Ex-NFL Player Domonique Foxworth Reportedly Set to Be Named COO of NBPA

Former NFL cornerback and NFL Players Association president Domonique Foxworth is set to cross the sports spectrum to become the chief operating officer of the National Basketball Players Association.   

Scott Soshnick of Bloomberg News broke the news Wednesday while also noting Walter Palmer, who circled the globe playing basketball, would also be joining the group:

Foxworth played with the Denver Broncos, Atlanta Falcons and Baltimore Ravens across a career that lasted six seasons. He hasn’t suited up since 2011 but remained the head of the NFLPA until Eric Winston took over earlier this year.

He was previously considered to become executive director of the NBPA before Michele Roberts was chosen for the position. The Maryland product, who’s continued his education at the Harvard School of Business, explained to Cindy Boren of The Washington Post the importance of union leadership.

“Having been a long-time leader in the NFLPA and involved in this extended NBPA search process, I understand well the potential opportunities and pitfalls inherent in running a professional sports union,” Foxworth said. “And I know how important it is to have the right leaders guiding the organization.”

His stance is backed up by Winston, who sent along a message of support and noted the NBA players are in good hands:

Foxworth’s experience both as a former athlete and the leader of a players union should be a valuable resource in the years ahead. Both sides can opt out of the current collective bargaining agreement following the 2016-17 season, as noted by Larry Coon in a special report to ESPN.com.

Having somebody who’s been in rooms with owners of professional sports teams before, the NBA players who won’t be present will know they have a strong voice speaking on their behalf. That said, it’s still unknown whether the players or owners will decide to opt out and renegotiate.

Foxworth figures to play a key role in that decision-making process.


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NBA Draft Lottery Reform Proposal Reportedly Voted Down, Format to Stay the Same

Changing the NBA draft lottery may ultimately be inevitable, but the league has reportedly decided against reform for the 2014-15 season.

According to Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports, the Board of Governors voted down the proposal to change the lottery at its meeting Wednesday:

Grantland’s Zach Lowe initially reported in July that the NBA would look into lottery reform to prevent teams from tanking to get better draft picks.

Lowe also tweeted about some of the tweaks included in the proposal that came before the Board of Governors:

Per Wojnarowski, one owner revealed that the league would continue to explore potential lottery changes even though this particular proposal was rejected:

While many seemed open to changing the lottery, ESPN.com’s Brian Windhorst reported in July that the Philadelphia 76ers were vehemently against any alterations.

Even so, the vote was still expected to pass with Lowe even suggesting the the Sixers would be the only opponent:

As it turns out, many of the league’s owners weren’t yet ready to make such a sweeping change. With that said, others were very much looking forward to a new system, as evidenced by this tweet courtesy of Wojnarowski (language NSFW):

There is no question that the current lottery system is better for lowly, struggling teams since the organizations with the worst records have a significantly better shot at top picks.

Despite that, Wojnarowski reports that the voting didn’t necessarily jibe with public perception about which franchises would support a new system:

Lottery reform will continue to be a hot-button issue moving forward. Although those who voted against the new proposal likely have different reasons, the fact that the league tried to push changes through so quickly may have been a major sticking point.

Perhaps organizations will be more supportive of a subsequent proposal with more time to consider its implications, but there is no question that lottery reform talk is far from over.


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NBA Reportedly Warns Heat and Cavaliers Not to Do ’3-Goggles’ in Brazil

Breaking out the “three-goggles” gesture is popular among basketball players in the United States, but the NBA reportedly wants the Miami Heat and Cleveland Cavaliers to refrain from doing the celebration during an exhibition in Brazil this weekend.

The Heat and the Cavaliers will meet in Rio de Janeiro on Saturday. Given that the teams will be playing outside of the United States, the players will need to adjust to a different culture.

According to Chris Haynes of the Northeast Ohio Media Group, the NBA has warned Miami and Cleveland not to do the “three-goggles” during their preseason meeting in Brazil:

Holding up the “three-sign” or the “three-goggles” in a certain way while in Brazil could be mistaken for “f— you” or “f— off,” I was informed.

The NBA sent the Cavs and Heat a memo with a list of questionable gestures that shouldn’t be used in Brazil, we’re told. The last thing anybody wants is for the stands to clear immediately after a player nails a 3-pointer.

To fans in the United States, it’s just a silly celebration. However, in Brazil, it could be considered an offensive gesture.

The memo the NBA reportedly sent out to both teams warns the players to be careful with what they do during the exhibition. The players can break out the “three-goggles” as much as they want during the regular season, but for at least one exhibition game, they will have to find another way to celebrate three-pointers.

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Major Impact of NBA Reportedly Increasing Salary Cap

You no longer have to worry about finding a place to watch NBA action for the next decade. 

Even though the world knew a television deal was coming for the league, the number itself was still enough to induce some slack-jawed reactions. Per Richard Sandomir of The New York Times, the NBA agreed to a new deal with ESPN and TNT that will secure broadcasting rights for the next nine years and pay the Association $24 billion. 

Twenty-four billion dollars. 

It’s a huge number, and one that is going to lead to huge salary-cap changes in the coming years. Of course, as of now there’s no telling exactly how high the cap is going to rise, as Grantland’s Zach Lowe makes clear by breaking down one of the many potential options: 

“Smoothing” is a popular word now around the league. There is no way to avoid some shock to the cap figure at some point, but there are ways to ease the trauma. The league and its TV partners, the same partners as under the old deal, could agree to make 2015-16 sort of a hybrid year, at some price point between the old $930 million and the new $2 billion–plus. That would raise revenues more than anticipated for 2015-16, and thus raise the cap beyond the current $66.5 million projection.

NBA commissioner Adam Silver has already gone on the record saying that he would prefer a gradual increase—there’s that concept of smoothing, again—rather than a one-year mega-leap that fundamentally changes almost everything about NBA contracts all at once. 

We have a meeting later this afternoon to gauge their interest in creating a smoothing effect,” the commissioner told reporters at a news conference. “I mean, they will get their 51 percent (of basketball-related income) no matter what, it’s just a question of how it comes in in terms of the cap.”

No matter what the exact numbers are—and we likely won’t know for quite a while—the salary cap is going to rise. That much is inevitable, and we aren’t talking about some statistically insignificant rise. 

The ramifications of this deal are bound to be massive and will lead to quite a few changes in how contracts work and are viewed throughout the next portion of the NBA’s increasingly lengthy and complicated history. 

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Nets Owner Mikhail Prokhorov Reportedly Interested in Selling Team

Just a few years into his tenure as owner of the Brooklyn Nets, Russian businessman Mikhail Prokhorov may be ready to move on.

According to Ohm Youngmisuk and Darren Rovell of ESPN.com, Prokhorov has been in discussions with Guggenheim Partners to potentially sell the franchise.

Per Chris Mannix of Sports Illustrated, Prokhorov would be interested in a complete sale of the team rather than simply giving up a majority stake:

After purchasing the New Jersey Nets in 2010, Prokhorov moved them to Brooklyn and helped the organization develop into a valuable enterprise. According to Mannix, the Russian billionaire is in line to make a big profit:

With that said, it remains to be seen what type of price tag Prokhorov will attach to the team. Per Rovell, it could be difficult for him to receive full value:

Few are privy to all the facts and inner workings of the potential negotiations right now, and that includes the players. According to Roderick Boone of New York Newsday, Nets star point guard Deron Williams is simply focused on succeeding on the court regardless of what happens with ownership.

“It’s been great,” Williams said. “You don’t see Mr. Prokhorov much, but when we do, it’s been great. He’s been great for this organization. I don’t know what’s going on as far as that’s concerned, but my job as a player is to come out and play.”

The Nets have qualified for the playoffs in each of the past two seasons, and they are looking to make some noise this year in what could be a wide open Eastern Conference aside from the Cleveland Cavaliers.

It is difficult to say if ownership uncertainty could be a distraction, but the Nets certainly have enough talent to be contenders in the Eastern Conference regardless.

Even if Prokhorov’s tenure as owner of the franchise is cut short, there is no question that his contributions will always be remembered as he has managed to make the Nets a popular and modern brand.


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Dwight Howard’s License Reportedly Suspended After He Ran 10 Red Lights

Dwight Howard may want to consider working out a carpool with his Houston Rockets teammates after his driver’s license was reportedly suspended.

According to a TMZ Sports report, Howard has been caught running a red light 10 times since 2012. He was ticketed in Florida nine times during a 10-month span and was then busted again this past July. According to Reuters’ Barbara ListonHoward’s license has been suspended since at least Aug. 15 as a result of his failure to pay a $285 fine for a red-light ticket from April.

And that’s not all. According to Liston, the Rockets star’s Orlando court record also contains four speeding tickets, 12 citations for failing to pay highway tolls and another citation for failing to change the address on his license. 

If paying the fine is all it takes for Howard to get his license back, it seems silly that he hasn’t done so already. As Basketball-Reference.com notes, he has made more than $123 million in his career and is due more than $21 million in each of the next three seasons, so one would assume he can afford a $285 fine.

Howard will have to find another way to get around town for now. Hopefully if/when he gets his license back, he’ll have learned to heed traffic lights.

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John Calipari Reportedly Planning NBA Scouting Combine for Kentucky Players

Kentucky has been churning out NBA players at an alarming rate since John Calipari took over as head coach in 2009 that it would save the professional teams a lot of time to just scout the team in one big team workout.     

It turns out, that could be happening very soon.

According to Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports, Calipari has sent invites out to all 30 NBA teams to watch a private workout with the Wildcats next month:

University of Kentucky coach John Calipari is finalizing plans for an unprecedented two-day campus scouting combine for NBA executives to evaluate his star-laden roster of professional prospects, league sources told Yahoo Sports.

Calipari has invited officials of the 30 NBA teams to send personnel to Lexington, Ky., on Oct. 11-12 to watch his players do everything from run full-court five-on-five and NBA-style pick-and-roll sets to individual skill work.

The event serves two purposes for Calipari. Wojnarowski notes that it will give the Wildcats coach the opportunity “to impress a throng of top high school recruits on campus visits and once again frame his program as college basketball’s best NBA feeder system.”

In addition, Wojnarowski cites sources as saying that Calipari intends to “shut out” NBA personnel following the workout to “avoid the distractions” that go with having everyone around the gym as the team is trying to prepare for games during the season. 

Every year, we hear about the latest Kentucky freshman class that has a chance to be one of the best in the country. Calipari has done an incredible job of reloading year after year, both because he’s proven himself to be an excellent recruiter and out of necessity because his top players almost never stay more than one year. 

In 2013, Dick Vitale spoke to Kyle Tucker of USA Today about Kentucky’s then-incoming class, which included Andrew and Aaron Harrison, Julius Randle, James Young and Marcus Lee:

No doubt in my mind, this will be the best class ever assembled. Now, whether they blend and bond together like Kentucky’s 2012 team, only time will tell. I personally think they will. Last year was a blip. This is going to be a special Kentucky team.

Anything less (than a national championship) for this team would be a huge disappointment.

It took a long time for that particular team to gel, but when they did, the Wildcats made a run to the title game against Connecticut. 

In a change of pace for Calipari, he actually had a few of those freshmen stay for their sophomore seasons. The Harrison twins and Dakari Johnson are back, as are juniors Alex Poythress and Willie Cauley-Stein. 

Calipari has found a way to keep his program successful, while molding talented players for the next level usually in a short amount of time. This move signals the next step in his genius, because it allows Kentucky players exposure to NBA scouts, gives him another recruiting tool to use and all in an environment that he controls. 

Whether you love or hate Calipari, there’s no denying that he’s found a way to stay ahead of the curve. It’s no wonder that Kentucky is usually one of the best programs in the country year after year, and why Calipari is the second-highest-paid coach in college basketball. 


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Kyrie Irving reportedly is 100% for FIBA knockout round

After a tough fall in Team USA’s blowout win over Ukraine, Kyrie Irving is good to go as the team gets ready for their win or go home game against Mexico at 10 AM EST on Saturday. Sam Amick of USA Today is reporting from Spain that both Irving and Team USA Coach Mike Krzyzewski downplayed the fall on Friday, a day after the Cavalier guard took a shot to the body and crashed to the floor, sending Team USA and Cavalier fans into a worrisome spiral on Thursday afternoon. “I’m all right,” Irving told reporters Friday in Barcelona. “I mean it was a little bit of a concern when it happened. I was a little bit worried. It was a tough fall on my back, just a light bruise that I took in the fourth quarter. But it’s part of the game … I’m all right. I’m a little bit more sore than I thought I would be, but like I said it was just a tough fall that I took yesterday and I’m just glad I’m OK.” Irving is no stranger to bumps and bruises, missing most of his freshman year at Duke and significant

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Ray Allen reportedly in ‘no rush’ in deciding on future


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Kevin Durant Reportedly Signs Contract with Nike Through 2024

A high-end sports endorsement bidding battle between Nike and Under Armour has reportedly concluded Sunday.    

According to ESPN’s Darren Rovell, Oklahoma City Thunder superstar Kevin Durant has elected to sign a massive contract with Nike:

Durant was approached with a monster offer from Under Armour recently, but Nike had the chance to match and opted to do so. That ensures Durant will remain with the company as he enters the prime of his career.

Rovell and Marc Stein previously reported for ESPN.com how Nike countered the offer from Under Armour that ranged from $265 to $285 million. Nike felt the amount was enough to retain Durant, and Sunday’s news proves it indeed was.

Jeff Zillgitt of USA Today points out in his report how Durant’s current seven-year deal with Nike, worth approximately $60 million, is expiring on Sunday. Zillgitt also offered his analysis and further details regarding the reported Nike deal:

While the final dollar amount is expected to rival and perhaps surpass what Under Armour offered, this is a coup for Jay-Z’s Roc Nation Sports, which proved it can procure a financially significant endorsement deal.

The 10-year deal with Nike has the potential to reach $300 million and includes a $50 million retirement package, two people familiar with the terms of the deal told USA TODAY Sports.

As he continues to increase his marketability and develops as an elite basketball player, Durant is bound to boost his brand to new heights in the coming years. The Thunder may not be Durant’s team long term, because he has the chance to test free agency in 2016 should he choose to go that route, but that remains to be seen.

ESPN Stats & Info highlighted how valuable Durant was during his 2013-14 MVP season:

Durant addressed his looming maiden voyage onto the open market this offseason, per ESPN.com’s Ramona Shelburne:

I’m going to do what’s best for me. It’s hard to talk about that right now when I’ve got two years left in Oklahoma City. I’m just going to focus on that. I’m not going to make a decision based on what anybody else does. I grew up watching the Bullets/Wizards. I grew up taking the train to that arena, all the time, to watch Georgetown, the Bullets, the Washington Mystics. That whole city is a part of me. It’s in my blood. I love going back home, seeing my family and playing there, but I love Oklahoma City too.

No matter what type of maximum contract Durant demands from Oklahoma City or another NBA franchise in the future, this Nike endorsement contract takes care of him during and after his days on the hardwood. This analysis from CBSSports.com’s Joel Corry before the deal went down was fitting:

While his long-term destination in the NBA is still unclear, there is no question as to which company will have Durant’s services moving forward.

Durant is now positioned to maximize his potential on and off the court. At a mere 25 years old, there is plenty of time for Durant to explore more commercial avenues than ever before and grow his profile even further.

If and when Durant’s game continues to progress and championships potentially follow, Nike will be able to say it has teamed up with what should be one of the best basketball players of the current generation. With his finances well secured, Durant can focus on his pursuit of the Larry O’Brien Trophy and his bright all-around future.

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