Donatas Motiejunas doesn’t think Rockets should have paid Chandler Parsons James Harden money

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James Harden signed what was then a max contract extension with the Rockets back on Halloween of 2012. That netted him $13.7 million last season, and he will make $14.7 million next year.

However, the salary cap has risen quickly in recent years, so guys getting max extensions this year can make a little more — Chandler Parsons is also going to make $14.7 million next season, for example.

Rockets big man Donatas Motiejunas thinks Houston couldn’t match Parsons without ticking off Harden… and there may well be something to that. Here is what Motiejunas told Lithuanian basketball reporter Simonas Baranauskas (hat tip James Herbert at CBS’s Eye on Basketball).

Just to make sure we are accurate, Parsons will make $728,844 less than Harden this year.

It’s an interesting argument put forward by the Rocket big man, but it falls apart here: If Chris Bosh had signed with the Rockets (as they had thought would happen) then the Rockets were going to match Parsons. Harden would have been third for sure with Parsons right on his heels… and if the Rockets were winning he wouldn’t have really cared about the money.

I think what Rockets GM Daryl Morey said was the truth for him — Parsons is a good player but not the start they wanted to pay $14.7 million to and lock them into that big three. There’s some logic there.

But the Rockets bet big this summer and lost depth with Parsons (if last year’s Ariza comes to Houston that spot will be okay, but that’s an if), Omer Asik and Jeremy Lin all gone. Parsons is not an easily replaceable piece and the Rockets don’t look to be a better team then a year ago.

PBT Extra: Disciplined Celtics highlight bad habits of Milwaukee Bucks

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Giannis Antetokounmpo has been every bit the top five NBA player in the postseason — 32.5 points per game on 63.2 percent shooting, plus with 11 rebounds and 7.5 assists per game.

Yet the Bucks are down 0-2 to Boston.

The Celtics have had a strong series from Al Horford and Terry Rozier, but the real difference is in the discipline this team has shown all season — Boston knows who it is. Clearly, Milwaukee does not. They turn the ball over too much and make too many mistakes.

I get into all of that in this PBT Extra, and I wonder if that’s something the Bucks can really turn around mid-playoffs.

Ettore Messina to coach Spurs in Game 3 following death of Gregg Popovich’s wife

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Spurs coach Gregg Popovich’s wife, Erin, died yesterday.

That sad news was felt throughout the NBA, and it obviously affects San Antonio most closely. That includes for tonight’s Game 3 against the Warriors.

Jeff McDonald of the San Antonio Express-News:

Ettore Messina was a longtime head coach in Europe. The Spurs lead assistant also took over for a few regular-season games Popovich missed. So, making – rather than advising – coaching decisions won’t be a brand new challenge to Messina.

But down 2-0 to defending-champion Golden State is a tough place to make an NBA playoff debut.

On the bright side, there will be no pressure. Not only has San Antonio been outclassed the first two games of the series, focus is rightly on the Popovich family. A win would be a pleasant surprise and help Messina – who’s up for the Hornets job – in his pursuit of a head-coaching position. A loss would be quickly forgotten with more important matters at hand.

To that end, hopefully the time away allows Popovich the space he needs to grieve. That matters far more than a basketball game.

Report: Knicks to interview Kenny Smith for head-coaching job

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The Knicks are casting a wide net in their coaching search.

It’ll apparently include a familiar, though surprising, name.

ESPN:

TNT analyst Kenny Smith will interview for the New York Knicks’ head-coaching job on Friday, a source told ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith.

A quality organization, the Rockets, interviewed Smith (in 2016, before hiring Mike D’Antoni). So, this isn’t proof of the Knicks’ oddball thinking. (There are plenty of better examples, if you wish).

Steve Kerr opened the door for former players to go straight from TV to being an NBA head coach without having any coaching experience. He’s been a smash hit with the Warriors.

But Kerr was also the Suns’ general manager before Golden State hired him. Smith has no front-office experience.

So, it’s tough to judge Smith, whose role on television is more to entertain than inform (though he does both). He’ll have to really wow in his interview to get the job.

But at least he has that opportunity.

Pacers coach Nate McMillan slips and falls while arguing call (video)

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Nate McMillan slipped up in his handling of Victor Oladipo‘s early fouls during the Pacers’ Game 2 loss to the Cavaliers last night.

Then, the Indiana coach literally slipped while arguing that LeBron James should have been called for offensively fouling Lance Stephenson.