Kurt Helin

CLEVELAND, OH - JUNE 16: Dahntay Jones #30 of the Cleveland Cavaliers drives to the basket against Draymond Green #23 of the Golden State Warriors in the first half in Game 6 of the 2016 NBA Finals at Quicken Loans Arena on June 16, 2016 in Cleveland, Ohio. 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)
Getty Images

Report: Cavaliers re-sign Dahntay Jones, but only to training camp deal

1 Comment

The Cavaliers added Dahntay Jones to the roster just as last season was winding down, giving them a veteran bench presence for their playoff run. He played a total of 50 minutes through the entire playoff run, but he made an impact and was there when Cleveland won its first title in 52 years.

In July the Cavaliers waived Jones. Now they are bringing him back but just with a non-guaranteed deal for training camp. The Cavaliers have 14 guaranteed contracts on the roster, once they re-sign J.R. Smith they will be at the max of 15. Meaning Jones only makes the roster by beating out someone Cleveland has to pay regardless. Joe Varden has the story for the Cleveland Plain Dealer.

Jones, 35, a guard, was waived following the 2016 Finals triumph, but is returning for camp on a non-guaranteed contract. Some speculation about Jones’ immediate future was generated this week when he showed in Santa Barbara, California for LeBron James‘ minicamp.

Jones was signed prior to the last game of the 2015-16 regular season (and scored 13 points that night), but managed to make an impact in the postseason from near the end of the Cavs’ bench.

He infamously punched Bismack Biyombo in the groin in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference finals (James promised to pay the fine, which was about $80). And he was used by coach Tyronn Lue for a few critical minutes in Game 6 of the Finals, going on a personal 5-0 run in the last 90 seconds of the first half and drew two fouls on Draymond Green to send the Cavs to the locker room up by 16 points.

He likely is not with them in uniform opening night, but Jones’ Cavaliers’ teammates are certainly welcoming him back. Jones is on the West Coast in Santa Barbara working out with LeBron James and most of the Cavaliers in preparation for the opening of training camp.

Great week of work #winteriscoming #defendtheironthrone #wemissswish

A photo posted by Dahntay Jones (@dahntay1) on

Warriors GM hints team will rest players far more this season

New Orleans Pelicans v Golden State Warriors - Game One

It sounds like Golden State learned its lesson.

Because the players wanted it — led in particular by Stephen Curry and Draymond Green — the Warriors pushed hard through the end of the regular season last campaign to get to 73 wins. Was that the reason Golden State went down 3-1 to Oklahoma City then blew a 3-1 lead to Cleveland in the Finals? It was certainly not the only, or even the primary, reason.

But based on their words and plans for this season, they clearly think it was a factor. Look at what GM Bob Myers said, via Anthony Slater of the San Jose Mercury News.

The Warriors stars did get more rest than it seemed for much of the season because they got to sit a lot of fourth quarters of blowouts. Plus, the NBA’s tweaking of the schedule to almost eliminate four-games-in-five-nights on the road and limiting back-to-backs is designed to keep players rested. And playing more games.

The trend of elite teams making sure their star players get plenty of rest is not going away. Call it the Popovich effect. And Golden State is now on board.

Jason Terry doesn’t mince words, says James Harden better than Klay Thompson

OAKLAND, CA - MAY 27:  James Harden #13 of the Houston Rockets drives on Klay Thompson #11 of the Golden State Warriors in the first half during game five of the Western Conference Finals of the 2015 NBA Playoffs at ORACLE Arena on May 27, 2015 in Oakland, 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 Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
Getty Images

Who is the best shooting guard in the NBA?

The debate right now comes down to Golden State’s Klay Thompson and Houston’s James Harden. (It’s a step down to the next tier of DeMar DeRozan, and maybe C.J. McCollum, and the underrated J.J. Redick.)

Jason Terry, on his weekly show on SiriusXM NBA Radio, made it clear where he stood — on Team Harden. (Hat tip JD Shaw of Def Pen)

“He’s not leading s***,” Terry said of Klay Thompson. “If he doesn’t make shots, how effective is he? Go watch Klay Thompson vs. James Harden from last year and see what James did to him. Every time James got by him, you know who was there? Draymond Green or Andrew Bogut.

“Let’s see what happens this time around”.

To me, you can make a case for either guy.

To answer Terry’s question, what Thompson does if his shot is not falling is defend. Far better than Harden. Did Harden blow past Thompson and get to the second level against the Warriors? Yes. Just like Harden did against 29 other teams. Nobody is stopping him one-on-one in the NBA, every team needs to have help defenders and bigs clogging the paint against Harden. Thompson forces help defenses to stretch as well.

Harden is the better shot creator. Thompson is the better pure shooter. If I have Stephen Curry at the point I’d rather have Thompson next to him; if I have Patrick Beverley at the point, I’d rather have Harden.

Let the debate begin in the comments.

Violet Palmer, who broke the gender barrier for NBA referees, retires from on court duties

HOUSTON, TX - APRIL 14:  NBA official Violet Palmer is seen on the court during the game between the Houston Rockets and the Sacramento Kings at the Toyota Center on April 14, 2013 in Houston, Texas. 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 Scott Halleran/Getty Images)
Getty Images
1 Comment

It was a rough road for Violet Palmer, who along with Dee Kanter became the first female referees in NBA history back in 1997. It’s a hard enough adjustment for any official to jump to the NBA — no amount of refereeing NCAA games or any other level can prepare someone for the speed and challenges of the professional game.

But Palmer was an African-American woman entering the machismo-fueled world of male professional sports. Multiple players — including big names like Charles Barkley and Dennis Scott — questioned if a woman could and should referee a man’s game. Fans were worse spewing sexist and racist crap at her online and in person for years — all referees put up with some level of abuse from myopic fans, but Palmer got it far worse than others.

It turns out, she was good enough and officiated in the NBA for two decades, including getting to referee the 2014 All-Star Game. Players came around, including Barkley who publicly apologized to her.

But she is now stepping off the court, reports Howard Beck of Bleacher Report.

This leaves Lauren Holtkamp as the only female referee in the NBA.

Congratulations to Palmer on a fantastic, barrier-breaking career as on official.

NBA referees to focus more closely monitor groin hits, traveling calls

Miami Heat v New York Knicks

ELIZABETH, N.J. (AP) — NBA referees will be cracking down this season on the kind of hits to the groin area that resulted in Draymond Green‘s suspension during the NBA Finals.

They also will more closely monitor traveling after complaints from coaches that players are getting away with too many steps on the perimeter.

The referees were informed and instructed about those items this week during their preseason meetings and training camp.

The hits to the groin – termed “unnatural acts” by the league – are a point of emphasis after a number of situations involving Green during the postseason. The All-Star forward had a habit of flailing his arms or legs and a few times made contact with opponents in the groin area.

He was finally suspended after hitting LeBron James during the finals and missed Game 5. Cleveland rallied to beat Golden State for the title in seven games.

Joe Borgia, the NBA senior vice president of replay and referee operations, said players are no longer just swinging their arms in attempt to draw a foul when taking a shot.

“Now all of a sudden legs are coming out in different directions at weird times, they’re coming higher,” he said. “Well, for the protection of the players, we’re going to stop it.”

Another point of emphasis is making sure players are allowed freedom of movement away from the ball.

Critics have long griped that walking isn’t called enough in the NBA, and coaches shared the complaint with officials at their recent meeting. Referees will watch especially for players who spot up behind the 3-point arc looking to shoot, but then are chased off by a defender and often get away with an extra step as they begin their dribble.

Also, referees manning the Replay Center in Secaucus, New Jersey, will continue to be given greater responsibility this season. They will make the ruling on all plays that are reviewed, except for ones involving flagrant fouls and fights.