NBA Might Tweak Lottery Odds To Curb Tanking

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Brian Schmitz
Orlando Sentinel
Displayed with permission from MCT Information Services

It’s one thing for the NBA to relegate the Magic to persona non grata (no national TV love and unfavorable schedule). It’s quite another for the league to perhaps take away the one club in the bag that they’ve used since Dwight Howard departed.

If commissioner Adam Silver has his way, he’ll make changes to the draft-lottery system in an attempt to reward winning and curtail tanking, perhaps as early as this season.

Oh, yes, tanking — the scourge of our time.

It has to be stamped out, you know, for the sake of the children.

Silver wants to balance out the lottery, maybe awarding the bottom six teams with equal odds for a shot at No. 1. Maybe then a scenario can unfold like it did in … well, May.

The Cleveland Cavaliers didn’t try to tank last season, but surprisingly won the lottery despite just a 1.7-percent chance and the ninth-worst record (33-49).

All that did was allow the Cavs to pick Andrew Wiggins, trade him in a deal for All-Star Kevin Love and make LeBron James’ homecoming the league’s next feature attraction.

What exactly is Silver’s concern again?

Let’s see: It now has been 10 years since the team with the worst record won the lottery (Orlando claimed Howard at No. 1 in 2004).

Silver is overreacting — as are various critics — to last season’s full-out tanking tactics.

Several team-rebuilding projects and a hot-shot draft class just happened to meet at the intersection of Wiggins & Parker.

Even if it is utilizing the lottery format in place, no club wants to conduct a financially harmful campaign of strategic losing in the hope of landing a franchise star.

No team prefers to painstakingly rebuild with young players and invent mysterious injuries to key players late in the season, opening itself to charges of intentionally losing.

Does anyone really think the Magic, the Sixers or the Bucks want to be in this position?

Orlando is still in recovery after Howard forced a trade. Philadelphia basically fielded a D-League team last season. And what’s confusing is that Silver fiercely defended the Sixers against tanking accusations, even going as far as saying they were “doing the right thing.”

“It’s an insult to the entire league to suggest that these guys are going out on the floor and aren’t doing their very best to win games,” Silver said. “You look at any business, you look at short-term results and long-term results. And if somebody told you a business was going to operate on a quarter-by-quarter [basis], you’d say, ‘That’s not the way to operate a business.’ You’d say, ‘You need a strategy. You need to look at the long-term.’ And I think what this organization is doing is absolutely the right thing.

“What they’re doing is planning for the future and building an organization from the ground level up.”

OK, so the commish did a little public-relations dance in taking up for the Sixers.

Understandably, the Sixers, according to ESPN, are opposed to Silver now suggesting it’s time to change the lottery odds. The Magic also should be annoyed. Picking at No. 4, this time they just missed out on the top three marquee draft choices of Wiggins, Jabari Parker and Joe

Toronto Raptors 2014-15 Schedule Summary

Toronto Raptors v Brooklyn Nets - Game Four

* Nine of Toronto’s first 12 games are at home. A big part of that is a stretch of seven consecutive games at the Air Canada Centre.

* The Raptors play four games on national TV south of the border. They play the Chicago Bulls on TNT (November 13th) and they have three games on ESPN (December 17 against the Brooklyn Nets and two games against the Charlotte Hornets. It’s a nice bump since the team didn’t have any regular season games on TNT or ESPN last season.

* The Raptors open their season at home against the Atlanta Hawks on October 29th.

* Some games to mark on your calendar are when Andrew Wiggins makes Toronto debut as member of Timberwolves on March 18, LeBron James visits the ACC on December 5 and March 4, Kevin Durant visits November 4 and February 8 against the San Antonio Spurs.

* Toronto has a nasty end to the season as six of their final eight games of the season will be on the road. Ouch. Even worse is that after the All-Star break, 18 of Toronto’s final 29 games are on the road. That means Toronto needs to get off to a strong start.

* Toronto’s last seven games of the season come against Eastern Conference teams. This could be huge when it comes to fighting for the Atlantic Division crown and/or playoff seeding.

* The Raptors have a six-game road trip that starts December 22 in Chicago. During that road trip they will play the Bulls, Clippers, Nuggets, Blazers, Warriors and Suns. That’s a nasty stretch for the team and not a fun way to spend the holidays. The “reward” is the team gets to play six games at home after the nasty road trip.

Raptors Looking To Add A D-League Affiliate For Next Season

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Time Warner Cable is reporting the Rochester RazorSharks basketball team is in talks with the Toronto Raptors about becoming their NBA Developmental League affiliate.

The RazorSharks were champions of the Premier Basketball League last season.

While Rochester is relatively close, if the Raptors truly want to become known as Canada’s team, it would make more sense for the Raptors to form a D-League team in London, Hamilton or Oshawa. It would result in the D-League affiliate being closer to Toronto and it would help drum up interest in the GTA.

Warriors’ Stephen Curry Not Backing Down To LeBron James

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Diamond Leung
San Jose Mercury News
Displayed with permission from MCT Information Services

Warriors guard Stephen Curry indicated Tuesday in an interview on The Dan Patrick Show that he believes he is the better offensive player compared to Cleveland’s LeBron James.

Asked by Patrick who is the better offensive player, Curry said he had never before been asked that question.

“Me,” Curry then said, chuckling. “Gotta be, right?”

Told the four-time NBA Most Valuable Player James is the better scorer and that Curry is the better shooter, Curry said, “I don’t know because he obviously demands a lot attention on the floor, but I like to say I can distribute, get my teammates involved and be a playmaker as well.”

Patrick then asked Curry how he’d answer the question if in a game it’d be a contest of which player could score more points, and the 6-foot-3 point guard again expressed confidence.

“I’d like to say my shot would help me in that situation,” said Curry, who averaged a career-high 24 points per game and led the NBA with 261 made three-pointers. “If I get a double-team, I could hopefully shoot from farther out.”

James, a 6-foot-8 forward, was third in the NBA averaging 27.1 points per game last season for Miami.

Curry in an apparent response to the attention his comments received tweeted, “That’s funny. Anything is news these days lol.”

Curry told Patrick he was surprised James left the Heat to return to play for his hometown team in the Cavaliers, but added, “I’m sure there’s no better feeling than going home.”

The subject was raised to Curry on The Doug Gottlieb Show last week when asked if watching what James did would lead him to consider playing for his hometown Charlotte Hornets.

“I’ve always had thoughts about playing at home, what it would be like,” said Curry, who is in the middle of a four-year, $44 million contract extension with the Warriors. “My dad played there for 10 years, and people around the Greater Charlotte area in North Carolina have done a lot for my family growing up, so you always think about it.

“Right now I feel like I’ve got three years left on my deal, so this isn’t going to be an issue for me for a while. I love the Bay Area and where we are as a team trying to win a championship, and that’s what it’s all about. Of course everybody dreams about or thinks about what it’s going to be like to play at home. Obviously if that opportunity comes along it’s a different discussion.”

Steve Ballmer Officially Becomes New Los Angeles Clippers Owner

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Anthony Riccobono
Displayed with permission from International Business Times

After months of legal disputes, the Los Angeles Clippers have a new owner, as former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer officially took control of the team Tuesday. The sale of the team by Shelly Sterling on behalf of the Sterling Family Trust was confirmed by a California court.

“The transaction in which Steve Ballmer purchased the Los Angeles Clippers closed today following the entry of an order by a California court confirming the authority of Shelly Sterling, on behalf of the Sterling Family Trust, to sell the team,” the NBA said in a statement.

“The NBA Board of Governors previously approved the sale and Ballmer is now the Clippers governor.”

The deal is reportedly worth $2 billion. The Clippers were put up for sale following the release of racist comments made by then-owner Donald Sterling in April. Days later, NBA Commissioner Adam Silver banned Sterling from the league, and fined him $2.5 million.