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

PHOENIX, AZ - FEBRUARY 11:  Markieff Morris #11 and head coach Jeff Hornacek of the Phoenix Suns during the NBA game against the Miami Heat at US Airways Center on February 11, 2014 in Phoenix, Arizona. The Heat defeated the Suns 103-97.  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 Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
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Report: Suns suspend Markieff Morris two games for throwing towel at Jeff Hornacek


Markieff Morris and Jeff Hornacek reportedly threw a towel at each other – Morris first at the coach, who sent it back – in the Suns’ loss last night.

Morris won’t get away with it.

Shams Charania of Yahoo Sports:

Morris had at least said the right things after an offseason of sulking and implied trade demands. He just played lousily.

But this latest insubordination gives Phoenix even more problems with its Morris twin. Teams interested in trading for Morris – whether it’s the Rockets, Pelicans or Pistons – are surely asking even more questions today about his coachability.

Morris will miss home games against the 76ers on Saturday and Cavaliers on Monday.

And what about Hornacek? Video of the incident has yet to emerge, so we’re lacking context. Even if Morris started it, Hornacek should not have thrown the towel at Morris. Will the coach face any discipline, too?

Carmelo Anthony: Knicks should’ve gotten Christmas game

NEW YORK, NY - DECEMBER 07:  Carmelo Anthony #7 of the New York Knicks looks to pass in the second half against the Dallas Mavericks at Madison Square Garden on December 7, 2015 in New York City.The Dallas Mavericks defeated the New York Knicks 104-97.  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 Elsa/Getty Images)
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Carmelo Anthony sometimes hates New York.

So why did he stay with the Knicks?

Because there are perks to playing in the NBA’s largest market.

But he’s missing out on one this year.

For the first time since Melo arrived in New York, the Knicks aren’t playing on Christmas.

Melo, via Marc Berman of the New York Post:

“I ain’t watching nothing,’’ Anthony said at Quicken Loans Arena at the Wednesday morning shootaround in advance of Knicks-Cavaliers. “We should’ve been on Christmas. Christmas in New York. That’s what it should’ve been.’’

“I don’t know what they were looking at. The past is the past. But New York is one of those teams that should always be on Christmas.’’

The Knicks have played a record 50 Christmas games, including every year from the first season of Christmas games in 1947 to 1987.

The NBA wants New York playing on its premier regular-season date. The Knicks get every benefit of the doubt. That’s why they played on the previous six Christmases despite missing the playoffs half the time and winning only one series in that span.

But a 2-4 record, including three straight losses and a fight, was finally too much.

Once the NBA broke New York’s first Christmas streak, there could be nothing sacred about another. The league needs at least minimal competency from the Knicks to schedule them on Christmas.

With a 14-16 record and Kristaps Porzingis turning heads, I bet they’ll be back next year.

2015-16 Hack-a-Shaqs outnumber 2014-15 Hack-a-Shaqs. Already.

the Houston Rockets the Los Angeles Clippers during Game Four of the Western Conference semifinals of the 2015 NBA Playoffs at Staples Center on May 10, 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 Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)
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The NBA spun Hack-a-Shaq strategies as a relatively limited issue – with about half the fouls going against DeAndre Jordan.

But that’s becoming an increasingly difficult case to make.

Kevin Pelton of ESPN:

Pelton has done fantastic research into Hack-a-Shaq, and I highly recommend his latest article on the issue to anyone with ESPN Insider.

It’s stunning that the NBA 2015-16 season – barely a third complete – has already produced more Hack-a-Shaqs than all of last season. Hacking away from the ball became more prevalent in last season’s playoffs, but it won’t be long until this season passes last season’s combined total.

The NBA should act on this epidemic.

A relatively limited use of the strategy was fascinating, and fans didn’t turn away. I’d be surprised if that’s still the case. It’s just too boring to watch players repeatedly walk to the free-throw line, stagnating and lengthening the game.

It doesn’t matter whether the foul shooter is good or bad. In fact, there’s more drama with a poor shooter.

It’s just not basketball at its finest.

The NBA has thrilling offense and captivating defenses. The league would do itself a serving by ensuring those are on display – not a parade of free throws produced by non-basketball plays.

Report: After initial concern, Thunder getting along well with Kevin Durant’s Jay-Z-led agency


Remember when Kevin Durant nearly signed with Under Armour, whose Baltimore headquarters are just north of Durant’s native Washington, D.C.?

The Thunder did – and they were concerned.

But Oklahoma City also noticed Durant re-signing with Nike.

Brian Windhorst of ESPN:

There was some concern in the Thunder organization when, in 2013, Durant hired Jay-Z’s start-up Roc Nation to represent him. Sometimes moving talent creates a big display of power for an agency, and Roc Nation’s first big deal was the massive contract that sent longtime New York Yankee Robinson Cano to the Seattle Mariners that same year. Then they nearly moved Durant away from Nike. Both Cano and Durant, though, ended up with excellent deals.

There were memories of Creative Artists Agency and how they helped establish its power base by helping move James and Chris Bosh to Miami in 2010 and then using leverage to move Anthony to New York months later.

But the Thunder’s dealings with Roc Nation have been positive and constructive across the board the past two years, multiple sources said, and those initial concerns have been eased.

This is far from decisive about Durant’s upcoming free agency, but it’s also nothing but good news for Oklahoma City that its dealings with Durant’s agency have gone well.

More importantly, the Thunder are 20-9. Their best selling point will be the strength of their team. Who else can offer a Russell Westbrook as a sidekick and a Serge Ibaka as a No. 3?

It doesn’t hurt that the Wizards are struggling, either.

Durant won’t make this choice alone. The Thunder should feel good about getting along well with his agent, but they can’t let off the gas now.

The imperative must be finishing the season strongly, ensuring Durant walks away from his playoff experience with a good taste in his mouth.

JaVale McGee rebounds own airball, obviously called for travelling (video)

JaVale McGee
Associated Press

I’ll give JaVale McGee the benefit of the doubt here – which he probably doesn’t deserve – and say the ball slipping out of his hands on the shot could happen to anybody.

But most players know to let someone else touch the ball first after an airball, an easy travelling call.

Of course, McGee makes it worse on himself with a minor protest. That wasn’t close to a foul, and the ball was even farther from the rim.