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.
• Jordan Hill doesn’t want to return to the Lakers next season if Mike D’Antoni is still the coach. As a side note, Laker management isn’t going to work that hard to keep him.
• Speaking of the Lakers, Andrew Kamenetzky hits the nail on the head here — there is going to be a civil war next season between Lakers fans and Kobe Bryant fans. And make no mistake, those are two different groups just with some overlapping interests.
• Paul Flannery of SB Nation has a fantastic look at Doc Rivers and what he has brought to the Clippers. It is a must read.
• Speaking of great read’s the Boston Globe’s post on analytics in the NBA is something you should sit down with and check out.
• One more long form read worth your time — Zach Lowe of Grantland on Anthony Davis.
• Andrew Kamenetzky hits the nail on the head here — there is going to be a civil war season between Lakers fans and Kobe Bryant fans. And make no mistake, those are two different groups just with some overlapping interests.
• Basketball-Reference’s Andrew Bynum practice shooting charts were the best of the NBA April Fools jokes.
• Chris Hansen, the guy behind the Seattle bid to buy the Kings and move them to the Pacific Northwest, said he and his ownership group are still looking at NBA possibilities. Which is tough because the next team with a lease up that could be up and the team sold and moved is Milwaukee — and that is a couple of years away and the owner is working to find new local ownership.
• In case you missed it, Heat and Pacers fans got in a fight when the two teams played.
• Looking at the connection between an older roster and success in the NBA.
• The Pelicans do not plan to sit Eric Gordon down for the rest of the season, if his knee will let him play he will play.
• John Salley says the New York Knicks will be in the NBA Finals next year. No pressure, Phil.
• If you want more of the Mark Jackson saga with Golden State, check this out. He is seriously coaching for his job right now.
• Some unintended consequences of the new CBA.
• Damion James will reportedly sign a 10-day deal with the Spurs.
• The Spurs are trying hard to make “frogging” the new thing. I wish I were making that up.
• Anthony Davis was on the Pete Holmes Show:
The Spurs fell behind by 18 and eventually lost to the Bulls, 95-91, last night – which begged the question:
Does San Antonio coach Gregg Popovich bear any responsibility for his team’s lack of early intensity?
Jabari Young of the San Antonio Express-News:
I don’t remember playing tonight. I didn’t play. Guys get a lot of money to be ready to play. No Knute Rockne speeches. It’s your job. If you’re a plumber and you don’t do your job, you don’t get any work. I don’t think a plumber needs a pep talk. If a doctor botches operations, he’s not a doctor anymore. If you’re a basketball player, you come ready. It’s called maturity. It’s your job.
Like it or not, motivation is part of an NBA coach’s job.
But that’s also precisely what Popovich is doing.
His credentials dwarf any other coach’s. He can play to his own ego and absolve himself of responsibility – and players will seek to please him. His years of success have earned him the ability to motivate this way, a method no other coach could use without alienating his team.
Once the Rockets let Donatas Motiejunas back into free agency, this was only a matter of time.
Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports:
This sounds remarkably similar to the salaries and incentives set in the original offer sheet from the Nets. But remember, the Rockets didn’t match some of those bonuses that Brooklyn would have been bound to.
So, why not hold Motiejunas to what became a four-year, $31 million offer sheet once matched? Houston got something in return – a later trigger date on guaranteeing Motiejunas’ 2017-18 salary. Originally, that decision had to be made March 1 – which would’ve meant dropping Motiejunas from the team this season to prevent his salary from counting next season. Now, the Rockets can make that call in July, after this season is complete.
The following two Julys, Houston will also have a choice on guaranteeing Motiejunas’ upcoming salary or dropping him.
Essentially, Motiejunas is signing the most lucrative Hinkie Special in NBA history. If he plays well and stays healthy, the Rockets have Motiejunas at an affordable rate. If he struggles or his back injuries flare up, they can drop him with little to no penalty.
After they backed themselves into this corner, Motiejunas and his agent, B.J. Armstrong, didn’t do so bad. Considering the similarity between this contract and the Nets’ original offer sheet, it seems Houston helped Armstrong save face after a bungled free agency (which is easier to accept when you’re adding a talented reserve to a formidable team).
But for how little is guaranteed and how much control the Rockets hold over the next four years, wouldn’t Motiejunas have been better off accepting the $4,433,683 qualifying offer?
The Rockets had Donatas Motiejunas in a bind.
He was beholden to them on a four-year, $31 million deal and unable to sign with other teams. Motiejunas’ choices: Report for a physical or wait in limbo.
But apparently Houston has allowed him out of that constraint.
Marc Stein of ESPN:
This means Motiejunas can’t sign with the Nets, who signed him to the original offer sheet, for one year.
I bet it also means Motiejunas and Houston have agreed to a new contract. Otherwise, why release him from the offer sheet? The Rockets would be giving up a tremendous amount of leverage out of the goodness of their hearts – unless this is just a prelude to a new deal with Houston.
John Wall didn’t like how Jusuf Nurkic bumped him, so Wall shoved the Nuggets center from behind and sent him to the floor.
An overreaction to the bump? Probably. Wall got hit with a technical foul.
But I’m mostly just impressed Wall was strong enough to push over Nurkic.