Dan Feldman

Marcus Smart, Jaylen Brown separated on Celtics bench amid apparent argument (video)

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Marcus Smart, who jawed with an assistant coach earlier this season, found a new verbal sparring partner on the Celtics’ bench: Jaylen Brown.

What was the issue between Smart and Brown?

Kyle Draper and Brian Scalabrine of CSN New England do a nice job in the above video laying out what we know and don’t know.

At least Boston beat the Timberwolves. That will help everyone get past any hurt feelings.

John Wall on DeMarcus Cousins before trade: ‘He said he would come to D.C’

AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli
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Before the Kings traded him to the Pelicans, DeMarcus Cousins said he and former Kentucky teammate John Wall sometimes talk about teaming up in the NBA. Of course, Cousins said he wanted Wall to join him in Sacramento and Wall wanted the reunion with the Wizards.

Now, Wall sheds more light on those conversations.

Wall, in a Q&A with Marc J. Spears of The Undefeated:

Did you ever talk to your former Kentucky teammate and fellow NBA All-Star DeMarcus Cousins about playing for the Wizards before the Sacramento Kings dealt him to the New Orleans Pelicans?

I talked to him. He said he would come to D.C., but he didn’t know what was going to happen. I didn’t know he was going to be traded like that. We thought it was going to be later on or he was just going to stay [in Sacramento]. It shocked me just like it shocked him.

Were you disappointed the Wizards weren’t able to get Cousins?

It was so crazy because he walked past me when I was talking to the media [after the NBA All-Star Game] and he said something about the trade. I was like, ‘Huh.’ It didn’t register what he said. So I called him right when I got to my phone. He said, ‘Yeah, I’m at the airport. I don’t know where to go. Do I go back to ‘Sac’ or do I stay here?’

He was just hurt. I feel that with all the tough times he had been through [in Sacramento], he never gave up on the city. There was so much he did for the community. So much that he gave back. He always showed that he wanted to be there whether they were losing bad or not. In six years, he never said he wanted to leave.

For a guy to give that type of a commitment, you would think he would stay there. I guess they didn’t like the way it was going. I hope he’s in a better place now. He’s happy. Hopefully, they can make the playoffs and get a push. If not, he’s got a free summer this summer to figure out where he’s going to be.

There are two possible readings of “He said he would come to D.C.:”

1. Cousins planned to join the Wizards.

2. Cousins was willing to join the Wizards.

No. 2 seems much more likely. Cousins reportedly planned to sign a designated-veteran-player extension with the Kings before they traded him. In fact, Cousins wanted that extension – available from only Sacramento, which drafted him – so badly, his agent threatened not to re-sign with any team that traded for the center. Plus, Wall’s answer to the second question reveals his understanding of Cousins’ commitment to the Kings.

But Cousins staying in Sacramento is obviously out the window. The Pelicans have floundered with him, and he’ll be a free agent in 2018.

Could he join Washington?

The Wizards have an excellent starting lineup, but center Marcin Gortat (33) is significantly older than Wall (26), Bradley Beal (23), Otto Porter (23) and Markieff Morris (27). Cousins (26) would better fit the others’ timeline.

However, Washington doesn’t project to have cap space in 2018. Even stripping the roster to just Wall, Beal, Morris and Porter (assuming he re-signs as a restricted free agent this summer) – no easy task with Ian Mahinmi, Gortat and Jason Smith under contract – doesn’t project to leave enough cap space to offer Cousins anywhere near the max. And shedding Beal or Porter – dropping Morris almost certainly wouldn’t be enough to create max space – would make the Wizards far less inviting for Cousins.

A Wall-Cousins reunion might just have to remain a fantasy.

Spurs coach Gregg Popovich calls timeout to chew out Kawhi Leonard (video)

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Gregg Popovich didn’t just correct Tim Duncan’s mistakes. The Spurs coach pointed them out in front of the entire team to send an implicit message: If San Antonio’s biggest star can handle tough coaching, so can you.

With Duncan retired, that role falls to Kawhi Leonard.

Report: Suns shutting down Eric Bledsoe for rest of season

AP Photo/David Zalubowski
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The Suns, according to John Gambadoro of Arizona Sports 98.7 and Doug Haller of azcentral, are shutting down Eric Bledsoe for the rest of the season.

Bledsoe missed the final few months of last season with a knee injury, so there’s a logic to lightening his load now. Phoenix is also trying to keep up with the tanking Lakers and hold off the Magic for lottery position, which also incentivizes the Suns to sit their best player.

So, needing another guard, Phoenix turned to Brandon Knight, whom coach Earl Watson said would be out of the rotation unless management dictated otherwise. Or at least the Suns tried to turn to Knight.

Gambadoro:

I’m uncomfortable making assumptions about Knight’s health from afar, but the fact that someone Gambadoro found credible made such a claim about Knight is itself troubling. There are clearly deeper issues between Knight and the Suns, which benching him since the trade deadline could have only exacerbated.

With three years and $43,89,375 remaining on his contract, moving Knight will be difficult. Having him around creates complications, but selling low on him – or even attaching an asset to dump him – brings its own set of problems.

Phoenix and Knight need to work out their issues, but that’s far easier said than done.

Manu Ginobili attempts to intentionally miss free throw, makes it (video)

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Manu Ginobili stepped to the line for two free throws with the Spurs down three and 2.5 seconds left. The best plan: Make the first free throw, missed the second and hope for a tip-in.

Ginobili missed the first free throw. Not ideal, but not a game-ender. Ginobili could still intentionally miss the second, and San Antonio could tip out the rebound and shoot a 3-pointer. Not great odds of executing a tip out and making the shot that quickly, but it’s possible.

And then Ginobili made the free throw he tried to miss.

The head-shaking result allowed the Trail Blazers to pull out a 110-106 win.