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NBA Sacramento Kings DeMarcus Cousins

Sacramento Kings DeMarcus Cousins May Be In Play

Warm up all those fantasy trade rumors, according to Ailene Voisin of The Sacramento Bee, the Kings are sending out mixed messages about the availability of everyone’s favorite trade target at center DeMarcus Cousins. He is most definitely in play.

Within the past two weeks, three different team executives complained the Kings once again were sending mixed signals. Divac was receptive to moving Cousins, while Ranadive was still meddling and still leaning toward keeping Boogie.

The plan of attack should be obvious by now. General manager Vlade Divac should be immersed in conversations with those of his peers intrigued by Cousins and burning up his cellphone battery working over the skeptics. Celtics. Lakers. Cavs. Mavs. Suns. Magic. The list surely will expand before Feb. 23, with Boston, L.A. and Phoenix armed with an array of young assets to facilitate a prudent, deliberate, long overdue Kings rebuild.

This is the way big deals get done. The Kings have to maximize their return in any deal for Cousins as they know, on the right team, Cousins could be the difference between pretender and NBA Finals contender. He is that talented, so teams will bid against one another to get him.

As painful as it will be to part ways with Cousins, Kings principal owner Vivek Ranadive and Divac must surely know by now that all the salary cap space in the world isn’t going to bring a max free agent that could take their team into contention. Not with a revolving door coaching policy, a decade in the NBA Draft Lottery, and all that bad press their organization seems to get from just about every NBA player that’s been fortunate enough to escape to another team.

While the Kings could tear this thing down to the wood and do a total rebuild through the draft, that may not be necessary. If the Kings have proven anything over the past decade it’s they aren’t very good at picking and developing talent.

Yes they will absolutely want first round draft picks, but more importantly, the players they get back in any trade for Cousins had better be young, proven, NBA level talent. They need players with potential who can be inserted into a starting lineup right now. It’s not like they don’t need upgrades at every single position outside of Cousins.

Any deal has to be a homerun.

The biggest problem the Kings will have in trying to extract full value for Cousins is his ridiculously low $17 million salary, but it won’t be hard to find parts to add in order to get that number up.

While a broken down Rudy Gay might be challenging to pawn off on another team, Arron Afflalo and his $12.5 million deal is only guaranteed for $1.5 million next year and he’s a guy another GM could be talked into taking. Divac has pieces he can use.

So NBA GMs should start looking at their starters, key rotation players, rookies and draft picks to see if they’ve got enough to make Ranadive and Divac feel like winners as they let the “best center in the game” walk out their door and in all likelihood help some other team become an NBA Finals contender. Rationally they can’t say no to a good deal and they shouldn’t have any trouble convincing other people that Cousins was never going to fulfill his promise in Sacramento anyway.



Stephen_Brotherston_insideStephen Brotherston covers the Toronto Raptors and visiting NBA teams at the Air Canada Centre and is a member of the Professional Basketball Writers Association.

 Featured image courtesy of Larry Millson




FIBA Team Canada Anthony Bennett

Canadian Anthony Bennett To Join Fenerbahce In Turkey

Former number one overall NBA draft pick from Canada Anthony Bennett will join FIBA club team Fenerbahce In Turkey after bring cut by the Brooklyn Nets earlier this week as reported by Sportando.

Bennett was originally drafted by the Cavaliers in 2013 and traded the next summer along with Andrew Wiggins to Timberwolves for Kevin Love as part of a three-team deal. He was waived by Timberwolves the next summer and signed as a free agent by the Toronto Raptors. The Raptors waived him in March and he was signed as a free agent by Brooklyn in July.

Bennett played in 23 games with the Nets before being waived on January 9, 2017. He had played in 151 games and 1,905 total minutes averaging 4.4 points and 3.1 rebounds in the NBA over parts of four seasons.

As a freshman at UNLV in 2012-13, Bennett averaged 16.1 points and 8.1 rebounds.

The biggest winner out of this move may be Canada Basketball as Bennett will learn the FIBA game ahead of this summer’s international play.


 Featured image courtesy of Larry Millson

Cleveland Cavaliers LeBron James

ESPN Favors Toronto To Represent The East In The NBA Finals

Apparently last year’s 56-win season and trip to the Eastern Conference Finals by Toronto wasn’t an aberration, it was just part of a trend as the Raptors led by their two All-Stars Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan have continued the journey this season and are presently favored to represent the East in the NBA Finals this year by ESPN.

ESPN’s Ben Alamar writes,

The Raptors have ridden their offensive prowess to the No. 2 spot in ESPN’s Basketball Power Index and currently have the best chance to represent the Eastern Conference in the NBA Finals at 48 percent.

After playing their final game of calendar 2016, ESPN projects the Raptors to win 58 games this season, one fewer than the Cavs, but their Analytics team gives Toronto a 12.1 percent chance at an NBA title compared to just 8.9 percent for Cleveland. The Warriors continue to dominate projections with a 64.3 percent chance of winning it all this year.

While LeBron James and the Cavaliers will have a lot to say about how the rest of this season and the playoffs play out in the East, to this point Toronto has the top two offensive rated five-man units and the first and third best net rated five-man units in the entire league. So just maybe the objective analytics at ESPN is on to something.


Featured image courtesy of Paul Saini
Instagram: and  @paul_saini


NBA Toronto Raptors DeMar DeRozan Jonas Valanciunas Kyle Lowry 2016 media day

NBA News: Toronto Raptors Are Contenders

Surprisingly, though, it is the Raptors who enter play on December 27 as the NBA’s top-ranked team in offensive efficiency—not the Warriors, not the Cavaliers and not the Spurs.

Simply? The Raptors are benefiting from continuity and chemistry. Dwane Casey, DeMar DeRozan and Kyle Lowry are in their fifth season together and the pieces around them—Jonas Valanciunas, Terrence Ross, Cory Joseph and DeMarre Carroll—fit within their system.

A few days after the Cavs scored one of their biggest wins of the season by defeating the Warriors, the Raptors enter play on December 27 trailing them by one game in the standings.


Source: Basketball Insiders Moke Hamilton



NBA Toronto Raptors DeMar DeRozan and Sacramento Kings Rudy Gay 2016 by Larry Millson

Is The Kings Rudy Gay Showcasing Himself For A Trade?

There have been lots of reports that the Kings Rudy Gay has subtly or not so subtly been hoping for a trade to a contender as the veteran forward recently turned 30-years-old and Sacramento has spent the past decade as a Lottery Team with no one giving them a chance to break the futility streak this season. However, he isn’t moaning or complaining directly, instead a better description of what Gay has been doing is showcasing himself by being on pace for the best shooting percentages (50 percent from the field, 45 percent from three), points scored (22.6 per game) and free throw attempts (6.6 per game) of his career.

“I don’t like talking about my personal goals,” Gay told Pro Bball Report. “I’m a team guy. I feel that nobody can win a game by himself, you got to win it together. Personal goals are B.S. to me. Obviously if you do the right things, you’ll get what you want.”

After a decade in the NBA and playing for three different organizations, Gay knows players are always being evaluated and scouted by the 29 other teams in the league you aren’t currently playing for. Everyone knows if you are doing the right things.

So after missing the front half of a back-to-back on Saturday in Milwaukee due to a painful rib cartilage strain, Gay dragged himself on to the court in Toronto on Sunday to showcase/prove he can play through pain and produce versus last year’s Eastern Conference Finalists. Gay went 9-19 (47.4 percent) from the field and 2-5 from three-point range to score a game-high (tied with DeMar DeRozan) 23 points in 35.4 minutes. The Kings were a team best +12 points with Gay in the game and pulled out a surprising 96-91 victory over the final three minutes.

An NBA career as a proven points producer, Gay is currently at the top of his game and other teams will have noticed.

Gay knows the Kings should improve as the season progresses, it just takes time after every significant change to figure out how to play as a team and Sacramento is on their ninth head coach in 11 seasons.  Gay himself has endured four different head coaches in his 3.7 seasons with the team. The obvious contrast is the tenure and success of the Raptors head coach Dwane Casey, now in his sixth season in Toronto, and the team’s core of DeMar DeRozan, Kyle Lowry, Jonas Valanciunas and Terrence Ross. Plus, Patrick Patterson who came to Toronto as part of the trade for Gay in 2013.

“We are one of those teams that has had a lot of change,” Gay said. “A lot of different scenarios we have to deal with, a lot of different teammates. Whereas you have Toronto where they have had their core for at least their third, fourth year? Maybe longer than that. Fifth year, it is Kyle Lowry’s fifth year here. We don’t have that luxury. So we are just trying to get better as quick as possible.”

Stability is often the hallmark of a good team, not only early in the season, but as the year progresses as well. Even the recent run of “super teams” have tended to struggle and underachieve until the players and coaches got to know each other better. The ever revolving door in Sacramento likely means their struggles will continue.

The speculation that Gay will opt out of the final year of his contract at the end of this season shouldn’t come as a surprise. He’s only slated to earn $14.2 million and as a 30-year-old player, this summer is likely his best chance at locking down his last lucrative long term deal. The Kings know this – actually everyone knows this. No speculation necessary.

Plus, it shouldn’t surprise anyone if his first choice in free agency is to play for a team that’s more stable and has a better chance at winning. Thus the speculation that the Kings should try to get something for Gay by the trade deadline rather than risk losing him for nothing in July. Money can only ease the pain of losing only so much and it remains uncertain if this version of the Kings can start winning enough to attract or keep players like Gay.

Is Rudy Gay showcasing himself in the hopes of promoting a trade? That would be a fair interpretation, but when he was in Toronto playing for a team that wasn’t enjoying much success at the time, he always came across as a team guy that tried to do the right thing.

A showcase of putting up career best numbers this season is the right thing for both Gay and the Sacramento Kings now. Someone will be watching, Boston? Indiana? Miami? Houston? OKC? Toronto?



Stephen_Brotherston_insideStephen Brotherston covers the Toronto Raptors and visiting NBA teams at the Air Canada Centre and is a member of the Professional Basketball Writers Association.

Featured image courtesy of Larry Millson






NBA San Antonio Spurs LaMarcus Aldridge

The LaMarcus Aldridge Spurs Honeymoon Is Over

It started last season according to Jabari Young of, LaMarcus Aldridge wasn’t happy with how things were turning out with the Spurs. He wasn’t going to be the focus of the franchise, not then and not after future Hall of Famer Tim Duncan’s retirement. The honeymoon between the All-Star power forward and his new team might have been over almost before it began.

Last season, there were rumblings in NBA circles that Aldridge wanted to be traded before the All-Star break.

Those close to the situation suggest Aldridge may not be happy at the moment. The belief is the Spurs pitched him on becoming the center of their offense when they recruited him in 2015, and that hasn’t occurred.

Kawhi Leonard is becoming the face of the Spurs franchise and the center of their offense, plus Aldridge still has to deal with fame, reputation and impact of Tony Parker and the non-retirement of Manu Ginobili. The Spurs have always represented themselves as a team that doesn’t care who gets the glory/attention and if Aldridge isn’t happy playing out of the limelight, San Antonio may not be the best fit. Leonard out-polled Aldridge 782,339 votes to 268,003 in the 2016 NBA All-Star voting and Aldridge only received about half (498,131) of the votes he got playing in Portland the year before.

To make matters worse, Kevin Durant jumped ship in OKC to solidify the Warriors position as the dominant team in the Western Conference and making every other franchise, even the 67-win Spurs, mere pretenders to come out of the West. Reduced personal stats, no chance at being voted in as an All-Star and little chance at contending for an NBA title isn’t what the 30-year-old 23 point 10 rebound star Trail Blazers power forward foresaw a year ago.

Basketball Insiders Steve Kyle explains,

Aldridge is being pushed into the No. 2 role (and sometimes No. 3) depending on how the Spurs play.

That’s becoming a source of frustration, mainly because the Spurs are not going to be the championship contender Aldridge thought he was joining and he won’t be the focal-point guy who becomes an All-Star.

All this is beginning to fire up the rumor mill about a possible trade, but there is no hard evidence the Spurs have started down that path – yet.

It’s safe to say the Spurs are not remotely looking at moving Aldridge, but it seems equally safe to say that is not a long-term designation.

If and when the Spurs and Aldridge decide it’s time to part company, there will be no shortage of suitors. Pretty much every team that had cap space took a run at signing Aldridge as a free agent last summer and those same teams and more would try to land him again.

Aldridge is on a team friendly contract based on this past summer’s madness. He is owed $20.5 million this season, $21.4 million next year and has a player option (at 33-years-old) for $22.3 million in 2018-19. However, as every GM in the Association should be aware, if R.C. Buford wants your guy, he probably thinks he’s winning that trade and he probably is – buyer beware.



Stephen_Brotherston_insideStephen Brotherston covers the Toronto Raptors and visiting NBA teams at the Air Canada Centre and is a member of the Professional Basketball Writers Association.






NBA Philadelphia 76ers Ben Simmons

76ers Are Cursed: First Overall Pick Ben Simmons Breaks His Foot

So much for worrying about the Philadelphia 76ers having too many big men and not enough minutes to go around. This team is cursed. The NBA’s 2016 first overall draft pick Ben Simmons has a broken bone in his right foot and it goes without saying, he’s out indefinitely.

This is just the latest in a string of setbacks for the 76ers as they try to rebuild from the ashes of recent disastrous/deliberately tanked seasons.

Sixth overall pick in 2013 6’11 Nerlens Noel missed his first season with a torn ACL. Third overall pick in 2014 7′ Joel Embiid missed his rookie season because of a stress fracture to his right foot and has yet to play a game because of foot surgeries. Then their third overall pick in the 2015 NBA draft 6’11 Jahil Okafor managed to get six games past the All-Star break before his season was prematurely cut short by season ending knee surgery.

What Simmons has suffered is typically called a Jones fracture and history says it can be a tricky injury to overcome. Other NBA players who have gone through this condition include: Kevin Durant, Brook Lopez, Glen Davis and Rasheed Wallace just to name a few. It hasn’t been that uncommon for complications or even a second surgery to be required.

The 76ers seem to living under a dark cloud these past few years.





Chris Bosh NBA Miami Heat

Chris Bosh Fails His Physical With The Heat

It has been widely reported that when blood clotting issues reoccur the condition will likely be chronic, so it shouldn’t have come as a surprise that All-Star Chris Bosh failed his physical with the Heat prior to the start of training camp as reported by Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald.

The Heat had gone into this week expecting to clear Bosh to resume his career this season

an issue arose in blood work this week, the Heat concluded he could not be cleared to return.

A statement released Friday afternoon by the Heat said, “the Miami Heat and Chris Bosh, in consultation with team doctors and other physicians, have been working together for many months with the mutual goal of having Chris return to the court as soon as possible. Chris has now taken his preseason physical. The Miami Heat regret that it remains unable to clear Chris to return to basketball activities, and there is no timetable for his return.”

Bosh was the last of the “Big 3” that included LeBron James and Dwyane Wade who had led the Heat to four consecutive NBA Finals appearances and two championships. Many pundits did not expect the Heat to reach the postseason with or without Bosh this year.

It is expected the Heat will apply for salary cap relief for the balance of Bosh’s contract per NBA guidelines.

Bosh, 32, is due $76 million over the next three seasons of his five-year, $118 million contract. And while he is expected to be paid all of that even if he doesn’t play again, there is a mechanism for the Heat to clear his substantial cap hits for the final two seasons of the contract — $25.3 million in 2017-18 and $26.8 million in 2018-19.

The Heat cannot apply to remove Bosh’s salary from its cap until Feb. 9, the anniversary of his last game.

Bosh was originally drafted by the Toronto Raptors fourth overall in 2003 and has been an All-Star every season starting in 2005-06.






NBA Adam Silver - web

NBA Stands Up For Tolerance In America

Taking a brave stand for tolerance, the NBA has announced the 2017 All-Star Game has been moved from Charlotte to New Orleans.

Press Release

New Orleans has been selected to host NBA All-Star 2017, the NBA announced today. The 66th NBA All-Star Game will be played on Sunday, Feb. 19, at Smoothie King Center – home of the New Orleans Pelicans. The game was previously scheduled to be held in Charlotte, N.C.

In addition to the game, the Smoothie King Center will host the BBVA Compass Rising Stars Challenge on Friday, Feb. 17 and State Farm All-Star Saturday Night on Saturday, Feb. 18 while the NBA All-Star Practice, NBA All-Star Celebrity Game and NBA Development League All-Star Game presented by Kumho Tire will take place at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. This will mark the third time the “Crescent City” has been the site of the league’s annual midseason celebration, having previously hosted the event in 2008 and 2014.

“New Orleans is a world-class destination for sports and entertainment and we are very appreciative that the city is once again hosting our All-Star festivities,” said NBA Commissioner Adam Silver. “We are grateful to Tom and Gayle Benson and the Pelicans organization and to Governor John Bel Edwards, Mayor Mitch Landrieu and the Greater New Orleans Sports Foundation for inviting us back for what promises to be another exciting and memorable celebration of the game.”

“We are grateful that the NBA has selected us to host the 2017 NBA All-Star Game in New Orleans,” said New Orleans Pelicans Owner Tom Benson. “We have made tremendous upgrades to the Smoothie King Center and know the building will be a first-class venue to host the myriad of events associated with All-Star weekend. New Orleans has hosted the All-Star Game twice in the past nine years, and is a perfect destination for NBA fans. As we know, the NBA will engage thousands of local children and charities during this weekend. On behalf of my wife Gayle and the entire Pelicans organization, we thank Governor Edwards, Mayor Landrieu, the Greater New Orleans Sports Foundation, the New Orleans Convention & Visitors Bureau, SMG, and all of the others that worked so hard in a short amount of time to bring the All-Star Game to New Orleans.”

In addition, in the wake of the devastating floods that have affected tens of thousands of Louisiana residents, the NBA and the National Basketball Players Association (NBPA) have joined the Pelicans and the New Orleans Saints to provide financial and other ongoing support of the flood rescue, relief and rebuilding efforts.

NBA All-Star oncourt festivities tip off Friday, Feb. 17, with the BBVA Compass Rising Stars Challenge, where the league’s top rookies and second-year players will compete in a U.S. versus World game format for the third consecutive year. On Saturday, Feb. 18, State Farm All-Star Saturday Night will feature current NBA players showcasing their unique abilities in exciting basketball competitions, including the Taco Bell Skills Challenge, where participants compete head-to-head in a series of passing, shooting and agility drills; the Foot Locker Three-Point Contest; and Verizon Slam Dunk. There will also be a number of motivational speakers from the world of sport, similar to the kinds of talent you can find represented by agencies such as Sports Speakers 360. The weekend concludes on Sunday, Feb. 19, with the NBA All-Star Game.

“Even in the midst of a historic crisis, I am excited that the NBA has recognized how great the City of New Orleans and the state of Louisiana are,” said Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards. “In Louisiana, one of the strongest bonds that unites all of us is our passion for sports. Not only will NBA fans be able to participate in the All-Star Game events, they will also be a part of our world-famous Mardi Gras festivities. The fan experience can’t get any better than that. While we move into the recovery phase of this disaster, I want to thank the NBA for the vote of confidence in our state to host this event and their support of the relief efforts currently underway. I want to congratulate Mayor Landrieu, the City of New Orleans, and the Pelicans for working in short order to make this all possible.”

“The NBA has been a great partner, so we are excited and honored to be selected to host the 2017 NBA All-Star Game,” said New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu. “Together with the staff of the GNO Sports Foundation and the hospitality industry, the dedicated members of the New Orleans police, fire, EMS, airport, permitting and sanitation departments, among others, make these major events possible. The combination of NBA All-Star with the first weekend of Mardi Gras will provide our residents, visitors and NBA fans an even more special experience. Having served as Lieutenant Governor and Mayor for the two prior NBA All-Star Games held in New Orleans, I also know the NBA is committed to giving back to our community and providing great learning experiences for our kids. The NBA and the Players Association’s generous donations to organizations responding to the devastating flooding across Louisiana is a testament to their commitment to the people of our state.”

“The Greater New Orleans Sports Foundation is honored to partner with Tom and Gayle Benson and the Pelicans as the All-Star Host Committee for an unprecedented third time in the past 10 years,” said President/CEO of the Greater New Orleans Sports Foundation Jay Cicero. “The strong relationships with our sports, governmental and hospitality communities allowed for a customary eight-month bid process to be compressed into a mere three weeks. The 2014 All-Star Game generated over $100 million in economic impact for the State of Louisiana and the greater New Orleans area. It’s a thrill to welcome our NBA partners back to New Orleans.”

“The NBA and New Orleans have a history of producing world-class sporting events, having most recently hosted the All-Star Game in 2014. When we learned that we had an opportunity to host next year’s NBA All-Star Game, we went straight to work to lay the groundwork for 2017,” said President and CEO of New Orleans Convention and Visitors Bureau Stephen Perry. “Our tourism industry is second-to-none at planning and accommodating massive events like this. Within three weeks, we were able to ensure the NBA that all the pieces were in place to make the 2017 NBA All-Star Game an unforgettable experience that will combine our world famous Mardi Gras with all the excitement that the NBA All-Star Game delivers.”

The NBA will continue to honor its commitment to social responsibility during All-Star 2017 with a full schedule of NBA Cares and Jr. NBA events in and around New Orleans throughout the week. By working with local schools, government agencies and nonprofits, the NBA will engage thousands of children and families and provide important resources to community-based programs.

The 2017 NBA All-Star Game will be televised in prime time on TNT for the 15th consecutive year, marking Turner Sports’ 32nd year of NBA All-Star coverage. The game will be broadcast worldwide in 215 countries and territories in 49 languages.


New Orleans last hosted NBA All-Star in 2014, when the Eastern Conference overcame an 18-point deficit to post a 163-155 victory, snapping a three-game losing streak. Kyrie Irving scored 15 of his team-high 31 points in the fourth quarter and handed out a game-high 14 assists on his way to capturing MVP honors. Carmelo Anthony added 30 points for the East, while Kevin Durant and Blake Griffin each finished with 38 points for the West.

The 2008 NBA All-Star Game in New Orleans marked the city’s first major sporting event since Hurricane Katrina. In addition to the East’s 134-128 victory and LeBron James’ MVP performance, more than 2,500 members of the NBA family participated in 10 local service projects across New Orleans as part of the inaugural NBA Cares All-Star Day of Service, now an annual tradition and a highlight of the league’s All-Star festivities.




NBA commissioner Adam Silver

NBA Implements New Better Hack-A-Shaq Rules

Every NBA player should be able to hit at least a modest free throw percentage, but some just can’t and NBA coaches have been implementing a Hack-a-Shaq strategy to change the momentum of games at a level never before seen. Something had to change and it has.

NBA commissioner Adam Silver has announced a solid reasonable compromise between “it’s ruining our game” and “just learn to hit your free throws.”

“We had a discussion about so-called Hack-a-Shaq, and I know we sent a release out already,” Silver said. “We adopted a new rule there. I would say it’s not everything that some people were looking for us to do, and it was a compromise. In essence, the rule is now that the last two-minute rule that’s been in effect for almost 40 years is now in effect for the last two minutes of every quarter. In addition, we wanted to ensure that players would not be jumping on other players’ backs as we’ve seen during free throws. So we made it clear that that would be presumptively a flagrant foul if that were to happen. We also clarified the rule for fouling when the ball is not in play, that that would also fall under the so-called special last two-minute provisions, where it would be a free throw and the team would retain possession.

“So again, that release was sent out. Kiki VanDeWeghe is here, our head of basketball operations, and I’m happy to discuss it, but Kiki will be around for a while, too, and he can discuss it.”

“In looking at the data and numerous potential solutions to combat the large increase in deliberate away-from-the-play foul situations, we believe these steps offer the most measured approach,” said Kiki VanDeWeghe, NBA Executive Vice President, Basketball Operations. “The introduction of these new rules is designed to curb the increase in such fouls without eliminating the strategy entirely.

Rules Changes Relating to Deliberate Away-From-The-Play Foul Rules

  • The current rule for away-from-the-play fouls applicable to the last two minutes of the fourth period (and last two minutes of any overtime) – pursuant to which the fouled team is awarded one free throw and retains possession of the ball – will be extended to the last two minutes of each period.
  • For inbounds situations, a defensive foul at any point during the game that occurs before the ball is released by the inbounder (including a “legitimate” or “natural” basketball action such as a defender fighting through a screen) will be administered in the same fashion as an away-from-the-play foul committed during the last two minutes of any period (i.e., one free throw and possession of the ball).
  • The flagrant foul rules will be used to protect against any dangerous or excessively hard deliberate fouls. In particular, it will presumptively be considered a flagrant foul if a player jumps on an opponent’s back to commit a deliberate foul. Previously, these type of fouls were subject to being called flagrant but were not automatic.

As Silver says, this change is not cosmetic, even if it is a bit of a compromise. Everyone knows NBA games are often won or lost in the last couple of minutes at the end of games, but equally significant changes to the momentum of games happens at the end of quarters and denying teams the right to stop that momentum by fouling poor free throw shooters who aren’t in the play will improve how the game is played at those critical junctures.

“I know we wouldn’t have done it if it were only a cosmetic change,” Silver said. In fact, our projections are that with the rule changes we put in place, we’ll reduce roughly 45 percent of the incidents of the away-from-the-play fouls right now. The process was one of trying to build consensus.

“I mean, look, this is a rule that has been in effect since the beginning of the game, the last two-minute rule for the fourth quarter. It was instituted roughly 40 years ago, and there’s a dramatic change in the league, and you all know from things I’ve said, even as recently as last summer after this same meeting, I said I’m on the fence in terms of whether the issue should be — guys should make their free throws and if they can’t, they should be taken out of games at strategic points.

“I’m also a bit of an incrementalist, and I think especially when it comes time to change rules. Remember, to change a playing rule, it requires two-thirds of our teams. I will say the vote was not unanimous today, but obviously in order to make the change, we did get two-thirds of the teams. But I’m also being a realist in terms of how much we can get through.

I think there is a part of me that would have preferred to have done something that was more holistic and impacted the entire game, but I’ve also learned, I think to have made this change, again, if we can deal with roughly half the incidents and then full stop have the competition committee re-examine it and see where we are — and that answers the last part of your question. This was discussed over a year and a half with our competition committee, and then we got to the point where the competition committee, it was unanimous in terms of the NBA team representatives on the competition committee. We brought it to our Board of Governors and we said we think this is a change that should be made and it will allow us to keep — nobody suggested that we’ll never have to discuss this again, but I think I’ve also realized that there’s sometimes almost a faddish quality to how some of these techniques are used on the floor. We’ll see. But I definitely do not think this is cosmetic.”

These minor rule changes should help the NBA accomplish their goals of keeping the game from deteriorating into a free throw contest by guys that can’t shoot at the end of quarters while still giving coaches the opportunity to put pressure on the typical big man who just can’t hit a free throw, but has been killing them on the glass in the middle of quarters. A compromise to be sure, but likely the right compromise and definitely not just a cosmetic change.



Stephen_Brotherston_insideStephen Brotherston covers the Toronto Raptors and visiting NBA teams at the Air Canada Centre and is a member of the Professional Basketball Writers Association.




NBA Golden State Warriors Draymond Green

Warriors Draymond Green Arrested For Assault In Michigan

Brendan F. Quinn reported on that the Warriors Draymond Green was arrested in Michigan on July 10th for assault,

An online document released Monday afternoon from 54B District Court now confirms Draymond Green’s arrest at 2:28 a.m. on July 10 in East Lansing. He is scheduled to be arraigned by July 20.

ESPN subsequently filled in some of the details,

Police told ESPN that Green was arrested at an East Lansing restaurant and that the victim was a man.

“It was basically an altercation between two guys,” police said. “There’s no injuries. He was released with a $200 bond on Sunday.”

Green is scheduled for arraignment on July 20. If convicted, he would face a maximum of 93 days in jail and a $500 fine.

NBA Boston Celtics Jared Sullinger 2016

Celtics Make Jared Sullinger An Unrestricted Free Agent

The Boston Celtics wanted to get something of value back for their 21st pick of the 2012 NBA Draft, but apparently they haven’t been able to find anyone willing to help them out with their no longer restricted free agent Jared Sullinger. Either that or Sullinger and his agent have a vastly overinflated view of his value after seeing all of the overly generous deals other free agents have been signing this summer.

The 24-year-old Sullinger still gets knocked for his apparent lack of conditioning, the failure to improve on his three-point shooting and gets questioned about whether a traditional big man like him still has a place in today’s NBA.

Wes Howard and CelticsBlog Staff took on the question of Sullinger’s future with the Celtics after the season ended and they didn’t see the center back with the team next season.

Jeff Clark: Let him walk. Sorry to be so blunt, but I can’t imagine that he’ll be worth whatever he’ll get on his next contract. He’s skilled, no doubt. The guy can rebound, and at times he can score and defend bigger guys in the post. But he hasn’t improved his outside shot enough, he’s not versatile enough for today’s game, and yes, I’m concerned about his conditioning.

Wes Howard: I don’t think that Boston should spend what the market likely dictates it will cost to keep Sully around. However, I do want to point out that he brings a skill that no one else on our roster has been able to duplicate consistently over the past couple of years. Sully has repeatedly demonstrated that he is able to handle large, strong, bruising centers down low. He always seems to do well against Dwight Howard, against Andre Drummond, and against Pau Gasol, to name a few. In short, he does well against more “traditional” centers, on both ends of the court.

Kevin O’Connor: Jared Sullinger is better than he gets credit for. But he should also be better than he actually is. He obviously needs to get in better conditioning. He knows that. But once he does that, he also needs to extend his range to the NBA three-point shot. I’m not sure he’s interested in that based on his recent appearance on The Vertical Podcast with Chris Mannix. And it’s too bad because I think Sullinger has All-Star-level talent that will ultimately go unrealized unless he makes strides soon.

These Celtics Blog discussions were held before the draft and before the Celtics nabbed All-Star center Al Horford in free agency. Currently Boston is awash in big men and didn’t have room to keep Sullinger. Without a trade partner, Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge had little choice but to renounce his restricted free agent if only to keep him from picking up his qualifying offer.

Unless Ainge can create a roster spot, he’s got no where to put Sullinger or Zeller and every GM in the NBA knows it. The scariest thing that could happen in Boston is both restricted free agents pick up their qualifying offers sending the Celtics into full on scramble mode to make room for Brown and Yabusele.

Teams in the NBA tend to run like lemmings towards the latest style of play that seems to work, but the demise of the traditional center has become grossly overstated. If a team doesn’t have someone that can defend a traditional center, they will be in at least as much trouble as those teams that can’t defend the three-point line. Drummond, Howard, Gasol, Valanciunas, they’ll still be around next season and they aren’t alone.

Last season Sullinger averaged 10.3 points and 8.3 rebounds in 23.6 minutes over 81 regular season games. He pulled in 10.6 percent of the available offensive boards and 27 percent of the available defensive rebounds. In other words, he is a pretty effective glass cleaner.

Based on the early stages of free agency, Sullinger could command anywhere between $10-18 million a season, but most of those once available dollars have already been committed to other players and Sullinger might be forced to look at something closer to mid level exception money now? He is going to get calls, but his agent has his work cut out for him now.



Stephen_Brotherston_insideStephen Brotherston covers the Toronto Raptors and visiting NBA teams at the Air Canada Centre and is a member of the Professional Basketball Writers Association.





Miami Heat Dwyane Wade

Dwyane Wade Chooses The Bulls

In an unforeseen shocker, the reliable source for NBA trades and free agent deals says Miami HEAT free agent superstar Dwyane Wade is choosing to join the Chicago Bulls.

The Bulls have to clear salary cap space to sign Wade, so the vultures are already circling to grab whatever free talent they can.

Looks like all those comments about Wade feeling slighted by Miami are true after all.

This deal is done and done (on July 7th)




Team Canada Andrew Nicholson

Wizards Take Canadian Free Agent Andrew Nicholson

The Orlando Magic didn’t extend a qualifying offer to power forward Andrew Nicholson briefly giving the Toronto Raptors the possibility of putting another Canadian player on their bench. However, from an ever shrinking pool of free agent talent, the Washington Wizards grabbed the stretch-four with a four-year $26 million offer for themselves.

Nicholson was on the outs in Orlando last season and for the first time in his NBA career, he didn’t get a single start with the Magic. However, in the 56 games he did play in, he averaged 36 percent from three-point range on a 114 attempts and pulled in a solid 22.8 percent of the available defensive boards.

In the current free agent frenzy, $6.5 million per season for a developing stretch-four actually looks kind of cheap.



Stephen_Brotherston_insideStephen Brotherston covers the Toronto Raptors and visiting NBA teams at the Air Canada Centre and is a member of the Professional Basketball Writers Association.





NBA Los Angeles Lakers Mitch Kupchak

Lakers Lower Expectations For Next Season

General manager Mitch Kupchak dumped a huge dose of reality on Lakers fans heading into free agency. The “A” list free agents will not be beating a path to Los Angeles in July – unless it’s to visit the Clippers. ESPN’s Baxter Homes quotes Kupchak as saying,

“It might not be different.”

Just like last summer, there is no reason to believe the free agents that might be able to lift the Lakers out of the NBA Draft Lottery are coming any time soon, so Kupchak is advising the fans to be satisfied with a young team that is fun to watch.

“I think what we’d like to do is put together a group of players that are growing, that are fun to watch and they improve as the season goes along — clearly, with the intent to keep the interest of our supporters, our fans, our partners, our season-seat holders. You do have to win games.

“But as long as the team is fun to watch, our fans and our partners can see a team that’s growing and getting better as the season goes along, I think that’s the barometer that’s best for us.”

Look for the Lakers to add some moderately priced veteran leadership to help keep the young guys on track and protect the team’s future flexibility so Kupchak (or whoever is guiding the ship next season) can take advantage of a deeper free agent pool next summer.





DeMarDeRozan and Kyle Lowry 2015 media day

Raptors Lowry And DeRozan Join Team USA

Team USA has tapped Toronto Raptors All-Stars Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan for the 2016 Olympics in Rio.

DeRozan joins a growing list of players that has committed to represent the USA this summer.

Cleveland Cavaliers LeBron James

Charles Barkley Strongly Defends Warriors Draymond Green

When the Warriors Draymond Green swung his hand back towards the Cavaliers LeBron James’ privates, did he do anything outside of the unwritten rules of the game? Not according to current NBA analyst and retired NBA star player Charles Barkley. Barkley strongly defended Green’s actions as acceptable and appropriate in this case.

On Bleacher Report Radio, Barkley said,

When a guy steps over you, you have a moral obligation to punch him in the balls because that is really disrespectful to step over a guy. You are supposed to pop him in the jack if he steps over you like that. That’s a perfectly fine response (to) a guy who does that.

Now you got to act like you didn’t try to do it, I will admit that. You got to act like you didn’t mean to do it, but I told Draymond (Green) that when somebody steps over you they are doing that intentionally to rub it in your face. They are deliberately trying to punk you in that situation.

It is really hard to find anything wrong with what Barkley said.


Featured image courtesy of Paul Saini
Instagram: and  @paul_saini




NBA Oklahoma City Thunder Kevin Durant

Reliable Source Says Kevin Durant Staying With The Thunder

Take it from someone who should know, Serge Ibaka told TMZ Sports Kevin Durant will be back with the Oklahoma City Thunder next season.

Serge Ibaka says he’s not sweating rumors of Kevin Durant bolting the Sooner state proclaiming to TMZ Sports he’s 100% sure KD’s sticking around.

“Everybody’s staying.”

Okay, so TMZ isn’t your usual source for sports news, but there’s logic behind Durant staying for at least another season or longer.

Durant fits into the 7-9 years of NBA experience range when determining his maximum starting salary this summer, so he can sign a deal starting at about $25.9 million. He will have 10 years of NBA experience after next season which, with the anticipated increase in the 2017-18 salary cap, means he could ink a new deal starting at an estimated $35.4 million next summer. A $10 million raise isn’t something Durant or his agent are going to just blow off.

If Durant stays in Oklahoma City, his team will retain his full Bird Rights even if he signs a one-year deal this July, so they can exceed the cap to re-sign him to a new deal a year from now. If he signs a one-year deal with any other team, that team will need to have the salary cap space to ink him to a new max deal next summer. Some teams may be able to accommodate this scenario, but it means they’d have to actually plan for it and that’s a lot of planning to attract a guy who isn’t even likely to leave his current team.

If Durant wants to maximize his earnings, he’ll sign a one-year deal with the Thunder this summer and then a new five-year deal worth well north of $200 million next summer to stay in OKC.



Stephen_Brotherston_insideStephen Brotherston covers the Toronto Raptors and visiting NBA teams at the Air Canada Centre and is a member of the Professional Basketball Writers Association.

Featured image courtesy of Paul Saini
Instagram: and  @paul_saini




NBA Analyst Charles Barkley

Charles Barkley Threatens NBA All-Star Game Boycott

In an wide ranging interview on the Dan Patrick Show, Charles Barkley talked about his concerns with the NBA playing an All-Star Game in North Carolina since the State passed their anti-LGBT law.

“I’ve been trying to get the NBA to move the All-Star game out of Charlotte because of the transgender thing,” Barkley said.

“I’ve talked to Adam Silver. We need to move the All-Star Game.

“I hope they don’t put me in a situation where I have to boycott the All-Star Game. We need to move the All-Star Game.”


Barkley’s comments about moving the All-Star Game out of Charlotte start at about the 11:15 mark of the video.


NBA Commissioner Adam Silver seems to agree with Barkley. The NBA position has been moving from concern to something has to be done about this discriminatory law. However, Silver has yet to commit to actually taking the 2017 All-Star Game away from Charlotte and this isn’t something that can be done at the last minute.

“We’ve been, I think, crystal clear a change in the law is necessary for us to play in the kind of environment that we think is appropriate for a celebratory NBA event,” Silver said at the Associated Press Sports Editors’ commissioner meetings in April as he upped the ante from his comments in March when he wasn’t sure what the impact of the new law would be on the NBA.

Barkley is an NBA Insider, so North Carolina shouldn’t be shocked if the next statement coming out from the NBA is a lot more definitive about where their All-Star Game will be played next year and they shouldn’t be surprised when the League feels compelled to pick a new location if the State hasn’t taken any action on changing the law.



Stephen_Brotherston_insideStephen Brotherston covers the Toronto Raptors and visiting NBA teams at the Air Canada Centre and is a member of the Professional Basketball Writers Association.





Toronto Raptors Bismack Biyombo

Cavs Dahntay Jones Suspended, Raptors Coach Casey Fined

With respect to Game Three of the Eastern Conference Finals between the Cleveland Cavaliers and the Toronto Raptors, Kiki VanDeWeghe, NBA Executive Vice President, Basketball Operations announced the following disciplinary actions on Sunday.

Cavaliers guard Dahntay Jones has been suspended one game without pay for striking Toronto Raptors center Bismack Biyombo in the groin. The incident occurred with 17.6 seconds remaining in the fourth quarter of the Raptors’ 99-84 win over the Cavaliers in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Finals on May 21 at Air Canada Centre. Jones will serve his suspension on Monday, May 23 during Game 4 of the Eastern Conference Finals.



Raptors head coach Dwane Casey has been fined $25,000 for public criticism of officiating. Casey made his comments during the postgame press conference following the Raptors’ 99-84 victory over the Cleveland Cavaliers in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Finals on May 21 at Air Canada Centre.