Orlando Magic v Boston Celtics, Game 4

Kevin Garnett talks trash. The league should do nothing about it.

20 Comments

If you’ve ever sat near the court for a Kevin Garnett Celtics game, you know this — the man talks a lot of trash. A lot. Some genuinely nasty, personal stuff. He uses it to intimidate and to fire himself up.

Charlie Villanueva thought KG crossed the line last night and called him on it, tweeting that Garnett called him a “cancer patient” during the Celtics thumping of Detroit last night. We don’t know if Garnett actually said that, he and the Celtics have yet to comment. But if you’ve heard KG on the court, it is believable.

Villanueva suffers from alopecia universalis, a condition that includes total body hair loss. He does a lot of charity work on behalf of those with the condition.

Plus, cancer is an area that should be off limits. KG is a quality person and leader who has another persona on the court. Some, such as Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo call him a bully once he steps onto the hardwood. However you choose to describe him, KG is going to get backlash for this, as he should. He should pay a price.

But that price should not be from the league. There can be no fine or suspension from the league office.

Technically they could — there can be fines or a suspension, and there are some fans and people out there calling for that right now.

But what Garnett is a vocal practitioner of is common in the NBA. Guys get on each other. Hard. Mountains of trash talk fly around an on an NBA court. It is vicious and nothing is sacred — questioning manhood, family and everything else goes on. Nightly. And has for generations — Michael Jordan was ruthless with his mouth just like his game. Same with Larry Bird. And so on and so on…

If you fine or suspend Garnett for this comment, you are on a slippery slope. A derogatory term for homosexuals gets used during games often, is that worthy of a fine every time? Curse words? Only when a referee hears it?

If you thought the new technical foul enforcement was ludicrous, this would dwarf it with problems. Trash talk takes place on playground courts, high school gyms and the YMCA. Guys grew up doing it. Then they get to the NBA and have to be saints?

There was a time when this could be enforced on the court. When Villanueva or a team’s designated enforcer could inflict some physical pain on Garnett for these antics, and said enforcer would get tossed for the game for it. And that was all. So teams had enforcers. Now the fines and suspensions make that kind of retribution impossible.

Trash talk is part of the game. You don’t have to like it. But you can’t fine and suspend for it, not even over-the-line comments about cancer.

NBA suspends Hassan Whiteside for elbowing Boban Marjanovic’s head

Leave a comment

Hassan Whiteside lost his cool and elbowed Boban Marjanovic in the head Tuesday.

The Heat center received a flagrant 2 and an ejection, and now he’s getting the rest of his punishment.

NBA release:

Miami Heat center Hassan Whiteside has been suspended one game without pay for throwing an elbow and making contact with the head of San Antonio Spurs center Boban Marjanovic, it was announced today by Kiki VanDeWeghe, Executive Vice President, Basketball Operations.

The incident, for which Whiteside was assessed a Flagrant 2 and ejected, occurred with 9:35 remaining in the fourth quarter of the Spurs’ 119-101 win over the Heat at AmericanAirlines Arena on Feb. 9.

Whiteside will serve his suspension when Miami plays the Atlanta Hawks on Feb. 19 at Philips Arena.

The suspension will cost Whiteside $8,921. As a result, the Heat – in line to become the first team in NBA history to pay the repeater luxury-tax rate – trim their impending tax bill by $24,534.

More importantly for Whiteside, this will be a strike against him for teams considering offering him a big contract in free agency this summer.

Michael Kidd-Gilchrist tears labrum

Michael Kidd-Gilchrist
Getty Images
Leave a comment

October:

Michael Kidd-Gilchrist‘s shoulder injury?

It’s bad.

Now:

Michael Kidd-Gilchrist‘s shoulder injury?

It’s bad.

Hornets:

Kidd-Gilchrist tore his labrum in the preseason, and the injury was expected to sideline him for the year. But he returned a couple weeks ago and helped Charlotte go 5-2.

Now, another setback. This is just awful news for Kidd-Gilchrist and the Hornets. He had worked so hard to get back.

Hopefully, this injury isn’t as severe and Kidd-Gilchrist can play again this season.

Report: Rockets working with Dwight Howard’s agent on trade

OKLAHOMA CITY, OK - JANUARY 29: Dwight Howard #12 of the Houston Rockets leaves the game after he was ejected during the third quarter of a NBA game against the Oklahoma City Thunder at the Chesapeake Energy Arena on January 29, 2016 in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by J Pat Carter/Getty Images)
J Pat Carter/Getty Images
6 Comments

The Rockets have a lot of problems.

One of them is Dwight Howard.

Howard plans to opt out this summer, and he could command a max contract. Does Houston want to pay the 30-year-old center that much?

That question has become increasingly essential as Houston – losers of three straight and six of eight – has sunk out of playoff position. If Howard can’t help the Rockets achieve anything of note this season, determining his place past this season takes priority.

On that note…

Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports:

The Houston Rockets have started contacting teams about trading eight-time All-Star Dwight Howard, league sources told The Vertical.

The Rockets are working with Howard’s agent, Dan Fegan, on possible destinations, league executives told The Vertical.

Working with Fegan is imperative. Because Howard can become an unrestricted free agent, teams will fear him walking in free agency and propose trades to the Rockets accordingly. That could sink Howard’s value below the threshold where Houston would trade him.

But Howard and Fegan can assure certain teams Howard would re-sign, which would make Howard more valuable to them – and boost their trade offers. The NBA forbids under-the-table agreements, but these discussions happen.

Teams could also look at Howard as a rest-of-season rental, but it’s tough to find win-now teams that need a center. And again, it’s less likely a team would value Howard as a rental enough to appease the Rockets’ trade demands.

For Howard, this could be a chance to secure a larger contract. His max projects to be about $170 million over five years if he re-signs or $128 million over four years elsewhere. Ideally for him, he’ll finish the season with a team he wants to re-sign with.

Is that Houston? He’s reportedly unhappy taking a backseat to James Harden, though he denies it. The Rockets’ dismal record certainly doesn’t engender confidence from anyone.

The Celtics and Rockets reportedly talked Howard trade, and the notion Houston won’t trade Howard looks outdated.

It’ll still take multiple sides to make a deal happen – the Rockets, a trade partner and, depending on the details, probably Howard. Those are a lot of hurdles.

But it seems Houston is ready to try clearing them.

Report: Patrick Beverley to drop from All-Star Saturday Skills Challenge title

Patrick Beverley
Associated Press
Leave a comment

Last season, the Rockets’ Patrick Beverley won the NBA All-Star Saturday skills challenge because of his jump shot. In head-to-head battles with the Hawks’ Jeff Teague and the Bucks (now a Sun) Brandon Knight, Beverley fell behind on the passing part of the competition but made up the ground by knocking down his jump shot at the end.

He was set to come to Toronto to defend his skills title but has been forced to back out due to injury, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical at Yahoo Sports.

After tweaking his ankle Wednesday night in a loss to Portland, Houston Rockets guard Patrick Beverley will not travel to Toronto to defend his skills competition title at All-Star Weekend, league sources told The Vertical.

Beverley wants to rest the ankle over the All-Star break for the Rockets’ final push to make the Western Conference playoffs.

This has yet to be confirmed by the NBA, nor has a replacement been named, but no doubt Woj is accurate on this. No player would risk further injury for a skills competition.

The Rockets have lost six-of-eight, and with the loss to the Blazers Wednesday night have fallen out of the playoffs in the Western Conference. They will need all their players healthy, including Beverley, but they will also need a lot more than that to climb back in the race — they need to start playing defense, they need to stop becoming disinterested for large stretches of the game, and they need someone in that locker room to step up and be a serious leader of men.