First, here’s the Sparknotes version of how we got to this point: Rockets big man Donatas Motiejunas was a restricted free agent who didn’t get any offers he liked, didn’t sign the qualifying offer, and essentially held out from Houston at the start of camp. Houston shrugged, knowing they could match any offer. Brooklyn eventually made a four-year, $37 million offer, but the Rockets matched the $31 million of it they were required to (not incentives). Motiejunas didn’t like that and refused to sign. The Rockets and Motiejunas agreed to a four-year, $35 million deal (which gave the Rockets a later opt-out date for next season’s contract, mid-July). Motiejunas came in for his physical, and something was amiss (he has a history of back issues).
Now you’re caught up.
The Rockets are now talking to both Motiejunas’ agent and the NBA league office to find a resolution, but the new deal has yet to be signed. Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronical has the latest:
“We’re in active discussions with Donatas’ representation, the league office and that’s pretty much it,” (Rockets GN Daryl) Morey said.
Asked the purpose of the talks, Morey said, “A resolution.”
Morey would not answer any other questions. When asked whether the Rockets were seeking a resolution in which Motiejunas would or not rejoin the Rockets and whether Motiejunas failed his physical, Morey would only repeat his original statement.
Morey did call the negotiations contentious, which shouldn’t be a surprise because if the sides agreed to a deal and now the Rockets want to back out — because of the physical, one has to assume — you can be sure Motiejunas’ agent is angry.
The question of “when will Motiejunas join the Rockets?” seems to be changing to “if.” This is going to be an interesting resolution.
When the starters for next month’s All-Star Game in New Orleans were announced this week, there was a mini-uproar on Twitter because Russell Westbrook — the guy averaging a triple-double this season — wasn’t picked. It’s hard for me to get worked up over two-time MVP Stephen Curry getting the nod, but if you want someone to blame it was the fans’ call — they voted Curry first overall, James Harden second, Westbrook third. The players and media had Westbrook first, Harden second, but the tie is broken by the fan vote.
Enter Baron Davis with the timely joke.
We just need to tie in a Zaza Pachulia joke and it will be perfect.
The Milwaukee Bucks had lost four in a row and had slid out of a playoff slot in the East. It’s not one end of the court — in their last five games, the Bucks had the second-worst defense and fourth-worst offense in the NBA. After that fourth loss, the team held a players’ only meeting, one where Jabari Parker reportedly ripped his teammates for a lack of togetherness.
In the postgame media sessions that followed, Parker told the press he confirmed there was a meeting and said he had been “thrashed” by his teammates for what he said.
It was that speaking to the media that got him benched for a game — as decided by his teammates — reports Chris Haynes of ESPN.
Milwaukee Bucks forward Jabari Parker did not start in Saturday’s road loss to the Miami Heat for violating a team rule that prohibits disclosing locker room discourse to the media, league sources told ESPN…
Parker’s teammates deliberated and decided the appropriate punishment for the violation was to bring him off the bench against the Heat, league sources told ESPN. It was the first time this season that he did not start.
The meeting and the benching didn’t help, the Bucks fell to the lowly Heat 109-97. (Team/players meetings are overrated in how often they help teams turn things around.)
The good news for the Bucks is that in a tight East they remain just a game out of the playoffs and three games out of the five seed. It’s going to be a tough week to turn that around with the Rockets, resurgent Sixers, Raptors, and Celtics on the schedule.
Without Chris Paul and Blake Griffin in the lineup, the Clippers don’t have much going for them offensively. However, there is one thing: DeAndre Jordan can still run to the rim and dunk with authority.
Denver’s Kenneth Faried took that away Saturday.
Faried hustled back in transition, showed he still had some hops and swatted away a Jordan dunk attempt.
The Nuggets went on to win the game comfortably, 123-98, behind 19 points and 10 boards from Nikola Jokic.
The Knicks last three losses have come by a total of six points. The team is not good, a little banged up, and doesn’t play any defense, but New York also has just had a run of bad luck.
The latest example: Phoenix’s Devin Booker draining a three to knock off New York, 107-105. It was a mistake by Derrick Rose, who sagged down to the free throw line watching Eric Bledsoe with the ball coming off the pick, which led to the open pass. Also, notice that Booker set up three feet back of the three-point line — this is a trend a lot of teams and good shooters are following (watch a Rockets’ game) because it makes the closeout harder. Rose would have contested a shot at the arc, but Booker gets a clean look from where he spotted up, and drills it.
Carmelo Anthony got a shot to win it for the Knicks, but his rimmed out.