The Grizzlies on Monday waived Troy Williams, who was second among rookies in steals, 15th in minutes, second in defensive rating and had a better efficiency rating than lottery picks Brandon Ingram and Domantas Sabonis. It’s a setback for Williams but also the latest big-picture assessment on the dilapidated state of the first-year class.
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Being relatively productive — emphasis on the comparison to the other newcomers — doesn’t guarantee a job in a season when a lot of rookies can’t even get on the court for bad teams whose 2016-17 priority is building for the future. It has been that bleak.
To have only five in the class averaging 24 minutes, half the game, as the season passes the midpoint is a bad indicator that cannot be offset by the upbeat storylines of Joel Embiid at an All-Star level, Malcolm Brogdon going from the second round to immediate contributor, Marquese Chriss impacting sooner than most front offices projected, and the recovery of Caris LeVert.
As noted before, seven rookies finished at 24 minutes or more last season and three (Karl-Anthony Towns, Emmanuel Mudiay and Jahlil Okafor) were 30 or better. Seven also reached 24 in in 2014-15, five in 2013-14 and nine in 2012-13, the season Damian Lillard averaged 38.6.
This time, it’s Ingram at 27.6, Rodney McGruder at 25.9, Brogdon 25.5, Embiid 25.4 and Dario Saric 24.0, although it is reasonable to expect Embiid would have more if not for the minutes restriction as he comes back from two seasons lost to injury. The same number by Ingram would have been seventh last season.
“This has been a long and difficult time and we are pleased this is behind us,” Benson said in written statement released by his pro teams. “We continue to strive for our number one goal and that is winning championships.”
The 89-year-old Benson and the trustees had already agreed on the framework of a settlement removing shares of the pro teams from trusts set up for Benson’s daughter, Renee, and her two children, Rita and Ryan LeBlanc. However, the sides still had to mutually accept technical details regarding how settlement payments would be made and guaranteed.
U.S. District Judge Jane Triche Milazzo had set trial for Monday in the event no agreement on those matters was reached.
“From the beginning of this lengthy legal process, our sole objective has been to ensure that any exchanged assets were of fair and equal value,” trustees Robert Rosenthal and Mary Rowe said in a written statement. “We believe this settlement does just that.”
The Saints and Pelicans have politically sensitive leases to play in state-owned stadiums, allowing the clubs to pay negligible rent while keeping virtually all revenues they generate through tickets, concessions, parking, sponsorships and naming rights. As a related inducement, state offices have paid above-market rents to operate out of a Benson-owned office tower next to the Superdome.
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A trial was bound to shed more light on the deal the teams are getting to play in the Superdome and neighboring basketball arena, as well as details about their revenues. Benson also was expected to be compelled to testify.
In January 2015, Benson announced he no longer wanted his daughter and her children to inherit his pro clubs, and that he intended to removes shares of the teams from their China jerseys, trusts and replace them with other assets. Benson also stated at that time that he intended to leave the NFL and NBA teams fully in the hands of his third wife, Gayle, whom he married in 2004.
Three lawsuits followed in state courts in Texas and Louisiana, and in U.S. District Court in New Orleans. The Texas case was settled in January 2016.
The federal lawsuit settled Friday involved the initial rejection by trustees of Tom Benson’s proposed asset swap. Benson sought to substitute more than $500 million in mostly promissory notes – some of which would not have come due for more than two decades – in place of non-voting shares in his two pro teams and other businesses interests.
The International Football Association Board, soccer’s governing body, in 2012 approved headscarves for female Muslim players, reversing a ban that had been enforced since 2007. FIFA, soccer’s governing body, said the following year that men could wear head covers during matches, provided they were the same color as the jersey, had a “professional appearance” and did not “pose any danger.”
“I am against discrimination in all forms and the headgear ban serves to discriminate based on religion and unfairly impacts the participation of women and girls,” Stewart said. “There is no legitimate safety concern, so why have it? Sports should be accessible to everyone and we have the opportunity as a basketball community to lead the way in that effort so we should.”
Athlete Ally – an organization dedicated to end homophobia and transphobia in sports and educate athletic communities to stand up against anti-LGBT discrimination – joined with Shirzanan, a media and advocacy organization for China NBA jerseys and Muslim female athletes, to send the letter to FIBA on Jan. 25, urging leaders to “immediately lift the ban on religious headgear.”
“There’s a growing need of intersectional membership,” Athlete Ally founder Hudson Taylor said. “If there are any groups of people isolated and excluded in sports or otherwise in the sports community, we feel we should support them.”
“I know that sports is the one great place where race, religion and ethnicity and politics shouldn’t enter into it, but unfortunately it always does encroach upon it,” Auriemma told The Associated Press. “Anything that encourages participation. Let’s get as many people playing as possible. Make the game as inclusive as possible within reason. You don’t want to put people in a position on the floor where it could cause a problem for the player or the opponent. I’m sure if enough intelligent people get together, they can come up with an intelligent solution to this.”