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New Orleans • The Utah Jazz let half a dozen veteran free agents walk away over the summer. The Philadelphia 76ers have lost eight straight games, including a pair of 40-point blowouts. The Milwaukee Bucks have won just nine games all year.
New NBA commissioner Adam Silver doesn't see it.
In his first news conference since taking over for David Stern, Silver said he doesn't believe tanking is a problem.
"There's absolutely no evidence that any team in the NBA has ever lost a single game, or certainly in the time that I've been in the league, on purpose," Silver said.
Before the season, ESPN the Magazine quoted one NBA general manager anonymously as saying his team had shed talent in hopes of losing to gain a high draft pick.
"You need superstars to compete in this league, and the playing field for those guys is tilted toward a few big-market teams," the magazine quoted the nameless executive as saying ."They are demanding trades and getting together and deciding where they want to go in free agency. It's tough for us to compete with that. So a high lottery pick is all we have."
But Silver chalks up these teams struggles to "rebuilding."
"I think it's a balance with any team of the need to look out to the future and at the same time put a completive product on the floor," he said. "And I think what we're seeing in the league right now is there's no question that several teams are rebuilding towards the future. … If there was any indication whatsoever that players or coaches somehow were not doing their absolute most to win a game, we would be all over that. But I don't believe for a second that's what's going on."
Hawks guard Kyle Korver, who is shooting better than 46 percent from beyond the arc this year, declined an invite to the 3-point shooting contest this weekend, telling the Atlanta Journal Constitution that he would instead spend time with wife and young daughter.
But without him, his Hawks teammate says the contest couldn't be complete.
"How you gonna have a 3-point shooting contest with out the king of 3s?" said Hawks All-Star forward and former Jazz big man Paul Millsap.