Miami Heat v Sacramento Kings

Winderman: CBA rules grind NBA player movement to a halt

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Donte Greene to the Nets, Martell Webster to the Wizards . . .

If it seems like the NBA is in a bit of a personnel limbo, it is because, well, it is.

For as much as the floodgates open with the July start of free agency, and for as much as things can change on a Dwight Howard whim, there also are plenty of regulations in the collective-bargaining agreement that can just as quickly stem the tide of transactions.

To a degree, the NBA’s personnel calendar is a time-release process.

The Howard trade has been the NBA’s only trade during August. Why? The rules, that’s why.

Foremost, teams are not allow to trade a player for the later of three months or Dec. 15 after signing him as a free agent or matching an offer sheet. Under the new collective-bargaining agreement, the trade ban extends to the later of three months or Jan. 15 for players re-signed as free agents with Bird Rights or Early-Bird Rights for teams over the cap (with a few caveats to that process).

So for those wondering why there has been no follow-up move from the 76ers with Kwame Brown, Lavoy Allen or even Spencer Hawes after obtaining Andrew Bynum, the reality is nothing can happen with any of those three until Dec. 15 at the earliest.

Similarly, for those wondering exactly what the Lakers are still doing with Chris Duhon on a roster that already features Steve Nash and Steve Blake, the rule is that a player acquired in a trade cannot be combined with another player in a trade by a team operating above the salary cap for two months. (And it’s safe to say there hardly is a stand-alone market for Chris Duhon and his contract.)

One restriction that largely already has been overcome, though, is the ban on trading draft picks for a month after they sign.

By and large, the NBA personnel market, particularly the trade market, is designed to be on hiatus during periods such as these.

So, instead, we’re left to chronicle the movement of Donte Greene and Martell Webster, play out the final days of free agency with the likes of Andray Blatche and Darko Milicic, while waiting, essentially, for the trade restrictions to ease and the pre-Christmas shopping to begin anew.

To be continued . . . in December.

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 at @IraHeatBeat.

NBA: DeMarcus Cousins got away with (more important) travel before incorrect foul of Dwyane Wade

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The NBA acknowledged the attention-grabbing officiating error late in the Bulls’ win over the Kings on Saturday: DeMarcus Cousins shouldn’t have been called for fouling Dwyane Wade, who hit the go-ahead free throw with 14 seconds left.

But before Sacramento claims the referees cost it a win, the Last Two Minute Report reveals a more significant missed call that favored the Kings.

Cousins should have been called for travelling with 56.3 left as he drove for a basket, according to the league:

Cousins (SAC) moves his pivot foot. The official is looking for any illegal contact and does not pick up the pivot foot.

The non-call directly allowed Cousins to score two points. Wade made only one free throw.

The officiating errors in the final two minutes helped the Kings more than the Bulls.

(Sacramento center Kosta Koufos also got away with a shooting foul on Jimmy Butler with 37.8 seconds left, according to the league, but Robin Lopez tipped in Butler’s miss, anyway. The Bulls weren’t shorted any points on that possession.)

NBA: Marcus Smart wrongly called for huge foul late in Celtics’ loss to Trail Blazers

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The Trail Blazers beat the Celtics on Saturday in an overtime thriller. The game provided so much action, there was little objection when what would’ve been one of the most exciting plays was waived off.

But it should have counted.

With Boston down one one and 11 seconds left, Marcus Smart stripped Damian Lillard under Portland’s own basket and immediately hit a go-ahead layup. Except officials called a foul on Smart – in error, according to the NBA’s Last Two Minute Report:

Smart (BOS) makes clean contact with the ball.

Lillard went to the line and made both free throws, and Terry Rozier made a 3-pointer to send the game to overtime, where the Trail Blazers emerged with a 127-123 win.

Portland still would’ve had a chance to answer, but with a correct call, Boston would have held the lead a much better chance of winning in regulation.

Nets’ Jeremy Lin out another 3-5 weeks after re-aggravating hamstring injury

NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 31:  Jeremy Lin #7 of the Brooklyn Nets dribbles up court against the Chicago Bulls during the first half at Barclays Center on October 31, 2016 in New York City. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)
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Jeremy Lin has been in and out of the Nets’ lineup due to a lingering hamstring injury. He has already missed 31 games, including the last 11.

The point guard hoped to return around now, but that’s not happening.

Nets release:

The following statement has been released by Brooklyn Nets General Manager Sean Marks:

“During the course of his rehab, Jeremy re-aggravated his strained left hamstring and will be out approximately three to five weeks as he continues to work towards a full recovery.  We understand and appreciate Jeremy’s competitive desire to get back on the court with his teammates, however, we are going to be cautious with his rehab in order to ensure that he is at full strength once he returns.”

Of course, this improves the fortunes of the Celtics,who own the Nets’ 2017 first-round pick. Brooklyn, 9-34 and 4.5 games worse than anyone else in the NBA, appears even more certain to secure the No. 1 seed in the lottery.

The Nets have been bad with Lin this season and a little worse without him. With no first-rounder, the difference is negligible to them.

Isaiah Whitehead, Sean Kilpatrick and Spencer Dinwiddie will get more opportunities to develop. But Brooklyn is probably overburdening those young guards. Even with Lin, there was plenty of playing time available.

NBA: 76ers got away with violation before Robert Covington’s late 3-pointer against Trail Blazers

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Robert Covington hit the game-winning 3-pointer in the 76ers’ 93-92 win over the Trail Blazers on Friday, but that wasn’t Covington’s only triple as Philadelphia overcame a four-point deficit in the final 40 seconds. He also buried a 3-pointer with 38 seconds left.

The catch: That shot came after Philadelphia should have turned the ball over, according to the NBA’s Last Two Minute Report.

Gerald Henderson missed a 3-pointer, and Dario Saric prevented the rebound from going out of bounds, saving the ball with a pass to Covington. Except Saric got away with stepping out of bounds with the ball with 42.1 seconds left, per the league:

Saric’s (PHI) left foot is out of bounds when he makes contact with the loose ball.

That would’ve given Portland the ball up four.

The 76ers overcome the odds to win this game. But a correct call might have produced too steep of a hill for Philadelphia to climb.