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Wednesday, April 1, 2020

Headlines

LeBron James, Kevin Durant among few NBA players already receiving 90 percent of their salary

LeBron James

The current work stoppage has complicated financial matters for most NBA players, but LeBron James and several others are better off than the majority.

Marc Stein of The New York Times reported on Tuesday that players are receiving paychecks on April 1 but have not been assured further payments. Stein also notes that roughly 90 percent of NBA players will have received less than half of their 2019-20 salaries by the time that the April 1 checks go out because they are on 12-month payment plans.

However, James and several other Klutch Sports clients had negotiated “all-you-can-get” deals that pay out 90-plus percent of their 2019-20 salaries by April 1 as part of an accelerated six-month payment schedule. Also included in this group of roughly 20 select players are Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving, and Blake Griffin, among others.

What is also interesting is that the likes of Anthony Davis and Marcus Morris Sr, both of whom signed with Klutch Sports more recently, are not among the ten Klutch players mentioned. Neither is Ben Simmons, who is still technically on his rookie contract (though the same could be said about other players who are listed like Darius Garland and Miles Bridges).

The NBA salary cap and player incomes are already expected to drop because of the financial hit from the coronavirus pandemic, and this is yet another negative side effect for the league and the vast majority of their players.

NBA planning players-only ‘NBA 2K’ tournament featuring Kevin Durant, others

Kevin Durant

The NBA may not be able to resume its season in as timely a fashion as it originally hoped, but the league is planning an event that will hopefully give basketball fans something to look forward to.

The NBA is organizing a players-only tournament for the video game “NBA 2K20” that will feature some of the league’s best gamers, including Kevin Durant and Donovan Mitchell. Sources told Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports that the 16-player tournament will be broadcast on ESPN and span over 10 days. The goal is for the event to launch on Friday.

Other players taking part in the tournament include DeMarcus Cousins and Andre Drummond. The league is still finalizing the details.

The White House recently extended its social distancing guidelines through April 30, and many states have issued “shelter-in-place” orders as the coronavirus continues to spread. It seems unlikely that the NBA or any other sports league will resume play before June, which is why we have seen leagues exploring other ways to keep fans entertained. A video game tournament is certainly better than nothing.

ESPN moves up ‘The Last Dance’ Michael Jordan Bulls documentary to April 19

Michael Jordan

ESPN is coming through for the people.

The network has bumped up the release date for “The Last Dance” to April 19, the New York Post’s Andrew Marchand reported on Monday night. “The Last Dance” is a 10-part documentary series about Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls.

Marchand says the announcement will be made official on “GMA” Tuesday.

The documentary was originally set to be released in June, but there have been calls across social media for ESPN to bump up the release date to help satisfy the needs of sports fans.

This is welcome programming for sports fans, but I do have one complaint: why do it during the same time as the NFL Draft, which is April 23-25? Why not before or after? Hopefully they will stagger the schedule around the draft and spread things around for fans.

Report: Team personnel ‘angry’ with Roger Goodell over NFL Draft

Roger Goodell

NFL commissioner Roger Goodell’s handling of the NFL Draft has become a source of controversy within the NFL.

Goodell is pushing ahead with a virtual draft on the scheduled dates of April 23-25. This comes despite many teams wanting to see the event postponed. Perhaps worse, Goodell has threatened disciplinary action against anyone who publicly criticizes his decision not to postpone the draft.

That last act has particularly infuriated team personnel, according to Peter King in his “Football Morning in America” column. King says personnel are “angry” with Goodell for both the decision to go ahead with the draft, as well as his public censorship of dissent.

“Why on earth would you ever threaten an opinion?” one prominent NFL individual texted King.

Teams have voiced their opinion privately about the status of the draft. There is frustration that teams cannot scout and interview prospects due to travel restrictions. Those restrictions are in place for a good reason, but that may be more reason to just postpone the event. That won’t be happening, and there isn’t anything these personnel can do about it.

Bruce Arians was disheartened by Jameis Winston’s ‘regression’

Jameis Winston

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ dreams came true when Tom Brady chose to sign with them in free agency. Not only did that decision give them a future Hall of Famer, but it also closed the book on Jameis Winston’s Bucs career — for now.

Winston, whom the team selected No. 1 overall in 2015, is a free agent and still on the market. He led the NFL in passing yards last season (5,109) but threw for 33 touchdowns and 30 interceptions.

The interceptions and bad play by Winston at the end of the season soured Bucs head coach Bruce Arians on the young quarterback.

“For Jameis, for me, it was the regression in the last two ballgames with the interceptions. It was disheartening because he made progress, then he regressed,” Arians said in an interview with Tiki and Tierney on CBS Sports Radio/CBS Sports Network last week.

Arians told Tiki and Tierney that he thinks Winston would be best served as a backup quarterback next season.

“Get him somewhere as a backup for now,” Arians suggested for Winston. Somewhere he can sit and learn the system. Somewhere either with an older guy he can take over next year or compete with a young guy now.”

Many available spots around the NFL have filled up, leaving many to believe Winston won’t have a starting job next season, which Arians thinks is best. Don’t expect Winston to swap teams with Brady though and join the Patriots, because that reportedly is not happening.

Clayton Kershaw has reservations about delayed World Series

Clayton Kershaw

Major League Baseball wants to play as many games as possible when it starts play after the coronavirus pandemic has subsided. That could push the World Series back quite late in the calendar year, which might not be a popular decision.

Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Clayton Kershaw told “Lunchtime with Roggin and Rodney” on AM 570 LA Sports that he thinks a World Series in late November or December would be “iffy” and could negatively impact the 2021 season.

“I think once you start getting into playing longer in the year, that starts affecting next year. I think you get a little risky the further you go in the season,” Kershaw said, via Mark Townsend of Yahoo Sports. “I think expanding it maybe a couple weeks on the back end, but if you go any further than that, you start talking about Thanksgiving and December for a World Series, that gets a little iffy, in my opinion.”

Thanksgiving has been cited as just about the latest MLB would be willing to conclude the 2020 World Series, but even that pushes Kershaw’s timeline. What we don’t know is whether other players share his view, but that’s the agreement that the league and the MLBPA reached. Ultimately, much will be dictated by when the 2020 season actually starts, if it begins at all.

NCAA considering playing college football season during late summer?

We don’t know how long the coronavirus pandemic will last, but it certainly sounds like major changes are being considered to sports that are still several months away.

College football is one sport that could see major changes to its schedule. According to Michael Smith of Sports Business Journal, there is some consideration to playing an abbreviated college football season in July, August, and September. The thinking is that warmer summer weather may help slow the spread of the virus, particularly as some experts have warned that we could see a resurgence in spread next winter as temperatures turn cooler again.

There are many logistical issues that would arise as a result. Stadiums would need to be staffed, media partners would need to approve, and there’s no guarantee fans could even attend the games. It speaks to the fears about a regularly scheduled season, however, that this is even being tossed around. Some in the know do not think the season can go ahead as scheduled. This is an imperfect alternative, and it may not even work.