regulation, which the NBA will welcome as long it makes the league more money.

Enes Kanter: You don’t sign with Milwaukee Bucks ‘unless they give you good, good money’

AP Photo/Morry Gash

Enes Kanter tried to draw attention by saying he was leaning toward declining his $18,622,514 player option with the Knicks. Nobody really bought that, but Kanter tweeted and deleted a deer emoji shortly before his option deadline, sparking rumors about him going to the Bucks.

Kanter, via Royce Young of ESPN:

I know I was not going to go to the Milwaukee Bucks. It’s the Milwaukee Bucks. Unless they give you good, good money, then go, but you don’t leave New York for Milwaukee.

Of course Kanter opted in. And of course he continues to talk trash.

Milwaukee will probably resent being his latest target, especially because Kanter is reinforcing a common sentiment. Milwaukee is the small market most commonly dumped on. It used to be Cleveland, but then LeBron James showed up.

Giannis Antetokounmpo is trying to change the Bucks’ reputation, and he probably will. But for now, Milwaukee will hear these cracks.

Then, people will move onto Detroit, Charlotte or maybe Cleveland again.

Bulls biding their time, except forced into action with Zach LaVine


NBCSports.com’s Dan Feldman is grading every team’s offseason based on where the team stands now relative to its position entering the offseason. A ‘C’ means a team is in similar standing, with notches up or down from there.

The Bulls have a type.

Young volume scorer with suspect complementary skills who tore an ACL in February 2017.

The Bulls matched the Kings’ four-year, $78 million offer sheet to Zach LaVine and signed Jabari Parker to a two-year, $40 million deal with a team option.

Great for those players considering their injury histories. Good for Chicago?

LaVine could be worth $78 million over the next four years. The 23-year-old is a talented outside shooter and at least was an electric dunker. Those tools coupled with his age certainly give him a chance.

But he’s so far from that level, I wouldn’t have matched Sacramento’s offer sheet. That would have been a bitter to swallow after LaVine was the centerpiece of the Jimmy Butler trade, but throwing good money after bad is a mistake.

LaVine just too rarely puts his athleticism to good use in NBA games. He settles for too many jumpers, especially off the dribble. He doesn’t add anything as a defender or rebounder. Last year was a lost season for him, and while maybe that shouldn’t count too much against him, it certainly wasn’t encouraging.

The Parker signing looks much better. He showed more of an all-around game offensively before getting hurt, and he displayed his defensive potential in last year’s playoffs. He brings more functional talent to the table.

But he was available for less of a commitment because his ACL tear was his second. That’s a scary injury history, though Parker eased fears by showing his bounce after he returned last season.

I’m hardly convinced Parker will be worth $20 million either of the next two seasons. I would have preferred making the trade the Nets did with the Nuggets, absorbing bad contracts to gain draft picks. But even if it wasn’t their best option, the Bulls still helped themselves by betting on Parker. If it doesn’t work, they can drop him in a year.

Chicago’s most important decisions of the offseason weren’t LaVine and Parker, though. The big moves were drafting Wendell Carter Jr. No. 7 and Chandler Hutchison No. 22. Those are just too difficult to evaluate yet.

I was down on Carter before the draft, but I always liked his fit next to Lauri Markkanen. And Carter meaningfully impressed in summer league, reducing concerns about his defensive mobility.

If Carter and Hutchinson hit, they’d nicely complement Markkanen and send the Bulls in the right direction. Maybe even some of Kris Dunn, Bobby Portis and Denzel Valentine come along.

Chicago is still figuring out what it has, and this season will be another year of evaluation and probably losing. Markkanen is the only clear keeper, which means this rebuild is still in its early stages.

The Bulls can swing big in 2019 free agency or continue their slow progress. I’d just rather move forward without LaVine’s deal, but even that could work out.

Offseason grade: C-

Jeremy Lin: Driver asked whether I was in high school (video)

Abbie Parr/Getty Images

When he played for the Hornets, Jeremy Lin had trouble convincing a security guard to allow him into Charlotte’s arena.

But does the 6-foot-3 30-year-old really look like a high schooler?

Lin said his driver deemed it possible:

Lin then asked the driver – apparently a Warriors fan – whether he liked the Hawks, Lin’s new team:

Lin’s Asian-American heritage has had a profound effect on his life, especially in basketball. That should be taken seriously.

But it’s also nice to see Lin appearing to have fun with his atypical looks for an NBA player.

Tom Thibodeau says he’s ‘very optimistic’ Timberwolves will extend Karl-Anthony Towns’ contract

Zhong Zhi/Getty Images

There reportedly was a rift between Tom Thibodeau and Karl-Anthony Towns, a rift between Jimmy Butler and Towns and a rift between Butler and Thibodeau.

But Thibodeau is here to present a unified front.

Not only did the Timberwolves president-coach express confidence in Butler re-signing next summer, Thibodeau is also talking up Towns staying long-term.

Jerry Zgoda of the StarTribune:

Thibodeau said he’s “very optimistic” the Wolves will sign Towns to a contract extension before the regular season starts.

A max contract extension for Towns projects to be worth $190 million (if he makes an All-NBA team or wins Defensive Player of the Year next season) or $158 million (if he doesn’t qualify for the super-max) over five years.

He and Minnesota reportedly began discussing parameters a month and a half ago. What’s taking so long?

To be fair, there are details to work out – player option, what precisely happens if Towns qualifies for the super max, etc. The Timberwolves might also be reluctant after Andrew Wiggins‘ max extension last summer backfired, as he regressed last season.

But Towns is far better than Wiggins. Minnesota should avoid turning one mistake into two.

If the Timberwolves can lock up Towns for the next five years, they should pay any price.