Winderman: Technical fouls more expensive with shortened season

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The upside of the NBA’s lockout-compacted 66-game schedule? It can shorten the lengths of previously handed-down suspensions, with Andrew Bynum and Charlie Villanueva receiving that benefit of the doubt to start the season.

The downside? Less tolerance from big brother, namely NBA czar of discipline Stu Jackson.

While much was made publicly of the league reducing the season-opening suspensions of Bynum and Villanueva by one game apiece, from the original five-game length because of 2011-12 being reduced from 82 to 66 games, a similar proportional change in the rules regarding technical fouls this season has gone largely unnoticed.

Last season, a player’s first five technical fouls cost $2,000 apiece; this season the first four are set at that amount.

Last season, the 6th through 10th technical fouls were $3,000 each; this season the $3,000 charge applies for Nos. 5 through 8.

Last season, Nos. 11-15 costs $4,000 each; this season the $4,000 charge is for Nos. 9-12.

And last season, each technical foul No. 16 or above cost $5,000; this season it’s $5,000 for each technical No. 13 and above.
But the biggest change in the reapportionment is not with the scale of fines, but rather when a mandatory one-game suspension kicks in. Last season it started at No. 16; this season it will start at No. 13.

Teams were informed of the changes on the eve of the season.

So could it lead to greater restraint?

“With technical fouls going up, I might need a little help this year,” Heat power forward Udonis Haslem said of otherwise generally being the first one jumping into heated situations. “But you don’t really think about the money. You don’t really think about what you’re sacrificing.”

The league, however, made it clear to teams what that sacrifice would be.

“It’s getting more expensive this year,” Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said.

Ira Winderman writes regularly for NBCSports.com and covers the Heat and the NBA for the South Florida Sun-Sentinel. You can follow him on Twitter @IraHeatBeat.

Rich Cho on Trail Blazers getting swept: ‘Being a previous Portland GM, that didn’t disappoint me’

AP Photo/The Charlotte Observer, Jeff Willhelm
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In 2011, the Trail Blazers surprisingly fired Rich Cho after only season as general manager.

Cho – since hired and fired by the Hornets – seems to be holding a grudge.

John Canzano of The Oregonian:

That’s a sentiment many people hold toward their former employer. Few say so publicly. That Cho did indicates just how strongly he feels.

Under owner Paul Allen, the Trail Blazers have run through numerous executives. It’s part of the culture in Portland, and it leaves a lot of outgoing people bitter.

Current general manager Neil Olshey ought to be mindful of that.

Josh Allen’s old tweet: ‘I hate LeBron!!!!! #LeBronSucks’

AP Photo/Margaret Bowles
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Josh Allen, a quarterback from Wyoming, could be the No. 1 pick in tonight’s NFL draft. But his recently unearthed high school tweets – which include using the n-word with an ‘a’ at the end – are the sports story of the day.

And there’s an NBA tie.

Via Ryan Young of Yahoo Sports:

I hate LeBron!!!!! #LeBronSucks

— Josh Allen (@JoshAllenQB) June 7, 2011

Damian Lillard went down this same road with LeBron James, and they got past it.

But it would be a little more awkward if the Cleveland Browns – who have the Nos. 1 and 4 picks – take Allen. Then, Allen will face more scrutiny over this tweet – the most innocuous of the bunch.

Donovan Mitchell tells Thunder fans, Jazz teammates Utah not returning to Oklahoma City this season

AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki
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The Jazz blew a 25-point second-half lead in Game 5 last night, extending their series with the Thunder. Up 3-2, the Jazz are still in control. They can close out in Game 6 tomorrow in Utah. Blow that, and they must return to Oklahoma City for Game 7 Sunday.

But Utah rookie Donovan Mitchell is making it abundantly clear he doesn’t plan to do that.

Gabe Ikard of The Franchise 107.7:

Jake Edmonds of KUTV:

A confident proclamation that rallies his team or youthful exuberance run amok?

The narrative will be decided after Game 6. That’s just how this is done.

Report: Grizzlies moving toward keeping J.B. Bickerstaff as coach

AP Photo/Matt Slocum
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From the moment Robert Pera opted to retain control of the Grizzlies and end a prolonged ownership saga, it seemed interim coach J.B. Bickerstaff would remain Memphis’ coach.

Lo and behold…

Shams Charania of Yahoo Sports:

Bickerstaff did a decent job before the Grizzlies started tanking. But that was a small a sample, and his prior work as Rockets interim coach was uninspiring.

To be fair to Bickerstaff, those were both difficult situations. He’s an experienced assistant who might be ready for this challenge.

To be less fair to Bickerstaff, this looks like Memphis taking the cheap route. The Grizzlies didn’t appear to conduct much of a coaching search, if any. Nor has Bickerstaff been mentioned with other openings. It probably won’t cost as much to hire him as it would a more-established option.

Memphis seems to be operating under the belief that a healthy Mike Conley and Marc Gasol will right the ship next season. And they might. But given the age and injury history of those two, I wouldn’t assume they stay healthy and productive all season. Even if they do, they’d have to carry an underwhelming supporting cast – with limited room for upgrade this summer – in a deep Western Conference.

The Grizzlies want Bickerstaff, who’d be a first-time non-interim head coach, leading that team trying to win now? That doesn’t seem like the right risk-reward balance – at least until considering his salary, and even then.