Thursday Summer League Notes: Dion Waiters puts up some numbers


The Summer League tournament continued on Thursday, with some teams playing their last game in Vegas. Here are a few notes from the action.

• Dion Waiters finally broke out of an ugly slump with a good half of basketball.

Waiters had been shooting 29.5 percent through three Summer League games, plus he was turning the ball over too much. But Thursday he looked great in the first 20 minutes, hitting making 7-of-10 from the field for 15 points. He looked like what we expected, a guy capable of dominating at this level.

Of course, in the second half he was jacking up contested everything and went 5-of-13 from the floor. So a return to bad form. But he had 27 points on the night so maybe he can build on it.

• Raptors fans, your backup point guard Dwight Buycks has looked pretty solid all Summer League (he’s averaging 10 assists a game), then he looked fantastic on Thursday — 18 points and 10 assists. He was a Marquette player who bounced around Europe and the D-League sharpening his game, and it shows in Las Vegas.

• Another day, another strong outing for John Henson of the Bucks — 16 points, 13 rebounds. He has had a very good Summer League.

• We also could do the “another day, another strong outing” for Jonas Valanciunas 15 points, 12 rebounds and a couple of nice blocks. He was steady and patient when he got the ball on the block and just backed his man down.

• Another guy who has been pretty impressive all week is Golden State’s Kent Bazemore. Thursday was another example with 25 points on 10-of-21 shooting, (although he was 1-of-6 from three) and he grabbed six rebounds. He’s been the best player on an undefeated team in Vegas, which will get you in the Summer League MVP conversation.

• Dallas forward Jae Crowder tweaked his left ankle in the first half of Thursday’s game and did not return to action. Didn’t look too serious, but they are careful with these thins.

• Michael Kidd-Gilchrist sat out for the Bobcats (soon to be Hornets again) on Thursday. No injury, just a day off.

• Friday is consolation game action — 14 teams play, and it is the last game in Vegas for all of them. The eight teams still standing in the Summer League standings resume action on Saturday.

• Along the consolation game lines, the Trail Blazers have said they will sit all their starters Friday.

Report: Michele Roberts to seek second contract as players’ union head

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Michele Roberts entered the NBA’s player union in a tumultuous time — long-time union president Billy Hunter had been ousted in a rancorous fight, the union felt adrift, and negotiations with the NBA on a new Collective Bargaining Agreement were looming (and players felt they had been screwed in the last CBA, following the lockout).

Roberts, the first female head of a professional sports labor union, settled things down. She cleaned up the union finances and made them more transparent to players, she worked hard to establish relationships with the players, and while she rattled some sabers with the NBA in negotiations, she also worked in a non-combative way with Adam Silver and team (unlike the Billy Hunter/David Stern relationship) and got a deal done the players liked without a lockout or labor mess.

Roberts’ contract with the union is up, but she is going to ask for a new deal — one she likely gets — reports Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN.

With an original four-year agreement set to expire in September, Michele Roberts plans to seek a new contract as the executive director of the National Basketball Players Association, sources tell ESPN…

Roberts had strongly considered staying in the NBPA’s executive director role for only the length of her original contract — and expressed that to the union’s senior membership — but has recently decided to pursue a longer tenure, sources said.

NBPA president Chris Paul played a significant part in Roberts’ hiring in July 2014 and he has built a strong working relationship with Roberts.

Roberts also has a good relationship with the star-heavy executive committee of the union — CP3, LeBron James, Stephen Curry and others — making it likely she gets a new deal.

As for what’s next, at the front of that list Roberts is working with Silver and others on reforming the NBA’s one-and-done rule (it was supposed to be part of the CBA negotiations but was too big and complex an issue to fold into that timeline).

Neither the owners or players can opt out of the CBA for four more years (and if neither side does it runs a couple more beyond that) so labor peace will continue in the NBA for a while.

Isaiah Thomas rewarded on epic flop with offensive foul call vs. Heat

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Why do NBA players flop on defense? Because it works.

While there is less of it than there was a couple of years back — when the NBA made a big show about calling more flops and warning (then eventually fining players a pittance) for the move — it still exists. Case in point, this impressive one from Isaiah Thomas of the Lakers on Tyler Johnson of the Heat Friday night (hat tip AminElHassavag at NBA Reddit).

Was there a little contact, sure, but Thomas fell back like he was shot by the second gunman on the grassy knoll. He exaggerated the contact, which is the definition of flopping. Thing is, he got the call (the ref who made the call, from his position, might only have seen the contact and not necessarily the extent of exaggeration, but that’s where the other officials need to step in).

Not that everything went Thomas’ way Friday night.

Suns’ Marquese Chriss, Jared Dudley fined $25,000 each for knocking down Ricky Rubio


Marquese Chriss and Jared Dudley got off light.

There should have been suspensions involved for the cheap shots leveled on Ricky Rubio by the pair during Thursday night’s blowout Jazz win. Instead, the pair were fined $25,000 a piece by the league Saturday for this incident.

Rubio has a knee contusion from the incident Jazz coach Quin Snyder confirmed, however, Rubio is available to play Saturday vs. the Kings.

Dudley was given a flagrant 2 and ejected at the time, Chriss was handed just a flagrant 1 for his escalation. I don’t completely buy Dudley’s explanation here either — I think they were pissed Rubio stepped over a down Chriss to inbound the ball and made him pay for it — but he did own up to it being excessive.

So to be clear, if you throw a haymaker and miss — as Aaron Afflalo did recently — that’s a two-game suspension. But if you throw or body check a player to the ground, that’s just 25 large, no time missed. Players wanting retaliation will take note of that.

Roulette tables are less random than the NBA’s enforcement policies.

Check out Terrance Ferguson’s acrobatic layup vs. Clippers (VIDEO)


It was supposed to be an alley-oop.

However, Raymond Felton‘s pass was low. And not just a little low, a few feet low.

Oklahoma City’s athletic rookie Terrance Ferguson was leaving the ground as the pass was thrown, meaning he had to make an in-air adjustment — and the results were spectacular.