PBT Monday morning one liners

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Kobe Bryant picked up his 15th technical this season in a little tussle with Kendrick Perkins Sunday night. One more T in the season’s final two games and Kobe is suspended for one game. If he picks up 16 in the season’s final game he does not sit out the first playoff game — the technical count resets for the playoffs — rather he would be suspended for the first game of next season.

I wouldn’t describe Kobe as talkative after the Lakers loss to the Thunder Sunday.

Who are the best scrappers in the NBA?

Lance Stephenson has been benched again in Indiana and will not play again this season due to a violation of team rules.

Gregg Popovich would like to do away with the three-point line. Sort of.

What happened to Shannon Brown? Remember at the start of the season when he got his shots in the flow of the offense and the jumper was falling? Those days seem long gone.

When you reflect on Memphis making the playoffs, do not forget what Rudy Gay brought to this team this season.

Marcus Cousins got a three-year deal with the Rockets. It is not guaranteed, however.

Mark Cuban railed against Internet reporters again, this time on CNN and this time said giving them locker room access was like giving a needle to a heroin junkie. Brett talked about this before here, but my one sentence response: It’s about ticket sales for Cuban, because the trade rumors this Internet reporter runs often come from those newspaper sources, but Cuban can see the connection between papers and ticket sales (and sponsorships) in a way he cannot with the Internet. To sum up: It’s always about the money. Always.

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.