LeBron James was the aggressor on Wednesday night and that put him in the center of the action — and the controversy postgame.
At the heart of it was the flagrant foul LeBron earned for his fourth quarter drive that ended up with an elbow across the face of Roy Hibbert, a blow that sent the Pacers’ big man to the ground.
LeBron led with his elbow but said after the game wasn’t intentional, he wasn’t trying to elbow Hibbert. The direct quote is better than that, however.
You will not be a kung fu master until you can snatch the pebble from my hand, grasshopper.
The refs made a good call — if anything LeBron should see a fine from the league for this (and a flagrant 2 and a suspension is not out of the question).
It was a big collision and intentional or not LeBron led with his elbow and hit a defender in the face. That’s on him. Intent is not at the heart of this, it’s the result.
Hibbert took his time getting up (as he should) and was checked out by team doctors, took the free throws, then went back to the Pacers’ locker room (most likely for the league’s mandated concussion tests) but he returned the game. The Pacers went on to win 84-83. After the game Hibbert told reporters he didn’t remember the collision.
LeBron got the calls he did on the night because he was the aggressor — in the NBA if you attack you get the whistle more often than not. But after a night like this LeBron, you don’t get to complain about calls. If you want to complain about something, I’d look at your teammates and the support you got in this game.
Hat tip to Matt Moore of Eye On Basketball for the video.
One day after he was indicted for oil and gas conspiracy, Thunder minority owner Aubrey McClendon died in a single-car crash.
Now, his ownership stake could be tied up in court.
Ryan Dezember And Kevin Helliker of The Wall Street Journal:
Collapsing oil prices in late 2014 strained the new oil-and-gas empire he had assembled, and he struggled in his final year to raise more cash to keep it afloat.
Oklahoma records show he had pledged assets as collateral for loans, including his roughly 20% stake of the Oklahoma City Thunder basketball team, fine wine, investments in tech startups and antique boats.
Lawyers for Mr. McClendon’s creditors have said they think Mr. McClendon, who during his Chesapeake heyday was a billionaire, left behind more debt than assets. The entrepreneur’s debts so far amount to about $500 million, according to Oklahoma probate records.
But Martin Stringer, a lawyer for Mr. McClendon’s estate, said claiming it is insolvent is “incorrect” because “nobody has the facts,” according to a transcript of a May probate court hearing. The value of many assets “depends on commodity prices,” he added.
Mr. McClendon’s creditors, which so far range from Wall Street banks to a former employee to a farm-equipment maker, have until Sept. 16 to file claims.
Clay Bennett remains the Thunder’s controlling owner, so the team will likely remain stable. But there’s still potential for this to get a little messy.
The Jazz just traded Tibor Pleiss to the 76ers in a salary dump. Utah gets Kendall Marshall in a procedural move and will waive the point guard whose salary is unguaranteed.
What’s next for Marshall and Pleiss?
Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports on Marshall:
several league executives still believe there’s a spot in the league for him as a backup point guard.
Jessica Camerato of CSN Philly:
If so many executives believe Marshall belongs in the NBA, he’ll get signed. I have some doubts.
Marshall was curiously undervalued when he was younger and healthier. Now, he’s coming off a dreadful season in Philadelphia. A 2015 torn ACL still raises major doubts about Marshall’s ability to play even tolerable defense. His outside shooting has also regressed after blooming with the Lakers and Bucks.
Still, he’s a plus passer and just 25. He has a chance.
Pleiss is also coming off a lousy year, and he’s even older. He’ll turn 27 in the season’s second week, though he has played only one NBA season – and most of it was in the D-League. The 7-foot-3 Pleiss has plenty of size and a little shooting touch, but the 76ers don’t have playing time behind Nerlens Noel, Jahlil Okafor and Joel Embiid to develop him. Pleiss likely returns to Europe.
Jae Crowder – one of the NBA’s most underrated players – went to the Celtics from the Mavericks in the Rajon Rondo trade (which, in hindsight, should be called the Jae Crowder trade). He then re-signed with Boston on an absurdly cheap contract.
But the Knicks could’ve had him instead.
New York traded Tyson Chandler and Raymond Felton to the Mavericks for a package of middling assets in June 2014. One of those middling assets was the No. 34 pick in the upcoming draft. It could’ve been Crowder.
Knicks president Phil Jackson, via Charley Rosen of Today’s Fastbreak:
I think the biggest mistake I made was actually this…One of the first deals I engineered when I came back to New York was to trade Tyson Chandler and Raymond Felton to Dallas for Shane Larkin, Jose Calderon, Wayne Ellington, Samuel Dalembert, plus a second-round pick that the Mavs owed to the Celtics. In talking with Boston, I was given the option of taking that pick or else taking Jae Crowder. I liked Crowder but I thought he wouldn’t get much of a chance to play behind Carmelo, so I took the pick which turned out to be Cleanthony Early. While Cleanthony has missed lots of time in the past two seasons with us, he still has the potential to be a valuable player. Even so, I should have taken Crowder.
I’m not sure what the Celtics had to do with this. Crowder was with Dallas then, and so was the No. 34 pick that became Early (though that selection was originally Boston’s before a 2013 draft-night trade with the Mavericks). Jackson wouldn’t have been negotiating with the Celtics at all. My guess: Rosen got mixed up in his transcription.
Anyway, yeah, that stinks for the Knicks.
This is definitely an after-the-fact critique. Crowder hadn’t come into his own yet.
But he and Carmelo Anthony could’ve played together as combo forwards. The beauty of Crowder’s game is his ability to fit with anyone. So, Jackson’s logic leaves plenty to be desired. Passing on Crowder because an early second-rounder appeared more valuable at the time is far more defensible.
That Early is already out of the league only adds to the sting.
On the bright side, Crowder would’ve made the Knicks better and maybe cost them Kristaps Porzingis – who’s even more valuable than Crowder.
You can remove Sam Hinkie from Philadelphia, but you can’t pull the 76ers out of The Process.
Not immediately, at least.
Hinkie slashed payroll so drastically, a spending spree that included Jerryd Bayless, Gerald Henderson and Sergio Rodriguez still left the 76ers with more cap space than they know what to do with. So, Philadelphia is making another Hinkie-esque move – getting draft picks in a salary dump.
The Jazz signed second-rounder Joel Bolomboy, making him their 15th player with a guaranteed 2015-16 salary. Rather than eating Tibor Pleiss‘ salary to make room for Jeff Withey, an NBA-caliber center on an unguaranteed deal, Utah is sending the 76ers draft picks to handle that financial burden.
Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports:
Kendall Marshall‘s contract is unguaranteed until Sept. 2. Expect the Jazz to waive him before then. Then, they can keep Withey – or maybe Chris Johnson (unguaranteed) or Marcus Paige (partial guarantee). Utah can make a final determination in the preseason.
The 7-foot-3 Pleiss was drafted with lofty expectations in 2010, and he remained overseas until last season. After acquiring his rights from the Thunder in the Enes Kanter trade, Utah signed Pleiss last summer to a three-year contract that’s fully guaranteed at $3 million this season and has $500,000 of $3.1 million guaranteed next season. But he looked completely overwhelmed during his rookie year, and he’s nearly 27.
Philadelphia already has a logjam at center with Nerlens Noel, Jahlil Okafor and Joel Embiid. Perhaps, the 76ers take a chance on Pleiss, who’s big and has some shooting touch. But they could easily afford to waive him and eat his salary.
At worst, they got a couple draft picks for their trouble – just like old times.