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NBA AM: Adam Silver on One-And-Done, Labor Relations

Commissioner Adam Silver discussed labor relations, increasing the NBA’s age requirement, lottery reform and more.

Eric Pincus

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NBA Commissioner Adam Silver visited Staples Center on Tuesday night to announce that the 2018 All-Star Game will be held in Los Angeles.

He also took some time to talk about the one-and-done rule, labor relations, the NBA draft lottery and “Stickum.”

Since taking over as Commissioner, Silver has made it clear that he wants to raise the age requirement to 20 years old (rather than the current one-and-done college rule). However, he knows that will be tough to do with the National Basketball Players Association pushing back.

“It’s an incredibly complicated issue,” Silver said.  “There are all kinds of life factors for these players that they need to balance.”

“I recognize that there are two sides to this issue,” he continued.  “I’m very sympathetic to the players and their families in terms of they’re feeling [that] they’re at the point in their lives at 18 that they should be able to come directly to the NBA.”

Still, the owners prefer players to wait an additional year before joining the league.

“I’m making a business decision for the NBA, which is to the betterment of the league and the roughly 430 jobs we have in this league,” Silver said. “We feel that these players are better off having more time developing as players before they enter into this league.”

To make that change, the owners are going to have to reach consensus with the NBPA.  Both sides can opt out of the current Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) in December, opening up the door for a potential lockout before the 2017-18 season.

Naturally, Silver is hopeful that can be avoided.  Perhaps a positive sign was last week’s agreement between the NBA and union to decrease July’s moratorium period to just six days – down from the 11 originally dictated in the CBA.

The amendment may have been inspired by Los Angeles Clippers center DeAndre Jordan, who reneged on an initial commitment to the Dallas Mavericks during last summer’s moratorium.

“If you call it the ‘DeAndre Jordan Rule,’ it doesn’t bother me,” Silver said.

“I think, after last summer, we began a discussion,” he added.  “I think there was a general sense from both sides that while there’s a purpose for a moratorium – and it isn’t just to do the [salary cap] calculation, it’s also to give players an opportunity to think about what they want to do – that there was a sense that it played out too long.”

The change was overdue (although Silver said it only applies this July).  But the fact that both sides were able to reach an early consensus may bode well for future negotiations.

“I think that is an indication of the level of respect, the level of trust that we’re building with the Players’ Association, with Michele Roberts, who’s the relatively new Executive Director, with Chris Paul, who’s the President of the union,” said Silver.  “That was one of those issues where we sat down and we said, both of us, that it truly can be a win-win if we shorten that period.”

Silver and Roberts have tried to get an early start on labor negotiations, hoping to build trust along the way.  It may be too early for optimism, but Silver speaks positively of the future.

“I would say with this executive director, I’d say there are a lot of things we work out behind closed doors all the time,” said Silver.  “Issues that are not necessarily high profile – we deal with each other on a daily basis.  Again, these are our players.  This is our union.  It didn’t surprise me we worked out [the moratorium issue].”

One issue that the NBA must deal with, but is not collectively bargained with the union, is lottery reform. The owners will have to work that out, but it remains tabled for now.

Silver’s initial proposal to try and disincentivize losing was shot down by what the commissioner called a “super majority.”

“After the board chose not to change the draft lottery at the time … we started doing projections and we negotiated our new television deal. We realized we were going to have this an enormous increase in cap room this summer,” said Silver.  “We’re going to go from a $70 million cap to a $90 million cap.

“There are going to be enormous unintended consequences from that. In talking to GMs and others around the league, I think we all decided to take a step back … Let’s look at the system holistically after this summer, to see how it’s operating and then take a look at the lottery again.”

Silver also addressed the recent Dwight Howard incident, in which the Houston Rockets center was caught using Stickum spray on his hands in a game.

“If you look in our rule book, you do not find a specific rule on adhesive substances.  In spirit, it violates our rules,” said Silver.  “I thought the fair way to deal with was to give a warning to Dwight and the Rockets and move on.”

“We all know the scene of [Cleveland Cavaliers forward] LeBron James with the talcum powder before the game, and nobody is saying a powder to dry your hands should be prohibited,” continued Silver.  “Live and learn, we need to be more specific.”

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2018 NBA Draft Diary

#28 – Jacob Evans – Golden State Warriors

Jesse Blancarte

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With the 28th overall pick, the Golden State Warriors selected Cincinnati Junior Jacob Evans.

Evans represents a solid pick for nearly any NBA team. Evans fits in the mold of a potential 3-and-D role player. Evans improved in his time at Cincinnati, culminating in his junior year, where he scored 13 points and 4.7 rebounds per game. Evans spent three seasons at Cincinnati and rounded himself into a versatile two-way player who can bring a lot of value at the NBA level.

Evans is a very cognitive player, especially on the defensive end. He has a better grasp of his limitations than most players at this stage of their respective careers and is able to maximize his individual defensive ability within a team concept. Evans generally makes the right rotations, double-teams at the right times and funnels his opponents to where his teammates are when he cannot contain the ball-handler on his own. With the right coaching, he could become a valuable defensive wing in an NBA rotation sooner than some anticipate.

Additionally, Evans is more than just a shooter. He led his team in assists last season and has some skill as a playmaker. Evans will be more of a shooter and finisher in the NBA, but the ability to make the right pass, swing the ball when he isn’t open and take the ball off the dribble when necessary make him an intriguing prospect. This is especially true when you consider how valuable a player like Khris Middleton has become over the years, adding layers to his 3-and-D skill set each season.

The Warriors aren’t in need of an influx of talent but are happy to add Evans regardless.

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2018 NBA Draft Diary

#27 – Robert Williams III – Boston Celtics

With the 27th overall pick in the 2018 NBA Draft, the Boston Celtics have selected Robert Williams III.

Ben Nadeau

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With the 27th overall pick in the 2018 NBA Draft, the Boston Celtics have selected Robert Williams III.

Although there were early week rumors that the Celtics might try to trade up, they’ve ultimately elected to find a difference-maker at the end of the first round instead. For a team that nearly reached the NBA Finals despite debilitating injuries to Gordon Hayward and Kyrie Irving, Boston’s roster didn’t need a wholesale change on draft night. But at No. 27, they’ll be more than happy to leave with the mysterious-but-talented Williams.

Last year, Williams was viewed as a potential first-rounder before he returned to Texas A&M for his sophomore year. In 2017-18, Williams averaged 10.4 points and 9.2 rebounds on 63.2 percent from the field, fueling the Aggies to a 22-13 record. During this current pre-draft process, Williams looked poised to become a mid-first-round selection once again — but his stock faded as the big night got closer. In fact, Williams even decided to watch the draft with his family, even though he was a green room invitee.

His stock has undoubtedly dropped as of late, but this may end up being the steal of the draft — naturally, he dropped right into general manager Danny Ainge’s lap. Williams, 6-foot-10, is a freak athlete that’ll bring a new look to an already fearsome defensive unit in Boston. At A&M, Williams won back-to-back SEC Defensive Player of the Year honors and averaged 2.5 blocks per game. Of course, he’ll get the opportunity to learn from the hard-nosed Al Horford, a five-time All-Star and the defensive linchpin for Boston — a win-win situation for all.

Williams, 20, joins an extremely young core in Boston that also includes Jaylen Brown, Terry Rozier and Jayson Tatum, among others.

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2018 NBA Draft Diary

#26 – Landry Shamet – Philadelphia 76ers

The Philadelphia 76ers select Landry Shamet with the 26th overall pick.

Dennis Chambers

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With the 26th overall pick in the 2018 NBA Draft, the Philadelphia 76ers select guard Landry Shamet of Wichita State.

Shamet, if he is able to fulfill his potential, should provide the Sixers with some much-needed shooting, as their rotation was noticeably starved for another deadeye sniper.

A career 43.7 percent three-point shooter, Shamet sank 44.2 percent of his shots from downtown last season, and he did so while firing nearly six attempts from deep a game. Sliding Shamet at the guard position alongside franchise point guard Ben Simmons allows for another weapon at Simmons’ disposal.

Standing at 6-foot-5 and 21 years old, Shamet has the size to play either guard spot in the NBA (especially given Philadelphia’s lengthy and versatile lineup). Along with his shooting ability, Shamet also led the American Athletic Conference with 166 assists last season. With Markelle Fultz still a question mark for Philadelphia, Shamet provides a secondary ball-handler and playmaker, whether in the starting lineup or in the reserve unit.

The first round of the 2018 NBA Draft was a whirlwind for the Sixers, and they ultimately land two guards of very separate varieties: an upside-laden athlete in Zhaire Smith, and a skillful “veteran” rookie whose skillset is established.

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