NBA Notebook: New, New, New
Ryan L. Fox
A new season is upon us, the season of spring. With that comes new changes happening about in the NBA and in the world of basketball. New coaches being hired, new developments in ongoing cases, and even a new change to the rules that could play a big impact in the upcoming off season.
New Findings in McClendon Crash
Two weeks ago, the Oklahoma City Thunder were rocked by the violent death of one of their part time owners, Aubrey McClendon. McClendon was involved in a car accident back on March 2, which ended up claiming his life. At first there were many speculations as to what caused him to crash.
The common theory was that McClendon took his own life after we was indicted the previous day for allegedly conspiring to rig the bidding process for natural gas leases in Oklahoma from 2007 to 2012 while be the head of Chesapeake Energy. According to witnesses, they said that McClendon said that he would ‘fight the charges’ that were levied against. Not the tone of somebody who would drive into a concrete bridge support. Or was it?
This past Monday, there was a breakthrough in the case. According to Oklahoma City authorities, it came to light that McClendon was speeding down the interstate as he was driving on. Police Chief Bill City said that McClendon was going 88 mph. He only slowly down by tapping the brake pedal, but it just brought the vehicle down to 78 mph.
The medical examiner’s office first concluded that McClendon had died from multiple blunt force trauma. There has yet to be an official manner of death or toxicology test result.
New Idea to Impact Free Agency
Say that you’re a team that’s been trying to build a championship caliber team for the past few years but you are missing that one piece, that one superstar player (ala, Kevin Durant) that could put you over the hump. You look to free agency to get that player like so many other teams, only to have to wait around until July 12 to get the okay to officially sign free agents that you’ve talked with. But by then, you could lose the opportunity to bring in that player as he would have a ‘change of heart’ and resign with his old team (see DeAndre Jordan during the NBA 2015-16 season moratorium)
However this past Thursday, there was a major change in the free agency process. Both the NBA and the NBA Players Association came to an agreement to shorten the offseason summer’s free-agent moratorium by five days for the upcoming 2016-17 season. For those who are not familiar with the NBA moratorium period, it’s essentially a period of time (usually five days from July 6 to July 11) where the league can calculate salary cap numbers as well as the luxury-tax figure for the upcoming new season. Also during the moratorium, teams can talk with free agents and have oral agreements in place until July 12 when free agency. But now with this new agreement, free agency will start on July 7 while the moratorium will run from July 1 to July 6.
Although all 30 NBA teams were informed of this change for the upcoming NBA season, they were also informed that it wasn’t going to go into the 2017-18 NBA Season. So this will be a 1-year experimental trial. If it succeeds, who knows how this will impact free agency going forward. But for teams looking for that one superstar free agent, it’s a chance to finally take a step in the right direction in bringing home a championship.
Pacific Gets New Head Coach
Former Arizona star and NBA Rookie of the Year Damon Stoudamire has been hired as the new coach at Pacific.
Athletic director Ted Leland announced Wednesday that he had hired Stoudamire to fill the vacancy. Coach Ron Verlin was suspended by the school in December stemming from an investigation into academic misconduct. Pacific announced last month that Verlin would not return and Stoudamire replaces interim coach Mike Burns.
Stoudamire spent the past seven years as an assistant coach with the NBA's Memphis Grizzlies and in college at Arizona and most recently Memphis. After a stellar four-year college career at Arizona, Stoudamire played 13 seasons in the NBA with Toronto, Portland, Memphis and San Antonio.
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