Kurt Helin

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Detroit’s Willie Reed suspended six games for domestic abuse incident; union protesting

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Back in August in Miami (where he lives in the off-season), Piston (then Clipper) big man Willie Reed was arrested on a domestic battery charge. Reed’s wife, Jasmine, said the couple was arguing, she was knocked to the ground in a struggle over her purse, adding he had grabbed her by the shirt, hair, wrist, and arm. She later asked that the charges against him be dropped. In a deal with prosecutors, Reed agreed to go to a diversion program, and when that was completed the battery charges would be dropped (these programs are common nationally for first-time offenders where police and investigators do not think this is a chronic situation).

That doesn’t mean Reed was done with the case.

Tuesday the NBA announced a six-game suspension for Reed for this domestic violence incident. From the NBA’s press release.

The NBA conducted its own investigation into this matter, reviewing all available materials and interviewing the parties involved. The NBA also consulted with a group of domestic violence experts who provide the league with guidance in such cases.

The six-game suspension is based on all facts and circumstances of this matter and considers the conduct and its result, the outcome of the criminal matter, and Reed’s voluntary participation in counseling as well as the court-mandated program, among other factors.

However, the players’ union is filing a grievance in the case. From the player’s union:

“The National Basketball Players Association believes the six-game suspension imposed by the NBA on Willie Reed is excessive and inappropriate. We are filing a grievance today and seeking an expedited hearing to fully protect his rights and get him back on the court as soon as possible.”

The league has been too soft on domestic violence cases in the past and, rightfully, now wants to come down harder on players in this situation. Domestic violence simply cannot be tolerated, not because it’s bad PR for the NBA but because it’s just wrong. Legally, morally, and in every other way wrong.

Did the league come down too hard on Reed? I don’t know enough details in the case to offer a salient opinion, but I don’t think six games for domestic abuse is the least bit unreasonable. What you think probably says more about your worldview than it does this case itself.

The grievance likely will be taken up with the league in the coming days.

Report: Wizards put Marcin Gortat on market, target DeAndre Jordan

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The Wizards have won five in a row without John Wall, but Washington knows if it are going to make a deep playoff run it needs not only Wall back at 100 percent, it also likely needs other roster upgrades. (If you’re hot-taking that the Wizards are better off without Wall, you need to watch more basketball.)

One possible upgrade? Move Marcin Gortat and replace him with a better center. Say… DeAndre Jordan of the Clippers, who just so happens to be available.

From Brian Windhorst of ESPN.

The Washington Wizards have been engaged in trade talks involving center Marcin Gortat, multiple sources told ESPN.

Several teams have shown interest, but the Wizards are looking to improve their team now while not taking on additional long-term money, sources said. Washington has expressed interest in LA Clippers center DeAndre Jordan, ESPN’s Zach Lowe reported.

Slow your roll. Before you jump on the trade machine to make a deal, know that testing the market for a guy like Gortat and moving him are very different animals. From Chase Hughes of NBC Sports Washington.

If the Wizards are going to move Gortat, they need to get someone back who can play center, Scott Brooks doesn’t want to go full-time small ball.

Jordan certainly would qualify, but if the Clippers do this they are going to want a good young player and a first-round pick back as part of the deal. Washington isn’t going to part with Kelly Oubre, but what about a deal that involved Tomas Satoransky? Something like Gortat, Satoransky, a first, and whatever it takes to make the salary work (which might mean Jason Smith) might interest the Clippers.

However, it would only interest the Wizards if Jordan is willing to opt into the final year of his contract, they get extended by the team (sort of like Chris Paul did with Houston). So far, Jordan has not been willing to do that, he wants to test the market next summer.

It’s not an easy deal to put together where both teams are happy.

Gortat is out there, though and that’s something to watch.

PBT Podcast: Author Jonathan Abrams talks “The Wire,” LeBron James, more

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It’s more than just basketball on today’s podcast.

Author Jonathan Abrams, who has been one of the best NBA writers for years, has a new book out, an oral history of the legendary HBO series “The Wire” called “All The Pieces Matter.” You can read an excerpt right now at The Ringer, and the book drops Feb. 13.

Abrams joins Kurt Helin to discuss how the book came about, what he learned about the show writing it, and the show’s cultural impact now, many years after it shut down production.

There is NBA talk, also. The two also get into what is going on in Cleveland with LeBron James and the Cavaliers — Abrams previous book was about the “preps to pros” generation of the NBA — as well as whether the NBA should bring back high school players in the draft. There’s even a little discussion of the tension between referees and players.

As always, you can check out the podcast below, listen and subscribe via iTunes at ApplePodcasts.com/PBTonNBC, subscribe via the fantastic Stitcher app, check us out on Google play, or check out the NBC Sports Podcast homepage and archive at Art19.

Dirk Nowitzki joins 50,000 minutes club wearing jersey with name misspelled

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Future Hall of Famer Dirk Nowitzki reached another milestone on Tuesday night — 50,000 regular season minutes played.

Dallas’ sharp-shooting big man joins just five others — Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Karl Malone, Kevin Garnett, Jason Kidd and Elvin Hayes — in that club. It takes a long, mostly healthy career playing at a high level to earn that much court time, and the feat turned heads.

However, what turned the most heads is Nowitzki did it in a jersey where his name was misspelled.

Nowitzki himself had no idea.

What really matters is getting his name spelled right on his checks and on his plaque in Springfield at the Hall of Fame.

Three Things to Know: Pistons haven’t lost with Blake Griffin

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Every day in the NBA there is a lot to unpack, so every weekday morning throughout the season we will give you the three things you need to know from the last 24 hours in the NBA.

1) Pistons haven’t lost with Blake Griffin, won four in a row after a victory over Trail Blazers. This is why Stan Van Gundy traded for Blake Griffin — to wake up and shake up his team to make a playoff push. That’s not to say it’s all been Griffin, he has just been his usual self (when healthy) since coming to Detroit — 20.3 points and 9.3 rebounds per game in his three games in a new uniform. His shooting efficiency is slightly down, his rebounding marginally better, but he’s moving the ball, and with him the Pistons are passing better, leading to cleaner looks. Also, the team is defending well with him.

The result: Detroit has won its three games with Griffin, the team has won four in a row, and after a comfortable 111-91 win over Portland on Monday Detroit has moved into a virtual tie with Philadelphia for the final playoff slot in the East. What’s more, the winning should continue for the Pistons through a soft part of the schedule (Brooklyn is next, followed Friday by a Clippers team that could look very different after the trade deadline, then Atlanta).

If you want to see what Griffin brings to this roster, this play sums it up: He grabs the board, brings the ball up himself, and sees Andre Drummond (the NBA Player of the Week in the East) running the floor and hits him with an alley-oop. Guys will run, will cut and move off the ball with purpose if they believe they will get rewarded.

Or, Griffin can just hit a shot that would give you an “H” in H-O-R-S-E (even if it didn’t count).

I still have serious long-term reservations about the Griffin trade for Detroit, how it boxes them in financially long term and what the ceiling is for this team with him, considering his health issues. But in the short term (this season and next) Van Gundy wanted to make the Pistons a playoff team. Griffin can do — and is doing — just that.

2) Robin Lopez absolutely snaps, takes out his frustrations on a helpless chair in the hallway. Bulls center Robin Lopez was having issues with the officiating almost from the opening tip it seemed Monday night against the Kings, and through the second quarter his anger — and his verbal abuse of the officials — was rising. He was pushing getting a technical. He was acting like one of the officials told him the new Star Wars movie sucked.

Then he snapped. And I mean “get the man a valium” snapped. Lopez was called for contact with Willie Cauley-Stein trying to deny a pass, and LOST IT.

Lopez earned his ejection, then took his frustrations out on an innocent chair in the hallway.

A fine is coming, that is pretty much the definition of “not leaving the court in a timely manner.”

3) Utah has won six in a row, injected itself back into the playoff race in West. A couple of weeks ago we thought Utah was out of the playoff chase in the West and would be sellers at the trade deadline. Part of that is still true, there is a lot of interest in Rodney Hood around the league and there is a real chance he is in a new uniform before Friday, and Joe Johnson is trying to orchestrate a trade out of Utah.

However, the Jazz are back in the playoff mix, thanks to an offense that has taken off. Utah has scored 115.7 points per 100 possessions during a six-game win streak that continued Monday with a win over New Orleans — the Jazz offense the last six games has been better than the Warriors offense on the season (113.4 per 100). Meanwhile, Rudy Gobert is back and the Jazz defense is giving up less than a point per possession during the streak.

The Jazz are currently three games out of the final playoff slot in the West still, but need to pass a Pelicans team stumbling without DeMarcus Cousins, and a Clipper team that doesn’t have Blake Griffin and could be without more stars by Friday after the trade deadline, they have a real chance. Fivethirtyeight.com now gives Utah a 74 percent chance of making the postseason (better than the Clippers or Pelicans, both at 53 percent). Cleaning The Glass projects the Pelicans and Jazz to both finish with 43 wins and take the final two playoff slots, with Portland and the Clippers at 42 and on the outside looking in. Obviously, there is a lot of season left to go, but a Jazz team torn apart by injuries all season long has kept it together, and now they have a real shot at the playoffs. Quin Snyder deserves a lot of credit for that, as does rookie Donovan Mitchell.