Flopping, international goaltending rule targets of new NBA rules committee

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No longer will all 30 NBA general managers be voting on rule changes. And really, why should the guys in charge of basketball operations teams be in charge of rule changes? That makes sense.

Under the direction of David Stern, the NBA has put together a smaller committee made up of owners, GMs and coaches that will streamline the process, come up with recommendations then bring them to the owners for a vote. To hear Mitch Lawrence of the New York Daily News tell it, Stern did this to get a smaller committee of his people he could control in place, as opposed to the independent minded GMs who were making the decisions before.

So what is this new group going to attack?

Stern’s new committee is expected to work on two major rules changes right away: Adopting the international rule for goaltending, meaning that balls could be legally knocked off the rim or backboard that now would result in a basket; and penalizing “floppers….”

As for flopping, Stern recently came out strongly against the tactic, after the league fined Indiana coach Frank Vogel $15,000 for saying before the Miami-Indiana series that the Heat is the “biggest flopping team in the NBA.”

Flopping and calling guys on flopping has become a big issue these playoffs. The common perception is that European players do this the most, but I dare anyone saying that to watch the Los Angeles Clippers — with American born Chris Paul, Blake Griffin and Reggie Evans — and say that is the case. The question becomes how to do this without asking the referees to now judge the intent of the players, which has its own risks.

Stern has been big on the internatonal goaltending rule for a while — once the ball hits the rim it is far game to be knocked off or tipped in, there is no “over the cylinder” rule. If a shot goes up and bounces off the rim you can just grab the ball right off it. Some players (and GMs) have been hesitant to do that in the NBA because imagine if Andrew Bynum, Dwight Howard, JaVale McGee and other big men get practiced at this? The rule would certainly clear up what can be a gray area call at times, but at what cost?

However, Stern has wanted it for years, so…

By the way, here is the makeup of the new competition committee. Decide for yourself how under the thumb of Stern it will be.

The members are: owners Dan Gilbert (Cleveland) and Joe Lacob (Golden State); GMs Bryan Colangelo (Toronto), Mitch Kupchak (Lakers), Kevin O’Connor (Utah) and Sam Presti (Oklahoma City); and coaches Rick Carlisle (Dallas), Lionel Hollins (Memphis) and Doc Rivers (Boston).

Isaiah Thomas wants Celtics to sign free agents, reportedly they are not looking to trade him (yet)

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The Boston Celtics made a huge leap forward this season: They got the No. 1 seed in the East and made it to the Eastern Conference Finals. For a team on the rise, that’s impressive.

However, as soon as they landed the No. 1 pick in this draft, a big question started to bubble up:

What is the future of Isaiah Thomas with this team? Which is a strange thing to say about a guy who averaged 28.9 points per game and was All-NBA this season, but here we are.

First, the Celtics are not looking to trade IT this summer as some have suggested, reports Sean Deveny of the Sporting News.

That starts with All-Star Isaiah Thomas, whose name has lately been the subject of trade speculation. But league sources indicate that any talk of dealing Thomas is strictly speculation at this point — the Celtics have had no such discussions. Not yet, at least.

The challenge for the Celtics seems to be this: If they draft Markelle Fultz No. 1 (as is expected by everyone around the league), then what is the future for Thomas? Do you want to pay Thomas max money just as he turns 29 when you have a stud young point guard coming up behind him?

That led to talk of extending Thomas this summer with the team’s cap space (which assumes they do not sign Gordon Hayward). Except Thomas would rather the money be spent on free agents than himself, as he told Chris Forsberg of ESPN.

“We need the best possible player that’s gonna help us win, and I’m with that,” said Thomas. “Anything Danny and this organization need me to do to help bring even more talent to this city, I’m all for that. I want to win a championship and being so close to getting to the Finals, that makes you want it that much more.

“I’m all help if they need it. I’ll be around.”

Nothing is certain in the NBA, but here is the most likely outcome of the Isaiah Thomas situation: They keep him, they draft Markelle Fultz, they do not extend Thomas (whether they land Hayward or not), and they see how it all fits together for a season. Then they make a decision on Thomas in the summer of 2018. The bottom line is he may well have more value to the Celtics than another team, and while he’s certainly getting a raise from the $6.3 million, he will make next season he may fall short of the max, and in a zone where the Celtics are willing to keep him.

In pure basketball terms, the Celtics may be hesitant to spend on Thomas, but he is also the most popular player on the team by a mile. Letting him go is not that simple.

There are a lot of questions to be answered between now and next summer when it comes to IT.

Spurs’ David Lee will not need surgery on knee, will be ready for training camp in the fall

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David Lee was certainly not going to swing the series against the Warriors one way or another. However, the veteran forward with a varried offensive game still has an NBA role in the right setting.

He has a $1.6 million player option with the Spurs next season, and whatever he decides it’s good news that he will not need surgery to repair the knee injury that sidelined him in the Conference Finals. From Ramona Shelburn of ESPN.

Good news to end the week. David Lee doesn’t need surgery on his knee, per his agent Mark Bartelstein. He’s got a sprained patellar tendon that should heal in about six weeks.

As a big off the bench, David Lee can still help the right team. His game has limitations, but put him in the right situation and he can help. It’s just that due to injury, the Spurs had to ask more of him in the playoffs than he can deliver anymore.

Draymond Green says Warriors are “more relaxed” this season

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Last year, the Warriors entered the NBA Finals with the weight of expectations: Defending NBA champions, 73 regular season wins, if they got the title they would leap up the ladder of all-time great teams, lose and it would be a massive let down. We all know what happened from there.

The Warriors are back in the Finals, taking on the Cavaliers for the third year in a row — but this year things are going to be different. Mostly because of Kevin Durant changing the equation. But also the Warriors mindset is better if you ask Draymond Green. Which Mark Spears of ESPN did.

This makes sense. The Warriors to a man denied the pressure and how physically/mentally taxed they were by the chase for 73, but it clearly wore on them physically and mentally. Green was thrashing about and drawing techs, over-reacting to everything (although sometimes that feels like his default setting). Curry was injured but also tired. The Warriors opened the door, LeBron James and the Cavaliers stormed through it.

Will a rested Warriors make a difference this time around? Maybe. But again, Durant matters more than rest.

Report: Harlem Globetrotters to resume series with Washington Generals

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The Harlem Globetrotters dropped the Washington Generals as an opponent a couple years ago – a sad development for basketball traditionalists.

But the sport’s most-lopsided rivalry is returning.

Darren Rovell of ESPN:

Sources said the Generals will be put into rotation to play the Globetrotters again as early as this summer and will take on a greater life than before as the lovable losers.

This just feels right. There’s a spirit about the Generals that complements the Globetrotters so well.