Why James Dolan is the worst owner in professional sports. Yes worse then the Miami Marlins, Cleveland Browns, or the Toronto Maple Leafs.
Last fall I saw that Mark was taking Yearbook as a class. I kept telling him that there is no way he gets a credit for taking yearbook. We had that conversation at home, on the walk to Bedford Road (to fix his computer generated schedule) and right into the guidance councilors office where I found out that yes, he gets a credit for it.
He took a lot of photos, only a few turned out and he realized he photographed the ball too much and not the players but he had fun and now has a season of both junior boys and senior boys basketball to photograph. I guess that means I have a season of photos to help him critique.
It’s time to accept a certain reality: Jackson just isn’t cut out for this gig. The world has gotten bigger, and the talent pool has grown with it. An NBA executive must be a tireless workaholic, not an ex-coach who acts like his 11 championship rings make scouring the globe for talent beneath him. Jackson nailed Kristaps Porzingis, a transformative 7-foot-3 big man who will revolutionize the center position. Yet the frontrunner for the Knicks’ coaching job (incumbent Kurt Rambis) has suggested Porzingis play some small forward while staying loyal to a system (the triangle) that doesn’t seem to suit the young star.
The Knicks don’t have a pick next month, which is all the more reason for Jackson to put in the extra work. No asset is more attainable than a second-round pick, particularly from the handful of teams (Boston, New Orleans, Denver) with a few of them. Finding NBA talent there is difficult, but every year yields a Norman Powell, a Jordan Clarkson, an Allen Crabbe, and it’s often the most relentless executives who grab them.
Now is the time for Jackson to marshal his resources, not cruise through the Plains States on an ill-timed break. There’s video to be dissected, college coaches to be called, international scouts with information to be bled dry. Free agency – Jackson’s rebuilding method of choice – has changed, evolved. The magnetic pull to big markets has weakened, replaced by a marketplace of players fueled by a desire to win. New York, with its instability, its annual failures, just isn’t where the elite talent is looking to play.
I agree with Mannix, I have never liked the hiring of Jackson for this very reason. Jackson may be a great communicator and teacher but that doesn’t always make you a great talent evaluator or manager. Then there is his insistence to run the Triangle offense with a team that is not well suited to run it.
Donald Sterling literally introduced me to everyone. Hereâ€™s how he did it, every single time, to every single group of people, while holding on to my hand:
â€œEveryone, have you met our newest star? This is Blake! He was the number one pick in the entire NBA draft. Number one! Blake, where are you from?â€
Then Iâ€™d say I was from Oklahoma.
â€œOklahoma! And tell these people what you think about LA.â€
Then Iâ€™d say it was pretty cool.
â€œAnd what about the women in LA, Blake?â€
It was the same conversation with every group of people. When he would start having a one-on-one conversation with someone, Iâ€™d try to slip away, and heâ€™d reach back and paw my hand without even breaking eye contact with the person. Whenever he didnâ€™t have anything left to say, he just turned around and walked us over to the next group.
â€œâ€¦ Have you met our newest star?â€
It went on like this forever. At one point, a guy who had clearly been to a bunch of these parties turned to me and said, â€œJust keep smiling, man. Itâ€™ll all be over soon.â€
At this point, a lot of you are probably wondering why I didnâ€™t pull my hand away, or why I didnâ€™t just leave the party. For one, I was a 20-year-old kid from Oklahoma. But even if I had been 25, I donâ€™t know if it wouldâ€™ve been any different. The guy was my boss. Ask yourself, how would you react if your boss was doing the same thing to you?
Umm, Iâ€™d walk out, call my agent, demand a trade and if that didnâ€™t happen then, file a complaint with the union, the NBA, and then evaluate my options of holding out and playing in Europe. Â Of course that is just me. Â I enforce my personal bubble.
The post comes from The Playerâ€™s Tribune which is Derek Jeterâ€™s new venture.
This is a huge moment for the NBA and Adam Silver â€” perhaps an even bigger test than the Donald Sterling fiasco, though certainly not as viscerally interesting.
Itâ€™s a massive victory, of course. The NBAâ€™s current national TV deal, signed at a relative low point in basketballâ€™s popularity, pays the league about $930 million per season. The league has soared since then. Everyone knew the next deal, which picks up in 2016-17, would trump that figure in a landslide. Two years ago, smart teams began projecting a rising salary cap, and industry experts wondered if the new TV deal might crack $2 billion per year on average.
Ha, ha. The New York Times was the first to report last night that Disney and Turner will pay the NBA nearly $2.7 billion per year, on average, over nine years to retain exclusive broadcasting national broadcast rights. Holy f—ing crap. The sheer size of the number sent shockwaves through the league late on what had been a peaceful Sunday. Executives wondered what the TV cash bonanza might mean for the salary cap, for contract extension talks under way now, for the prospects of a lockout in 2017. The mood was a mix of excitement and, most of all, uncertainty. Planners donâ€™t like uncertainty.
The importance of the leagueâ€™s cap situation cannot be overstated. It has been the single biggest topic of conversation among team executives for the last year. The salary cap rises and falls hand in hand with league revenues, and this TV contract will be the largest injection of revenues in NBA history. It is a goddamned jolt.
The cap over the last 10 years jumped from $49.5 million to $63.2 million, a 28 percent increase. It stayed flat at around $58 million for a half decade before finally leaping about $5 million this season due to an uptick in revenue. This has been a period of cap tranquillity; an $8 million contract signed in 2007 was worth about the same, proportionally, as an $8 million contract signed in 2012.
The league right now projects a jump to $66.5 million for 2015-16, a modest rise pegged to the final year of that modest $930 million TV deal. If the new TV deal kicks in for the 2016-17 season just shy of $2 billion, the cap could exceed that same $14 million leap, all the way to around $80-plus million, in a single year. If for some reason the new TV deal starts north of $2 billion in the first year â€” meaning it would include smaller year-over-year jumps â€” the cap for 2016-17 could leap even higher. If it started at that exact $2.68 billion figure, it would break $90 million, according to my own math and some bleary-eyed late-Sunday projections from cap gurus around the league.
The plans as of now are to start at $2.1 billion in 2016-17, the first year of the deal, and escalate in even year-over-year increments to a peak of $3.1 billion in the final year, per sources who have reviewed a memo the league sent to teams today.
No one knows exactly how the league plans to infuse the money, and the solution could create fissures among the NBAâ€™s 30 teams. Already, teams have started lobbying for scenarios that most benefit them. The league and players union would both seem to have some interest in avoiding any giant one-year leap in the cap number, a mega-jump that would most likely occur ahead of the 2016-17 season â€” just in time for free agency in July 2016, headlined by Kevin Durant.
This could have total chaos for the league. Â Instead of one or two teams vying for Durant, you could have 30 teams with the cap room to sign him. Â Heck, the L.A. Lakers would have enough room of three max deals. Â This could turn the league upside down in a bad way if done poorly.
Fun segment about Jonny Manziel and Canadian basketball players. Â Apparently we are too laid back as a country to be basketball stars. Â Someone needs to tell Steve Nash.
Michael Powell, one of my favourite New York Times writers has a great piece on the Los Angeles Clippersâ€™ players making a useless gesture against their racist owner Donald Sterling
Why not remain seated?
The Los Angeles Clippers players faced a near-impossible situation Sunday. The man who owns their team, Donald Sterling, stood exposed as a gargoyle, disgorging racial and sexual animosities so atavistic as to take the breath away.
The exposure of these rants rattled N.B.A. athletes. LeBron James, the best hoops practitioner on earth, spoke out quickly and emphatically. â€œThey have to make a stand,â€ he said of N.B.A. executives. â€œThey have to be very aggressive with it. I donâ€™t know what it will be, but we canâ€™t have that in our league.â€
Good strong words. With luck it rattled a couple windows at the N.B.A. headquarters in Manhattan.
Then eyes turned to the Clippers on Sunday afternoon. These professional athletes have trained all their lives for their shot at an N.B.A. title. They are at their physical peak, a time measured in short years. Only a glib fool would argue their choices Sunday were obvious.
The Clippers players turned their red practice jerseys inside out, like baseball players wearing silly rally caps. Then the horn sounded and they wore their real jerseys and that was that.
Yet you wondered: Was that all they had?
What if the Clippers players had remained seated and refused to take the court? The N.B.A., whose corporate leaders and owners have known of Sterlingâ€™s racial and sexual grotesqueries for decades, and of the federal lawsuit that charged he would not rent apartments to blacks, would face a moment of truth.
Would the N.B.A. executives make the Clippers, most of whose players are black, forfeit a playoff game?
And what if the Golden State Warriors players and coaches had announced in advance that they would not accept that forfeit? They could have agreed to sit out the next game, and thus force yet another embarrassment down the gullet of the N.B.A. executives.
Look, the rejoinder to this argument arrives with its own moral force. The Clippers players and coaches are no doubt mortified to have awakened in the midst of a playoff run to find that they are working for the Bull Connor of Southern California.
Maybe the players and coaches didnâ€™t take a stand because they had already sold out. Â Sterling has been known to be a racist for decades and yet everyone has remained silent. Â Doc Rivers said he didnâ€™t know Sterling was a racist before he took the job. Â I am going to flat out say that he was lying. Â If he didnâ€™t know, he is an ignorant and isolated man incapable of leading a basketball team. Â Sterlingâ€™s racist acts have been known for decades, challenged in court, and all over the news. Â He would have known about them as a player and coach but instead took the money to play in Los Angeles with the hope that it was dealt with.Â
It wasnâ€™t and instead of taking a stand, they waited for someone else to do something. Â Hardly the story of courage; itâ€™s the story of sellouts who all signed a contract that was offered to them by someone that canâ€™t stand the colour of many of their skins.
While it remains impossible to open a window into a personâ€™s soul to see whether the poison of racism resides there, it is possible to screen those whose words and actions suggest that they harbor such beliefs.
Donald Sterlingâ€™s words and actions suggest that he does. And the evidence existed long before TMZ published its tape of his voice.
According to the Los Angeles Times, Sterling agreed in 2009 to a $2.765 million settlement of charges that he discriminated against African-Americans and others at an apartment building he owned. The Times also reports that a lawsuit filed in 2003 accused Sterling of saying â€œHispanics smoke, drink and just hang around the building,â€ and that â€œblack tenants smell and attract vermin.â€ The case was resolved with a confidential settlement, but Sterling reportedly paid $5 million in legal fees to the plaintiffs.
Amazingly, those claims and the settlements of those claims generated little or no publicity or scorn of Sterling. If an NFL owner were accused of such conduct, the mere allegations would become major national news. If an NFL owner ever settled a case involving such allegations, the league office undoubtedly would be forced to take decisive action or face strong contentions of the existence of a double standard.
Itâ€™s all the more reason for the NFL to treat this occasion as the catalyst for ensuring that its house â€” specifically, its 32 houses â€” are in order. Existing owners should be warned clearly about the potential consequences of such conduct. Potential owners should be screened even more carefully to determine that they have done or said nothing that would suggest that their hearts are rotten with racism or other qualities that could result in their wealth and power being used to violate the rights of others.
Per a league source, NFL owners already expect Commissioner Roger Goodell to address the situation in some way at the next ownership meetings in May.
Itâ€™s often impossible to get to the truth of a personâ€™s attitudes regarding matters of race. But the Sterling situation underscores the importance of taking all reasonably available steps to ensure that the countryâ€™s biggest sports business is doing business with people who have not only the wealth to assume such an important responsibility, but also the character.
Itâ€™s kind of funny, the last, four, five years straight, I played with a guy from Duke. We all have a certain amount of respect for each other because weâ€™ve all been through it and we all know what itâ€™s like, so it just depends on who has the better team. You have to go back like â€œI only lost to you one time,â€ â€œWell, I averaged this amount,â€ talk like that. Carolina guys stand by Carolina, Duke guys stand by Duke. They have Coach K, I had Coach Smith, itâ€™s Roy Williams now, you know, itâ€™s a friendly debate that goes on. The best coach, the Duke guys have been pretty good about it. I think the Carolina guys, the old-school guys, because we were so dominant, we really laid it on thick. But sometimes we just say stuff like, â€œJ.J. acting like a Dukie over there.â€ We always tell our stories, things of that nature.
It kills me to realize that the Raptors had Hibbert and traded him. Â Can you imagine the Raptors with Hibbert in their lineup today? Â Maybe Bryan Colangelo would still have a job.
From the moment he took over the moribund Toronto Raptors last month, Tim Leiweke vowed to make some significant changes to return the team to competitiveness in the Eastern Conference.
It didn’t take him long to show everyone that he means business.
Leiweke lured Masai Ujiri away from the Denver Nuggets on Friday, giving the Raptors the reigning NBA executive of the year and a rising star among the league’s front office ranks.
”We feel very lucky to have Masai in our organization,” Leiweke said in a statement issued by the team. ”He is a proven judge of talent and we look for him to be a big part of creating a winning atmosphere, leading us to the playoffs and, ultimately, delivering NBA championships for Toronto.”
It will be a homecoming of sorts for the 42-year-old Ujiri, a native of Nigeria and the first African-born GM in America’s four major sports. Ujiri was the assistant GM for the Raptors for three seasons before leaving for the Nuggets in 2010, where he quickly made a name for himself.
”To come back to the Raptors, to live in such a great city, and work in an organization that has committed all the resources necessary to win championships was a huge factor in the decision,” Ujiri said in a statement. ”I have already developed a great relationship with Tim Leiweke and I can’t wait to get back to Canada to build a team that is poised to take the next step in the NBA.”
Ujiri earned respect for his deft handling of the Carmelo Anthony trade to New York and his ability to assemble a relatively starless roster that still managed to be a formidable contender in the Western Conference.
With nary an All-Star this season, the Nuggets won a franchise-record 57 games and went an NBA-best 38-3 at home to finish third in the powerful Western Conference, helping Ujiri garner the NBA’s Executive of the Year honor to go with George Karl’s Coach of the Year award.
I am excited because I believe in Masai Ujiri but we all felt the same way when Bryan Colangelo came to the Toronto Raptors and we know how that turned out. Â The mediocre culture of MLSE does terrible things to sports executives and their teams. Â Let’s hope that Tim Leiweke can change that culture.
The Raptors announced Tuesday that while Colangelo’s contract as team president is being extended, a new general manager will be hired within the next 30 days.
The changes were announced by Tim Leiweke, who is the incoming CEO of team owner Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment. Leiweke also said he is moving up his start date from July 1 to June 3.
”We have a lot of work to do in this organization,” Leiweke said. ”We’re not good enough. I believe Bryan can help in a lot of those areas.”
The Raptors were 10th in the Eastern Conference this year, finishing out of the playoffs for a franchise-worst fifth straight season.
”There is accountability here and we need a new set of eyes and a new thinking,” Leiweke said.
Leiweke was hired last month after a successful period in charge of Anschutz Entertainment Group, owner of the NBA’s Los Angeles Lakers, the NHL’s Los Angeles Kings and the Los Angeles Galaxy of MLS.
Leiweke said Colangelo fought ”like heck” to keep his role as general manager.
”Bryan’s probably ticked off at me,” Leiweke said, then paused to chuckle. ”There’s no probably. He’s ticked off at me. This isn’t his perfect world, either. But to his credit, he accepts it.”
Colangelo said he was ”a little disappointed,” but denied being angry at Leiweke.
”It’s a unique situation for me to be in,” Colangelo said. ”Not an ideal situation but I’m going to embrace it and make the most of it.”
Leiweke addressed concerns that keeping Colangelo around would complicate things for any new hire by stressing that the new GM will have complete authority on basketball matters and will report directly to Leiweke, not Colangelo.
”If anyone ultimately disrupts that process, then I’ll clean it up,” Leiweke said.
Colangelo said he understood the message from his new boss.
”The bottom line is, if I get in the way, I’m not going to be around,” he said.
Of course Leiweke wants Toronto to become Canada’s team.
Leiweke said he wants Toronto to celebrate its 20th anniversary as an NBA city by hosting the All-Star Game for the first time in 2016, calling the game ”a must-have.”
He also said he wants the team to build a new training facility and hinted at changes to the Raptors’ brand, acknowledging ”specific” conversations with the NBA about potential changes.
”We absolutely have had conversations about the color and the makeup of our brand, our uniforms and our image,” he said. ”To me, we should be all about the Canadian flag and Canada.
”We are Toronto’s team but I think we have to learn how to be Canada’s team.”
If you want to be Canada’s basketball team, win something. Â That is how the Blue Jays did it and that is what the Raptors are going to have to do. Â No one feels good about themselves wearing a Raptors shirt because the team is unstable and most often a team of losers. Â You want us to care, consistently win.
According to reports, Leiweke didn’t want Colangelo to be kept around and it doesn’t sound like Colangelo wants to stay around. Â In other words despite having new owners and a new CEO, MLSE is still MLSE which is bad news for sports fans in Canada.