Kurt Helin

Matt Barnes
Associated Press

Report: Players’ Union files grievance for Matt Barnes due to suspension

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Matt Barnes was suspended two games by the NBA for a ridiculous altercation with Knicks’ coach Derek Fisher back during training camp at the home of Barnes’ estranged wife. Consider it a time out for childish behavior.

That’s not how Barnes saw it — he said Fisher should have handled it like a man and ranted about it on Instagram — and now, on his behalf, the NBA players union has filed a grievance, reports Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports.

The National Basketball Players Association has filed a grievance on behalf of Memphis Grizzlies forward Matt Barnes to get his two-game suspension without pay rescinded, league sources told Yahoo Sports….

Barnes served a two-game suspension in late December, but NBPA executive director Michele Roberts is appealing to an arbitrator to spare Barnes the loss of $64,000 in salary, sources said.

The NBA has a history of suspending guys for embarrassing or illegal off-the-court activities. By all accounts — including Barnes’ texts — he was the aggressor. However, no criminal charges were filed over the incident.

The Knicks travel to Memphis to take on the Grizzlies Saturday night. Barnes sat out the first meeting between the teams.

NCAA finally pushes back NBA draft withdrawal until after combine

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This isn’t going to matter for Ben Simmons or Brandon Ingram this coming June, or the future versions of Simmons and Ingram that will go high in the first round of the NBA draft. Those guys know their status and make their decision about entering the NBA Draft knowing they will go high and guaranteed money is coming their way.

However, there are other more bubble first-round picks — or second-rounders — who get bad advice from family, unscrupulous agents (and those around them), and just hangers-on who pump the player full of unrealistic expectations. Those guys leave college before they are ready and struggle to find a foothold in professional basketball.

Finally, the NCAA has done something about that — something that should have been done long ago.

This means a player can declare for the draft, go through the NBA Draft Combine, get feedback from teams on where he might go in the draft, then pull out and return to college if he wishes (so long as he doesn’t sign with an agent). Former Brooklyn Nets executive Bobby Marks explained it well.

The NBA Draft Combine in Chicago will take place May 11-15 this year, meaning players will have until May 25 to make a decision.

The withdrawal date had been pushed forward back in 2009 and it benefited coaches in this sense — the player had to decide to stay or go before a major recruiting signing period, allowing a coach to target holes. However, in practice it left coaches watching their best players struggle with decisions in part because some of them didn’t have the best information.

Let’s be clear — plenty of young men are going to hear the NBA’s feedback, know they are not going high, and still keep their names in the draft. That could be because of financial hardship, disliking the college experience (or his coach), just a desire to start getting paid even if it is overseas, or some old-fashioned stubbornness.

Hopefully, for a handful of players a year, this does make a difference — guys will choose to stay in school (ideally getting an education) and come out when they are ready. For those guys, this rule change is both good and long overdue.

Carmelo Anthony out vs. Nets with sprained ankle

New York Knicks forward Carmelo Anthony (7) walks off the court after teammate Jose Calderon (3) missed a last-second shoot against the San Antonio Spurs during the second half of an NBA basketball game Friday, Jan. 8, 2016, in San Antonio. San Antonio won 100-99. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)
Associated Press
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Tuesday night, late in the first half of the Knicks win against Boston, Carmelo Anthony was running up court while looking back over his shoulder and collided with a referee, stepping on the ref’s foot and rolling his ankle. Anthony was clearly in pain but had it retaped, tried to play the second half, and that lasted all of 19 seconds.

It’s not a shock, but Anthony will sit out Wednesday night with the Knicks heading out to Brooklyn to face the Nets.

X-rays of Anthony’s ankle were negative, so it is not likely he will miss much time and could be back Saturday vs. Memphis. Lance Thomas is likely to get the start with Anthony out.

Dirk Nowitzki imitates Donald Trump in fantastic Mavericks promo


He’s no Taran Killam (or especially Darrell Hammond), but Dirk Nowitzki does a pretty funny imitation of Donald Trump for this latest Mavericks promotional video.

Kudos to the Mavs marketing team for going there in the first place. Double props to Nowitzki for putting on that playing along.


Report: Bulls “checking on interest” on Joakim Noah, Taj Gibson, Pau Gasol


Bulls crowded front court rotation already has Joakim Noah unhappy with his role or with new coach Fred Hoiberg.

The Bulls are struggling to find minutes for Pau Gasol, Nikola Mirotic, Taj Gibson, Bobby Portis, Doug McDermott, and Noah. Which is why a lot of teams around the league expect the Bulls to be sellers at the trade deadline.

Ric Bucher of Bleacher Report says the Bulls have already started testing those trade waters.

League sources say the Chicago Bulls have been checking on interest in one of their three bigs on the front line: Taj Gibson, Joakim Noah, and even at one point Pau Gasol. They are looking to get a young talent back, doesn’t matter whether it’s a defensive wing or a genuine stretch four. All of this is being motivated or prompted by the emergence of rookie big man Bobby Portis, who is demonstrating he is ready to take on a role now.

This is not a new rumor. And it’s one that is not going to go away before the trade deadline.

Whether or not the Bulls are serious about making a trade, trying to find the value of players on the market is part of any GM’s job. Teams attempt to judge the value of guys they have no intention of moving all the time, it’s part of due diligence. Despite what Bucher says Bulls management believes, that team is not a title contender — but if they can get closer with a trade, they need to consider it.

As for the three players mentioned, only one is likely to get moved — Gibson. Noah has Tom Thibodeau miles on his 30-year-old legs and is not only battling to stay healthy, but also he is an unrestricted free agent this summer. Meaning teams will be hesitant to give much up for a guy that may not be able to retain. The same is true of Gasol, who will opt out of his contract this summer to chase a bigger payday. A team that trades for those guys would have Bird rights on them but very well could lose them in free agency.

Gibson is the exception. He’s under contract for a reasonable $8.9 million next season, and he can bring rim protection, rebounds, and some efficient scoring. A lot of teams trying to move up to contender status — or just ensure they make the playoffs — could use what he brings.

That said, this is all very preliminary. Don’t expect a move until closer to the deadline.