NBA Denies Asking Raptors To Remove Drake After His Fine For Comments About Durant
The NBA is refuting a report that "suggested the league offered to drop a tampering fine issued" to the Raptors if the club "removed Drake’s title of global brand ambassador," according to the CP. NBA Senior VP/Basketball Communications Tim Frank said, "At no point did we suggest his title be removed but we were clear that as long as he acted as a representative of the team, he is subject to the league’s rules." The Raptors were fined $25,000 after Drake mentioned at a recent concert that Thunder F Kevin Durant should play for the Raptors when he becomes a free agent in '16 (CP, 8/13). ESPN's Dan Le Batard said while Drake "isn't paid anything" for his role with the Raptors, the team "should incur whatever cost they have here because it's good to have him near their brand.” ESPN's Bomani Jones said, "People really like Drake. ... The dude hosted the ESPYs. He's got a broad reach. Why in the world would the NBA want somebody like that not associated with the team that has a little bit of trouble generating interest in the United States?" (“Highly Questionable,” ESPN, 8/13). ESPN’s J.A. Adande said, "I am wondering why the NBA is now concerned with what the rappers and owners do. Where was this when Jay Z was mentioning LeBron in his songs?" The Raptors' partnership with Drake is "working ... because we’re talking about them in August and we’re talking about the Raptors in the context of Kevin Durant." Adande: "So the fine and whatever trouble Drake gets them into are all worth it.” Columnist Kevin Blackistone: "Toronto, stand by your man. This is the most we talked about you guys in the last half dozen seasons because you just got in the playoffs for the first time in six years last season” ("Around The Horn," ESPN, 8/13). Meanwhile, ESPN’s Stephan A. Smith said, “I want to make sure people don't believe that the NBA has something out against him or folks in the hip-hop community. The NBA is just saying anybody who is an ambassador for a team, this is what's going to happen. It's not like they've targeted anybody in the hip-hop community or any people like that” (“First Take,” ESPN2, 8/14).
SHARK WEEK: In Rochester, Will Cleveland reports Raptors officials visited the city yesterday to "discuss an affiliation" with the Premier Basketball League Rochester RazorSharks. RazorSharks Owner Severko Hwrynak said that plans "were discussed" for the RazorSharks to move to the NBA D-League. Cleveland reports the affiliation "wouldn't begin until" the '15-16 season. The Raptors "currently share an agreement with 12 other NBA teams" with the D-League Ft. Wayne Mad Ants (ROCHESTER DEMOCRAT & CHRONICLE, 8/14).