<span class="vcard">Dan Feldman</span>

ATLANTA, GA - NOVEMBER 18:  Rajon Rondo #9 of the Sacramento Kings in action against the Atlanta Hawks at Philips Arena on November 18, 2015 in Atlanta, Georgia.  NOTE TO USER User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

Report: NBA not punishing Rajon Rondo for leg swing

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Standing near the Kings’ bench, Rajon Rondo appeared to kick at Mavericks guard Deron Williams

Sam Amick of USA Today:

The NBA has decided that there will be no punishment for Sacramento Kings point guard Rajon Rondo for his sideline kick toward Dallas Mavericks point guard Deron Williams in the first overtime of their game on Tuesday, a person with knowledge of the situation told USA TODAY Sports.

the NBA’s investigation into the situation included a baseline camera view that, in essence, got Rondo off the hook. The camera angle showed that Rondo swiped his leg sideways and didn’t come as close to making contact with Williams as other angles had made it appear.

I certainly believe that.

But this also isn’t the first time Rondo has done something like this.

Maybe Rondo just has bad luck about when he’s spotted stretching his leg, but you’d had have a hard time convincing me he’s not deliberately trying to affect opponents. Rondo almost certainly doesn’t want to make contact with them, but it seems he wants to threaten it.

That should not be tolerated. Players should have freedom of movement between the sidelines and baselines without worrying about someone – opponents, fans, camera people, anyone – sticking out a foot that could injure them.

If the league didn’t warn Rondo after the incident during the Mavericks-Rockets playoff series, it missed an opportunity. Hopefully, Rondo was at least told this time he’d get punished if he does this again.

Ty Lawson suspended three games for other DUI

DENVER, CO - DECEMBER 14:  Ty Lawson #3 of the Houston Rockets controls the ball against the Denver Nuggets at Pepsi Center on December 14, 2015 in Denver, Colorado. The Nuggets defeated the Rockets 114-108. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)
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Ty Lawson received a two-game suspension for his January DUI.

Now, the Rockets guard is getting penalized for his June DUI.

NBA release:

Houston Rockets’ guard Ty Lawson has been suspended for three games without pay for driving under the influence of alcohol, in violation of the law of the State of California, the NBA announced today.

Lawson’s suspension will begin with tonight’s game between the Houston Rockets and the Utah Jazz.

Lawson’s suspension will cost him $338,304 in salary. More importantly, hopefully this closes the book on him drinking and driving. His punishments – both legally and professionally – for both cases are now resolved.

He’ll miss Houston’s next three games:

  • vs. Jazz tonight
  • vs. Pacers on Sunday
  • at Grizzlies on Tuesday

I’m a bit surprised the NBA has already ruled his suspension could start immediately. Lawson missed the Rockets’ game Monday with an ankle injury and didn’t practice yesterday. Typically, a player’s suspension begins once he’s healthy. Houston must’ve convinced the league Lawson would’ve played tonight if not suspended.

Lawson has played a bit better lately. Maybe his improved production and getting these suspensions behind him will get him the trade he reportedly desires – though it’s an uphill climb.

Kobe Bryant starting against Kings in Sacramento tonight

SACRAMENTO, CA - NOVEMBER 21: Kobe Bryant #24 of the Los Angeles Lakers points to his teammates during his game against the Sacramento Kings at Power Balance Pavilion on November 21, 2012 in Sacramento, California.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
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Kobe Bryant, who has missed the Lakers last three games with a sore shoulder, is returning to action.

Mike Bresnahan of the Los Angeles Times:

This is no surprise.

Kobe has played in all 18 of the Lakers’ road games this season. The seven games he has missed have come at home. Kobe just missed three straight home games after playing four straight road games.

His farewell tour continues.

Stan Van Gundy: Pistons plan to guarantee Ersan Ilyasova’s contract for next season

BOSTON, MA - JANUARY 06:  Kelly Olynyk #41 of the Boston Celtics defends Ersan Ilyasova #23 of the Detroit Pistons during the first quarter at TD Garden on January 6, 2016 in Boston, Massachusetts.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)
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The Pistons certainly hope Stanley Johnson, the No. 8 pick in last year’s draft, will eventually move into their starting lineup.

For a while, it seemed Marcus Morris was just a placeholder at small forward until that happened. But Morris has exceeded expectations in his first year in Detroit.

Perhaps, once Johnson is ready, Morris will slide to power forward, and Johnson will bump Ersan Ilyasova from the starting lineup. That’s a unit – Reggie Jackson, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Johnson, Morris, Andre Drummond – the Pistons have frequently used to much success in fourth quarters this season.

Where would that leave Ilyasova, who has just $400,000 of his $8.4 million salary guaranteed for next season?

Vince Ellis of the Detroit Free Press:

The ability to waive Ilyasova and clear extra cap space is a nice option for the Pistons. But Ilyasova’s salary becomes fully guaranteed July 1, so they would have to waive him before (legally) speaking to other free agents.

Barring injury, it sounds as if the Pistons would rather have Ilyasova than the extra room – and that makes sense.

Ilyasova is a solid player, a stretch four who creates space for Drummond finishes and Jackson drives. Ilyasova also takes enough charges to make himself a fine defensive player.

It wouldn’t be a problem for Detroit if he’s starting again next season. But if he’s coming off the bench, his salary won’t be egregious under the new cap. The Pistons’ backup stretch four, Anthony Tolliver, becomes a free agent this summer. So, Ilyasova provides insurance in case Tolliver leaves.

Plus, Detroit in line to have major cap space regardless.

Keeping Ilyasova makes it more difficult for the Pistons to shoot for the moon in free agency next summer, but he helps them remain a solid team – one that will still have flexibility for outside improvement.

Draymond Green passes Blake Griffin, Kawhi Leonard to move into into starting position in All-Star voting

LOS ANGELES, CA - NOVEMBER 19:  Draymond Green #23 of the Golden State Warriors defends against Blake Griffin #32 of the Los Angeles Clippers during the second half of a game at Staples Center on November 19, 2015 in Los Angeles, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)
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The NBA released its second set of All-Star voting returns today:

Eastern Conference

Guards

1          Dwyane Wade (Mia) 562,558

2          Kyrie Irving (Cle) 271,094

3          Kyle Lowry (Tor) 242,276

4          Jimmy Butler (Chi) 220,429

5          John Wall (Was) 207,274

6          DeMar DeRozan (Tor) 170,539

7          Derrick Rose (Chi) 159,787

8          Jeremy Lin (Cha) 122,988

9          Isaiah Thomas (Bos) 87,452

10        Reggie Jackson (Det) 44,525

Frontcourt

1          LeBron James (Cle) 636,388

2          Paul George (Ind) 457,554

3          Andre Drummond (Det) 261,158

4          Carmelo Anthony (NYK) 255,536

5          Pau Gasol (Chi) 209,006

6          Chris Bosh (Mia) 194,429

7          Kevin Love (Cle) 172,517

8          Hassan Whiteside (Mia) 168,549

9          Kristaps Porzingis (NYK) 160,170

10        Giannis Antetokounmpo (Mil) 48,768

11        Jonas Valanciunas (Tor) 30,023

12        Marcin Gortat (Was) 27,185

13        Joakim Noah (Chi) 23,121

14        DeMarre Carroll (Tor) 22,797

15        Paul Millsap (Atl) 21,625

Western Conference

Guards

1          Stephen Curry (GS) 925,789

2          Russell Westbrook (OKC) 479,512

3          Chris Paul (LAC) 268,672

4          Klay Thompson (GS) 267,602

5          James Harden (Hou) 249,877

6          Rajon Rondo (Sac) 120,767

7          Andre Iguodala (GS) 111,575

8          Manu Ginobili (SA) 100,602

9          Tony Parker (SA) 86,238

10        Damian Lillard (Por) 81,035

Frontcourt

1          Kobe Bryant (LAL) 1,262,118

2          Kevin Durant (OKC) 616,096

3          Draymond Green (GS) 332,223

4          Kawhi Leonard (SA) 330,929

5          Blake Griffin (LAC) 298,212

6          Anthony Davis (NO) 261,491

7          Tim Duncan (SA) 228,995

8          Zaza Pachulia (Dal) 194,421

9          DeMarcus Cousins (Sac) 190,060

10        Enes Kanter (OKC) 183,468

11        LaMarcus Aldridge (SA) 124,404

12        Dwight Howard (Hou) 120,424

13        Dirk Nowitzki (Dal) 99,681

14        DeAndre Jordan (LAC) 91,186

15        Harrison Barnes (GS) 82,427

Observations:

  • Only one new player moved into starting position from the first voting returns – Draymond Green, who jumped from fifth to third among Western Conference frontcourt players. He passed Blake Griffin and Kawhi Leonard. Green certainly has been playing well lately, but Leonard is having an awesome season. Leonard also passed an injured Griffin. It should be an intriguing three-man race between Green, Leonard and Griffin for the final Western Conference frontcourt starting spot.
  • Anthony Davis remains in striking distance of starting there, but it’s tough to leap three players. If fans don’t vote Davis an All-Star starter, he’ll have to make an All-NBA team this season to trigger the Derrick Rose rule and receive the higher salaries in his contract extension.
  • Zaza Pachulia came out of nowhere to rank eighth among Western Conference frontcourt players. He wasn’t even on the leaderboard for the first returns. Now, he’s ahead of DeMarcus Cousins.
  • Carmelo Anthony – fueled by the LeBron bump – narrowed his deficit behind Andre Drummond for the final Eastern Conference starting frontcourt spot. If the Knicks keep playing well, Melo will probably overtake Drummond by the time voting closes (despite the Pistons’ best efforts).
  • John Wall wasn’t happy to rank fifth among Eastern Conference guards. He still ranks fifth among Eastern Conference guards.
  • Kobe Bryant remains the overall leader. I’d be shocked if it finishes any other way.