NBA planning to use a centralized replay center as soon as next season

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The NBA has continually expanded the instances in which referees can use instant replay to make sure they get the call right, but it’s still a process that can slow the flow of the game and grind its fast-paced action to a halt while officials are coming to a decision.

In another leap forward that would shorten the amount of time it takes those onsite to review multiple angles of a questionable play, the league is moving toward implementing one centralized center where officials at another location could have the correct call made by the time the referees in the arena make it to the scorer’s table.

From Brian Windhorst of ESPN.com:

“What we’re in the process of doing is we’re going to create a central location where we’ll have people there who will be watching every game,” NBA president of basketball operations Rod Thorn said Friday. “When the referees go over to the side, in many instances the [central replay center] will already know what happened and they’ll be able to tell the referee, which will hopefully take less time.”

The project is one of new commissioner Adam Silver’s initiatives. The NBA would be mimicking a system the NHL started in 2011, when it created what is known as the “situation room” in Toronto where all goals from all games can be reviewed with calls communicated to the officials on the ice. …

“It’s still a work in progress for exactly how it’s [going to work],” Thorn said. “On the line calls, like whether it’s a 3-pointer or 2-pointer, or in many occasions they’ll be able to tell the referee the ball was definitely [out of bounds], whatever team. That should help.”

This would make a lot of sense. There are plenty of times seeing replays at home where the correct call that needs to be made is inarguable from a certain angle, but officials in the building may want to be overly-cautious and review it multiple times.

Now that there would potentially be referees on duty elsewhere, it could ultimately give the entire process a much-needed head start.

Celtics to retire Paul Pierce’s number after Cavaliers game in February

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The Celtics already said they’d retire Paul Pierce’s No. 34.

Now, we know when.

Celtics release:

The Boston Celtics announced today that they will retire Paul Pierce’s No. 34 after a mid-season game against the Cleveland Cavaliers on Sunday, Feb. 11

After? That’s apparently in response to a new rule that penalizes teams not ready to play after a 15-minute halftime. These ceremonies can drag on, and nobody wants to cut Pierce short. I wonder whether this will start a trend of number retirements coming after games.

DeMarcus Cousins on Confederate statues: ‘Take all them motherf—ers down’

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DeMarcus Cousins grew up in Alabama, played collegiately at Kentucky and now plays in New Orleans.

So, yeah, the Pelicans star has an opinion on Confederate statues.

Cousins, via TMZ:

“Take all them motherf*ckers down,” Cousins said … “Take ’em all down.”

These statues glorify people because they fought a war against the United States in the name of preserving the racist institution of slavery.

Not whom I want to honor, either.

Kevin Durant: Kyrie Irving-LeBron James situation ‘just a regular NBA problem’

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Kevin Durant knows something about star teammates not always getting along.

So, the Warriors forward is not freaking out about the disconnect between Kyrie Irving and LeBron James and Irving’s subsequent trade request.

Durant, via Chris Haynes of ESPN:

“It’s just a regular NBA problem, right? A lot of teams have gone through this before,” Durant told ESPN. “They’ll figure it out. That’s a great organization, a championship organization. They’ll figure it out.”

“It’s not the end of the world,” Durant said. “Both of those guys won a championship together. They love each other. If Kyrie wants to do something else, that’s on him. I’m sure whatever happens, it’ll work out for the best for both of them. But it’s just a normal NBA problem. It’s just two big stars that it’s happening to.”

Durant is definitely right in the larger sense. Teammates spat and requests trades more often than we realize. Remember, both Irving and the Cavaliers probably prefer this never became public.

But I’m not sure Cleveland will figure this out with the ease Durant suggests. David Griffin, who had proven so adept at putting out these fires, is gone. LeBron’s free agency looms. This could be extremely destructive to the Cavs.

The fact that this “regular NBA problem” became public only intensifies it – and raises it something greater.

Report: Heat signing Jordan Mickey

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Jordan Mickey – the No. 33 pick by the Celtics in 2015 – became the first second-round pick in memory to sign the year he was drafted and receive a higher initial salary than first-round picks.

He’s keeping the checks coming.

Shams Charania of Yahoo Sports:

Mickey will be the Heat’s 16th player with a standard contract, though Matt Williams (unguaranteed) will likely be waived to meet the regular-season roster limit.

I’m not sure where Mickey fits on this team, which already has several bigs. Hassan Whiteside, Bam Adebayo and Kelly Olynyk will likely play ahead of him. Miami also has A.J. Hammons (who might be just dead salary) and Udonis Haslem (who might provide nothing more than veteran leadership).

The Heat could just see Mickey as someone they can develop. At that point, how he fits into the current roster doesn’t really matter.

Mickey – 6-foot-8 with a 7-foot-3 wingspan – is a mobile defender with nice timing for blocking shots inside. He even possesses a work-in-progress 3-pointer in his arsenal. There’s plenty for Miami to help mold.