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Basketball’s Most Powerful Man Writes His Own Ending; The Best Recruit Since LeBron Is Ready For College Now

By the time David Stern retires as commissioner of the NBA on Feb. 1, 2014, the dueling eulogies and celebrations of his reign will have long been written. Hell, still 15 months away, many have been written today after he announced he’ll retire on that date while at the NBA Board of Governors meeting. Yeah, there was other news, too, such as the sale of the Grizzlies from Michael Heisley to 34-year-old Robert Pera, not to mention the delay on making any decisions about uniforms getting advertising. The Pera deal still needs to clear some hurdles with Heisley, but NBA approval is huge. Advertising on uniforms has little gray area between those who love its revenue appeal and those who hate the sort of NASCAR-ization the NBA would sort-of become. But Stern was the main event. He passed the torch to preordained deputy commissioner Adam Silver as his successor, a guy who many probably only know as the guy who reads the second-round picks at the NBA Draft and generally gets cheered instead of being booed by Stern. And that’s a segue into why Stern, like those simple patches stuck onto a patch of sweat-wicking uniform, will be remembered as so divisive. Every commissioner has the thankless job of trying to please every fanbase. For Knicks fans, Stern was the guy who delivered Patrick Ewing (and those against will say he engineered a rigged draft). He let fans in Oklahoma City and Memphis enjoy playoff basketball with his OK to move teams there, but he’ll be somewhat vilified in Seattle until a new team arrives (will that be his parting gift as commish?). We have a theory why he will be remembered this way: He was maybe a little too ready and capable to play the foil. Remember last year at the NBA Draft when he put his hand to his ear, egging on those booing him? That’s basically the perfect analogy for why there won’t be any gray area about his 30-year tenure, to the exact day, as commissioner. Even though he was blessed with the Magic, Larry and Michael era of hoops right out of the gate, he did amazing things for the game, like getting the freaking Finals off tape delay. Thirty years ago you couldn’t have watched Doctor J go for a title live in some areas. Now we’re upset if our League Pass starts buffering — so yeah, the NBA has come a long way, and its revenues have skyrocketed 24 times what it was when he came in. Still, you sense that he was just a little too ready to stir up discussion, such as when he put last year’s NBA season, already seemingly on its deathbed, in ominous territory when he said it was going into “nuclear winter” and saying that he was “proud” of the owners for sticking to their revenue-sharing principles and keeping players and staff members out of work for an extra couple months. So which David Stern will you remember? It’s a lot of both. Welcome to the job, Silver, you have your work cut out for you. … Hit the jump to read about a Lakers team still without a win …

Andrew Wiggins is a shooting, dribbling superlative. Some rankings had him as the best player in any of the 2012, 2013 and 2014 high school classes, which is just a ridiculous compliment to the Canadian’s game. Now balling at Huntington Prep, he could have graduated this spring but had pushed it back to be a member of the ’14 class. Now, according to his father, coach and ESPN’s top recruiting analyst, Wiggins is confirmed to reclassify as a 2013 member who can go to college next fall. Kentucky and Florida State have the reported inside track on the 6-7 swingman. … That didn’t take long: One day after being cut by San Antonio, Eddy Curry was claimed off waivers by Dallas. His spot was open because Dallas put Delonte West on waivers after his second suspension in two weeks. He went on Twitter and blew up the Mavs’ front office for the move and said this wasn’t because he was bipolar. West was one of the few guys on that roster who wasn’t hurt yet, either. … Kobe Bryant might actually miss the first game of the season Oct. 30 against those same Mavericks. This seems like something of a joke — because how could a season opener possibly begin for the purple and gold without Bean Bryant hoisting fadeaway 18-footers? — but his sore foot sounds worse than expected. … Speaking of “worse than expected” and “the Lakers,” L.A. is now 0-8 in preseason games, losing to the Kings, 94-82. Kobe didn’t travel to San Diego for the game and Dwight Howard played nothing like his Laker debut, putting up just nine points, eight boards, five turnovers and five fouls. The high-low game they displayed Sunday with Pau Gasol netted the Spaniard exactly zero assists and just seven points. With Steve Nash playing a little more than a quarter, Isaiah Thomas ripped off 20 points in just 23 minutes. We’ve been a fan of the little man’s confidence since he was a Husky. … Tobias Harris was on a mission in summer league to turn heads and he’s still doing it. He had 18 points to lead the Bucks over the Bobcats, 100-90. … Blazers rookie Damian Lillard proved you can go home again to Utah (Weber State is in Ogden), but just not with an easy win. The Jazz’s budding frontline of Enes Kanter and Derrick Favors each had 21 points (Kanter added 12 boards) in Utah’s 97-91 win. Lillard only had 12 points and took 14 shots to do it. Many of them looked forced, too, after looking so natural all of preseason. … Blake Griffin had 25 points and 11 boards in the 106-94 win over Denver. Griffin made a mockery of the Nugs’ backside help when he requested and delivered a hoop — and usually an oop — every time someone played on his high side. Denver’s interior D never got the memo. … We’re out like Stern.

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