It’s not that easy to get a technical in Summer League, it’s a much more chill than the NBA season. Scores and standings are kept and there is in theory a championship to be won, but all that really matters is to find out who maybe can and who definitely cannot play in the NBA. It’s about player development.
But in his first game as a coach, Jason Kidd got a technical for arguing a call.
Down four with 2:33 left in the game, Kidd called his Nets to foul Andre Drummond off the ball and send him to the free throw line (hack-a-Drummond, I guess). Which is unusual in Summer League, to say the least. But the referee didn’t see it and former Louisville guard Peyton Siva drove to the rim and drew a foul.
A frustrated Kidd strolled out of the coach’s box (past halfcourt) to inform the officials of the missed call. He got T’d up for coming too far down the court. He told Newsday he still has a few things to learn.
“We were trying to foul a player and the referee missed it and it led to free throws,” Kidd said Sunday after making his debut as a coach in the Nets’ 76-67 loss to Detroit in summer league action. “So I tried to express to the referees that they missed what we were trying to do. It happens. They are not perfect, we are not perfect. So it’s a lesson learned that I know I can’t go past half-court.”
Hat tip to Eye on Basketball
Tristan Thompson is a man without a contract. By not signing the qualifying offer with the Cleveland Cavaliers he put himself in limbo, the rare NBA holdout. Right now his options are to sign the deal on the table (the Cavs still have the five-year, $80 million offer out there), get the Sixers or Blazers to offer him a max contract (which neither team has shown any interest in doing), or hold out and hope the Cavaliers make a better offer. If he holds out for the entire season he becomes a restricted free agent again next summer — exactly like he is right now.
Without signing the qualifying offer and the threat of leaving, Thompson hurt his leverage.
But he has a little leverage. He and his agent Rich Paul had one other card, and it got played Saturday.
LeBron James and Thompson share an agent in Paul. LeBron has largely remained silent through this process but if he wants something in the Cleveland organization, he usually gets it. And he wants Thompson back at practices.
LeBron’s leverage is going to be put to the test. The Cavaliers have let it leak they are not that concerned about LeBron leaving them next summer over this — and they’re right. The damage to LeBron’s brand if he broke the hearts of Cleveland fans again would be crushing, unless he leaves for a very good reason. Overpaying Thompson is not that reason.
However, LeBron’s comment could push the Cavaliers to try to find a compromise.
For the Cavaliers, a lot of how they view all this comes down to their tax bill. The Cavaliers already have $94.9 million in guaranteed salary on the books, putting them $10.2 million over the luxury tax line, at a cost of more than $16.25 million. What this means if (or when) they sign Thompson is his first $10 million in salary would cost them $28.75 million in tax and every dollar above that for the next $5 million costs them $3.75-to-$1. Look at it this way, by my count $14 million this year to Thompson would cost $43.75 million in tax — the total for Thompson at that price is $58 million. While that’s not all on Thompson it’s a lot of cash, and Thompson wants a max deal that starts at more than $16 million a year.
Owner Dan Gilbert is already going to pay the highest tax bill in the NBA this season, but if he balks at those figures it’s hard to blame him.
Mario Hezonja, the No. 5 pick in this year’s draft, has never lacked for confidence. The Croatian guard made his pro debut in the Magic’s preseason game against the Hornets on Saturday and did this:
Between Hezonja, Elfrid Payton, Victor Oladipo and Aaron Gordon, the Magic have a nucleus of young players that has the potential to be a lot of fun. Even if they’re still a few years away from contending, they’re definitely going to be a League Pass favorite this year.