February 2020 Basketball Wiretap

All-Star Saturday Night Coverage Peaks With 6.4 Million Viewers, Most-Watched Since 2017

Feb 16, 2020 6:26 PM

The NBA reported that the All-Star Saturday Night coverage on TNT generated the highest ratings since 2017, with an average of 5.1 million viewers.

TNT's telecast peaked between 10:15-30 pm E.T. with 6.4 million viewers.

The event also posted a record amount of interactions on social media, with a 27% increase in video views and a 25% increase in engagements on NBAonTNT and NBATV accounts as compared to 2019.

Bruce Haring/Deadline

Tags: NBA, NBA All-Star

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Aaron Gordon After Finishing Second In Dunk Contest: 'I Feel Like I Should Have Two Trophies'

Feb 16, 2020 1:16 AM

Aaron Gordon said he was done participating in dunk contests after finishing in second place to Derrick Jones. 

Gordon also finished second to Zach LaVine in 2016.

"I did four straight 50s -- five straight 50s. That's over. It's a wrap. Let's go home Four 50s in a row in an NBA Dunk Contest, it's over. But I don't know. Who's running the show? ... It's a wrap, bro. I feel like I should have two trophies," said Gordon.

Gordon and Jones went to two tie-breaker rounds, with Gordon dunking over Tacko Fall with his final attempt.

Common and Candace Parker, two judges of the dunk contest, said that the plan was for Jones and Gordon to finish in another tie. 

"We thought it was going to be tied. We were like, 'This is a tie!' But somebody didn't do it right. I don't know who it is," said Common. 

ESPN

Tags: Aaron Gordon, Derrick Jones, Miami Heat, Orlando Magic, NBA, NBA All-Star

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Adam Silver Senses 'A Return To Normalcy' In Relationship Between NBA, China

Feb 16, 2020 1:05 AM

Adam Silver estimated that the reaction from Daryl Morey's retweet supporting protesters in Hong Kong cost the NBA "probably less than $400 million" in lost revenue during a press conference at All-Star weekend. 

Silver added that he doesn't think there is permanent damage between the NBA and China.

"It's substantial, I don't want to run from that. We were taken off the air in China for a period of time, and it caused our many business partners in China to feel it was, therefore, inappropriate to have ongoing relationships with us. But I don't have any sense that there's any permanent damage to our business there. ... We accept the consequences of our system and our values. It's not a position any business wants to be in, but those are the results," said Silver.

NBA games were pulled from CCTV, with the amount of streaming games also reduced.

"I know that, from the data we look at, there continues to be enormous interest for the NBA in China, and my sense is that there will be a return to normalcy fairly soon, but I can't say exactly when, when it comes to CCTV," added Silver.

Silver also said that there were still ongoing discussions as to whether Team USA would play pre-Olympic exhibition games in China, or whether the NBA would return to China for exhibition games next October. 

Team USA is currently scheduled to spend a week in Shanghai before heading to Tokyo for the Olympics. 

Brian Windhorst/ESPN

Tags: NBA, NBA B-Ball IQ

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NBA Renames All-Star Game MVP Award In Kobe Bryant's Honor

Feb 15, 2020 8:41 PM

Adam Silver announced that the NBA will rename the All-Star Game MVP award in Kobe Bryant's honor.

The award will now be called the All-Star Game Kobe Bryant MVP Award.

"Kobe Bryant is synonymous with NBA All-Star and embodies the spirit of this global celebration of our game. He always relished the opportunity to compete with the best of the best and perform at the highest level for millions of fans around the world," said Silver.

Bryant played in 18 straight All-Star Games between 1998 and 2016.

ESPN

Tags: Kobe Bryant, NBA, NBA All-Star

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Joel Embiid Says Sixers' Offense Is 'Definitely Going To Be Better After The All-Star Break'

Feb 15, 2020 6:25 PM

Joel Embiid said that the Philadelphia 76ers will continue to improve following the All-Star break amid questions of whether he and Ben Simmons can co-exist on the court. 

Embiid singled out the Sixers' offense as the biggest area of improvement.

'When you look at the last couple years, the last two years that we've been playing together, it's not a problem. This year it's only been a problem because our offense has struggled. ... It's definitely going to be better after the All-Star break. I mean, just look at the last two years, what we've been able to do. I think it can work, and it's going to work," said Embiid.

The Sixers rank fourth in defensive rating, per NBA.com, but are ranked 20th on offense.

Simmons reiterated Embiid's belief that the duo will work things out.

"Not everything is perfect. Not everything works right away. I love playing with Joel. I think he's an amazing talent, a guy I respect for his game, and I know he feels the same way about me. We continue to go the right way. There's so many different things that we haven't tried. We've got a lot of talent. It's scary how good we can be," said Simmons. 

Tim Bontemps/ESPN

Tags: Ben Simmons, Joel Embiid, Philadelphia Sixers, NBA, NBA B-Ball IQ

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Raptors Superfan Nav Bhatia Honored At Basketball Hall Of Fame

Feb 15, 2020 1:45 PM

Nav Bhatia and the late Penny Marshall were both honored at the Basketball Hall of Fame in the superfan gallery.

Bhatia, a Toronto-area businessman who immigrated to Canada in 1984, has attended almost every Raptors home game during the team's existence.

"You are a super fan. I want to say thank you for being who you are and thank you for being a part of the Hall of Fame. And I want to congratulate you for for all of that," said Hall of Fame chairman Jerry Colangelo to Bhatia. 

Bhatia paid tribute to Raptors fans in accepting the honor.

"Me being in the presence of such great basketball talent in the world right here, this is so unreal ... I'm still in shock and that's why I'm accepting this on behalf of not just the Toronto fans, Raptors fans, but all the fans, basketball fans and the NBA fans all over the world. 

CBC

Tags: Toronto Raptors, NBA, NBA CBA

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Jimmy Butler Says Heat Are 'Not Where We Want To Be At, Just Yet'

Feb 15, 2020 1:34 PM

Jimmy Butler said that the Miami Heat still have room for improvement after heading into the All-Star break with a 35-19 record. 

"We're not a bad team, but we're not where we want to be at, just yet. That's OK. I think moving forward we just continue to get better and figure out a way to win games, especially on the road," said Butler.

Butler did express his excitement over the overall state of the Heat.

“I’m excited for where our teams is, to tell you the truth, because we’re only going to get better. Everybody cares and everybody wants to win. I think that’s a mentality that you have to have to do something special. I’m happy with this group. I think everybody’s happy with this group," he added.

Erik Spoelstra echoed Butler's sentiment that they must improve on the road.

"Nobody wants to go 1-4 on the road trip. But, you know, it doesn't take the eternal optimist to see that there are some good things going on in this locker room."

Ira Winderman/South Florida Sun Sentinel

Tags: Jimmy Butler, Miami Heat, NBA, NBA B-Ball IQ

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Evan Turner To Workout With Clippers

Feb 15, 2020 12:57 PM

Evan Turner will workout with the Los Angeles Clippers on Saturday, league sources told Chris Haynes of Yahoo! Sports.

Turner, currently a member of the Timberwolves, has received permission from the team with a buyout pending.

Turner is averaging 3.3 points and 2.0 rebounds on the season.

Chris Haynes/Yahoo Sports

Tags: Evan Turner, Los Angeles Clippers, Minnesota Timberwolves, NBA, NBA B-Ball IQ

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Tim Duncan, Kevin Garnett, Kobe Bryant Named As Finalists For Class Of 2020 Hall Of Fame

Feb 15, 2020 2:26 AM

Tim Duncan, Kevin Garnett, and Kobe Bryant were among official finalists for the 2020 class of the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.

Tamika Catchings, Kim Mulkey, Barbara Stevens, Eddie Sutton and Rudy Tomjanovich were also named as finalists. 

The committee also suspended the Direct Election Categories for one year due to the enormity of the top names in this year's class. 

"We've never had a class that strong at the top. And of course with Kobe's death, it added more focus. We thought the way of dealing with it was eliminating some direct-elects on a one-year basis. We have that flexibility, fortunately, to do it because some people could get lost in the shuffle, really, in terms of getting their due," said Colangelo.

Michael Wilbon and Mike Breen were elected to the Hall of Fame as recipients of the Curt Gowdy Media Award.

Tim Bontemps/ESPN

Tags: Kobe Bryant, Kevin Garnett, Tim Duncan, NBA, NBA B-Ball IQ

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Execs Still View James Wiseman As Likely Top-Five Pick

Feb 14, 2020 12:10 PM

James Wiseman is taking a unique path to the NBA after playing just three games in college before leaving Memphis to prepare for the 2020 draft.

"Most executives league-wide see (Wiseman) as a likely top-five pick, and as one of the favorites to end up in the top-three," reports Sam Vecenie of The Athletic.

Wiseman could drop further depending on how the lottery plays out.

The Cleveland Cavaliers and Atlanta Hawks possibly filled their need at center at the deadline, which puts their interest in Wiseman into question. The Minnesota Timberwolves and New York Knicks have young centers already in place in Karl-Anthony Towns and Mitchell Robinson.

The Golden State Warriors are difficult to predict, but are expected to consider trading the selection depending on who becomes available on the market. 

Sam Vecenie/The Athletic

Tags: James Wiseman, Memphis Tigers, NBA, NBA NBA Draft, NBA Draft General

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Lakers, Bucks Favorites To Win NBA Title

David Purdum/ESPN

Celtics To Retire Kevin Garnett's Jersey Next Season

Ohm Youngmisuk/ESPN

Paul George Leaves Game With Hamstring Injury

Ohm Youngmisuk/ESPN

Damian Lillard To Be Re-Evaluated In One Week Following Groin Injury

Chris Haynes/Yahoo! Sports

Team LeBron Five-Point Favorite Over Team Giannis In All-Star Game

BetOnline

RealGM Radio: Jared Dubin On The Deadline, Title Contenders

RealGM Staff Report

Paul George Fined $35,000 For Public Criticism Of Referees

RealGM Staff Report

Nicoḷ Melli Named As Injury Replacement For Rising Stars Game

RealGM Staff Report

Wolves Haven't Considered Firing Ryan Saunders

Sid Hartman/Star Tribune

Devin Booker Named To 2020 All-Star Game As Injury Replacement

RealGM Staff Report

Mike Miller Could Remain With Knicks Outside Of Coaching Role

Ian Begley/SNY

Damian Lillard Pulls Out Of All-Star Game With Strained Groin, Will Get MRI On Thursday

ESPN

Magic 'Tried Hard' To Trade Aaron Gordon Before Deadline

Sean Deveney/Heavy.com

Kobe Bryant, Gianna Bryant Were Buried On Feb. 7 In Private Ceremony

ESPN

Buddy Hield Could Request Trade From Kings If He Remains Out Of Starting Lineup

Shams Charania, Sam Amick, Jason Jones/The Athletic

Marvin Bagley's 'Left Foot Soreness' Injury Could Be More Serious Than Announced

Shams Charania, Sam Amick, Jason Jones/The Athletic

Suns Sign Jonah Bolden To 10-Day Contract

Shams Charania/The Athletic

Kings' Ownership Supported Drafting Luka Doncic

Shams Charania, Sam Amick, Jason Jones/The Athletic

Vivek Ranadive Frustrated With State Of Kings But No Changes Imminent

Shams Charania, Sam Amick, Jason Jones/The Athletic

Knicks Distance Team From Steve Stoute Comments About Coaching

Malika Andrews/ESPN