Mike James was waived by the Suns Saturday, as the team prepares to reactivate Devin Booker following his recovery from a groin injury. This is an excruciatingly tough break for a guy who just two weeks ago celebrated becoming the first player in NBA history to convert one of the association’s new two-way development contracts into a standard contract.
Two-way contracts are a way for NBA teams to expand their overall pool of talent and have more roster flexibility, while providing more opportunities for fringe or developing players to stay stateside and provide value to parent teams. Their advent, in the latest collective bargaining agreement, allows NBA teams to sign up to two players per season to contracts that secure them as prospects within an organization’s developmental pipeline, and grants those players up to 45 days of eligibility with the organization’s NBA team. If a player hits that threshold, he can still stick with the organization in the development league, but in order to play again with the big club that season he must be signed to a standard contract.
Mike James hit his threshold back on December 7, having spent the bulk of the early season not only as a member of the Suns, but playing an increasing nightly load of rotation minutes, and eventually starting 10 games. James is tiny, and 27 years old, and is understandably no organization’s first choice for a future building block. But he is for sure an NBA player, and the circumstances of his exit blow, big time: Booker and Davon Reed went down with injuries, and the Suns brought in journeyman—but comparatively bonafide NBA player—Isaiah Canaan to play some of those guard minutes; Canaan played all of four games for the Suns, but now that the time has come to bring back Reed and Booker, and therefore to free up the roster spot temporarily taken by Canaan, the Suns decided to dump James and keep the new guy. The shitty truth is, it is possible to be the best bargain and the best two-way contract player in the whole world of professional basketball, and also the least valuable player on the roster of a crappy NBA bottom-feeder.
The lopsidedness of that transaction is just brutal: James has spent his adult life battling uphill to even sniff an NBA roster; finally, two-way contracts gave him the break he needed to get some actual, by-God NBA exposure; an injury to Brandon Knight and the trade of Eric Bledsoe cleared the way for a little burn; James made the most of that playing time, and the exhaustion of his allotted pro time put him in line for that elusive NBA contract. He was simply too valuable, two weeks ago, for the team to foreclose on any future NBA playing time. But that works out to have been something of a curse, too: because his standard contract tied him to a Suns roster spot, when they needed to free one up for the return of more established guys, he got axed for friggin’ Isaiah Canaan. Now, instead of being a plucky developmental guy on a dirt-cheap contract, he’s completely jobless. He is both the first two-way contract success story, and the first two-way contract cautionary tale, as the unintended consequences of a brand new roster mechanism work their way into the light.
Here, let’s enjoy a couple minutes of Mike James slicing and dicing his way to 26 points against the Timberwolves, last month:
The Lorenzen Wright slaying became Memphis’ most famous cold case.
Two arrests made
On Saturday, Memphis Police Director Mike Rallings announced two indictments in the case.
Sherra Wright-Robinson and Billy Turner.
Wright’s ex-wife, Sherra Wright-Robinson, 46, was taken into custody in Riverside, California, and charged with conspiring with a Memphis-area man to kill her former husband. She was indicted on charges of first-degree murder, conspiracy to commit first-degree murder and attempted first-degree murder.
Billy Turner, also 46, of the Memphis suburb of Collierville, was arrested December 5 and charged with the same offenses, Rallings said. CNN affiliate WREG reported that Turner pleaded not guilty on Tuesday. He remains in the Shelby County Jail on $1 million bond.
Rallings didn’t say exactly what led police to make the arrests and didn’t provide a motive for the killing. He said more people may be charged.
When asked about the relationship between the suspects, Rallings said, “It’s safe to say they knew each other.”
CNN could not immediately reach lawyers for the two suspects for comment.
Gunfire on 911 call
Wright, who had a home in Atlanta, was last seen at his former wife’s home in Collierville, near Memphis, shortly before midnight on July 18, 2010, investigators said. He was visiting his children.
A 911 call was placed from his phone in the early hours of July 19, but the call was interrupted by gunfire, police said. The 911 center in Germantown, a Memphis suburb, fielded the call and didn’t share the information with Memphis police for days.
His mother reported Wright missing July 22. When Memphis police finally got the 911 call and determined which cell tower transmitted the call, they were able to locate the body on July 28 in a field near Hacks Cross Road and Winchester Road, about 24 miles east of the middle of Memphis.
By then, the body had badly decomposed under the sun and rain. Wright was so famous in the city that hundreds of Wright’s fans rushed to the spot where the body was found.
Gun found in a lake
Major Darren Goods of the city’s Multi-Agency Gang Unit, who helped lead the investigation, said a major break came this fall when investigators got a tip about a lake near Walnut, Mississippi. The renewed investigation was dubbed Operation Rebound.
“In basketball when you get a rebound, that gives you a second chance,” he said. “This would give us a second chance to bring some closure to this case and give this grieving family some relief.”
The lake had previously been searched, but this time the unit asked for help from an FBI dive team, which found a pistol on November 9, he said. That pistol was examined in the crime lab and determined to be one of the weapons used to shoot Wright, he said.
In a news release, police said Carter and Sherra Wright-Robinson had also tried to kill Wright between April 1 and July 17 at Wright’s home outside Atlanta. They recruited another, unidentified co-conspirator, the news release said.
Wright was a forward/center for several teams during his professional basketball career. He played with the Los Angeles Clippers, Atlanta Hawks, Memphis Grizzlies and Sacramento Kings before finishing his NBA career in 2008-2009 with the Cleveland Cavaliers.
Wright, who had six children, completed his degree at the University of Memphis in 2003, according to the NBA’s website.
As the Los Angeles Lakers get ready to raise Kobe Bryant‘s #8 and #24 jerseys into the rafters, a celebratory short film has dropped to honor the Black Mamba. Dubbed Dear Basketball, the film’s score calls upon the talents of Oscar Award-winning composer John Williams while its direction and animation comes from Disney’s own Glen Keane.
During the flick, you’ll hear Kobe narrate his love for basketball and how that feeling began for him. Talking directly to the game, Bryant also reflects on when he knew it was the right time to put his body to rest. You can take a look at the short-film in full on go90 and let us know your thoughts in the comments section below.
EL SEGUNDO, Calif. — Kentavious Caldwell-Pope said he will not be able to play in three Los Angeles Lakers‘ road games outside the state of California in the next few weeks due to a modified 25-day restriction stemming from a plea agreement he reached on a misdemeanor offense while a player for the Detroit Pistons.
If the Lakers guard complies with this new restriction, he is slated to miss the Lakers’ games at Houston on Dec. 20, at Houston again on Dec. 31 and at Minnesota on Jan. 1. The only other Lakers’ road game during the 25-day restriction — which was given to Caldwell-Pope following a court appearance in Michigan this past week — is at Golden State on Dec. 22. Caldwell-Pope will be able to play in that game since he will not be leaving the state.
“With the court situation, we came up with the agreement that I still get to carry on with my season but only in the state of California for the 25-day restriction that I have,” Caldwell-Pope said after practice on Saturday. “I was blessed that I am able to continue to play ball.”
Caldwell-Pope was originally cited for operating a vehicle while intoxicated but pleaded guilty in May to the lesser charge of allowing someone to operate his vehicle while under the influence, which carried a 12-month probation. Caldwell-Pope left the Lakers following a game in New York last Tuesday to Michigan, where he learned he had to return to California and miss Thursday’s game in Cleveland to start an intensive program over the next 25 days with the intention of ending his probation early.
“It helps,” Caldwell-Pope said of 25-day restriction allowing him to continue to play basketball. “With the court situation, we came up with the agreement that I still get to carry on with my season but only in the state of California for the 25-day restriction that I have. I was blessed that I am able to continue to play ball.”
“It was always a possibility that I would continue to play,” the guard added. “I just had agreed to some restrictions in order for me to continue to play.”
“As a result of his professional basketball work schedule, the court has modified the sentence and released him from probation early so long as he completes an intensive program over the next 25 days. There will be some travel restrictions, but we are pleased that Kentavious will now continue with his NBA season and move forward in a positive manner from this experience.”
Caldwell-Pope, who signed a one-year, $18-million contract with the Lakers as a free agent, is averaging 14.2 points, 4.9 rebounds and 1.8 steals while shooting 36.1% from 3-point range. The Lakers have leaned on Caldwell-Pope, 24, to provide veteran leadership, turn the Lakers’ defense around and at times be the team’s closer in close games.
“He is one of those guys that hits big shots for us and when you are on the road you can stall out a little bit like we have a tendency to do from time to time and he is somebody that can get it going and hit two or three straight jumpers or make a big play on defense or get a steal for us,” Lakers coach Luke Walton said. “There are things from both ends of the floor that we will miss from him. But it was nice having him back with us today in practice.”
On Saturday, the Lakers released a statement saying the team is “abiding by the terms of a program for Kentavious that were established for him by a court in the state of Michigan.”
Caldwell-Pope was suspended under the NBA’s personal conduct policy for the Lakers’ first two games of the season. The Lakers started rookie guard Josh Hart in place of Caldwell-Pope in Cleveland and Hart responded with a career-high 11 points and 10 rebounds in his first start.
“It has been very disappointing to me as well, as far as my teammates, I feel like I let them down as well, my coaches, the organization,” Caldwell-Pope said. “I just have to deal with this legal situation that came with it.”
BROOKLYN – Jahlil Okafor entered the Nets training facility in Industry City on Sunday and was immediately surprised at what he saw as he walked on the basketball court.
Kenny Atkinson was there waiting for him and Nik Stauskas, ready to teach the new arrivals how his system operates with the Nets.
“Coach Kenny, he was actually hands on, he was the one instructing me through the entire workout. That was different for me” Okafor said in his introduction to the media. “Usually it’s the assistant coaches who handle that.”
He added, “To see the head coach out there, working with me, helping me shoot, running with me, guarding me a few times – it was different. I enjoyed it.”
It was a change of scenery that the 21-year-old center desperately needed after almost three years of inconsistent playing time that gradually became riding the bench with the Sixers.
Okafor insists he never took his lack of playing time in Philadelphia personally, pointing to the business nature of the NBA. He even credited the team’s coaching staff for helping improve his game despite being out of the rotation. But he acknowledged that the construction of the team made it a poor fit for him.
“The obvious thing was just how many people we had at my position…. we kind of had three starting centers on the same team. It just never was the right fit,” he said.
Now in Brooklyn, Okafor believes he’ll be able to show the improvements he’s made since being drafted and learn from the Nets’ coaching staff. He’s motivated to prove that he can fit into Atkinson’s high-paced style of play.
“They play free,” Okafor said. “A bunch of young guys playing free, playing together and that’s something I’m excited to be a part of.”
While Okafor is primarily known for his low-post scoring, he’s hoping he’ll be able to add new wrinkles to his game in Brooklyn. Atkinson famously encouraged Brook Lopez to take threes and Okafor wants to expand his range as well.
“That’s one of things I’ve heard about Brooklyn – how good they are at developing players,” he said.
Okafor also believes he’ll be able to help space the floor for the Nets, a team that has relies on the three in its offense. He was a good passer in college and he hopes to show more of that with his new team. He’s hoping to make a quick adjustment and hopes his relationships with D’Angelo Russell, who he played against in high school, and Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, a former U.S. basketball teammate, helps.
“He [Russell] was actually the first person to call me when I got traded,” Okafor revealed. “We’re very excited to go on the court together and you never would have thought the No. 2 and No. 3 picks [of the 2015 NBA Draft] would be playing on the same team after just a few years.
“Everything happens for a reason. I’m really excited.”
Okafor hopes that he and Russell will be able to form an explosive offensive combo in Brooklyn, but he acknowledges a few things have to happen first: his acclimation to his new team and Russell’s recovery. Still, Okafor is happy to have a new home and just wants to get on the court to show what he can do. When asked if he expects to play against the Wizards on Tuesday, he gave an answer that sums his past few years.
“I’ve been sitting down longer than I want. I definitely hope to play… But I’m definitely ready. I’m tired of sitting,” he said enthusiastically.
Andy Miller, one of the NBA’s most prominent player agents, has relinquished his National Basketball Players Association certification and will no longer represent players in contract negotiations, according to a union memo distributed on Wednesday.
Miller is the president and founder of ASM Sports, and many of his former clients are expected to remain with other agents in the company, sources said. None of the company’s most prominent clients left in the wake of the FBI probe, which included the arrest of an ex-employee, Christian Dawkins, in September.
Miller, based in New Jersey, had represented several longtime All-Star players, including Chauncey Billups and Kevin Garnett.
Quite frankly, I don’t understand how Rick Pitino can summon the gall to sue an institution that has supported him throughout all of his controversy at Louisville. Although there is only one record of NCAA misconduct prior to his stint at with the Cardinals, it served as a foreshadow of the infamy to come.
In the 70’s, he served as both an assistant and interim head coach for the University of Hawaii. While there, the program was hit by NCAA sanctions, with Pitino implicated in eight of the 64 violations. The violations involving Pitino included giving plane tickets to a player, arranging for athletes to get used cars and giving out coupons for free food at McDonald’s.
Ironically, he would take the reigns of a troubled program at the University of Kentucky, which was facing NCAA sanctions prior to his arrival.
“This program is as rich in tradition as there is in all of basketball, but you’ve been brought to your knees with a tremendous scandal.” – Rick Pitino.
He left Kentucky with a national championship, would go on to coach in the NBA, and then return to the college ranks at Louisville, where his third, and latest strike cost him his job and maybe his legacy.
Strike one: In 2009, he confessed that he had an affair with the wife of the team’s equipment manager and paid for her to have an abortion. The woman, Karen Sypher, was later convicted of trying to extort Pitino for millions of dollars. C’mon man.
Strike two: In 2015, Andre McGee, a former director of basketball operations was found to have provided strippers and prostitutes to players and recruits in a campus dormitory over several years. The school declared itself ineligible for postseason play in 2016, and the NCAA suspended Pitino for the first five games of the coming season.
The scandal was heavily reported by ESPN’s “Outside the Lines” and YahooSports. The allegations are detailed in a book entitled “Breaking Cardinal Rules: Basketball and the Escort Queen,” co-written by Katina Powell, who told ESPN she provided women for Louisville recruits in exchange for a total of $10,000 in payments.
Powell essentially served as a madam and in her book detailed about 21 recruiting “parties” with strippers and sex from 2010-2014 inside Billy Minardi Hall, an on-campus Louisville dorm for athletes and other students named for the late brother-in-law of Louisville coach Rick Pitino. Powell gives an extensive interview with ESPN for its story and supplied information such as text messages and phone records. One former Louisville recruit who is attending another school told ESPN:
“I knew they weren’t college girls. It was crazy. It was like I was in a strip club.“
Another player told ESPN that McGee…
“would give us the money, just the recruits. A bunch of us were sitting there while they danced. Then the players left, and the recruits chose which one (of the dancers) they wanted.”
His lawyer, Scott Tompsett, planned an appeal of Pitino’s suspension because he said the ruling did not “identify a single specific thing that Coach Pitino should have done that he wasn’t already doing that would have either prevented or detected the illicit activities.” Pitino has denied knowledge of the matter, to which Powell told ESPN, “How could he not know?”
Strike three: The latest scandal serves as the straw that broke the camel’s back. In a federal complaint that I’ve previously posted, Louisville is alleged to have paid $100,000 to star recruit Brian Bowen. That money was funneled from Adidas through Louisville in order to lure his commitment. At the time he was recruited, Pitino told News Radio 840: “We got lucky on this one. I had an A.A.U. director call me and ask me if I’d be interested in a player. I said, ‘Yeah, I’d be really interested.’ In my 40 years of coaching, this is the luckiest I’ve been.” Now, Bowen’s collegiate career, and Pitino’s coaching career are left in limbo.
Rick Pitino should use his absence from the basketball to re-evaluate his values, his purported lack of awareness, and what it means to be a leader. He has been quick to point the finger of blame at everyone but himself. In my opinion, even if he didn’t take part in either of the last two scandals, I attribute the consequences to blatant negligence. How could this type of conduct continue under his nose? Either he turned a blind eye to any instances of wrongdoing, or he elected to allow HIS team to be run behind closed doors by THEIR own devices, and not his. That is not leadership.
You might not be familiar with DeAndre Daniels. The Toronto Raptors selected him with the No. 37 pick in the 2014 NBA draft. Now 25 years old, the 6’9″ forward has yet to appear in an NBA regular–season game. He has played professionally in Australia and Italy and most recently played stateside for the G League Erie BayHawks.
The odds of you knowing about Daniels are certainly higher if you are a Raptors fan or a UConn fan—he played a key role in the Huskies winning a national title in 2014. And if you follow high school basketball and college recruiting, Daniels’s name is likely to ring a bell. He was a five-star recruit out of Taft High School in Woodlands, California, and also played post-graduate ball at the IMG Academy.
There’s another group of basketball fans who when they hear the name “DeAndre Daniels” think, “I remember that guy.”
That group would be NBA draft fanatics.
Back in 2014, those who love to consume all things NBA draft likely came across scouting reports and video analysis of Daniels. In doing so they probably encountered a DraftExpress.com profile centered on Daniels. The profile, which is accessible for free and doesn’t require any kind of registration, includes an 875-word scouting report co-authored by Jonathan Givony and Mike Schmitz. The profile assesses how well Daniels projects to play in the NBA. It also includes a 12-minute, 24-second video that blends a series of short highlights of Daniels playing at UConn with graphics discussing Daniels’s strengths and weaknesses.
The DraftExpress profile on Daniels is now the subject of a federal lawsuit. And it is a lawsuit that could impact how websites show video clips of athletes.
Wazee Digital, a technology company that licenses video footage for the NCAA, has sued DraftExpress and its founder and owner, Givony, for copyright infringement. The lawsuit, filed in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York back in April, highlights the DraftExpress profile on Daniels to assert that DraftExpress has knowingly—and without Wazee’s consent—used video content that Wazee had registered with the U.S. Copyright Office. Wazee stresses that it derives “a substantial revenue stream from licensing game footage to various entities and media outlets, who create game highlights or other video montages and rebroadcast those videos on television and on the Internet.” DraftExpress, Wazee reasons, ought to pay for this content as well.
Benefiting Wazee is that courts have held that copyright law protects sports broadcasts. This dynamic ensures that the NCAA, as well as professional sports leagues, can earn substantial revenue from licensing rights to broadcast games.
Yet copyright protection in a broadcast does not, by itself, prevent DraftExpress from legally using portions of the content. To that end, DraftExpress asserts that its use of copyrighted broadcasts is through “fair use.” Generally speaking, the legal doctrine of fair use permits copying of protected material for certain uses. When fair use applies, the copying party need not obtain permission or submit payment to the party in possession of the copyright.
Although fair use analysis is somewhat subjective, federal law and the U.S Supreme Court have identified five basic factors. None of these five factors are necessarily more influential than the other and they are usually balanced against each another.
The first factor is the purpose of the copying. When the intent is for news reporting and sharing of information, fair use is more likely to apply. However, copying motivated by pursuit of money is less likely to gain protection. On one hand, DraftExpress can convincingly argue that its content is newsworthy and informative. Profiles of draft-eligible players educate NBA draft fans, journalists and others about those players. Accompanying video analysis only further informs readers. DraftExpress can also stress that its website offers such content for free. On the other hand, DraftExpress, like most sports websites, profits from advertisements, including pre-roll advertisements that run before videos. DraftExpress has seemingly secured a sizable audience to watch those advertisements given that ESPN recently paid for the right to publish future DraftExpress content.
The second factor is the nature of the original work. In this instance, the original work consists of videos copyrighted by Wazee. The more creative the original work, the more protection it tends to gain. In contrast, the more factual the original work, the less protection applies. The underlying logic is that creative content ought to receive significant protection in order to properly incentivize inventiveness—if creative individuals knew that their work could be easily copied, they might become less likely to invest their time, energy and money into developing those works. Conversely, works derived from facts and events are less original and less deserving of protection. Video of a basketball game requires some degree of creativity since it reflects broadcast design choices as well as studio direction. At the same time, video of a basketball game is factual in nature: it depicts a live sporting event that is controlled by the athletes, coaches and referees—not the broadcasters.
The third factor is the extent and substantiality of copying. A person who engages in unauthorized copying is more likely to gain protection under fair use if the amount of copying is relatively minimal. DraftExpress stresses that its video of Daniels consists of only 66 seconds of copyrighted video from game broadcasts that are several hours long. The substantiality aspect of the copying refers whether the material copied is critical to the original work. It seems unlikely that short clips of Daniels performing various moves on the court would be considered the “heart” of any original broadcast.
Fourth is how the relevant copying impacts the marketplace. Wazee contends that DraftExpress has caused the company to lose licensing fees that it believes DraftExpress owes. If DraftExpress can use such video without paying, DraftExpress is arguably diluting the value of Wazee’s broadcast licenses. After all, such a practice could encourage other websites to copy Wazee’s broadcasts without permission or pay. On the other hand, DraftExpress can assert that the relatively small amount of copying of Daniels and other players does not impact Wazee’s ability to license broadcasts of the entire games. Stated differently, DraftExpress featuring video highlights arguably doesn’t implicate the marketplace of selling entire game broadcasts.
Finally, the fifth factor is whether the “derivative work” (i.e., DraftExpress scouting videos) is sufficiently transformative from the original work. The U.S. Supreme Court has recognized so-called “transformative use.” The basic idea is that the derivative work uses the original work in such a distinct way that it becomes “transformed” into a different kind of work. DraftExpress’ legal filings suggest the company is confident it will prevail based on the transformative factor. In one filing, attorneys from DraftExpress’ law firm, Miller Barondess, detail how DraftExpress’ video of Daniels incorporates DraftExpress’s own original analysis and graphics:
[O]riginal graphics are followed by roughly 30-second-long clips, each illustrating one of Daniels’ strengths in actual gameplay situations. After assessing Daniels’ strengths, the Video Breakdown follows the same format to dissect and analyze his weaknesses (strengths begin at 28 seconds); (weaknesses begin at 6:01).
DraftExpress’ analysis of Daniels’ “Physical Tools” is illustrative. The “Physical Tools” segment begins 43 seconds into the video. An introductory graphic provides an overview of Daniels’ “Physical Tools,” which include “[e]xcellent size and length.”
Expect attorneys for Wazee, who have retained Adam Hirsch of Kutak Rock, to counter these points by insisting that graphic overlays and similar adjustments do not alter the underlying — and copyrighted — video of Daniels playing at UConn.
Like any lawsuit, Wazee v. DraftExpress could settle at any time. But if it proceeds toward a trial, its outcome would be important to anyone who posts highlight videos online and earns money by doing so. This is true for those who have monetized their YouTube accounts.
McCann, SI’s legal analyst, provides legal and business analysis for The Crossover. He is also the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs at the University of New Hampshire School of Law and co-author with Ed O’Bannon of the forthcoming book Court Justice: The Inside Story of My Battle Against the NCAA.
I had the pleasure of watching this kid for two seasons as he excelled at Whitney Young High School here in Chicago. Jahlil Okafor is a winner, a rare talent, and he has exhibited great patience as career in the NBA has stalled in the hands of Philadelphia 76ers front office. The recognitions speak for themselves.
Chicago Sun-Times Basketball Player of the Year as a junior.
Illinois Class 4A State Champion as a senior.
2014 Mr. Illinois Basketball
McDonald’s High School All-American (Co-MVP)
Jordan Brand Classic All-American (Co-MVP)
2015 ACC Player of the Year (Duke)
2015 United States Basketball Writers Association Freshman of the Year
2015 Consensus 1st Team All-American
2015 NCAA Champion (Duke)
2016 NBA All-Rookie 1st Team
This is all before dropping 20lbs and regaining full health after undergoing knee surgery at the end of the last NBA season. His resilience has helped him overcome the passing of his mother and I really hope his determination never wavers. The potential is undeniable. Here is a web article featuring his story about overcoming tragedy and below is a new ESPN article by Adrian Wojnarowski regarding the conundrum in Philly. As a resident Chicagoan, avid Duke fan, and proponent for deserved opportunity, I am surely rooting for this kid and I believe his future is bright!
Philadelphia 76ers center Jahlil Okafor‘s strange story drags on, but nothing changes. Sixers general manager Bryan Colangelo makes rounds upon rounds of futile trade calls. Out of respect, coach Brett Brown refuses to insert Okafor into the garbage minutes of blowouts.
Time passes and Okafor waits.
He isn’t a part of the franchise’s present, nor its future. He was the third overall pick in the 2015 NBA draft and a member of the first-team All-NBA Rookie team, but that’s disappeared into the distance. The Sixers are undergoing a franchise renaissance, armed with young superstars Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons.
As for Okafor, he has been cast aside, a casualty of a process that has moved on without him.
“I would like for them to just send me somewhere where I can get an opportunity,” Okafor told ESPN. “I’ve done everything they’ve asked of me and I would just like to get an opportunity to play with a trade or a buyout. I just hope something happens quickly.
“This is my third year in the NBA, and I know it’s a business. I don’t know if it’s fair or not, but in talking to other people in the NBA, talking to retired players, one thing I’ve heard them say is that what’s going on with me isn’t right and they’ve never seen anything like this before.
“I know it’s business, but in my eyes, I don’t know if it’s good business.”
There are legitimate reasons why Colangelo hasn’t found a trade for Okafor. A year ago, those centered on questions about Okafor’s durability and knee surgery to end the 2015-16 season. This season, Okafor returned 20 pounds lighter, fitter and far more deft on his feet.
Colangelo’s asking price has steadily dropped for Okafor, from two first-round picks to a first and a solid player to where it stands now, a second-round pick, league sources said. As for the politics of giving up on the No. 3 overall pick, remember: Colangelo didn’t select Okafor over Kristaps Porzingis in the 2015 draft — his predecessor, Sam Hinkie, did.
“We appreciate the effort that [Okafor] has put forth, and other than a little frustration expressed recently, he’s been patient waiting for an opportunity to play,” Colangelo told ESPN. “I continue to explore opportunities with both Jahlil and [agent] Bill Duffy to find a more suitable spot for him.”
Colangelo resisted any trade proposal that cut into the Sixers’ $15.1 million in salary-cap space prior to Nov. 15, because he planned to use that as part of his contract extension and renegotiation offer to forward Robert Covington. That limited the Sixers to trades that would bring back only the equivalent of Okafor’s $5 million salary, or less.
Once Covington agreed to his deal, the declining of Okafor’s $6.2 million fourth-year contract option for the 2018-19 season further compromised the Sixers’ ability to trade him.
The FBI alleged that Louisville agreed to pay “Player-10” $100,000 through Adidas for his commitment to the school. Bowen was suspended indefinitely following details of the report, and has since been cleared by the FBI. Louisville reportedly chose not to reinstate him.
While Bowen will not play for Louisville this season, the school announced he will remain on scholarship and is free to transfer.
Brian Bowen will not play at the University of Louisville. He may remain on scholarship but will not be allowed to practice or compete
There has been major fallout at Louisville since the FBI investigation became public. Head coach Rick Pitino was fired, as was AD Tom Jurich. Bowen’s commitment to Louisville in early June came as a major surprise throughout college basketball. The McDonald’s All-American was thought to be choosing between Michigan State and Texas before his camp reportedly reached out to Louisville at the last minute to set up an official visit.
“We got lucky on this one,” Pitino told Terry Meiners of News Radio 840. “I had an AAU director call me and ask me if I’d be interested in a player (Bowen). I saw him against another great player from Indiana. I said ‘Yeah, I’d be really interested.’ They had to come in unofficially, pay for their hotel, pay for their meals. We spent zero dollars recruiting a five-star athlete who I loved when I saw him play. In my 40 years of coaching this is the luckiest I’ve been.”
Former assistant David Padgett was named interim coach, and has guided the Cardinals to 4-0 start. Louisville has games coming up against ranked teams in Purdue and Seton Hall later this month.
“Brian has been a responsible young man for the institution since he enrolled,” interim Louisville athletics director Vince Tyra said in a statement. “He has endeared himself to his teammates and the men’s basketball staff with a positive attitude during a very difficult period.”