Video: Rudy Fernandez flops, ref whistles Matt Barnes for a technical foul

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During the fourth quarter of the Lakers’ win over the Nuggets on Friday, Matt Barnes swung his elbows a bit to clear some space, while he had possession of the ball and with Rudy Fernandez closely defending. It appeared in real time that Barnes may have made contact with Fernandez, in no small part due to the way that Rudy’s neck snapped backwards like he had just been punched in the face.

The referee immediately whistled Barnes for a technical, despite Barnes repeatedly pleading his case by saying,”I didn’t hit him.” On the telecast, Hubie Brown also thought the referee may have been duped by Fernandez.

“He misses him, but the referee probably thought from his angle that he hit him,” Brown says.

But despite Fernandez’s despicable effort, the referee did not believe that contact had been made.

Barnes would have been issued a personal foul in addition to the technical if he had in fact caught Fernandez in the face. Since there was no contact, the official was simply enforcing what is written in the Conduct section of the NBA rule book regarding the throwing of ‘bows (from Section V, paragraph d., no. 6):

“A technical foul shall be assessed for unsportsmanlike tactics such as: A deliberately-thrown elbow or any attempted physical act with no contact involved.”

So, good for the refs for getting it right. Now, onto Fernandez.

There’s no way to make this any clearer: Flopping is the scourge of professional sports. Saying that’s it’s somehow part of the game and that it’s up to the referees to determine what’s real and what isn’t is completely insane.

The officials have a hard enough job just getting the most basic of calls correct. They shouldn’t be put in a position where they’re trying to guess whether or not a player flying backwards did so as a result of contact, or did so simply to goad the referee into blowing the whistle.

Put simply, what do we want to see as sports fans? Players at the highest level of competition doing everything they can within the rules to win, or players faking contact on plays in order to trick the referees into making calls in their team’s favor?

Fernandez’s play was ridiculous, but within the rules. It would be nice if those rules were changed so that Fernandez would be the one receiving the technical on a play like this in the future.

Nets’ Jeremy Lin: ‘We’re making the playoffs. I don’t care what anybody else says’

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The Nets went 20-62 then traded their best player (Brook Lopez) for a worse player (D'Angelo Russell). Brooklyn’s biggest free-agent signing this summer (Otto Porter) plays for the Wizards. Rondae Hollis-Jefferson and Caris LeVert are nice developmental pieces but hardly seem on the verge of breakthroughs.

Still, Nets guard Jeremy Lin expects big things next season.

He set expectations in an Instagram Live video (hat tip: AJ Neuharth-Keusch of USA Today):

We’re making the playoffs. I don’t care what anybody else says.

The Nets are on the right track given their asset constraints. Though worse than Lopez now, Russell – eight years younger and on a low-paying rookie-scale deal – is more valuable. Brooklyn made the favorable swap by absorbing Timofey Mozgov‘s awful contract, a wise use of assets considering the difficulty of attracting free agents. An aggressive offer sheet for Porter was a reasonable swing in that situation, as well.

But that’s all helpful in the long run. In the short term, the Nets are almost certainly stuck as lousy. Maybe they can sneak into the playoffs in a weak Eastern Conference, but even that is a huge longshot.

Not that Lin cares what I say.

Check out Top 10 blocks from Summer League (VIDEO)

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When you think of Summer League basketball, sharp defensive rotations is not the first thing that comes to mind. Defense, in general, tends to be an after thought.

But there were some great blocks.

Here are the top 10 blocks from the Las Vegas Summer League. Enjoy the flashes of defense from Vegas.

 

Memphis Grizzlies sign former Oregon forward Dillon Brooks

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) The Memphis Grizzlies have signed former Oregon forward Dillon Brooks, a second-round pick in last month’s NBA draft.

Shams Charania of Yahoo Sports:

Brooks was selected by the Houston Rockets with the 45th overall pick. The Grizzlies acquired him in exchange for a future second-round pick.

Brooks, 21, averaged 16.1 points, 3.2 rebounds and 2.7 assists as a junior at Oregon last season. He was named the Pac-12 player of the year and helped Oregon earn its first Final Four berth since 1939.

 

Report: Even after Kyrie Irving requests trade, Carmelo Anthony still focused on Rockets, not Cavaliers

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Carmelo Anthony was reportedly willing to waive his no-trade clause for the Rockets or Cavaliers. Cleveland never seemed overly interested, but Houston was. Anthony became set on the Rockets, even reportedly expecting a trade to Houston.

Then, Kyrie Irving requested a trade from the Cavs.

That has thrown everything for a loop. Maybe Cleveland is more keen on trading for Anthony now? The Knicks are reportedly interested in trading Anthony and draft picks for Irving.

But any deal still depends on Anthony’s approval, and it’s now unclear he’d still grant that for the Cavaliers.

Frank Isola of the New York Daily News:

However, a source close to Anthony said late Friday that the All Star forward is focused on getting a deal done with Houston.

Consider this another indication LeBron James will leave Cleveland next summer. Of course, Anthony might have other reasons for preferring Houston. But when reading tea leaves on LeBron’s future, this is a clue.

I doubt LeBron has completely decided his plan, and he hasn’t even necessarily shared his thinking with Anthony, a close friend. Remember, LeBron edited his coming-home essay while on a flight with an unknowing Dwyane Wade, another close friend. But it was one thing for LeBron to strand Wade in Miami, a desirable city where Wade was happy even before LeBron arrived. It’d be something else entirely for LeBron to ditch Anthony in Cleveland. If LeBron is considering leaving, maybe he’d tell Anthony to stay clear.

Anthony could also be operating without hearing directly from LeBron. But if LeBron’s friend believes LeBron might leave, that’d still say something (though obviously not as much).

Back to the possibility that Anthony prefers the Rockets for other reasons. What happens if New York and Cleveland agree to a trade? Does Anthony still hold out for his top choice? Or does he relent and accept what was once his second choice? For now, it seems as if he’s still angling for Houston and will cross other bridges if he reaches them.