NBA denies Lakers’ career-ending injury exemption application on money owed to Luol Deng, per report

In 2018, the Los Angeles Lakers used the stretch provision to waive Luol Deng and spread the remaining $15 million owed to him over three seasons. That created short-term cap space that they could use in the 2019 offseason as they pursued superstar free agents, but it also left $5 million of dead money on their books for the 2019-20, 2020-21 and 2021-22 seasons. The Lakers wanted that money off of their books altogether, so they applied for a career-ending injury exemption from the NBA in order to do so. The NBA has now rejected the application, according to The Athletic’s Shams Charania

That was always the expected outcome, as we explained in more depth at the time of the application. For an exemption to be granted, a team has to prove that the player in question suffered a career-ending injury while playing for their team. That was always going to be difficult for the Lakers because Deng went on to play 22 games for the Minnesota Timberwolves after leaving Los Angeles. That didn’t prevent them from applying. The minimum number of games a player can play before the application becomes illegal is 25, so Deng snuck in under the line, but it gave the Lakers a somewhat flimsy case. The NBA seemingly agrees, as it has rejected the application. 

While no team wants dead money on their books at all, the Lakers had two very specific reasons for making this sort of application. The first relates to the 2020-21 season. The Lakers, as we now know through their signing of Montrezl Harrell, expected to use the non-taxpayer mid-level exception this offseason. That triggers a hard cap at the apron, around $138.9 million. The Lakers cannot cross that line for any reason, and even had to trade JaVale McGee to the Cleveland Cavaliers just to create enough room underneath it to sign Marc Gasol. Getting Deng’s $5 million off of the books would give the Lakers more breathing room to operate underneath that line, perhaps through in-season trades or the buyout market. Making any sort of major changes to the roster in-season now will be significantly more difficult. 

The second is about the 2021 offseason. The Lakers hope to use 2021 cap space to pursue a star free agent, ideally Giannis Antetokounmpo. Doing so will mean clearing the books of any excess salary. At present, only one Laker (Kentavious Caldwell-Pope) has a guaranteed contract for next season. Three others (LeBron James, Montrezl Harrell and Marc Gasol) have player-options. To create enough money for Giannis, the Lakers would likely have to off-load Caldwell Pope and Harrell if he opts in, and James and Anthony Davis would probably have to take slight pay cuts to facilitate his arrival. 

There is no legal scenario short of a sign-and-trade that would allow them to pay Davis, James and Antetokounmpo the max. That’s basic math. James is eligible to earn up to 35 percent of the cap next offseason. Davis and Antetokounmpo are eligible

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The Taliban Denies Involvement After 19 Confirmed Dead

Afghan security forces traded fire with gunmen who stormed the campus of Kabul University on Monday, leaving at least 19 people dead.

“Gunshots still can be heard in the area but security forces have blocked it off,” Tariq Arian, a spokesman for the Afghan Ministry of Interior, told Reuters (via NBC). “We don’t know whether we are dealing with a coordinated attack or something else.”

Accounts of the death toll are fluid, though Arian said at least 19 were killed in the attack.

The latest surge in violence comes as members of the Taliban and Afghan officials work to broker a cease-fire agreement in Qatar to try to bring one of the longest-running conflicts in world history to an end. Neither the Taliban nor any other high-profile groups like al-Qaida said their fighters were involved in the university attack.

Monday’s attack follows the deadliest month in the country in terms of civilian casualties since September 2019. A tally from The New York Times put the October death toll at 212.

During the first nine months of the year, more than 2,000 people died as a result of attacks and another 3,800 were wounded. In August, Saba Sahar, one of the country’s best-known actresses and Afghanistan’s first woman filmmaker, was shot in the stomach as she left for work, but recovered.

Stefano Pontecorvo, NATO’s senior civilian envoy to Afghanistan, said the recent attack was a blow to Afghan reconstruction.

“Afghan children and youth need to feel safe going to school,” he told Reuters.

The university had recently lifted restrictions in place because of the pandemic.

President Donald Trump has campaigned on bringing troops home from the conflict sooner than later.

Negotiators from both sides in Afghanistan's 19-year-old war have been meeting for peace talks in Qatar since September Negotiators from both sides in Afghanistan’s 19-year-old war have been meeting for peace talks in Qatar since September Photo: AFP / WAKIL KOHSAR

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Students Accuse The University Of Miami Of Using Facial Recognition To Identify Student Protesters. The University Denies It.

Last month, Esteban Wood and eight other University of Miami students received an ominous email. The message only contained a Zoom link and a one-sentence explanation: Dean of Students Ryan Holmes wanted to discuss the “incident that happened on September 4, 2020 at the Whitten University Center.”

Wood and the others attended a peaceful protest that day against the university’s reopening plan, but no one knew why Holmes wanted to talk to them. The message was vague, but what was even more confusing was the choice of recipients. None of the students actually organized the protest. Three were student journalists who covered the demonstration. And only two were part of an activist student group, UMiami Employee Student Alliance, that participated.

“We got to thinking, how did they choose those nine students?” Wood, a member of UMESA who received the email, told Forbes.

The University of Miami said in a statement it “does not utilize facial recognition technology”—but students and digital rights non-profit Fight For the Future aren’t so sure. They cite the campus police chief’s resume, which says the university has an extensive camera system that uses “sophisticated algorithms” for “motion detection, facial recognition, object detection and much more.” They also point to an interview with a student magazine earlier this month in which Chief David Rivero said his department used Florida Department of Law Enforcement facial recognition software to catch a burglar at a fraternity house.

“It sure seems like the University of Miami is using facial recognition to target and intimidate students who are exercising their First Amendment rights,” said Lia Holland, a Fight For the Future organizer, in a Medium post. “If that’s not the case, then they need to tell their Chief of Police to stop claiming they use this technology and ban facial recognition from their campus entirely.”

In an interview with Forbes, Rivero said he was “misleading” on his resume and has since fixed it. He said he was listing the possible uses of the university’s security camera system, but it doesn’t have facial recognition capabilities or a database of photos to compare video footage to, despite the reference on his resume.

“In order to have the cameras be able to use facial recognition, they have to be positioned at the right angles. Our cameras are on top of buildings and in hallways,” he said. “They’re not positioned in order to be able to maximize facial recognition.”

Rivero said the students emailed by the dean about the protest were identified using video footage and “basic investigative techniques,” which he declined to detail.

Anh Nguyen, an assistant professor of computer science at Auburn University, told Forbes that even if the cameras were at the “wrong” angles, that by itself doesn’t discount the possibility of facial recognition being used.

Rivero added that campus police have submitted requests to use software from the Florida Department of Law Enforcement in the past, but

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