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The NBA's Sensational Summer Isn't Over Just Yet47:13
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Kawhi Leonard, center, and Paul George, second from the right, holding their new team jerseys, pose with Los Angeles Clippers President of Basketball Operations Lawrence Frank, left, head coach Doc Rivers, second from the left, and team chairman Steve Ballmer during a press conference in Los Angeles, Wednesday, July 24, 2019. (Ringo H.W. Chiu/AP)
Kawhi Leonard, center, and Paul George, second from the right, holding their new team jerseys, pose with Los Angeles Clippers President of Basketball Operations Lawrence Frank, left, head coach Doc Rivers, second from the left, and team chairman Steve Ballmer during a press conference in Los Angeles, Wednesday, July 24, 2019. (Ringo H.W. Chiu/AP)

You can find a buildout from this hour, featuring on-air commentary, here.


With John Harwood

It’s been a summer of free agency frenzy for the NBA. Now the league says it will investigate potential tampering.

Guests

Bob Ryan, sports columnist emeritus for the Boston Globe. Former National Sportswriter of the Year. Co-host of "The Sports Reporters" podcast. (@GlobeBobRyan)

Sopan Deb, NBA reporter for The New York Times. (@SopanDeb)

Mark Cuban, entrepreneur, investor and owner of the Dallas Mavericks since 2000. Investor on the ABC reality television series, "Shark Tank." (@mcuban)

From The Reading List

New York Times: "N.B.A. Begins Investigating Whether Salary Cap Was Violated" — "The N.B.A. has begun an investigation into how teams handled free agency this summer, focusing on whether improper inducements were offered to players to circumvent the salary cap, according to a person with direct knowledge of the situation.

"The issue was raised by multiple team owners at a meeting of the league’s board of governors this month in Las Vegas, according to the person, who requested anonymity because of a lack of authorization to speak publicly on the subject.

"ESPN first reported on the existence of the investigation.

"There were also multiple reports this month suggesting that Kawhi Leonard’s representatives, in arranging his blockbuster move from the Toronto Raptors to the Los Angeles Clippers, had asked for perks that would violate the league’s collective bargaining agreement."

Boston Globe: "The Brooklyn Nets have quite a history — and a stupid nickname
" — "Let’s start with this: The team is named after, after, ah, um, I’m not even sure what to call it. It’s not really 'equipment.' It’s, I don’t know, a thing.

"I’m talking about the Brooklyn Nets. Have you ever thought about it? 'Nets?' Can you imagine the Chicago 'Backboards?' Same thing.

"It’s rather pathetic, really. This team was nicknamed a piece of rope because it rhymes with 'Jets' and 'Mets,' who preceded them into existence seven and five years, respectively. And no one thought there was anything foolish about that? Apparently not.

"And you want to talk nomadic . . . they began life in 1967 as the New Jersey Americans. They played in the Teaneck Armory. The basketball version of the Taj Mahal, it wasn’t. After a year they proclaimed themselves that rhyming rope, and since the 1968-69 season they have been known as the 'Nets,' wherever they have chosen to hang their hats."

The Ringer: "The Interesting Things Kawhi Is Saying Now That He’s Saying Things" — "In Kawhi Leonard’s eight seasons in the NBA, he’s been many things: an up-and-comer, a defensive ace, the best player on two different championship teams, and now, a franchise savior. One thing he’s never been is verbose. Early on in San Antonio, as his star grew, he was positioned as the natural heir to Tim Duncan’s reserved demeanor (including in a 2013 commercial for H-E-B, a local grocery chain). His falling out with the Spurs was marked not by his words, but rather his lack thereof.

"At his introductory press conference in Toronto last year, he was perplexed by a question asking what he wanted fans to know about him, saying that people would have to ask more specific questions. Stories from his days at San Diego State revealed more of his stoic behavior, and this offseason, as rumors flew about his motivations and where he would sign, he remained silent. The Athletic reported that Leonard made it known to teams recruiting him that 'trust, privacy and respect' (in layman’s terms: keeping their mouths shut) were paramount in landing him.

"On Wednesday, though, after being unveiled with new teammate Paul George in front of a sea of reporters and an, erm, enthusiastic owner, Kawhi did something radical: He spoke. A lot. Here are a few takeaways from the All-NBA forward’s first words in Los Angeles."

CBS Sports: "Pelicans star Zion Williamson, Nike's Jordan Brand agree to richest rookie shoe deal in NBA history, per report" — "Zion Williamson has made a decision on his shoe deal, and Jumpman has landed the jump man.

"It was announced Tuesday that Jordan Brand won the Zion sweepstakes, signing this year's top overall pick to a multiyear sponsorship deal. According to ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski, the agreement extends five years, making Williamson's shoe deal with the Jordan Brand the richest in NBA history for a rookie.

"The terms of the deal hadn't previously been announced, but the early reported terms indicate that it's a massively lucrative one, which comes as no surprise. According to one report, the endorsement deal was originally around seven years and $75 million. Assuming that's true, that would mean that Williamson's shoe deal with Nike easily surpasses $100 million. LeBron James' seven-year, $87 million entry deal from Nike in 2003 had been the previous record holder.

"What makes the situation even more impressive is that Williamson had the opportunity to earn more money from other competitors, but ultimately settled on the Jordan Brand for the opportunity of wearing the logo of his favorite player."

Adam Waller produced this hour for broadcast.

This program aired on July 26, 2019.

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