At his news conference Sunday announcing a new contract with the Portland Trail Blazers, Damian Lillard noted the landscape around him had changed.
“I think the past it was like (Michael) Jordan probably didn’t go out searching and trying to get guys to come join him,” Lillard said. “I think you see it a lot more now where players recruiting players is more powerful than a pitch meeting with the team.”
Player movement was the most popular topic at NBA commissioner Adam Silver’s news conference on Tuesday at Wynn Las Vegas.
“In this notion of player power, what we’re really talking about is a small group of players,” he said. “Players want to know they’re in a fair system themselves where they have the opportunity to compete. You want to know the rules are known and that they’re being enforced. I think we have some work to do there when it comes to free agency. There’s been stuff around the edges that have gone on. It may have moved to a new level due to a lot of circumstances.”
Silver said it was important to create a level playing field for not only the players during free agency, but to help the 30 teams field competitive rosters.
And then there’s the moratorium that prohibits negotiations with free agents until June 30 at 3 p.m., which given the media leaks on contract deals appears to be more of a suggestion than a rule.
“My job is to enforce a fair set of rules for all our teams and a set of rules that are clear and make sense for everyone,” Silver said. “I think right now we’re not quite there.”
More gender diversity
Becky Hammon is coaching the San Antonio Spurs’ Vegas Summer League team for the third time. Kara Lawson is an assistant for the Boston Celtics. Three female NBA assistants were hired this year, adding to the four already on various staffs.
“I’ve said it before, half the population has not been tapped for their basketball knowledge,” Hammon said.
Hammon became the first woman to coach a Summer League team when she was handed the reins to the Spurs in 2015 — and then won the title.
She was hesitant to say whether her success has helped pave the way for others, but Hammon said, “I’m glad they’re getting opportunities.”
Ticket prices still high sans Zion
Maybe New Orleans Pelicans rookie Zion Williamson isn’t all that important, after all.
Just kidding. He is.
But average ticket costs Monday were still $60 without the rookie phenom, who was ruled out of Summer League play after bruising his left knee on Friday. The average ticket for Wednesday’s games, according to Vivid Seats is $62. For the sake of context, the average ticket price to last year’s Summer League championship was $45, and no tickets sold for more than an average of $50.
The show goes on.
Even without Williamson.
Let’s go to the video
A coach’s challenge was approved by the NBA Board of Governors. Each team is allowed one challenge, and it can be for a personal foul, an out-of-bounds play or offensive or defensive basket interference.
The NBA Replay Center also can review plays under certain circumstances.