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Basketball news gathered from around the net.

NBA Could Apply Future TV Money To 15-16 Cap

Teams are speculating that the league might apply future TV money to the 2015-16 cap, nudging it up above the current projection of $66.5 million. 

The league has told teams in the last two weeks to hold their 2015-16 cap projections steady, but there is a roiling anxiousness that this may change soon.

Teams are projecting that the cap could increase as high as $80 million for the 16-17, which will be the first under the new television contract.

The new normal salary cap could hit $90 million.

Some believe the NBA might backload the television deal so that networks pay less than expected in 16-17 and more each year after due to the potential of a lockout after than season.

Via Zach Lowe/Grantland

Grantham: NBA Front Offices Need More Diversity

Charles Grantham severed as executive director of the National Basketball Players Association from 1978 until 1995 had some interesting opinions about the issues that have faced the Atlanta Hawks in regards to race.

“When you have an entire white ownership without anyone in that room giving a different opinion, this is what you come up with,” he said. “The question is what is the sanctity of the agreement you have with the players in regards to free agency. A free agent who has paid his dues is entitled to a marketplace that has determined his value based on his ability. What we see now potentially is a grievable subject here because now I’m wondering if this was a centralized scouting report that everybody in the league had access to. We’re tainting the market for this young man.

“An apology is great but this is a grievable moment if I am standing on the other side, because it may lead to an unfair labor charge.”

The Hawks have four African-Americans in their front office with the highest-ranking being David Lee, who is senior vice president of external affairs.

Grantham would like the situations of Danny Ferry and Bruce Levenson result in change rather than a banishment.

“We have to figure out a way to deal with them directly, and in an actionable way,” he said. “Part of the action that I think is necessary in all these leagues, as long as you have an ownership that’s going to be 99 percent white, how do we integrate these types of staffs and situations? Until I see more [diversity], we’re not going to change the attitude because we haven’t changed the action. Which one do you want?”

Via Gary Washburn/Boston Globe

Michele Roberts To Begin Duties With NBPA At End Of Month

Michele Roberts is slated to assume her position as executive director of the NBPA at the end of the month.

Roberts hasn't been able to start her new job yet because of obligations in her prior job and ongoing contract negotiations with union officials to formalize her deal. 

Her contract, which will pay her $1.2 million annually over four years and could include an annual performance bonus of up to 50%, has already been approved by the NBPA's Executive Committee but must still be approved by player representatives from teams.

Via Sam Amick/USA Today

Detroit Mayor Expresses Interest In Bringing Pistons To Downtown

Detroit mayor Mike Duggan said on Monday that he remains interested in bringing the Detroit Pistons to the downtown area of the city.

The Pistons currently play in Auburn Hills.

"I think most Pistons fans would like to see the Pistons come back from Oakland County and and come down here," Duggan said. "And I even think (Detroit billionaire and Cleveland Cavaliers owner) Dan Gilbert would like to see the Pistons come downtown in his neighborhood.

"And hopefully I can get that done before my term is up."

Duggan appeared to suggest he's probably discussed it with Gores.

"You know, I would love to see it," Duggan said. "The Gores family and the Pistons actually own the arena up in Auburn Hills which makes it a little more difficult.

"But if you look at the attendance for the Lions, the Tigers and the Red Wings downtown, and you look at the attendance for the Pistons up in Auburn Hills, I think they could benefit enormously."

Via Eric Lacy/Detroit News

NBA Close To New TV Deals With ESPN, Turner

The NBA and its network partners expect to reach an agreement in principle on new long-term media deals by the start of the regular season, according to sources on all sides of the discussions.

ESPN and Turner are combining to pay more than $2 billion per year on average. One source said ESPN already has committed to pay “well over” $1 billion per year, and Turner is not far behind for a media rights extension that would kick in with the 2016-17 season.

As part of the current eight-year deals that end in June 2016, ESPN pays $485 million per year and Turner pays $445 million per year on average, bringing the league’s total take at just less than $1 billion per year.

Sources expect the new deal to be an eight-year pact, though it would end up running to nine years.

There is little chance that a third network will get involved as an additional partner for a new national package.

The NBA cannot talk to other networks until the middle of next year, when ESPN and Turner’s exclusive negotiating window runs out. 

Via John Lombardo, John Ourand/Sports Business Journal

NBA To Take Lead In Sale Of Hawks

The NBA will take the lead on the sale of the Atlanta Hawks.

Bruce Levenson is selling his controlling interest in the Hawks following the release of a racist email about fans of the franchise.

The Hawks' ownership group has a cluster of owners based in Atlanta and a cluster based in Washington, D.C., that includes Levenson. The group, which operates as Atlanta Spirit LLC, has been divided frequently since it bought the team in 2005.

Via Brian Windhorst/ESPN

Ferry's Comments About Deng Initiated Inquiry Into Hawks' Owner

The inquiry into Atlanta Hawks owner Bruce Levenson began with general manager Danny Ferry referring to free agent Luol Deng as still having "some African in him" on an organizational conference call, league sources with direct knowledge of the probe told Yahoo Sports.

"He's still a young guy overall," Ferry said, league sources with direct knowledge of the probe told Yahoo. “He's a good guy overall. But he's not perfect. He's got some African in him. And I don't say that in a bad way."

Deng, considered one of the highest character players in the NBA, was born in the Sudan.

The call with the ownership group had been set up to inform them of free-agent options on the market in July.

Ferry reached out to Deng and Deng's agent, Ron Shade, on Monday, Shade told Yahoo Sports. Ferry hadn't yet spoken to Deng, but he did talk to Shade, a Chicago-based agent. "I have no reaction, but we've spoken," Shade told Yahoo.

The racial reference to Deng triggered at least one team owner on the call to pursue an independent investigation into how the organization operated in regard to race. 

The search uncovered the 2012 email that Levenson sent to Ferry and two minority owners that ultimately led to Levenson's decision, under pressure, to sell his stake in the Hawks.

Via Adrian Wojnarowski/Yahoo! Sports

Bruce Levenson To Sell Hawks Following Revelation Of Racist Email

Bruce Levenson will sell the Atlanta Hawks after it was discovered he wrote racist comments about African-American fans in an email.

NBA commissioner Adam Silver and Levenson made the announcement Sunday morning with joint statements. Silver discussed the issue with some owners late last week, but many other owners and team officials did not know of it until Sunday's announcement, league sources told Yahoo Sports.

Levenson apologized for the August 2012 email, which was sent to Hawks general manager Danny Ferry and stereotyped the differences between black and white fans in Atlanta.

“Over the past several years, I’ve spent a lot of time grappling with low attendance at our games and the need for the Hawks to attract more season ticket holders and corporate sponsors," Levenson said in the statement. "Over that time, I’ve talked with team executives about the need for the Hawks to build a more diverse fan base that includes more suburban whites, and I shared my thoughts on why our efforts to bridge Atlanta’s racial sports divide seemed to be failing.

"In trying to address those issues, I wrote an email two years ago that was inappropriate and offensive. I trivialized our fans by making clichéd assumptions about their interests (i.e. hip hop vs. country, white vs. black cheerleaders, etc.) and by stereotyping their perceptions of one another (i.e. that white fans might be afraid of our black fans). By focusing on race, I also sent the unintentional and hurtful message that our white fans are more valuable than our black fans.

"If you're angry about what I wrote, you should be. I'm angry at myself, too. It was inflammatory nonsense. We all may have subtle biases and preconceptions when it comes to race, but my role as a leader is to challenge them, not to validate or accommodate those who might hold them."

Via Adrian Wojnarowski/Yahoo! Sports

NBA Could Play Occasional Morning Games In Future To Accomodate Viewers In China

The NBA will consider starting select weekend games in the morning Eastern Standard Time to accomodate foreign viewers in the future.

"Maybe when the audience gets big enough in China and you're reaching 100 million people in China, to say, 'So maybe once in a while a team will play at 10:00 on Saturday morning,' " Adam Silver said, mentioning the possibility of such games perhaps once every two months.

"We're not there yet.  But, you know, I am watching the market closely."

Via Ira Winderman/South Florida Sun Sentinel

NBA Interested In Participating In Gambling

Adam Silver said the NBA is interested in participating in sports betting if the United States legalizes it.

“It’s inevitable that, if all these states are broke, that there will be legalized sports betting in more states than Nevada and we will ultimately participate in that,” said Silver.

The league, which already allows teams to create marketing deals with casinos, would further profit from the legalization of sports wagering outside Nevada, he said.

“If you have a gentleman’s bet or a small wager on any kind of sports contest, it makes you that much more engaged in it,” Silver said. “That’s where we’re going to see it pay dividends. If people are watching a game and clicking to bet on their smartphones, which is what people are doing in the United Kingdom right now, then it’s much more likely you’re going to stay tuned for a long time.”

Via Mason Levinson,Scott Soshnick/Bloomberg

Tim Leiweke Leaving MLSE By June 30

Tim Leiweke told the board itís his goal to pursue his personal goal of owning his own business.
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