Stephen Jackson, Mark Ayotte

It’s not Stephen Jackson, it’s those referees that have it in for him

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Stephen Jackson will take your technical and not apologize for his actions. He owned up to his situation.

His agent, he’s more conspiracy theorist, and that comes across when he spoke with ESPN. It is clear the referees are singling him out, agent Mark Stevens said.

“The inconsistency of the referees’ calls or non-calls in close games is becoming questionable,” Stevens said in a telephone interview on Thursday. “It looks like they’re taking the player and/or his personality into account when deciding whether or not to make calls.”

“The referees are the law enforcement arm of the game,” Stevens said. “They enforce the rules and regulations that the players must abide by. However, just as profiling is wrong in police work, we must make sure that the league does not do personal profiling of certain players.

“I understand that my player has had past conflicts with the referees, but their job is to be as fair as possible when calling the game, regardless of any past issues with a player.”

I don’t think Stevens is totally wrong here. The calling of the “respect the game” technicals is wildly inconsistent. The first thing to pop into mind is the double given at the end of the Mavericks and Kings game this week, where Tyson Chandler and DeMarcus Cousins got tossed for trying to get position for a free throw rebound (there was nothing on that play that doesn’t happen a dozen times a game). It ended up being Cousin’s sixth foul and took him out at the end of a close game.

I’d also agree certain players seem to get T’d up more quickly for doing less. Dwight Howard gets a lot of borderline calls against him. Maybe Jackson does, too.

But Jackson’s problem isn’t the first tech he draws, it’s that he doesn’t stop talking and complaining and that’s when he draws the second. And gets tossed. That one is on Jackson, not the official. When you are the team’s leading scorer you need to keep a cool enough head to stay on the floor. Jackson may get picked on, but if he’s to be a true leader he has to rise above it.

Mike Budenholzer smirks at lawyer calling Thabo Sefolosha ‘NBA superstar’

Mike Budenholzer, Thabo Sefolosha
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The funny part, via Robert Silverman:

The substantive part:

NEW YORK (AP) — NBA player Thabo Sefolosha, who was arrested outside a New York City nightclub in April following a confrontation with police officer, has a character “of the highest order,” his head coach, Mike Budenholzer, testified Thursday.

Taking the stand as the final defense witness in Sefolosha’s trial, Budenholzer described the Atlanta Hawks guard-forward as “highly intelligent” and a “hard worker.”

When asked by defense attorney Alex Spiro to describe his character, he said it was, “of the highest order.”

“Thabo is of the highest character,” he said during brief testimony in Manhattan Criminal Court.

The Swiss national is charged with misdemeanor obstructing government administration, disorderly conduct and resisting arrest charges stemming from a confrontation with officers outside a trendy Manhattan nightclub early in the morning on April 8. He has pleaded not guilty.

Officers testified this week that Sefolosha and former teammate Pero Antic repeatedly disobeyed their orders to move off the block and away from a crime scene that had been established following the earlier stabbing of another NBA player, Chris Copeland, and two women.

One of the officers also said Sefolosha lunged at an officer with his arm extended but was intercepted before making contact, eventually taken to the ground and arrested.

Sefolosha has testified that he was complying with orders and moving up the block as a particularly aggressive officer screamed profanities at him.

His attorney has argued that his client was singled out by the officer, who is white, because Sefolosha is black.

Sefolosha testified Thursday that he was trying to give money to a panhandler before entering an awaiting car when he was grabbed by police. He said his leg was kicked in the scuffle and he was taken to the ground, handcuffed and hauled to a police precinct. He suffered a fractured right leg, which forced him to miss the playoffs.

The case is the second one involving high-profile athletes accusing New York Police Department officers of wrongdoing this year. On Wednesday, the city agency charged with investigating police misconduct substantiated claims by former tennis star James Blake that an officer used excessive force when he took him to the ground last month after mistkaing Blake for a fraud suspect.

As expected, Jimmy Butler says no issue between him, Derrick Rose

Derrick Rose, Jimmy Butler
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Is the Derrick Rose/Jimmy Butler relationship nothing but puppy dogs and rainbows? No. There will be sparks between two intense competitors.

Have those sparks started a fire Bulls fans should be concerned about? A report on Wednesday said the core problem was Butler doesn’t respect Rose’s work ethic, which provided some kindling for that spark to catch.

However, as you would expect, Butler said this was all much ado about nothing, that he and Rose are all good. Via K.C. Johnson of the Chicago Tribune:

Spin this however you wish: Their relationship is fine and someone in the media is making this up; or their relationship has been rough, and this is all just leaking out now.

This is a Bulls team in a bit of a transition as Rose declines some and Butler has grown into a top-flight player. Clearly that dynamic has some people around the team — likely the people in one of one of the players’ camps doesn’t like the power struggle or where it leaves his buddy — talking out of school to the press.

But as Butler noted, winning cures all ills. If Chicago can get off to a fast start, nobody will be asking chemistry questions.

For now, however, tounges are wagging.