The 2013-14 NBA season has just gotten underway, but off-the-court rumors are flying in at midseason form.
Whispers about unemployed potential contributors, contract issues following the passing of Thursday’s extension deadline and even the void National Basketball Players Association executive director job have made the rounds this week.
Here is the latest.
Jason Collins Reportedly not Interested in D-League, Overseas
Jason Collins made national headlines this year by becoming the first publicly gay athlete in North America’s four major team sports, but he still has not been granted the opportunity to lace it up for an NBA team this season.
Sources revealed to Marc Stein of ESPN.com that Collins has no interest in playing overseas or in the NBA Development League while awaiting a phone call from an NBA squad. Collins was given the chance to enter his name in Friday’s D-League but decided against it.
In the same report, Stein points out that some league executives think Collins will find a landing place in January when 10-day contracts become an option. That would give him a chance to prove himself against elite competition instead of in the D-League. A successful 10-day stint may be just what Collins needs to draw interest from contenders searching for interior depth.
For now, Collins will continue to maintain his workout regime at his home in Los Angeles.
Gulf Between Eric Bledsoe and the Suns?
The Phoenix Suns may be off to a quick start, but talks about a contract extension with their leading scorer reportedly did not go smoothly.
Should the Suns have locked up Bledsoe for the long run this week?
Sources told Marc Stein of ESPN.com there was a noticeable “gulf” between Eric Bledsoe and the Suns when trying to hash out an extension before Thursday’s deadline (the last day a player can agree to an extension).
Phoenix may want to see Bledsoe play at a high level consistently before committing serious money to the guard. But if he turns around and has an excellent season, offers in restricted free agency will come flying his way. That would put the Suns in a much more difficult position and make the current “gulf” between the two sides much more costly in the long term.
It is worth noting that Bledsoe is averaging 20 points, six assists, six rebounds and 1.5 steals per game through two contests this year.
NBPA Narrowing Its Search
The National Basketball Players Association has been seeking a replacement for former executive director Billy Hunter ever since he lost his job last February for a number of issues, including expenses and preferential hiring of family and friends.
Jeff Zillgitt of USA Today noted that the search process is moving along.
NBPA has started to narrow field of candidates for executive director job. Still on target to have finalists by NBA All-Star weekend.— Jeff Zillgitt (@JeffZillgitt) November 2, 2013
Having such a powerful position remain open for so long could be seen as counterproductive or as undermining the power of the players’ union. But after the embarrassment surrounding Hunter, making the right choice is more important than speeding up the process.
Union issues may not be particularly intriguing to casual fans of the game, but this decision will shape the outlook of the league and any potential future power struggles or negotiations for years to come.