Brooklyn Nets v Miami Heat - Game Five

Another controversial call gives Nets one last chance against Heat (VIDEO)


On one of the final plays in Game 5 between the Clippers and the Thunder, Matt Barnes appeared to foul Reggie Jackson on a shot attempt at the rim, followed by Jackson knocking the ball out of bounds.

Foul calls are not reviewable under the league’s instant replay rules, but matters of possession are. And despite the video evidence to the contrary, the referees on the scene made what appeared to be the wrong call, and the NBA backed it up a day later with an official release.

Somewhat incredibly, we were faced with almost the exact same situation near the end of Miami’s Game 5 win over the Nets.

With the Heat leading by two and under seven seconds remaining, Paul Pierce was hacked on the arm by LeBron James. But no foul was called, and Pierce appeared to be the last one to touch it before the ball went out of bounds. After an official review, the foul wasn’t awarded, because it couldn’t have been according to the rules of replay. The Nets maintained possession, though, despite the fact that the ball should have been awarded to Miami.

Now, page 30 of the NBA’s official rule book seems to cover this situation, and it reads as follows:

“If a player has his hand in contact with the ball and an opponent hits the hand causing the ball to go out-of-bounds, the team whose player had his hand on the ball will retain possession.”

This seems to be a catch-all for situations where the referees don’t call a foul — either by choice, or because they just missed it — but it’s hard to explain to fans watching in real time who (a) saw the foul that wasn’t called, and then (b) witnessed the ball clearly go off of a player, only to see it awarded to his team nonetheless.

Either way, the Nets were given a final chance to tie or take the lead because of this interpretation. It didn’t impact the game’s outcome, so it’s unlikely we’ll see it addressed the way we did the play from the end of Game 5 between the Clippers and the Thunder. But it’s kind of crazy that we’re dealing with such a specifically controversial situation for the second straight night during these playoffs.

LeBron James posts photo with Tristan Thompson, sends message to Cavs

2015 NBA Finals - Game Five
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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.

Get it done!!!! Straight up. #MissMyBrother @realtristan13

A photo posted by LeBron James (@kingjames) on

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.


Hezonja throws down one-handed dunk in preseason debut

Orlando Magic Introduce 2015 NBA Draft Picks
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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.