Posts Tagged ‘Team Owner’

The Golden State Warriors have won three of the last four NBA championships, and there is no end to their dominance in sight, as long as paying their stars doesn’t become an issue.

Kevin DurantKlay Thompson, and Draymond Green are all due a massive pay rise sooner rather than later, but Warriors owner Joe Lacob doesn’t seem to think that’s a problem.

“All good things cost a lot,” Lacob said, according to ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne. “We’re going to try to sign Klay and Draymond to extensions this summer. They’ve earned the right to do whatever they want; maybe they want to wait until free agency. I can’t control that. But we’ll do whatever we can to keep them.

“We’ve proven that if we think we’re competing for a championship, we’ll be in the luxury tax. No one wants to be, but we expect to be. All I can tell you is we’re going to sit down and do our planning on how we’re going to improve the team for the future and setting ourselves up in the future. And it could go a number of different ways.”

Durant already accepted a near $10-million pay cut last season to ensure Andre Iguodala stays on board. There’s little doubt he’ll be back with the Warriors next season, but it’s hard to imagine the back-to-back finals MVP continuing to take less money to ease the luxury bill for ownership.

Thompson is ready to stick with the Warriors, but his father, Mychal, has suggested his son won’t be signing an extension this summer with an opportunity to make significantly more money in 2019. If the sharpshooter elects to forgo an extension of approximately $102 million over four years, he could potentially sign up to a five-year, $219-million deal.

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The Tampa Bay Lightning want the Steve Yzerman era to continue.

The Lightning general manager is set to enter the ninth and final season of his contract in 2018-19, but team owner Jeff Vinik remains optimistic that he’ll ink “Stevie Y” to an extension as soon as this offseason, according to Joe Smith of The Athletic.

Based on Yzerman’s comments, it doesn’t appear that it will be a long negotiation, either.

“Working for Jeff has been fantastic,” Yzerman told Smith. “It’s a tremendous position and I’m grateful to have it.”

Yzerman is the NHL’s sixth-longest-serving GM after being hired in May 2010. Prior to joining the Lightning, he spent four seasons as the vice president of hockey operations with the Detroit Red Wings.

Since arriving in Tampa Bay, Yzerman has transformed the Lightning into a perennial contender, with one Stanley Cup Final appearance and three other trips to the third round of the postseason.

The Lightning also boast an impressive roster that Yzerman has neatly packed under the salary cap by giving team-friendly extensions to the likes of Steven Stamkos ($68 million over eight years) and Victor Hedman ($63 million over eight years), among other deals.

The Baltimore Ravens will lose two final organized team activities this week and pay a fine for a violation of the offseason workout rules, the NFL announcedWednesday.

While the league didn’t specify the amount of the fines, sources told Ian Rapoport of NFL Network that the infraction cost head coach John Harbaugh and owner Steve Bisciotti $50,000 and $100,000, respectively.

Harbaugh issued a statement shortly after the news that suggests the rule violation concerned contact during pass coverage.

“Our team has been singled out for pass-coverage contact during the early part of OTAs. We have heavily emphasized these CBA pass coverage rules in meetings, and coached them diligently on the practice field,” Harbaugh said in a release. “Even with consistent and repeated teaching, these rules pose considerable adjustments for younger players. We have tried very hard to eliminate contact in pass coverage during OTAs, even so far as to pull players out of practice who struggle with these adjustments.”

Donald Trump’s potential influence over the NFL’s new national anthem policy has come to light in the first testimony to come from Colin Kaepernick’s collusion grievance against the league.

Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones revealed details of a phone conversation with the President of the United States in which Trump made it clear he wasn’t going to let go of the issue of players protesting during the anthem.

“This is a very winning, strong issue for me,” Trump told Jones, according to Andrew Beaton of the Wall Street Journal. “Tell everybody, you can’t win this one. This one lifts me.”

Trump reacted positively to the NFL’s decision, but still took issue with the league allowing players to stay in the locker room during the anthem if they wish, saying “maybe you shouldn’t be in the country.”

It’s been speculated that the NFL’s anthem policy is an attempt to dissuade the president from further verbal attacks. The league and its owners are reportedly “terrified” of Trump, one league source told the Bleacher Report’s Mike Freeman.

Trump called for protesting NFL players to be “fired” at a rally prior to Week 3 last season, causing widespread demonstrations across the league.

The Vegas Golden Knights became a genuine contender faster than anyone could’ve anticipated, and are going to reap obvious unintended benefits, as a result, this summer.

Against all projections, Vegas made the Stanley Cup Final in its inaugural season and is now looking to topple the Washington Capitals, splitting the first two games of the series.

Since the vast majority of the Golden Knights’ roster was accrued through the expansion draft, the team has ample cap space and will be a major player in free agency, owner Bill Foley indicated in an extensive Q+A with The Athletic’s Pierre LeBrun.

Oh, we’re going to make an effort. There’s always transition on a team. There’s always two, three or four guys that will want to do something else or who may want a little more term or a little more money than we’re prepared to advance. We like all of our guys, we love our players. But we’re realists. And they’re businessmen just like we are. So we’re planning right now. Vaughn Karpan, our director of player personnel, has been in the last week or so, we’re analyzing all the free agents, we’re thinking about who might be a UFA that might come our direction; we’re thinking about other guys under contract with various teams that maybe get traded, maybe their contracts are a little heavy for that team. And we have $30 million in cap space, so we have a lot of cap space and we have the money to spend. We’re not going to be shy.

Foley also indicated the Golden Knights exceeded his initial expectations.

“I first said three years, in three years we’d get there and be in the playoffs. I was sort of timing our draft picks we got last year, that those guys would start rotating in, in about three to five years and then we’d make a run in five. But I misjudged the character and the quality and dedication of our team. They’re unbelievable.”

The Golden Knights are undeniably one of the surprise stories of the North American sports calendar and it’s a scary proposition that they could stand to significantly improve over the summer.

Unquestionably, former Ottawa Senators captain Daniel Alfredsson would like to walk back from what he reportedly said about owner Eugene Melnyk late Sunday night.

In a conversation he said he believed would never be made public, Alfredsson opened up a can of worms by saying, “We hope to get a new owner”.

So much for the calm before the storm, as we wait to see whether current captain Erik Karlsson re-signs with the organization or is traded away in the summer.

With fans frustrated at the shrinking front-office, concerned about the number of stars who have left under dark clouds, anxious about Karlsson’s future, and with season ticket sales hanging in the balance, the Alfredsson noise is additional fuel on the fire that has also included the “MelnykOut” billboard campaign.

Yet when we take a step back from reading the money quote, while recognizing Alfredsson’s frosty relationship with Melnyk over the years, should we really be all that shocked or surprised at a sentiment that is shared by so many others in the city?

To rehash, the comments came in a conversation with Sue Sherring, a blogger and a former city columnist for Postmedia, as Mayor Jim Watson officially launched his re-election campaign late Sunday.

“We’ve talked a lot, we’ve talked about the future of the Senators and of its ownership, and we agree,” Alfredsson reportedly said of his connection with Watson and the state of the Senators franchise.

After making the comments, Sherring says, Alfredsson told her the comments were “off the record”, but Sherring chose to share the words on her blog, On The City, From the Burbs.

(As an aside, the “off the record” dance between interviewer and interviewee can be a tricky one, depending on when it is said and the trust that’s shared between the two sides).

Neither Alfredsson nor the Senators responded to media requests Monday. Watson wasn’t touching the comments with a 10-foot hockey stick, either.

“Mayor Watson will not comment on a private conversation in which he was not involved,” said a statement from his office. “Mayor Watson’s focus, with a strong mandate from Council, is to work with all parties to move the LeBreton Redevelopment Project forward and the hockey arena downtown.”

Previously, Alfredsson has been diplomatic when asked about why he left the Senators organization for a second time last summer — he has typically offered up that it was for family reasons — but the history with Melnyk hasn’t been positive.

Five years ago, Alfredsson left the Senators as a free agent following a nasty contract fight, playing the final season of his career with the Detroit Red Wings.

Thanks largely to Alfredsson’s relationship with the late Bryan Murray, he returned to the Senators for a grand jersey retirement party in December, 2014.

In 2015, Alfredsson joined the front office as senior adviser of hockey operations, working closely with general manager Pierre Dorion.

Last July, however, he abruptly left the organization again, leaving behind a train of rumours and speculation for his sudden departure.

During the 2017-18 season, Alfredsson was largely out of the spotlight, helping coach his sons’ minor hockey teams. In April, the Ottawa Sting named him as the organization’s volunteer of the year. Occasionally, including when the Senators travelled to Sweden for a pair of games last October, Alfredsson has said he would like to one day return to the NHL in an ownership capacity.

What adds additional spice to the fresh words from Alfredsson, of course, is that he remains close with Karlsson.

Two weeks ago, when he was inducted into the International Ice Hockey Federation Hall of Fame in Denmark, Alfredsson was asked about Karlsson’s plans.

“To me, he says that he wants to stay,” he said. “But it’s not all in his hands.”

Indeed. Dorion has said the Senators will offer Karlsson a contract extension July 1, but if the current captain isn’t keen on the salary involved and the future direction of the franchise, the organization could be forced to trade him before the start of the 2018-19 season. Otherwise, the Senators risk receiving little in return before Karlsson officially becomes an unrestricted free agent in July 2019.

While the Alfredsson-Karlsson relationship continues to be fascinating, Alfredsson’s connection to Watson is somewhat surprising.

While the Senators are a private business, the mayor and Melnyk have butted heads over a variety of projects over the years. Melnyk pushed for a casino of his own and wanted the city to endorse his plans for a Major League Soccer franchise in Kanata, instead of bringing CFL football back to Lansdowne Park.

In April, Watson was outspoken after Melnyk expressed some doubts about continuing with the LeBreton Flats project.

“If he’s constantly hedging his bets on whether he wants to move or not, he better tell us that because that will really send us back to Square One,” Watson said of the complicated negotiations that involve the National Capital Commission.

The appearance of Alfredsson at his re-election launch was no doubt aimed at helping Watson in the popularity department. Instead, the Alfredsson comments that became public have created some controversy to start the campaign.

As for the popularity of Melnyk in the community, Alfredsson’s latest words probably won’t change that many opinions.

Even front-office executives are feeling viewer fatigue ahead of a fourth straight meeting between the Golden State Warriors and Cleveland Cavaliers.

Warriors owner Joe Lacob, for one, would have preferred to see a different opponent than the familiar rival in the NBA Finals.

“Sort of tired of Cleveland, to be honest,” Lacob told Anthony Slater of The Athletic. “But having said that, LeBron James is an immense challenge, an incredible player. It’ll be fun.”

Cleveland coming back from a 3-1 series deficit in 2016 has been the only blemish on an otherwise dominant dynasty in Golden State. As in the last three meetings, the Warriors are overwhelming favorites, as they were given 1-10 odds in Vegas to repeat as champs. However, nothing can be assumed with James playing at his absolute peak.