• A must-read Q-and-A with FIBA Secretary General Patrick Baumann on all Olympics- and World Cup-related topics. Baumann is pretty candid throughout this interview. If you read between the lines, FIBA seems to envision an Olympic tournament that includes more teams (16 instead of 12) and moves away from the current pool play/round-robin format in order to speed things along a bit. I’d support a general move in that direction. Baumann also addresses the possibility of an under-23 age limit for the Olympics, the push to include 3-on-3 basketball as a separate Olympic event and how FIBA and the NBA might make the basketball World Cup a larger happening.
• The big sports business news of the day was the announcement from the NBA and Ticketmaster that the two will create a new joint ticket portal covering both the primary and secondary ticket markets. That’s a fancy way of saying you’ll be able to log onto this portal and search both unsold tickets and tickets available via ticket-holders (both individuals and brokers) trying to flip those tickets for whatever reason. The NBA had lost some control of the so-called secondary market to sites like StubHub and TiqIq, which (usually) charge both buyers and sellers a piece of the ticket price. It’s unclear what the new set-up will mean for consumers, especially since teams may institute a pricing floor on secondary market tickets that will prevent the ultra-bargains — $1 for Charlotte-Washington tonight! — that can pop up on StubHub and the like.
Ticketing in general will be an interesting area to watch as teams experiment with more dynamic pricing options — systems that determine, on a daily or weekly basis, whether teams should increase or decrease the price on a particular seat for a particular game. Most teams are already doing this to some degree, but a few (the Cavs and Raptors come to mind) have been a little more aggressive in experimenting with it.
• Bravo, Trey Kerby, for getting to the bottom of this James Harden hilarity.
• Matt Moore, writing at Pro Basketball Talk, looks at how the Hawks used their possessions last season, and what that might tell us about their revamped team next season.
• Pete Thamel, writing in The New York Times, on another basketball prodigy (Jonathan Hargett) whose college recruitment involved alleged bribes from at least one program, runners offering other handouts, and all kinds of horrible personal and family tragedies. Harrowing stuff.
• Kevin Ding of the Orange County Register gets Lakers’ GM Mitch Kupchak to open up about the Dwight Howard trade talks – on-and-off discussions that frustrated Kupchak and appeared dead, from the Lakers’ perspective, by early August. Good information here.
• The National Association of Basketball Coaches has filed an opinion brief in a really interesting U.S. Supreme Court case touching on race as a criteria in college admissions.
• An update on Andrew Bogut’s condition. He hasn’t yet been cleared for on-court, full-speed running.
• Who should the Wizards start at shooting guard: Bradley Beal or Jordan Crawford?
• Brandon Jennings, entering the last season of his rookie deal, tells the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel he’d like an extension soon. He also says he and Monta Ellis are eager to prove they can be a winning back-court pair:
“I really want it to work just personally, because everybody is doubting it,” Jennings said in an interview at his youth basketball camp at Homestead High School on Sunday.
“With everybody doubting it, I think it’s important that me and him, we just work together to show everybody it can work.
“Everybody knows we both can score like crazy. But I think everybody thinks we can’t win together. That’s going to be one of our biggest challenges. I’m up for it and I know he is.”
The odds are probably slightly against a Milwaukee playoff berth. The team’s defense was awful when Jennings and Ellis played together last season (albeit in a small sample size), and the emergence of the Nets as a probable playoff lock makes the Eastern Conference playoff race even tougher. Atlanta helped enable that emergence, but the Hawks have filled Joe Johnson’s salary slot with a half-dozen interesting and dynamic players, and they could very well be nearly as good in terms of winning percentage as they were last season. The Sixers have remade themselves, and though the results are uncertain, they have probably moved up the pecking order in the aggregate. That covers the eight conference playoff holdovers, plus the Nets, and the Raptors are also going to be an intriguingly frisky team this season.
The Bucks have a lot of interesting pieces, and Jennings in the piece linked above makes some smart observations about the team’s recent history.
• Frank Madden of the always-interesting Bucks blog BrewHoop reflects on the Jennings extension talk and how much the young point guard is really worth.
• I don’t live in Brooklyn yet, but as my thirties creep along, it seems as if I’m there almost every weekend. I’ve seen the construction of the Nets’ new arena and the growth of the transportation hub around it, and I’ve listened to Brooklyn friends talk about the Nets with excitement and dread. So I was especially interested to read this New York feature by Will Leitch on the place of the Nets and the Barclays Center in Brooklyn’s present and future. Great stuff. I especially enjoyed this little aside on Marty Markowitz, Brooklyn’s bombastic (to put it kindly) borough president:
Every time Markowitz is at a Nets event, he brings up the Dodgers and Ebbets Field and bringing sports “back to Brooklyn, where they belong!” The Ebbets Field connection is obviously vital for Markowitz, who was 12 years old when the Dodgers moved to Los Angeles, the absolute perfect age to develop a lifelong obsession with returning pro sports to one’s home borough. When the Nets deal was first announced, Markowitz was ebullient. “It corrects the great mistake of 1957, when the Brooklyn Dodgers moved to La-La Land,” he said. “This is redemption. This is Brooklyn getting its respect back.”