Michael Jordan Justin Beiber

Wednesday And-1 Links: Justin Beiber meets Michael Jordan. And twitter explodes.

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Here is our regular look around the NBA — links to stories worth reading and notes to check out (stuff that did not get its own post here at PBT) — done in bullet point form. Because bloggers love bullet points.

• Justin Beiber — that would be 2011 NBA All-Star Weekend Celebrity Game MVP Justin Beiber to you — met Michael Jordan Tuesday. And tweeted about it. And the Internet shook. (Photo proof of the encounter is to the right.)

• With false Dwight Howard trade rumors swirling about (again), Deron Williams says Brook Lopez is the Nets center and he doesn’t want to see him traded.

• Milwaukee Bucks General Manager John Hammond has signed a three-year extension to stay with the team. The owner said he was going to do it so this really isn’t a surprise.

• Here is a great look at how Anthony Davis may not be grabbing all the rookie headlines but he is playing better than expected.

•  A. Sherrod Blakely gives you five things that Boston can do to fix some of their problems. One of them is not “develop time travel machine to go back to 2008 and get that younger Kevin Garnett.”

• Kobe Bryant’s divorce is off. If it had gone through it would have cost him a lot of money. I mean A LOT of money.

• Interesting look at why there are so many fewer 20 point per game scorers in the NBA now than there used to be.

•  Andrea Bargnani and Jonas Valanciunas are not close to a return yet to the Raptors. Toronto misses Valanciunas.

• Look for the Lakers to play preseason games in China next year.

Interesting look back at the first NBA player from Spain.

Good story on the Clippers‘ Eric Bledsoe, biding his time waiting for a shot. He will get one next season somewhere, just watch.

• Looking at who LeBron James has dished out those more than 5,000 assists to.

• The Lakers Jordan Hill had hip surgery Wednesday and will be out six months.

• If you have not been following the Kings to Seattle saga, here is a good Q&A to catch you up.

• Amare Stoudemire bought lunch for all the Madison Square Garden employees recently.

How the Pepsi Center kept the NBA and Nuggets in Denver.

• Detroit’s Jonas Jerebko reportedly a website in his native Sweden he doesn’t like coming off the bench, then told the American media he was misquoted. One thing that’s not changing? He’s going to keep coming off the bench.

• Finally, watch former Celtic (and Bull and…) Brian Scalabrine take on guys who said online they could beat him in a game of one-on-one. And remember that even the guys at the end of the NBA bench are really, really good at basketball compared to the rest of us.

Kyle Lowry to critical DeMar DeRozan: ‘Every shot you shoot is a bad shot, analytic-wise’ (video)

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Your reminder that Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan are the best together.

DeRozan was asked about Lowry’s long 3-pointers after the Raptors’ win over the Timberwolves last night.

  • DeRozan: “”Them shots be lucky. … To me, it’s a bad shot.”
  • Lowry (off camera): “Every shot you shoot is a bad shot, analytic-wise.”

That’s not quite what the analytics say, but I won’t let the facts get in the way of a superb diss.

Gregg Popovich pins Spurs’ effort problems on players: ‘I don’t remember playing tonight’ (video)

San Antonio Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich gives instructions against the Detroit Pistons in the first half of a preseason NBA basketball game in Auburn Hills, Mich., Monday, Oct. 10, 2016. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)
AP Photo/Paul Sancya
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The Spurs fell behind by 18 and eventually lost to the Bulls, 95-91, last night – which begged the question:

Does San Antonio coach Gregg Popovich bear any responsibility for his team’s lack of early intensity?

Jabari Young of the San Antonio Express-News:

Popovich:

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

DENVER, CO - MARCH 07:  Donatas Motiejunas #20 of the Houston Rockets is helped to his feet by teammates James Harden #13 and Patrick Beverley #2 of the Houston Rockets at Pepsi Center on March 7, 2015 in Denver, Colorado. The Rockets defeated the Nuggets 114-100. 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 Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)
Doug Pensinger/Getty Images
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Once the Rockets let Donatas Motiejunas back into free agency, this was only a matter of time.

Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports:

This sounds remarkably similar to the salaries and incentives set in the original offer sheet from the Nets. But remember, the Rockets didn’t match some of those bonuses that Brooklyn would have been bound to.

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

Donatas Motiejunas, Kenneth Faried
AP Photo/David Zalubowski
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The Rockets had Donatas Motiejunas in a bind.

He was beholden to them on a four-year, $31 million deal and unable to sign with other teams. Motiejunas’ choices: Report for a physical or wait in limbo.

But apparently Houston has allowed him out of that constraint.

Marc Stein of ESPN:

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.