The NBA’s In-Season Tournament was designed as a way to promote the league during a regular season that fans can normally skate over.
So bringing up the storm surrounding Thunder guard Josh Giddey, who is currently under investigation by both the Newport Beach Police Department in California and the NBA over allegations the Aussie star had an inappropriate relationship with a minor two years ago, probably was not on tap for the broadcast of the tournament final between the Lakers and Pacers.
Nobody shared the plan with 76ers guard Patrick Beverley, The New York Post reports.
“I got a daughter and I like to call myself a girl dad,” Beverley said on ESPN2’s alternate broadcast of the game, which the Lakers won 123-109.
He then asked Kevin Hart, who was hosting the “Unplugged” broadcast, “What do you think about the Josh Giddey situation?”
That led to an awkward exchange wherein Hart tried as best as he could to get out of the situation.
After Will Horton of the Plastic Cup Boyz — who were also on the telecast — recapped the allegations without giving his opinion, Beverley pressed the issue.
“I read that too,” he said. “I said what do y’all think about that?”
“Pat, I heard your question, but I’m gonna tell you what I do real well,” Hart said. “I deflect. I’m a brand, Pat, and being a brand, I’ll text you and give you my real thoughts.”
Hart then tried to move the topic to the colour of the courts during the In-Season Tournament, to which Beverley responded by saying, “I like the color of the courts. Not jail courts, though, but basketball courts.”
NBA commissioner Adam Silver has said he won’t suspend Giddey based solely on an allegation, which is keeping with the league’s precedent.
The girl in question and her family have hired lawyer Gloria Allred to represent them, and have not spoken to media.
Giddey and the Thunder have not commented on the situation.
As for the broadcast, Beverley did not stick around too long. Hart joked he was kicking the Sixers guard off after an exchange in which Beverley mentioned fans in Oklahoma City “booed the s*** out of me.”
“After that question, Pat, I can kind of see why,” Hart said.
Giddey, 21, has been routinely booed by fans while appearing in every game for the Thunder since the drama erupted – with many questioning why he is being allowed to continue playing with serious allegations hanging over him.
Silver was probed about the situation during an interview with ESPN’s Malika Andrews on Saturday (AEDT), and explained the NBA’s investigation into Giddey has had to take a back seat while police are involved.
“I think you look back, I can’t think of many circumstances where we’ve (the NBA) suspended a player based on an allegation alone,” Silver said.
“And in this case, we have an allegation and then you have a police investigation and a parallel league investigation.
“I would also add that where there’s a criminal investigation, we (the NBA) take a back seat.
“And so you have an allegation, you have an ongoing criminal investigation, that impacts how the Players’ Association can work with us because of course the player needs to protect his rights, so I’m not going to say ‘never, ever.’”
Silver said the league had no plans to stop Giddey from playing while the investigations continue.
The allegations against Giddey first emerged when pictures and videos were posted to social media featuring the NBA star with a young woman.
One of the images is of a shirtless Giddey standing behind the woman.
Giddey has only addressed the media once since the posts were made to social media, stating in late November: “I understand the question, obviously, but there is no further comment right now.”
Pushed on the matter again, he said: “I get the question guys. I completely understand you guys want to know about it. But, just for right now, I don’t have anything to say.”
Giddey has not been charged with any offence.
News.com.au has contacted Giddey’s management company Octagon for comment.
— This story originally appeared on nypost.com and has been republished with permission