Report: Players' union may appeal Kyrie Irving suspension, return … – NBC Sports

The Brooklyn Nets have suspended Kyrie Irving for a minimum of five games based on his Tweet promoting an antisemitic film, then his reaction afterward. The Nets also have laid out a six-step path for him to return to playing.
Those steps have raised eyebrows among other players around the league and the players’ union is considering an appeal, NBPA vice president Jaylen Brown told Gary Washburn of the Boston Globe.
“I’m expecting the NBPA to appeal the suspension from Brooklyn. The terms, etc., that went into his return. The terms for his return, they seem like a lot, and a lot of the players expressed discomfort with the terms…
“He made a mistake. He posted something. There was no distinction. Maybe we can move forward, but the terms in which he has to fulfill to return, I think not just speaking for me, speaking as a vice president from a lot of our players, we didn’t agree with the terms that was required for him to come back and we’re waiting for this Tuesday meeting to happen to see what comes of it. But we’ll go from there. That’s all I’ll say.”
Irving is a member of the players’ union executive committee.
The six steps are for Irving to apologize for his Tweet and condemn the movie he promoted (Irving did apologize on Instagram, but the Nets also want him to apologize verbally while meeting with the media). He agreed to donate $500,000 to anti-hate causes, meeting another criterion. He also has to undergo sensitivity training, antisemitic training, meet with Jewish leaders and meet with Nets owner Joe Tsai. Marc Stein reports Irving will meet with NBA Commissioner Adam Silver later this week.
There are players around the league who feel a couple of those steps were chosen by the Nets because Irving would not fulfill them, allowing the team not to pay him and possibly look to trade him (although his trade value is rock bottom), or even release him. Those steps are more extensive but not out of line with what the Heat fined Meyers Leonard for the use of an antisemitic slur on Twitch while playing a video game.
Team suspensions can be appealed to an arbitrator (in this case, because the suspension will cost Irving nearly $1.3 million).
Behind an epic (and historic) run of play from LeBron James, the Los Angeles Lakers have kept their heads above water while Anthony Davis was out, going 8-9. They haven’t lost ground in the race to make the playoffs, but they are still five games below .500 and are going to need a spark.
A spark like the return of Anthony Davis, which Dave McMenamin said could happen next week.
Dave McMenamin: Anthony Davis, if all goes according to plan, will be back playing next week before the road trip pic.twitter.com/uGiiSp9a5d
— Lakers Supply 🇺🇦🌻 (@LakersSupply) January 20, 2023

Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN backed up this timeline.
I would use the phrase “cautious optimism” here. Davis has been out since before Christmas with this stress reaction in his foot. He has yet to have full practices and then respond without pain in his foot, and considering where the injury is — the navicular bone — everyone involved needs to be sure he is ready to return. This is not the kind of injury it is wise to just push through.
If the Lakers can get Davis back, a leap up the standings into the playoffs is certainly possible. How much of a threat these Lakers really are — even with a healthy Davis and LeBron — is up for debate, they are not contenders. Not even in a wide-open West. But if the Lakers are going to have any postseason dreams, they start with the return of Davis.
The sooner the better.
 
The young guard is climbing the ladder — Luka Doncic is fourth, Ja Morant is sixth — but when it comes to the top of the jersey sales leaderboard, it remains the old guard.
The NBA released the top 15 most popular player jerseys sold (on NBA.com) this season, and it’s the old guard that is the current face of the league on top. Here’s the list:
1. Stephen Curry (Golden State Warriors)
2. LeBron James (Los Angeles Lakers)
3. Giannis Antetokounmpo (Milwaukee Bucks)
4. Luka Doncic (Dallas Mavericks)
5. Kevin Durant (Brooklyn Nets)
6. Ja Morant (Memphis Grizzlies)
7. Jayson Tatum (Boston Celtics)
8. Devin Booker (Phoenix Suns)
9. Joel Embiid (Philadelphia 76ers)
10. Damian Lillard (Portland Trail Blazers)
11. Trae Young (Atlanta Hawks)
12. LaMelo Ball (Charlotte Hornets)
13. Anthony Davis (Los Angeles Lakers)
14. Zion Williamson (New Orleans Pelicans)
15. Kyrie Irving (Brooklyn Nets)
Nothing shocking on that list. Sixth is the highest Morant has gotten, and I thought Zion Williamon would be a little higher up, but the fans are leaning into the established stars of the league.
Nothing terribly surprising on the list of the 10 most popular franchises in team merchandise sales:
1. Los Angeles Lakers
2. Golden State Warriors
3. Boston Celtics
4. Milwaukee Bucks
5. Chicago Bulls
6. Philadelphia 76ers
7. Dallas Mavericks
8. Brooklyn Nets
9. Phoenix Suns
10. New York Knicks
Mildly surprising to see the Knicks that low considering this has been a solid season for them, but the biggest fan bases and the teams with the biggest stars near the top of the list.
If the NBA knows how to do one thing well, it’s fueling a debate.
While NBA regular-season rosters are 15 deep (plus two two-way guys), the league keeps the All-Star Game rosters intentionally small — 12 players. There are five starters — selected by a vote of the fans (50%), players (25%) and media (25%) — then the coaches pick the seven reserves (two guards, three frontcourt players, two wild cards). Inevitably, there will be snubs.
We LOVE to argue about snubs.
Here is my vote for the starters and who I think the coaches should pick as the reserves — and who gets snubbed. The NBA will announce the result of the fan/player/media vote as the starters next week, the coaches will pick the reserves the week after that, and not long after the two captains will select their teams.
Just so you know my thinking on this vote: We’re talking about an exhibition game for the fans so I’m not overly concerned with games played — if a player has been on the court for 50%-60% of his team’s games, that’s good enough here (it’s different in my mind from the end of season awards such as MVP or Defensive Player of the Year, where games played matters much more). Also, we want to see the league’s best players in the All-Star Game, so while the first half of this season gets the heaviest weight in picking a team, it’s about more than just a hot 40 games.
STARTERS
G: Donovan Mitchell
G: Tyrese Haliburton
FC: Kevin Durant
FC: Giannis Antetokounmpo
FC: Jayson Tatum
RESERVES
G: Kyrie Irving
G: James Harden
FC: Joel Embiid
FC: Jimmy Butler
FC: Pascal Siakam
WC: Jaylen Brown
WC: Bam Adebayo
SNUBS: DeMar DeRozan, Julius Randle, Trae Young, Jrue Holiday, Jalen Brunson, Kyle Kuzma
Not starting Joel Embiid is the hardest decision on the board — you can swap him into the starting five for Tatum or Antetokounmpo and you get no argument from me (Durant has been the best of those four and, while he’s out right now, he’s played enough games to qualify). Irving and Harden are too good to leave off this list as reserve guards, and Boston’s Brown must also be there. That ended up leaving a difficult final choice between Adebayo and DeRozan — that’s a coin flip for me in terms of the best player and who is having the better half (Bam’s defense matters in that calculation). Leaving both Knicks candidates off the list also feels unfair, but here we are. Trae Young has put up counting stats this season but he hasn’t been himself, he hasn’t been efficient, and he’s not better than the guards above him on the list.
STARTERS
G: Luka Doncic
G: Stephen Curry
FC: Nikola Jokic
FC: LeBron James
FC: Zion Williamson
RESERVES
G: Ja Morant
G: Shai Gilgeous-Alexander
FC: Domantas Sabonis
FC: Lauri Markkanen
FC: Anthony Davis
WC: Damian Lillard
WC: Devin Booker
SNUBS: Paul George, D’Aaron Fox, Jaren Jackson Jr., Jerami Grant, Aaron Gordon
The final starting frontcourt spot in the West is a tough call because Davis and Zion have been so good when healthy — too good to leave off the All-Star team — but both have missed a lot of time. Sabonis has been both good and available, and I have wavered between him and Zion for the final starting spot (Davis just has been out too much for me to vote him a starter). Ultimately Zion’s highs are higher, and it’s an exhibition, so I leaned into the guy I want to see play more, but Sabonis is deserving. The West guard pool is very deep, and Fox is hard to leave off after his first half, he should be the first injury call-up. Same with George, who has played well (and more than fans seem to think he has).
Serge Ibaka has been away from the Bucks for the past six games for personal reasons, but even when he was around the team he played a very limited role in Milwaukee, appearing in just 16 games. Brook Lopez is having a career year starting at center, Bobby Portis backs him up, and in key games Giannis Antetokounmpo will play some five. There’s not much room for another center.
Ibaka and the Bucks have agreed to find him a new team heading into the trade deadline, reports Shams Charania of The Athletic.
The Milwaukee Bucks and center Serge Ibaka have mutually agreed to find the 14-year NBA veteran a new home via trade as he remains away from the team, sources tell @TheAthletic @Stadium.
— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) January 20, 2023

For teams looking for depth at center, Ibaka showed down the stretch in Milwaukee last season he could help a team (the Bucks got him in a trade from the Clippers, and he averaged seven points a game in 19 games). Ibaka, in his 14th NBA season, is also on a veteran minimum contract, so he won’t break the bank in a trade.
There are options. His old team the Clippers are looking for frontcourt depth. With Mitchell Robinson out at least three weeks with a fractured thumb, the Knicks could have interest in a trade. There are other teams as well. Expect a deal to get done.

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