From Comcast SportsNetMINNEAPOLIS (AP) -- The NBA for the most part has managed to avoid the major performance-enhancing drug scandals that have plagued the NFL and Major League Baseball over the last decade. Commissioner David Stern is hoping to keep it that way.Stern said on Wednesday that he thinks the NBA is on track to begin testing its players for human growth hormone, perhaps as early as next season. While the issue of PEDs, and HGH in particular, has not been perceived as a big problem in basketball, Stern said the league and players' union is trying to remain proactive to send a message that they have no place in their game."It's not a commitment, not a promise," Stern said on Wednesday before the Minnesota Timberwolves hosted the San Antonio Spurs. "It's an expectation. It might slide a little bit, but I think we're well on our way."The Associated Press left a message with the players' union seeking comment.Performance-enhancing drugs have been grabbing headlines repeatedly over the last few weeks, including Lance Armstrong's admission that he took them while winning seven Tour de France titles, allegations that Baltimore Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis used deer antler spray to aid his comeback from a torn triceps muscle this season and former NL MVP Ryan Braun being linked to a Florida clinic being investigated by MLB. Both Lewis and Braun have denied using banned substances.The instances of steroid scandals in the NBA have been few and far between, with one of the most notable being former All-Star Rashard Lewis' 10-game suspension in 2009. Stern credited the players' willingness to accept testing and continue modifying the list of banned substances for basketball's relatively clean record."Our players have, as a group, said we want to be demonstrably free of drugs as much as any group of athletes in the world," Stern said, "and I think they've kept that pledge."Both baseball and football have been working to incorporate a reliable test for HGH into their testing procedures. The NBA is watching those proceedings, and Stern believes they will follow suit."If they get through what I think they're going to get through and have full-fledged testing, based upon our overall dialogue with the union, we'll be in a good place to have that as well for next season," he said.Stern spoke on a variety of topics during his 25-minute session with reporters. He planned to meet with Minneapolis officials on Thursday to discuss the progress on renovations of the Target Center. As part of a bill that helped fund a new Vikings stadium that was passed last session, more than 150 million was set aside to completely revamp the outdated basketball arena. The progress has been slow in part because AEG, which operates and manages the building, has been slow to get into specific discussions on the plan.Stern said he has been in contact with AEG officials and was confident things are headed in the right direction.He also said he initially approached Wolves owner Glen Taylor about developing a succession plan. Taylor has been entertaining offers while making it clear that he wants to stay on as owner for the near future."I think Glen is not what you would call an anxious seller," Stern said. "Sometimes I think he might have seller's remorse even though he hasn't sold it because he loves the team and he loves what it does for the community. I do believe he is in the midst of at least a thought process that is going to find him at some point in the future, not immediately."Stern also begrudgingly acknowledged that the league is approaching the day when sponsors will have their names on jerseys. He lamented the situation with international soccer clubs, who feature the logos of sponsors and sometimes don't even have the team's name anywhere in sight."They've completely, in my view, mucked up," Stern said. "We're talking about a two and a half inch patch. I recognize that once you start, you're on the trail. But, you know, players get half of it."He said he has sat on the sideline of such discussions because he has been proud the NBA has not allowed sponsors -- or even the logo of the uniform manufacturer -- to grace the jerseys."There is a revenue opportunity, and as so often is the case, taking advantage of that becomes a separate discussion," Stern said. "Yes, I think it will happen. It's not going to happen this season; it's not going to happen next season."
Fireworks have been ablaze in the NBA all summer long, with the latest electrifying salvo being tossed by the Boston Celtics in trading for Kyrie Irving from Cleveland in exchange for a package of playerscentered around Isaiah Thomas and a first-round pick centered around Isaiah Thomas. Without question the Celtics were among the biggest winners this offseason as they went about transforming their roster significantly despite having the best record in the East while advancing to the conference finals. But good wasn’t good enough, a similar mantra by a number of teams in the NBA. We’ll take a look at all 30 teams in the next 30 days as they prepare for the 2017-2018 regular season, which is when the real fireworks begin!
BOSTON – Expectations for the Celtics this season are the highest they've been in the Brad Stevens Era.
The past couple of years, Stevens’ crew was seen as a scrappy bunch.
That all changed Tuesday night when the Celtics pulled off a blockbuster trade in acquiring Kyrie Irving from Cleveland for Isaiah Thomas, Jae Crowder, Ante Zizic and the rights to the Brooklyn Nets’ 2018 first-round pick.
MORE ON THE KYRIE IRVING BLOCKBUSTER:
- A. Sherrod Blakely's five reasons why the Celtics are the best fit for Kyrie Irving
- Blakely on Irving trade: This is a great day for the Celtics
- Cedric Maxwell: I love Isaiah, but Irving is better player
- Draper: Kyrie Irving has not even hit his prime yet
Acquiring the four-time All-Star would have made this offseason one of the best ever for the Celtics. But prior to landing the 25-year-old point guard, Boston was able to sign Gordon Hayward to a four-year, $127.8 million contract after he spent his first seven seasons in the NBA with the Utah Jazz.
The new guys join a Celtics team that returns just four starters, a group led by Al Horford, who stands as the lone returning starter from last season’s squad which finished with the best record in the East (53-29) while advancing to the Eastern Conference finals before losing in five games to Cleveland.
Adding a pair of All-Stars to the mix will certainly benefit the Celtics for this upcoming season. But for their continued growth, they will also need to get more from their youngsters.
Second-year forward Jaylen Brown had a strong offseason and is poised to build off of a rookie season in which he was named to the All-Rookie second team. Boston will also look to get quality play from rookie Jayson Tatum who was selected by Boston with the third overall pick in the NBA draft.
For Boston, the biggest concern has to be chemistry.
There’s no question there’s more talent on this roster from top to bottom.
But with this being the first go-around for most of the players, it remains to be seen just how long it will take for all of the core players to get on the same page and find success.
That challenge won’t be easy, especially with the Celtics opening with seven of their first 11 games on the road.
Even with all the new faces and a challenging schedule out the gates, that won’t diminish the heightened level of expectations for a team that will surely have a bull’s-eye on its back all season for a journey that should result in yet another deep playoff run.
Key free agent/trade additions: Kyrie Irving (from Cleveland); Gordon Hayward (from Utah); Aron Baynes (from Detroit); Marcus Morris (from Detroit).
Key losses: Avery Bradley (traded to Detroit); Amir Johnson (Philadelphia); Jonas Jerebko (Utah).
Rookies of note: Jayson Tatum; Semi Ojeleye.
Expectations:60-22 (First in the Atlantic Division, first in the East)
0:41 - What grade would you give the Celtics for their trade for Kyrie Irving? Michael Holley, Kayce Smith, Tom Curran, break it down and give their grades.
4:32 - Kyle Draper and A. Sherrod Blakley discuss how Kyrie Irving will fit in the Celtics system and how Brad Stevens will handle the roster with new egos.
8:50 - We take a look back at the Pierce and Garnett trade to the Nets that landed the Celtics multiple 1st round picks. Are you pleased with how the Celtics used those picks? Is Danny Ainge a Hall of Fame executive? Michael Holley, A. Sherrod Blakely, and Tom Giles discuss.
14:30 - Our BST crew talk about the Red Sox getting the win over the Indians, Eduardo Nunez being hit intentionally by Corey Kluber, and if Chris Sale will retaliate.