Ty Lawson Signs With Sacramento Kings

In an effort to get his once-promising career back on track, former UNC point guard Ty Lawson agreed to a one-year contract Sunday night with the Sacramento Kings.

Over the course of his seven seasons in the NBA, Lawson–a key cog during the Tar Heels’ 2009 national title run–has averaged a solid 13 points and six assists per game.

He has also established himself as one of the league’s quickest players with the ball in his hands–mostly during his first six seasons with the Denver Nuggets.

After being charged with his fourth DUI in July of 2015, however, the Nuggets worked out a trade that sent Lawson to the Houston Rockets.

Playing alongside superstars James Harden and Dwight Howard, he was lost in the shuffle on the court in Houston–all while simultaneously trying to clean up his life off the court.

His averages fell to just 5.8 points and 3.4 assists in his 53 games with the Rockets. By midseason, the marriage clearly wasn’t beneficial to either side. Lawson was waived by the team soon after.

The Indiana Pacers made a move to acquire him, but that experiment didn’t quite pan out either–with Lawson seeing just 18 minutes of playing time per night during his 13-game stint with the team.

By joining the Kings, he’ll be competing with Darren Collison for time at the point guard position. Collison was the team’s backup last season behind Rajon Rondo–who recently left to become a member of the Chicago Bulls.

Although the Sacramento organization has been somewhat of a punchline within the league over the last few years, it could serve as a launching pad for Lawson to get himself back to the player he was before.


Kendall Marshall Traded to Utah Jazz Then Waived

Former North Carolina Tar Heels point guard Kendall Marshall was traded to the Utah Jazz from the Philadelphia 76ers.  Shortly after the trade, the Jazz released him.

The report comes from The Vertical’s Adrian Wojnarowski.

According to Wojnarowski, the trade was structured around salary cap needs for both teams.  The 76ers traded Marshall for center Tibor Pleiss, two future second-round picks and cash.

After two seasons in Chapel Hill, the Phoenix Suns drafted Marshall with the 13th overall pick in the 2012 NBA Draft.  Marshall has spent time with the Suns, Los Angeles Lakers, Milwaukee Bucks, and the 76ers.  He also had a stint the NBA’s developmental league with the Delaware 87ers.

Former Tar Heel point guard Marcus Paige was drafted by the Jazz in June.


2017 NBA All-Star Game: Charlotte’s Loss is New Orleans’ Gain

The National Basketball Association has officially chosen New Orleans as the replacement city to host the 2017 NBA All-Star game.

The move comes after the league announced that the All-Star Weekend festivities would be moved from Charlotte because of North Carolina’s controversial House Bill 2, which advocates maintain is the worst piece of anti-LGBT legislation in the nation.

NBA Commissioner Adam Silver issued the following statement in announcing the move.

“New Orleans is a world-class destination for sports and entertainment and we are very appreciative that the city is once again hosting our All-Star festivities. We are grateful to Tom and Gayle Benson and the Pelicans organization and to Governor John Bel Edwards, Mayor Mitch Landrieu and the Greater New Orleans Sports Foundation for inviting us back for what promises to be another exciting and memorable celebration of the game.”

Chad Griffin, president of the nation’s largest LGBTQ civil rights organization the Human Rights Campaign, commended the NBA for choosing a city with LGBTQ protections as host of the All-Star Game.

“By moving the 2017 All-Star Game to New Orleans, the NBA and Commissioner Adam Silver have sent a clear message to lawmakers in North Carolina and across the country that discrimination against LGBTQ people has consequences and will not be tolerated. New Orleans’ explicit LGBTQ non-discrimination protections will ensure all NBA employees, players, and fans who participate in the All-Star Game are protected from discrimination. Governor Pat McCrory and state lawmakers should use this as an opportunity to halt their assault on the people, reputation, and economy of North Carolina, and work toward replacing HB2 with commonsense non-discrimination protections. We look forward to the day when all North Carolinians can live their lives free from discrimination, and Charlotte is able to welcome back the All-Star Game.”

Governor Pat McCrory’s communication director Josh Ellis issued the following statement regarding the decision to move the All-Star Game to New Orleans.

“According to his own statements, Commissioner Silver has no credibility in telling America that he’s more ‘comfortable’ playing a basketball game in the People’s Republic of China with its oppressive human rights record, rather than the 9th most populous state in the U.S.A. This is another classic example of politically-correct hypocrisy gone mad. We are proud that Louisiana has joined 21 other states that are fighting for basic privacy expectations for our children and families in school restrooms, locker rooms and shower facilities.”

This will mark the third time the All-Star Game will be hosted in New Orleans since the team moved to the Crescent City from Charlotte before the 2002 season.

When announcing the decision to move the 2017 festivities from Charlotte, Commissioner Adam Silver left open the possibility of returning to the Queen City for the 2019 All-Star Weekend.


Chansky’s Notebook: Michael Jordan’s Legacy

My problem with Michael Jordan was never black and white.

Yes, Tar Heel legend and NBA billionaire Michael Jordan gave a million dollars each to the Institute for Community-Police Relations and the NAACP Legal Defense Fund to help build trust following the shootings of blacks and police in this country. It was surprising only because Jordan had never publicly stepped up on social issues.

Jordan made the infamous statement when asked why he wasn’t backing African-American Harvey Gantt for U.S. Senator against Jesse Helms in 1990; he said “Republicans buy sneakers, too.” That was a business stance, probably influenced by NIKE in MJ’s pre-championship days. I actually understood that and also why Tiger Woods stayed apolitical when he became the world’s best golfer.

My issue with Jordan wasn’t race at all. I believed that when he found himself as the most recognizable figure in the world that he, then, could have offered his services to his country in some way that would be appropriate, as a worldwide ambassador to visit foreign lands where basketball had made him an international icon, or to head up some agency on fitness and exercise where he could have changed millions of young lives headed in the wrong direction.

Jordan’s gift wasn’t being the greatest basketball player ever. His gift was becoming such a global figure that he almost had a responsibility to use that fame with boys and girls, black and white, young and old to help them find a better way in life. With his face plastered all over the world, no question he could have become Ali-like in his power of persuasion; instead he retreated to a private life of gambling, girls and golf before buying into the old Bobcats.

Jordan’s father was killed by a random act of violence in 1993, the seed of his latest philanthropy. But, man, what he could have done, not with money, but his own personage when people would have hung on his every word. I always believed that his fame came with a duty to help mankind that he chose to ignore. Had he, his legacy could have been far different than it is.




NBA Pulling All-Star Game from Charlotte Over HB2

The National Basketball Association is pulling the 2017 All-Star Game from Charlotte over North Carolina’s House Bill 2.

The Vertical was first to report the news Thursday afternoon.

The NBA confirmed the reports in a statement released Thursday evening.

The NBA has been threatening to move the All-Star festivities for months. HB2 was passed in a special session of the North Carolina General Assembly in late March of this year. The law requires transgender individuals to use the bathroom and changing facility that corresponds with their birth certificate rather than their gender identity. The special session was called in late March after Charlotte voted to extend the city’s nondiscrimination policy to members of the LGBT community.

HB2 also barred localities across the state from passing nondiscrimination policies that extend beyond the state policy. The bill also prohibited residents from suing in state court over discrimination. That provision was changed during the General Assembly’s short legislative session but no other changes were made to the legislation.

The NBA statement read in part:

“Our week-long schedule of All-Star events and activities is intended to be a global celebration of basketball, our league, and the values for which we stand, and to bring together all members of the NBA community — current and former players, league and team officials, business partners, and fans. While we recognize that the NBA cannot choose the law in every city, state, and country in which we do business, we do not believe we can successfully host our All-Star festivities in Charlotte in the climate created by HB2.”

The Hornets also issued a statement following the decision by the NBA, saying in part:

“We understand the NBA’s decision and the challenges around holding the NBA All-Star Game in Charlotte this season. There was an exhaustive effort from all parties to keep the event in Charlotte, and we are disappointed we were unable to do so.”

Governor Pat McCrory issued a statement following the NBA’s decision to pull the All-Star Game.

“The sports and entertainment elite, Attorney General Roy Cooper and the liberal media have for months misrepresented our laws and maligned the people of North Carolina simply because most people believe boys and girls should be able to use school bathrooms, locker rooms and showers without the opposite sex present.”

McCrory went on to say, “Left-wing special interest groups have no moral authority to try and intimidate the large majority of American parents who agree in common-sense bathroom and shower privacy for our children. American families should be on notice that the selective corporate elite are imposing their political will on communities in which they do business, thus bypassing the democratic and legal process.”

A coalition of groups including the American Civil Liberties Union, the ACLU of North Carolina and Lambda Legal filed a motion for a preliminary injunction stopping the implementation of HB2 in federal court. That motion will be heard in federal court on August 1. The United States Department of Justice is also locked in a legal battle with the state of North Carolina over the legislation. The lawsuits argue HB2 violates Title IX of the Education Amendments, Title VII of the Civil Rights Act and the Violence Against Women Act.

North Carolina is also one of nearly two dozen states suing after President Barack Obama issued a directive earlier this year to allow transgender students to use the bathroom matching their gender identity.

The NBA did leave open the option of returning the All-Star weekend to Charlotte in 2019. The NCAA Tournament is set to host early-round tournament games in North Carolina over the next two years, but those could be in jeopardy of moving as well due to HB2.


Danny Green Pays Tribute to Retiring Tim Duncan

Tim Duncan announced his retirement from the NBA after 19 seasons on Monday.  After four years at Wake Forest, the San Antonio Spurs selected him as the No. 1 overall pick in the 1997 NBA Draft.  He spent all of his 19 seasons in the NBA with the Spurs, won five NBA Championships, 3 NBA Finals MVP Awards, 2 NBA MVP Awards, and 15 All-Star teams.

For the past five years, former Tar Heel Danny Green was his teammate.

Green is 11 years younger than Duncan and he grew up idolizing his future teammate.  In a Monday night Facebook post, we learned just how important Duncan is to Green.

Green writes:

“I’ve been waiting all day for someone tell me it was a joke or a lie….I feel like one of the luckiest guys of my generation to be able to share the court with you for 5 years…you were and still are one my biggest idols since I was in middle school…I will forever cherish these moments and the countless times you’ve been the guy to encourage me and lift me up with confidence as if the roles were reversed…you truly are the greatest most humble teammate and person I’ve ever come across…I can go on for days about how much you’ve taught me, you are the ultimate professional and the reason why the spurs organization has been the best in sports for 20yrs…the league/game won’t be the same without you, you will be truly missed…and I will miss you the most, because you were also the guy to have my back when pop cussed me out lol…and a final note, I would like to call…Dibs! On your parking space, seat on the plane, locker, everything! Lol I’m lucky to be able to call you family, much love tiny Tim‪#‎Thebigfundamental‬ #21 ‪#‎GPFOAT‬ ‪#‎Legend‬

The Spurs won the NBA Championship in 2014.  It was Duncan’s fifth and final title.  It was the first for Green.

UNC head basketball coach Roy Williams also shared his thoughts on Duncan.


US Department of Justice Asks Federal Court to Bar Implementation of HB2

North Carolina’s House Bill 2 constitutes discrimination on the basis of sex by requiring transgender individuals to use the bathroom and changing facility that corresponds with their birth certificate rather than their gender identity and should therefore not be implemented across the state.

That was the argument put forward by the United States Department of Justice in a court filing on Tuesday asking the United States District Court in North Carolina’s Middle District to grant a preliminary injunction to stop the law from being implemented.

United States Attorney General Loretta Lynch called HB2 “state-sponsored discrimination” when announcing that the DOJ was suing the state over the legislation in May.

Proponents of the “bathroom bill” have continued to say the law is only intended to protect women and children across the state and have called the bill “common sense” legislation.

The initial bill went beyond the bathroom provision and barred localities across the state from implementing anti-discrimination policies that went beyond the state language. The bill also stopped residents from being able to sue in state court over employment discrimination, instead it would have forced them to the federal court system.

After months of pressure, including from Governor Pat McCrory, that portion of the bill was changed at the last minute of the short legislative session that wrapped up just before the July 4 holiday weekend. The new piece of legislation does not fully restore worker’s rights in North Carolina. Under the previous law, workers had three years to file a claim; that range has now been brought down to one year.

No other portions of HB2 were altered during the session. That could cost the state the 2017 NBA All-Star Game, among the other business investments that have withdrawn from the state over the bill.

The UNC System has maintained that it is caught between complying with state and federal law in this matter and System President Margaret Spellings has said the system campuses will not enforce the law.

There is no timeline for a decision regarding Tuesday’s motion to stop the law from being implemented and enforced statewide.


Chansky’s Notebook: Recalling the ‘CP3 Trade’

Could the NBA have vetoed the Kevin Durant move?

Since Durant said he was going to Golden State, creating the specter of a super power for years to come, I wonder if the NBA could have blocked that free-agent signing, the way it stopped the proposed trade of Chris Paul to the Lakers in 2011.

In that decision, then-commissioner David Stern vetoed the trade of Paul from the lowly New Orleans Hornets to the perennial NBA power Lakers for reasons Stern said would plunder the New Orleans franchise, which has since been renamed the Pelicans, and stack the Lakers for another dynastic run.

The nixed deal, coming immediately after a five-month lockout that delayed the start of the 2011-12 season, directly affected at least half the league like a giant spider web, even though Paul was eventually traded to the Clippers. To this day, it remains a polarizing debate centered on competitive balance, protecting small-market teams, superstars’ power and free will, and whether the league overstepped its boundaries even if it had the right to do so.

The trade was a three-way deal moving a half-dozen players, and Stern believed it would not help the other two franchises involved and unfairly tilt the balance in the Western Conference toward the Lakers if Paul, nicknamed CP3, was allowed to move. Stern was acting as de facto owner of the old Hornets, who had been purchased away from George Shinn by the NBA.

Free agency now allows players to move around for so-called max contracts, with Durant being the big prize. But the premise still exists when you consider the overwhelming favorite Golden State now is in the West over small-market Oklahoma City and the aging San Antonio Spurs.

Could new commissioner Adam Silver, the Dukie who as an NBA deputy was involved in the CP3 decision, have stepped in and said the signing was bad for the competitive balance in the NBA? Apparently not, but four years later the last-place Lakers and the rest of the league still wonder if Stern had the right to do what he did.


Chansky’s Notebook: Barnes’ Brand Gets Big Boost

Harrison Barnes comes out smelling like a rose.

When Harrison Barnes left UNC after his sophomore year, he was not unhappy with being a Tar Heel. To the contrary, his two seasons in Chapel Hill gave him the high profile that he said he needed to begin building his personal brand, which is that of a great player, great teammate and non-controversial.

He won an NBA championship in Golden State and came inches within winning another; he was First Team All-Rookie NBA and when he was moved to sixth man his second season he quietly became one of the best subs off the bench. And in 2016, he topped that by averaging just under 12 points and five rebounds as the team’s fourth or fifth scoring option. But Barnes was destined to play in the shadow of Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson.

Now that Kevin Durant has signed with the Warriors, called by critics one of the weakest moves a super star has ever made, Barnes will move to Dallas where the Mavericks will sign him to a max contract of $95 million over four years and where Barnes can emerge from fourth or fifth banana to one of the stars in the league. It’s the best thing Barnes could have done for his personal wealth and his brand, as Golden State cannot match the max offer from the Mavericks since it has to clear cap space for Durant.

Staying with the Warriors might have given Barnes more rings but where and how much would he play with Durant now starting at small forward? So he is moving to Dallas, which will rebuild around Barnes; who already has his championship and can now concentrate on being a more consistent player and striving to become an NBA all-star.

Just as Barnes had a plan at UNC, I imagine he watched the Durant sweepstakes closely and put himself in position to get max money from another team. Dallas came calling and signed the offer sheet. The Warriors could not sign any more big contracts if they were to land Durant, who makes his new team, on paper, the odds-on favorite to win the 2017 NBA title.

That is why Durant is being criticized. He is considered one of the three best players in the world on a team that led Golden State 3-1 in the Western Conference Finals. Instead of staying and trying to get his team over the hump, he went to the rival that he could not beat. That’s much different than leaving a bad team for a contender. Some are calling it cowardice.


No Changes Imminent for HB2

***UPDATE: The General Assembly passed a measure on Friday night to restore the right to sue in state court for discrimination. Prior to HB2, workers had three years to file a discrimination lawsuit in state court. Under the new provision, that time limit would be one year.***

It now appears as though no adjustments will be made to North Carolina’s controversial House Bill 2 before the General Assembly wraps up the short legislative session ahead of the July 4 holiday.

Meetings were held this week between the governor and members of each side of the political aisle after Charlotte TV station WBTV first reported draft revisions to HB2 were being discussed.

Advocates said the provisions were not a real fix for the legislation that requires transgender individuals to use the bathroom and changing facility that matches their birth certificate rather than their gender identity.

Republican Governor Pat McCrory signed the legislation in late March the same day the bill was introduced and pass through the General Assembly in a special session. McCrory called for changes to the portion of the bill that took away the right to sue for discrimination in state court, but it now appears even that provision will remain untouched.

The bill has caused some companies to rethink or completely back out of expansions in North Carolina.

But what has drawn the most attention is the possibility that the National Basketball Association may move the 2017 All-Star Game from the Tar Heel state.

The All-Star Game and the associated festivities are – as of right now – slated to take place in Charlotte in February 2017. But NBA Commissioner Adam Silver has been a vocal opponent of HB2 since it was signed into law and said that adjustments would need to be made for the game to be played in North Carolina.

While potential changes were being discussed, the NBA and Charlotte Hornets issued a joint statement saying the alterations would not go far enough to win the backing of the league.

“We have been engaged in dialogue with numerous groups at the city and state levels, but we do not endorse the version of the bill that we understand is currently before the legislature. We remain committed to our guiding principles of inclusion, mutual respect and equal protections for all. We continue to believe that constructive engagement with all sides is the right path forward. There has been no new decision made regarding the 2017 NBA All-Star Game.”

Silver previously said that the NBA would need to see substantive changes made to HB2 by the end of the summer to proceed with the game in Charlotte. NBA Analyst Charles Barkley said that he would consider boycotting the game if it were to be held in the Queen City.