Udonis Haslem has been suspended one game and Dexter Pittman suspended for three games by the league for fouls in the Heat’s Game 5 win. Haslem will sit out the key Game 6 in Indiana Thursday.
Pittman deserved it for the vicious hit above on Indiana’s Lance Stephenson late in Game 5. His suspension was broken by Yahoo Sports’ Adrian Wojnarowski (he said it on NBC’s Sports and tweeted out). I bet Pacers president Larry Bird feels that is light. Metta World Peace is shaking his head. It seems soft to me.
It also doesn’t matter, Pittman is not part of the Heat rotations.
Haslem being out does matter — he has played a key role in the Heat wins the last couple games, making plays and picking up some of the scoring lost when Chris Bosh went down. While the Heat have won the last couple games going away it will be easier for the Pacers to defend the Heat without the threat of Haslem on the floor.
Haslem’s foul was upgraded to a flagrant 2 as it likely was seen by the league as retaliation for Tyler Hansbrough’s hard foul earlier in the game on Dwyane Wade. Haslem has a little bit of a windup on the play then walks away after the contact like he meant to send the message. That likely did not help his case, but this is a borderline call because he does play the ball.
Gregg Popovich pins Spurs’ effort problems on players: ‘I don’t remember playing tonight’ (video)
I don’t remember playing tonight. I didn’t play. Guys get a lot of money to be ready to play. No Knute Rockne speeches. It’s your job. If you’re a plumber and you don’t do your job, you don’t get any work. I don’t think a plumber needs a pep talk. If a doctor botches operations, he’s not a doctor anymore. If you’re a basketball player, you come ready. It’s called maturity. It’s your job.
Like it or not, motivation is part of an NBA coach’s job.
But that’s also precisely what Popovich is doing.
His credentials dwarf any other coach’s. He can play to his own ego and absolve himself of responsibility – and players will seek to please him. His years of success have earned him the ability to motivate this way, a method no other coach could use without alienating his team.
Donatas Motiejunas signing four-year, $35 million contract with Rockets
So, why not hold Motiejunas to what became a four-year, $31 million offer sheet once matched? Houston got something in return – a later trigger date on guaranteeing Motiejunas’ 2017-18 salary. Originally, that decision had to be made March 1 – which would’ve meant dropping Motiejunas from the team this season to prevent his salary from counting next season. Now, the Rockets can make that call in July, after this season is complete.
The following two Julys, Houston will also have a choice on guaranteeing Motiejunas’ upcoming salary or dropping him.
Essentially, Motiejunas is signing the most lucrative Hinkie Special in NBA history. If he plays well and stays healthy, the Rockets have Motiejunas at an affordable rate. If he struggles or his back injuries flare up, they can drop him with little to no penalty.
After they backed themselves into this corner, Motiejunas and his agent, B.J. Armstrong, didn’t do so bad. Considering the similarity between this contract and the Nets’ original offer sheet, it seems Houston helped Armstrong save face after a bungled free agency (which is easier to accept when you’re adding a talented reserve to a formidable team).
But for how little is guaranteed and how much control the Rockets hold over the next four years, wouldn’t Motiejunas have been better off accepting the $4,433,683 qualifying offer?
Report: Rockets return Donatas Motiejunas to restricted free agency, working on new contract with him
This means Motiejunas can’t sign with the Nets, who signed him to the original offer sheet, for one year.
I bet it also means Motiejunas and Houston have agreed to a new contract. Otherwise, why release him from the offer sheet? The Rockets would be giving up a tremendous amount of leverage out of the goodness of their hearts – unless this is just a prelude to a new deal with Houston.
John Wall pushes down Jusuf Nurkic from behind in retaliation (video)