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.
• While they may be looking overseas for a coach, the Hawks are looking statside, also, they interviewed Stan Van Gundy and Mike Budenholzer recently. Buzz is SVG is not interested.
• Former NBA players union executive director Billy Hunter has filed a lawsuit against the union and Derek Fisher. Fun times.
• The Sixers got permission to talk to Kelvin Sampson about their coaching job. Everyone has spoken to Kelvin Sampson, I think.
• If you read one thing today, it would be this fantastic Jonathan Abrams piece at Grantland talking to old-school players such as Bob Cousy and Elgin Baylor about what it was like to travel to games in their day — three games in three nights and you flew coach commercial.
• Roy Hibbert didn’t exactly mince words with how he felt the Pacers played in Game 5 in New York Thursday.
• Craig Sager photobombed Will Smith. (Best GIF of the year.)
• If you missed it, a woman who knows a thing or two about clubbing — Rihanna — said why she thinks J.R. Smith was slumping. And she sounds a little like a woman scorned.
• Eddie Jordan talks about his season with the Lakers. Doesn’t sound like the assistant coach enjoyed it all that much.
• If you want to try out for the D-League, here’s how.
• Here is a list of guys who made the NBA All-Rookie team but really still were busts.
• Here is a great feature on Phil Jackson and his basketball mind.
• Phil Jackson would like to remind you he has more championship rings than you do. Than anyone.
• Erik Spoelstra demands the Miami Heat recycle so all those unused team scouting reports don’t harm the environment.
• Some people still think the NBA is really slanted toward big markets. Unless the Knicks complete their comeback Miami will be the largest market in the conference finals on either side, and frankly they are 14th in the NBA in television markets.
• Kareem Abdul-Jabbar taught Britney Griner the skyhook.
• Finally, Quincy Pondexter brought his Huskie puppy to practice, as you can see below. (Pondexter was a Huskie in college, remember.)
It was rumored this week that the Detroit Pistons and Minnesota Timberwolves were mulling a trade that would send Ricky Rubio to Michigan and Reggie Jackson to Minnesota. Now, Pistons head coach Stan Van Gundy says that isn’t happening.
Nor was it a real offer that was even on the table.
In a video posted to the Detroit Free Press, Van Gundy went off on one of his classic fireside chats — the kind that involves profanity — on how he sees the NBA as it works.
Warning: NSFW language ahead.
While the whole thing is worth watching for the Van Gundyness of it all, here’s the meat you’re looking for:
All these rumors and stuff look I mean know it’s fun for everybody and you’ve got some source somewhere and it’s also all bullshit. Im not denying that discussion — they take place all the time – -that’s a lot different than considerations. Somebody says ‘Hey would you consider Ricky Rubio for Reggie Jackson that discussion might have taken pace. And clearly we didn’t make that move. We wanted to see if they’d go [Michael] Gbinije for LeBron.
Van Gundy said he didn’t know if the specific Jackson-for-Rubio discussion even happened, saying that Pistons president Jeff Bower only brings him trades they are actively considering.
Meanwhile, Van Gundy confirmed that he did text Jackson after his agent made contact with Bower.
“This is the crazy season. We’re not trading you for Ricky Rubio,” said Van Gundy about his text to Jackson.
The NBA league office fined Washington Wizards assistant coach Sidney Lowe $5,000 — and the team an additional $15,000 — for his role in distracting a New York Knicks shooter during a game this last week.
Now, the league has issued a warning to teams: make sure you’re practicing good bench etiquette, or we’re coming for your wallets.
According to ESPN’s Zach Lowe, the NBA sent a memo to all 30 teams on Saturday reminding them to remain on their own bench in accordance with league rules. Obviously that means no stepping onto active basketball courts:
So what are coaches needing to confine themselves to?
Official NBA rules state simply:
The coach’s position may be on or off the bench from the substitution box line (closest to the coach’s bench) to the baseline. A coach is not permitted to cross the midcourt line and violators will be assessed an unsportsmanlike technical foul immediately. All assistants and trainers must remain on the bench. Coaches and trainers are not permitted to go to the scorer’s table, for any reason, except during a dead ball.
Like we see with preseason points of emphasis, it’s possible we see additional fines in the weeks to come. Several coaches enjoy toeing the line (literally) to see what they can get away with and how far out on the court they can stand. Tom Thibodeau immediately springs to mind.
Or, it could go the other direction. Perhaps we see more coaches sitting back, respecting their distance?
Hopefully we just don’t see any more of them trying to close out on opposing shooters.
The NBA got rid of the center position on the All-Star ballot starting in 2013, thanks in part to some positional confusion around former San Antonio Spurs star Tim Duncan. But just a handful of years later, Philadelphia 76ers big man Joel Embiid says it should make a comeback.
Embiid — who finished third in the Eastern Conference for forwards in All-Star fan voting — told CSN Philly that due to the plethora of talented big men in the NBA, the position should return.
Via CSN Philly:
“There’s a lot of talented big men in the league, especially at the center position,” Embiid said. “That’s something the NBA should think about, putting the center back on the All-Star ballot.”
There has been a resurgence of talented and burgeoning centers that have entered the league and are performing at a high level. Embiid is one of them, and so too is DeMarcus Cousins, Karl-Anthony Towns, Nikola Jokic, Hassan Whiteside, Clint Capela, Rudy Gobert, DeAndre Jordan, Andre Drummond, Steven Adams, and Jahlil Okafor.
Adding the center position back might be a tough sell as having it doesn’t reduce eliminations from the roster. It’s much more free-flowing now, and there’s nothing keeping great centers off the All-Star team.
It would also be a little strange if center was added back but there wasn’t a point guard spot, too. ESPN’s Zach Lowe has suggested three categories for the roster in point guard, wing, and frontcourt. That idea is as good as adding the center position, perhaps moreso to many folks in the NBA.
I don’t think adding the center position will make a comeback any time soon. Meanwhile, we’re all just waiting to see if Embiid makes the All-Star reserves.
Is Aaron Gordon a three or a four?
That’s a debate for another day. What we all know he can do is leap out of the building, and he showed off how that can be useful during a game Friday night — Jabari Parker actually defends this fairly well, Gordon can just go over the top of him and get it. With that, we get a highlight.
The Magic upset the Bucks 112-96, behind 20 from a resurgent Elfrid Payton. Parker had 25 for the Bucks.