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Toronto Raptors sign coach Nick Nurse to multiyear extension

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The Toronto Raptors have signed reigning NBA Coach of the Year Nick Nurse to a multiyear contract extension.

The Raptors announced the extension Tuesday but did not disclose terms.

“Our confidence in Nick just continues to grow, and part of that comes from what we’ve experienced together,” Raptors president Masai Ujiri said in a statement released by the team.

“The past two seasons have been unlike any other in our team’s history — first, winning our championship, and then navigating a global pandemic and committing long-term to the fight against racism and for social justice. Nick has proved that he can coach on the court and lead in life, and we’re looking forward to accomplishing great things in the future.”

Nurse has a 111-43 record in two seasons as the Raptors’ head coach and guided the franchise to its first NBA title last year. Toronto went 53-19 this past season and was the No. 2 seed in the Eastern Conference before being eliminated by the Boston Celtics in seven games in the conference semifinals.

“My family and I will always be appreciative of Larry Tanenbaum and MLSE ownership for this opportunity. I’m grateful to Masai, Bobby, and the players for their trust and their hard work,” Nurse said in a statement.

“Toronto has been my home for the past seven years, and I look forward to it being home for many more. I’ve watched this franchise grow and reach the pinnacle, and I look forward to the challenge of helping us win another championship.”

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Former GM Daryl Morey thanks Houston Rockets, praises James Harden in ad

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Former Houston Rockets general manager Daryl Morey took out a full-page advertisement in the Houston Chronicle on Sunday to thank the numerous people who helped him during 13 seasons with the team.

But he saved his most effusive praise for Rockets star James Harden, writing, in bold, “James Harden changed my life.”

“An entire page could be dedicated just to James,” Morey wrote. “He not only transformed my life but also revolutionized the game of basketball — and continues to do so — like almost no one has before. The game is played differently because of James, and on every playground in the world, the next generation of talent is studying and imitating his game.”

Morey brought Harden to Houston in an October 2012 blockbuster trade. The deal was one of 77 trades that Morey conducted as Rockets general manager.

Harden has gone on to win the 2017-18 MVP award and the past three scoring titles while making eight straight All-Star teams and taking the Rockets to the playoffs in each season he has been in Houston.

But the Rockets never reached the NBA Finals under Morey, and he stepped down as general manager Thursday.

“I can’t believe I won’t be able to have another strategy session with James,” Morey wrote. “I loved working together on how to get his incredible Hall of Fame teammates Dwight Howard, Chris Paul, and Russell Westbrook to the Rockets. I will be rooting for James to win a championship in Houston. It’s how this story should end.”

Morey concluded his letter by thanking the city of Houston and Rockets fans.

“Your support has kept me energized and inspired. You have been the driving force to our success,” he wrote. “I am honored to have been a part of your story.”



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New Orleans Saints and Pelicans owner Gayle Benson victim of attempted car theft

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New Orleans Saints and Pelicans owner Gayle Benson was the victim of an attempted car theft last Saturday afternoon but was unharmed, Saints spokesman Greg Bensel confirmed.

“I can confirm that an incident did occur in Orleans Parish involving Mrs. Benson while she was in her vehicle,” Bensel said in a statement. “While she was very shaken at the time, she was unharmed and is doing fine. She wanted to send her sincere gratitude to the men and women of the New Orleans Police Department that responded so quickly and professionally. We cannot comment further as this is an active investigation.”

The New Orleans Police Department could not identify Benson by name. But it confirmed it is investigating an attempted auto theft that occurred around 2:13 p.m. local time on Oct. 10 on South Claiborne Avenue in New Orleans. And Bensel confirmed that was the incident in question.

According to the NOPD, the victim was seated in the vehicle when a truck, described as a white Nissan Titan, parked directly beside her vehicle. One of the subjects exited the Nissan Titan and entered the victim’s vehicle. The victim ordered the subject to leave her vehicle. The subject exited the victim’s vehicle, reentered the Nissan Titan and fled the scene.

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NBA, NBPA extend negotiating window on CBA modifications to Oct. 30

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For the third time since May, the NBA and National Basketball Players Association are extending a negotiating window that preserves each side’s rights to terminate the collective bargaining agreement due to the pandemic, sources told ESPN on Thursday.

The NBA and NBPA agreed on a new Oct. 30 deadline to complete ongoing discussions on modifications to the CBA for the 2020-21 season, a date that requires the league or union to provide 45 days notice if either decides to terminate the CBA — a scenario that sources continue to believe is a remote possibility.

Talks between the NBA and union have been productive on making the necessary financial allowances on 2020-2021 salary cap and luxury tax thresholds to account for the massive losses in revenues from the pandemic, sources said. There remains uncertainty surrounding the league’s ability to have full or partially full arenas with fans next season.

Ongoing talks are centering on increased escrow taken from players’ salaries, sources said. The league and union are still awaiting full audits on the Basketball Related Income that accounts for the league’s 51-49 revenue split with players.

The NBA and NBPA are working on a resetting of the 2020-21 salary-cap and luxury-tax numbers based upon those audits and financial projections for the next year. This allows for teams, agents and players to have more time to prepare for the financial realities of the pandemic’s impact on the league. As the NBA Draft approaches on Nov. 18 — and free agency expected to start soon after — teams are anxious for the league to reach an agreement with the union and deliver them more certainty on the cap and tax bills.

Many teams are hopeful that they’ll have a 10-day-to two-week runway prior to the draft to end the moratorium on player movement, allowing franchises to start making trades and free up players’ ability to opt-in or out of 2020-2021 contracts.

Among the league’s primary motivations to delay the start comes with hope that teams can eventually bring fans safely back into arenas for games and restore an immense part of the league’s revenue stream. Silver says game-night receipts account for approximately 40% of the league’s revenues.

The possible termination of the CBA would largely be a mechanism to scrap the current financial structure, a move that would likely lead to a significant stoppage in play. The NBA’s current CBA extends through the 2023-24 season, with a mutual opt-out available after the 2022-23 season. So far, there’s been no signal that the owners are considering such a dramatic move.

In an ordinary year, the NBA and NBPA calculate the new salary cap between the end of the draft and the start of free agency. This time, the NBA’s feeling the urgency of teams to have those new cap and luxury tax figures before the draft because it dramatically influences how teams approach decisions — including trades and the buying and selling of picks.

Included in the most dire league scenarios, some small-market teams tell ESPN they are fearful of losing more than $20 million in revenue sharing payouts from big market teams next season. Those sorts of projections affect competitive balance and are the models that the NBA and NBPA would want to sidestep in these CBA discussions.

For example, the CBA has a projected 2020-21 salary cap of $115 million, with a luxury-tax threshold of $139 million. Amid the loss of revenue streams, some teams fear that the cap and tax could fall as far as $25 million to $30 million. Without the NBA and NBPA negotiating a new mechanism for the cap, the league could be facing 25 of its 30 teams stuck in luxury-tax payments based on projected payrolls — something that would chill free agency and limit many organizations’ ability to operate in a normal manner in the marketplace.

For instance, the Golden State Warriors’ projected tax penalty of $45 million would rise to $160 million before the start of free agency.

“This CBA was not built for an extended pandemic,” Silver told the NBPA membership, according to audio obtained by ESPN in May. “There’s not a mechanism in it that works to properly set the cap when you’ve got so much uncertainty, when our revenue could be $10 billion or it could be $6 billion. Or less.”

ESPN’s Bobby Marks contributed to this report.

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