NBA WiretapFebruary 2019 NBA Wiretap

Travis Schlenk: Hawks Would Have Drafted Luka Doncic If They Kept 3rd Pick

Feb 17, 2019 9:00 PM

Travis Schlenk said that the Atlanta Hawks were going to draft Luka Doncic had they kept the 3rd pick in last year's draft. 

"Not a lot of people know this...if we stayed at 3, we would have taken Luka. We had worked with his agent, he did a physical with us that morning in New York...but then Dallas came in an hour or so before the draft. I told them all along that it would take another lottery pick for us to slide back, and that's when the conversations got started," Schlenk stated on Adrian Wojnarowski's podcast.

The deal to move back two spots and receive a top-5 protected pick from the Mavs this season was influenced by analytics.   

"Our analytics staff was predicting Dallas to finish 8th this year," added Schlenk.

Adrian Wojnarowski/ESPN

Tags: Atlanta Hawks, NBA, NBA Official Trade, NBA NBA Draft, NBA Draft General

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Adam Silver Wants NBA To Have 'More Direct Involvement In The Development Of Players'

Feb 19, 2019 3:03 AM

In reflecting upon the success of Basketball Without Borders, Adam Silver added that he wants the NBA to be more involved in the worldwide development of the game.

“There’s nothing more important than continuing to develop that next generation of players. Historically, we played more of a passive role when it came to development of players, whether it was through college system or systems that existed in Europe or other parts of the world. Those players were, in essence, presented to us when they are ready for the draft. I think we’re increasingly of the view that we can have more direct involvement in the development of players. If we get to them, boys and girls, at a younger age, we can begin teaching them not just fundamentals but the values of this game, helping them build character around the game, teaching them about their bodies, and teaching them the importance of nutrition and sleep and stretching and physical fitness,” said Silver.

The NBA recently announced plans to start a 12-team league in Africa.

A recent study also found that nearly a million people in Australia play basketball, more than half of whom are under 25 years old.

Derek Bodner/The Athletic

Tags: NBA, International, NBA B-Ball IQ, International B-Ball IQ

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Dwyane Wade On Final All-Star Game Appearance: 'The Game Is In Good Hands'

Feb 18, 2019 2:47 AM

Dwyane Wade and Dirk Nowitzki were presented with a framed All-Star Game jersey to commemorate their final appearance. 

"This one was special. I'm just thankful for the NBA for making sure and accommodating one of the things that I didn't even think I needed or wanted. My team did an amazing job, my family. I couldn't ask for anything more of this weekend. It definitely was my most enjoyable. People like to ask, and this one will take the place now as my most memorable and most enjoyable All-Star," said Wade.

Wade added that it was easy to leave the game considering the talent in the league.

"The game is in good hands. So it's easy to walk away right now."

Nowitzki went 3 for 3 from deep in 4 minutes of play. Wade added 7 points and 4 assists in 10 minutes.

Nick Friedell/ESPN

Tags: Dwyane Wade, Dirk Nowitzki, NBA, NBA All-Star

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Kevin Garnett Wants Giannis To Add 'One-Dribble, Two-Dribble Pull Up" To His Game

Feb 17, 2019 4:59 PM

Kevin Garnett says he wants to see Giannis Antetokounmpo add a pull up jumper to his game. 

"The one-dribble and two-dribble pull up. That’s what made Kobe [Bryant] and Michael [Jordan] so tough. They would low dribble, jab step and shoot. That was such a hard move to defend. The one-dribble pull up? You don’t even understand how technical of a move that is...the three ball will help his game, and if he ever gets that one-dribble, two-dribble pull up, that would be unbelievable," said Garnett when asked what Antetokounmpo could do to improve his game.

Garnett added that Antetokounmpo's competitive nature was honed playing alongside the previous generation.

"When Giannis first came into the league, he was facing guys like myself, Kobe and Tim Duncan. We were still in the league when he came in. He was not only able to interact but also get some of those yesteryear gems and glimpses from us. He was super competitive when he first came into the league...he’s very intense. I understood that. We connected off that. He’s a great listener. A total sponge. He wants to be the best. He doesn’t care about being liked, about making friends. He has a vision for himself."

Alex Wong/Yahoo! Sports

Tags: Giannis Antetokounmpo, Milwaukee Bucks, NBA, NBA B-Ball IQ

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LeBron James: 'I've Always Loved Kyrie'

Feb 17, 2019 5:10 PM

LeBron James stated his appreciation for Kyrie Irving's growth and maturity during an All-Star weekend media event.

"I think I've always loved Kyrie, from before I met him, until when I became his teammate, to even now. So the phone call, more than for me, I think just to see his growth...it takes a real man and a real person -- and a real person to understand who they are -- to be able to call or to do anything and be able to see their wrongdoings or believe they have some wrongdoings and then be able to come to grips with that and then be able to either apologize or say that, 'At that point and time, I thought I was ready for something, but I really wasn't,'" said James. 

James, who gave Irving advice on how to lead a young Celtics team, also praised how Irving handled the media speculation around the trade deadline earlier this month.

Dave McMenamin/ESPN

Tags: LeBron James, Kyrie Irving, Boston Celtics, Los Angeles Lakers, NBA, NBA B-Ball IQ

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MSG Denies Speculation Of James Dolan 'Courting Offers For Knicks'

Feb 18, 2019 4:06 PM

Madison Square Garden has denied speculation from Bill Simmons of The Ringer that James Dolan has interest in selling the New York Knicks. Simmons said Dolan was "courting offers for the Knicks."

The Madison Square Garden Company said in a statement that "the story is 100 percent false."

Dolan said in an interview with ESPN's Ian O'Connor late last year that he couldn't rule out selling the Knicks if the right offer came along.

Dolan took over as chairman of Madison Square Garden in 1999. 

The Knicks are believed to be worth $4 billion.

Ian Begley/ESPN

Tags: New York Knicks, NBA

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NBA Estimates 37-40 Percent Of Players Will Be Free Agents In 2019 Offseason

Feb 18, 2019 10:00 AM

The NBA is anticipating between 37 percent and 40 percent of current players will be free agents this offseason, according to sources close to Adam Silver.

Silver talked about how shorter contract lengths have changed the equation on player movement.

"People have lost sight a little bit of the fact, again, blame the league or not, but two collective bargaining agreements ago in 2010 and ’11, we set out to shorten contracts because we wanted to more closely tie pay to performance, and we wanted to give teams a chance to rebuild faster, meaning players wouldn’t be locked into contractual situations for too long a period, and we also wanted to give players the flexibility to move on," said Silver. "So the result of that is the latest I’ve heard from our basketball operations group is that, I believe, 40 percent of our players are going to be free agents this summer.

"So it’s two sides of the coin. Some people could say, oh, my God, look at all that player movement. On the other hand, that player movement could be very positive for a lot of teams."

Joe Vardon/The Athletic

Tags: NBA, NBA Signing Rumor, NBA Misc Rumor, NBA B-Ball IQ

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LeBron James On Owning NBA Team One Day: I Got A Ton More Years To Play This Game

Feb 17, 2019 1:59 PM

LeBron James tempered his comments saying that he was going to own an NBA team in the future.

"I was asked a question...I answered it how I felt at that point in time I believe if I wanted to, I could own a team or be part of a basketball team. I know I got so much knowledge of the game that I don't want to, once I stop playing, I just [do not] want to get away from the game...it would have to be the right fit. It'd have to be the right city. It'd have to be the right situation. It's not like it's a dream of mine. It's more of an aspiration," said James.

James, who Forbes recently reported has a net worth of $450 million, added that he still has years left to play.

"I got a lot more game to play. I got a lot. A ton more years to play this game and suit up and be in a Lakers uniform. Once we get to that point, we'll cross that path. Hopefully I can sit up here and answer questions as a player for a long time."

Dave McMenamin/ESPN

Tags: LeBron James, Los Angeles Lakers, NBA, NBA B-Ball IQ

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Bradley Beal On Retiring As A Wizard: 'I'm All About Loyalty'

Feb 17, 2019 12:49 PM

Bradly Beal reaffirmed his loyalty to the Washington Wizards over All-Star weekend.

“If I can retire in this jersey, I will. I’m all about loyalty...I’m gonna be committed until I’m not, until I’m moved. That’s just my mindset. I’m gonna continue to lead and continue to do what I possibly can to help get us to that. I’m a firm believer that no matter who we have — I think I can do it with anybody. I feel like it’s possible with anybody as long as you have that work ethic and that dedication to get to that level," said Beal during a moderated Q&A session.

Beal added that he doesn't like having to recruit to build a super team, but the Warriors set the standard.

“I kinda hate it. I hate super teams. And that’s just me. … Like everybody, just get your own team and just try to win with what you’ve got. But it’s like you need five All-Stars to win, especially to beat Golden State at this point. Granted, that’s everybody’s measuring stick: Golden State. They’ve got four, five, six guys on their team that are probably All-Stars, so it speaks for (itself).”

Fred Katz/The Athletic

Tags: Bradley Beal, Washington Wizards, NBA, NBA B-Ball IQ

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Adam Silver Sees Some Positives For Teams With Increased Player Movement Due To Shorter Contracts

Feb 16, 2019 9:47 PM

The way the NBA has shortened the length of contracts during collective bargaining agreements in 2005 and again in 2011 has had both advantages and disadvantages for teams. While teams have bad contracts on their books for shorter lengths of time and the reset button can be sped up, players have more opportunities to test free agency. 

Adam Silver was asked whether the NBA might overstep its boundaries if they take action to prevent a sense of player movement via trade requests.

"Well, in terms of the role the League should take, I don’t want to do something extraordinary in that I’m reaching to some broad power to interfere with the workings of the collective bargaining agreement," said Silver. "I mean, I think those are issues that should be discussed at the table in terms of how the system should work. I think you raise a fair point in terms of it’s two-sided. Of course, teams also blind-side players, too, and trade them.

"I think the issue ultimately is that, whether it be a team or a player not meeting a contractual obligation, I mean, that’s something I think you just don’t want to see as a league, even if it’s a one-year contract or a five-year contract, that’s a commitment the player makes, and that’s a commitment the organization makes to that player with a guaranteed contract. I recognize, and I think it’s perfectly appropriate, that conversations take place behind closed doors, where players or their agents are saying to management, It’s my intention to move on for whatever reasons.

"I think, when they make a public spectacle of it, I hear you in terms of the enormous media interest that comes from it, but that’s not the kind of media interest we’re looking for.

"I will say, and it’s related to your question, that people have lost sight a little bit of the fact, again, blame the league or not, but two collective bargaining agreements ago in 2010 and ’11, we set out to shorten contracts because we wanted to more closely tie pay to performance, and we wanted to give teams a chance to rebuild faster, meaning players wouldn’t be locked into contractual situations for too long a period, and we also wanted to give players the flexibility to move on. So the result of that is the latest I’ve heard from our basketball operations group is that, I believe, 40 percent of our players are going to be free agents this summer.

"So it’s two sides of the coin. Some people could say, oh, my God, look at all that player movement. On the other hand, that player movement could be very positive for a lot of teams.

"So while we certainly are becoming a 52-week-a-year sport, and it’s largely the result of tremendous interest in these players, and not just what happens on the floor, but how they choose to live their lives. I think we could do more a better job as a league in avoiding those situations where they get to the point where players are maybe demanding they’re be traded or, worst-case scenario, saying, “I’m not going to honor my contract.”

RealGM Staff Report

Tags: NBA, NBA CBA

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Adam Silver On Tampering: Nobody In NBA Wants To Live In Police State
Adam Silver believes the NBA has the tools they need currently to deal with tampering.

RealGM Staff Report

Kyle Kuzma: I'd Rather Be Talked About Bad In L.A. Than Ignored In Other Markets
Kuzma was the subject of trade rumors as the Lakers pursued Anthony Davis.

Dan Feldman/NBC Sports

Ted Leonsis Calls Sports Betting 'The Most Important New Business' For NBA
Leonsis and Ranadive have focused on "predictive gaming" where fans can place wagers on the score and player performance in real-time.

ESPN

Shaq: European Prospects "More Fundamentally Sound" Than American Counterparts
The debate comes on top of Mark Cuban's comments comparing the developmental style of AAU basketball compared to Slovenia.

Candace Buckner/The Washington Post

Lakers No Longer Favored To Make Playoffs At Vegas Sportsbook
Odds that the Lakers would make the playoffs closed at -600 before the start of the season.

Ben Fawkes/ESPN

Giannis Antetokounmpo To Play In FIBA World Championships This Summer
The 32-team tournament begins in China on August 31st.

ESPN

NBA Viewership Down Eight Percent From 17-18 With Early Games Down 12 Percent
LeBron James' move to the Western Conference has likely contributed to a shift in ratings.

Sports Media Watch

Anthony Davis On Potential Trade Destinations: 'All Other 29 Teams Are On My List'
Davis added that he never gave anyone a list of preferred teams he'd like to get traded to.

Andrew Lopez/NOLA

Danny Ainge Doesn't Think Celtics Necessarily Avoided Mistake With Rejected Justise Winslow Deal
Danny Ainge is glad the Celtics remained patient.

Steve Bulpett/Boston Herald

Kyle Kuzma Wins Rising Stars MVP, Admits Bonus Provided Motivation
Kyle Kuzma scored 35 points in Team USA's 161-144 win over Team World.

Tim Bontemps/ESPN

Nuggets Sign Tim Connelly To Contract Extension
Tim Connelly's deal would have expired at the end of the current season.

Adrian Wojnarowski/ESPN

Marc Stein, Ralph Lawler To Receive Basketball Hall of Fame's 2019 Curt Gowdy Media Award
Marc Stein currently writes for the New York Times and was previously a longtime reporter for ESPN.

RealGM Staff Report

Raptors Sought Trade For Nikola Mirotic Before Pivoting To Marc Gasol
The Raptors and Pelicans worked together on a three-way trade that would have sent Delon Wright to the Magic.

Jeff Zillgitt/USA Today

Anthony Davis, Pelicans Will Reevaluate His Post-ASG Playing Time
The Pelicans could try to sit Anthony Davis for the remainder of the season.

Sam Amick/The Athletic

Danny Ferry Named Interim General Manager Of Pelicans
Danny Ferry had been working with the Pelicans' organization as a consultant.

Adrian Wojnarowski/ESPN

Pelicans Fire Dell Demps, Will Aggressively Pursue High-Level Basketball Executive As GM
They plan to hold off on trading Anthony Davis unless it makes sense for the franchise.

Adrian Wojnarowski/ESPN

Anthony Davis Suffers Left Shoulder Muscle Contusion
Anthony Davis did not return to the bench after halftime and left the arena with Rich Paul to get an MRI.

Tim MacMahon, Ramona Shelburne/ESPN

Steve Kerr Fined $25K Following Ejection
Kerr was ejected from the game after arguing a flagrant foul call on Draymond Green.

ESPN

Markieff Morris Agrees To Deal With Thunder
Morris was waived by the Pelicans last week and adds depth to the Thunder front court.

Royce Young/ESPN

Danny Ainge Calls Suggestion Celtics Better Without Kyrie Irving 'Completely Illogical'
The Celtics had an impressive win at the 76ers last week and also reached the Eastern Conference Finals last season without Kyrie Irving.

John Karalis/Boston Globe