The Golden State Warriors may be willing to forgive and forget, but there has been no indication Kyle Lowry has.
The Warriors announced this week that minority owner Mark Stevens would be reinstated to his previous status after sitting out a one-year suspension and paying a $500,000 fine for both shoving a helpless Lowry and then cursing him out as the Raptors player tried to get back in the action after diving into the stands for a loose ball.
The incident occurred during Game 3 of the NBA Finals, which the Raptors would go on to win in six.
At the time, Lowry said action needed to be taken against Stevens, who was seated courtside beside his wife. Lowry actually made contact with a fan two seats over from Stevens, but it was Stevens who reached out to shove the Raptors player. Lowry said he was cursed at multiple times by the man as he did so.
Lowry immediately got the attention of the officials, could be seen demonstrating what the individual did to him and then could be seen offering his own advice as to what should be done with the fan which was basically to toss the man out.
The reaction from players around the league was swift. LeBron James posted an Instagram message that very night saying there was no room in the game for this type of action. He hashtagged his post #ProtectThePlayers and #PrivilegeAintWelcomeHere.
Members of the Warriors spoke out against Stevens as well.
Stevens, who reportedly owns somewhere between 2% to 10% of the team, made efforts to apologize to Lowry and the Raptors as an organization, but Lowry wasn’t responding to his calls then and hasn’t since.
Commissioner Adam Silver said at the time that he felt the suspension and fine were adequate given that Stevens was “extraordinarily apologetic” and had not had any previous issues with his league or its players.
The published reports of his reinstatement say the suspension will be lifted when the 2020-21 season begins.
ABOUT THE COMBINE
For now it has been suspended, but the league’s mass information-gathering for draft day tool, better known as the NBA combine, remains a front of mind exercise for the NBA.
According to reports from Shams Charania, the league has sent out feelers to teams asking for requests to fill the 60-odd slots available to the draft-eligible players.
Until the coronavirus pandemic begins to recede though, the planning can only go so far. The league is not ready to set a date for he combine because it can’t happen until the season is either completed or cancelled.
There is talk that the entire operation could be done virtually as well, but that too is just an option at this point.
The key information from any combine for teams is a medical conducted by an independent party and while players have the option of declining a medical the majority do not. If teams get nothing else from a combine, those medicals alone made the entire exercise worth it.
Interesting details from Jayson Tatum from an On the Smoke podcast. Apparently Tatum’s first choice in his 2017 draft year was to go to Phoenix and join Devin Booker there. Then-Suns head coach Earl Watson was fully on board, so much so he was suggesting the team trade up from their No. 4 spot in the draft order to ensure they could get Tatum. The problem, according to Watson and others, is that Suns owner Robert Sarver, had already decided Josh Jackson was his choice and Sarver, one of the more hands-on owners in the league, was not to be swayed otherwise. The other stumbling block to Tatum ending up in Phoenix is that the Celtics, who owned the No. 1 pick and eventually traded down to No. 3, still in front of Phoenix, also saw the promise in Tatum and eventually wound up taking him No. 3 overall … Another Woj bomb from ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski. The plugged-in national writer revealed the Player’s Association spent Tuesday polling their rank and file to determine how many wished to finish the season in light of the pandemic and how many would prefer to cancel it … The Mamba Sports Academy will return to being simply The Sports Academy out of respect to Kobe Bryant, who passed away in a helicopter crash earlier this year, according to Mark Spears of ESPN … Brian Windhorst of ESPN reports that China TV remains adamant they will not be airing NBA games when the league returns. There was a suggestion that the NBA’s hiring of Michael Ma as CEO of NBA China might serve to thaw the icy relationship between China and the NBA since Houston GM Darryl Morey tweeted in support of Hong Kong’s anti-government protesters. Ma comes from an influential Chinese media family and has a long working relationship with the NBA but the state-owned broadcaster CCTV issued a statement Tuesday saying they have no intention of resuming NBA telecasts. The league has reportedly lost $300-million in revenues over this rift with China.