Dominique Wilkins attacked by fan after Hawks game

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UPDATE  11:49 pm: The attacker turns out to be a former NBA referee (1997-2001), but apparently this was about money allegedly owed. Isn’t it always? From the Atlanta Journal Constitution:

Rashan S. Michel, 36, was arrested and charged with one count of simple battery following the incident, Officer K.Y. Jones with Atlanta police told the AJC.

Michel, who told police he was owed money for suits purchased several years ago, hit Wilkins in the chest and also hit a security guard, Jones said. Michel, of Atlanta, is a former referee, Jones said.

“The fan was promptly arrested and was taken into custody by the Atlanta Police Department,” Hawks spokesman Arthur Triche said in a statement to the AJC. “At this time theHawks have no additional information or comment regarding this situation.”

Michel is known as a guy who custom makes suits for a number of the players, according to reports. There are rumors that Michel may also have gotten the worst of this situation.

11:23 pm: We don’t have a lot of details yet, but it sounds like a situation that could have gone much worse.

A fan attacked Atlanta Hawks legend and color commentator Dominique Wilkins after the Hawks win over the Orlando Magic Wednesday.

The incident happened near the court after Wilkins had finished his television duties, according to the twitter account of Michael Cunningham of the Atlanta Journal Constitution. Wilkins apparently was not injured.

Atlanta police arrested the unidentified fan and he is currently in custody. Any motive is not currently known.

We will be updating this story as details become available.

Friday afternoon fun: Watch James Harden’s 10 best plays from last season

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James Harden had a historic season in Houston.

Since it’s Friday afternoon and your sports viewing options consist of watching guys about to be cut from NFL rosters try to impress, why not check out Harden’s best plays from last season. It’s worth a couple minutes of your time.

Mavericks sign Jeff Withey to one-year contract

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Jeff Withey‘s ex-fiancée accused him of domestic violence, but he was not charged.

That frees him to continue his basketball career, which he’ll do in Dallas.

Shams Charania of Yahoo Sports:

The Mavericks could use another center, even if they re-sign Nerlens Noel. Salah Mejri is the only other true center, though Dirk Nowitzki will now play the position.

Withey is a good rim protector. Just don’t ask him to do anything away from the basket.

Dallas annually brings excess players to training camp and has them compete for regular-season roster spots. Whether or not his salary is guaranteed, Withey will likely fall into that competition.

Marc Gasol: If Grizzlies don’t share my goal of continued growth, we might have to revisit things

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The Grizzlies’ Grit & Grind era has ended.

Zach Randolph signed with the Kings, and Tony Allen appears likely to leave Memphis, too. The Grizzlies are prioritizing younger/cheaper players like Ben McLemore and Tyreke Evans.

Marc Gasol via Ala Carta, as translated by HoopsHype:

I’m very ambitious and I’ve wanted Memphis to be a great franchise. We’ve grown a lot the last 6-7 years, but we have to keep growing. If this is not lined up, maybe we may have to revisit things.

Gasol has been loyal to Memphis, and his first wish is probably winning there. But Giannis Antetokounmpo put it well: Teams must also do right by their players. Gasol is 32 and doesn’t have much time in his prime left. I see why rebuilding wouldn’t interest him.

But what will he do about it if the Grizzlies don’t prioritize the present? They made their push last summer with a max contract for Chandler Parsons, but because Parsons can’t stay healthy, that deal only inhibits team growth.

Gasol is locked up for two more years before a player option. He doesn’t have much leverage. This is part of the reason LeBron James keeps signing short-term contracts. Gasol doesn’t have the same ability to steer his team in his desired direction

On the potentially bright side, rebuilding teams often don’t have much use for 32-year-olds guaranteed more than $72 million over the following three years. If the fit devolves, Memphis becomes more likely to trade him.

Celtics to retire Paul Pierce’s number after Cavaliers game in February

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The Celtics already said they’d retire Paul Pierce’s No. 34.

Now, we know when.

Celtics release:

The Boston Celtics announced today that they will retire Paul Pierce’s No. 34 after a mid-season game against the Cleveland Cavaliers on Sunday, Feb. 11

After? That’s apparently in response to a new rule that penalizes teams not ready to play after a 15-minute halftime. These ceremonies can drag on, and nobody wants to cut Pierce short. I wonder whether this will start a trend of number retirements coming after games.