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Memo to NBA GMs: Stop trading unprotected picks

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There is nothing more depressing than watching a bad NBA team go through the motions of a lost season, all while knowing that there is no light at the end of the tunnel because the team traded away its unprotected pick years ago. Brooklyn Nets fans have been stuck in that dismal quagmire for the past few years watching Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown, and now Collin Sexton join their Eastern Conference competitors.

The Nets are now free from that nightmare, but the Sacramento Kings are the latest team stuck in this quagmire. Despite being widely projected as the worst team in the Western Conference, Sacramento’s pick will go to either Boston or Philadelphia next summer thanks to a 2015 trade which gave them the chance to pick up middling players like Rajon Rondo and Kostas Koufos.

The Kings and the Nets are far from the first team to trade unprotected picks deep in the future, only to face the consequences in the long term. In 2005, the Minnesota Timberwolves under general manager Kevin McHale, who sought to improve testosterone last season, traded a first-round pick to the Los Angeles Clippers which would become unprotected in 2012 for a point guard named Marko Jaric. While that pick only became Austin Rivers in the end, it was fantasized as a incredible trade chip for years, and played a decisive in the infamous “basketball reasons” saga which brought Chris Paul to the Clippers. And before then, there was the infamous Ted Stepien who gave away so many first rounder picks that he became the namesake for the “Stepien Rule.”

Despite seeing other teams and managers get burned again and again, general managers are still too blasé about giving up future unprotected picks. In 2021, the Boston Celtics could potentially receive yet another unprotected first rounder from the Memphis Grizzlies. Even a team with a storied history and solid management like the Miami Heat gave up their unprotected 2021 pick as part of the 2015 Goran Dragic trade, which likely impacts their desperation to give up assets now to get Jimmy Butler.

But to be fair to NBA GMs, they may understand the dangers of trading unprotected picks but have no choice. Billy King gave up those Brooklyn picks (as well as another 2012 trade which cost Brooklyn Damian Lillard) in part due to pressure from Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov to win now. A similar factor might have happened in Sacramento with owner Vivek Ranadive. Incompetent GMs certainly do not hesitate to trade away picks, but even good ones can be pressured by impatient or foolish owners who think they know everything about basketball.

If you want to see what good leadership and owners do, take a look at the Houston Rockets for an example of how to be careful for protecting picks. When the Rockets traded for Chris Paul in 2017, they sent a 2018 first-round pick to the Los Angeles Clippers. It did not need to be protected – everyone knew that the Paul-Harden Rockets would at the very worst get into the playoffs let alone go as far as they did. But the NBA report on the trade noted that the pick was protected, just in case things did go wrong.

The Houston Rockets refuse to give up an unprotected pick for Chris Paul, while other teams give them up for Rajon Rondo or Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce with one foot in the grave. That is a major difference between the competent and incompetent teams.

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Knicks’ Owner James Dolan Bans Heckling Fan

Anthony DiMoro

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New York Knicks owner James Dolan apparently has some thin skin when it comes to heckling over his horrendous run at the top of the Knicks empire.

According to TMZ, Dolan was heckled by a fan during the closing minutes of Saturday’s loss to the Sacramento Kings in which the fan told a departing Dolan to “sell the team.”

That didn’t sit well with Dolan, who called the mad rude and abruptly banned him from attending anymore Knicks games and followed it up by having the man escorted out of the building by security.

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NBA Announces Partnership with Puma

Anthony DiMoro

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The National Basketball Association has officially announced that they have agreed to a multiyear partnership with Puma, who will now be recognized as an official marketing partner of the NBA, according to an official league statement.

“We are thrilled to partner with the NBA to bring PUMA to the next level in our reentry to the basketball market,” Adam Petrick, Global Director of Brand and Marketing at PUMA, said in a statement. “This partnership is a testament to the continued resurgence of PUMA within the basketball industry.”

Per the new agreement, Puma will not be allowed to feature athletes in their respective NBA uniforms and team logos has the brand looks to regain it’s once prominent presence in the NBA.

“PUMA played an important part in the early footwear culture of the NBA,” Dan Rossomondo, NBA Senior Vice President, Media and Business Development, stated.

“As PUMA expands its presence in the basketball market with new player relationships and a new line of basketball sneakers, becoming an official footwear partner of the league was a natural next step to help amplify the brand’s return to the category.”

The NBA has been busy with partnerships as of late. Just last week we reported on their new deal for the NBA G League and Twitch, where Twitch streams will now broadcast NBA G League gameplay, and Twitch streamers will be allowed to participate, via a unique partnership with them.

 

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NBA G League Back on Twitch

Anthony DiMoro

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If you’re looking for more reasons to check out one of the endless amount of Twitch streams, look no further as the NBA G League is bringing real-life, live, professional basketball back to Twitch.

The NBAGLeague’s official channel on Twitch, stated the following about their renewed partnership with the popular streaming platform:

“Thanks to a new partnership, you can now watch and co-stream any NBA G League game that is streamed on Twitch on your very own Twitch channel! So bring your hot takes, play-by-play, stat breakdowns, and fan rants because it’s your chance to put your unique spin on the broadcasts”

The news means even more attention will be put on the Twitch marketplace, and one would assume that there may be interest in the future in leveraging Mixer streams as well, if there isn’t already talk of that occurring.

The focus on co-streaming is particularly interesting as it brings a new level of interaction to NBA G League action, and a way for fans, and other Twitch streamers, to get in on the action like never before via a new co-streaming element.

Per an official press release: “Co-streaming is a feature unique to Twitch which allows a streamer to share another channel’s video feed, but with their own commentary and community. The result is a more personalized social experience. If you’re a streamer and want to give co-streaming a try, you can find a commentary-free broadcast to use on your co-stream”

This could be, potentially, a big tool for Twitch streams featuring NBA G League content to get incredible exposure, and a way for the NBA to market G League action on other Twitch channels, and via other niches, such as IRL streams.

Furthermore, it presents a great opportunity to shine the spotlight on female streamers who have a passion for broadcasting, or sports commentary.

On the surface, it seems like a win win for all involved.

Everything kicked off, officially, on February 8th, but here is the remaining schedule of games.:

UPCOMING TWITCH SCHEDULE (ALL TIMES ET)

Saturday, Feb. 9 — 8:30 PM — Memphis Hustle vs. Texas Legends
Friday, Feb. 22 — 8 PM — Agua Caliente Clippers vs. Wisconsin Herd
Saturday, Feb. 23 — 8:30 PM — Iowa Wolves vs. Texas Legends
Friday, March 1 — 8 PM — Fort Wayne Mad Ants vs. Wisconsin Herd
Saturday, March 2 — 2 PM — Capital City Go-Go vs. Raptors 905
Friday, March 8 — 8:30 PM — Raptors 905 vs. Austin Spurs
Saturday, March 9 — 7 PM — Windy City Bulls vs. Greensboro Swarm
Friday, March 15 — 8:30 PM — Agua Caliente Clippers vs. Texas Legends
Saturday, March 16 — 7 PM — Erie BayHawks vs. Canton Charge
Friday, March 22— 10 PM — Agua Caliente Clippers vs. Santa Cruz Warriors
Saturday, March 23 — 10 PM — Agua Caliente Clippers vs. Santa Cruz Warriors

Viewers can watch the original broadcast at on the NBA G League’s official Twitch channel, or they can choose to watch Twitch Partners and Affiliates who are planning on co-streaming the NBA G League this year.

 

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