Coaches of the Greek and Serbian teams are, shockingly, shocked at FIBA's suspension rulings

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Hey, remember that time a Greece-Serbia friendly broke out into a rootin’, tootin’, chair-throwin’ brawl? When Antonis Fotsis and Sofoklis Schortsanitis went absolutely nuts?

Even if you don’t (which you really should — it’s been the most notable moment in the lead-up to the FIBA World Championships), I’m pretty sure the Serbian and Greek players, do. And FIBA, too, judging by the fact that they doled out suspensions yesterday.

Suspensions that the coaches of each national team don’t seem to be too happy about. From the Associated Press:

[Serbia coach Dusan] Ivkovic criticized FIBA for waiting until less than 48 hours before the start of the tournament to suspend Oklahoma City Thunder center Nenad Krstic and guard Milos Teodosic for their roles in a brawl in Greece.

Krstic will miss the first three games and Teodosic the first two.
Ivkovic said Serbia has lost “two key players” for the games against
Angola, Germany and Jordan. “We will be playing 10 against 12 in
the first two matches and 11 against 12 in the third and that’s a big
handicap,” Ivkovic said.

“We have to react in a very short time,
I have to prepare my players mentally,” Ivkovic added. “Krstic is our
captain, or pillar, our main offensive option. Without Teodosic, we
lose a lot of creativity.”

Greece coach Jonas Kazlauskas said the
FIBA suspensions altered his plans ahead of Saturday’s opening game
against China. Both Fotsis and Schortsanitis will also be sitting on
the bench during Sunday’s game against Puerto Rico. “It is a disappointment,” Kazlauskas said after practice at Ankara Arena in Ankara, Turkey. “This is something unbelievable.”

Personally, I find both Ivkovic and Kazlauskas’ reactions to be a bit…surprising. Coaches of national teams often take on this “us against the world” mentality, probably because it literally is them against the world. Still, though FIBA officials could certainly have issued a quicker, and more decisive ruling, both coaches should understand that their players got off easy.

Krstic threw a chair at someone, and will sit for three preliminary games. Sofoklis Schortsanitis’ damage wasn’t even properly captured by the camera, but looks plenty brutal enough. It doesn’t matter if FIBA games have a “European atmosphere,” or not, this isn’t acceptable behavior. FIBA issued a statement saying as much, and then proceeded to issue a few slaps on the wrist for the players involved.

This isn’t “something unbelievable,” unless Kazlauskas agrees that FIBA should have been a bit more harsh in their punishment. There’s no use in Ivkovic griping about how long it took to issue the suspensions when everyone got off a bit easy. The coaches aren’t just looking the gift horse in the mouth on this one, they’re punching it in the mouth.

Or maybe even throwing a chair.

Rumor: Mike Budenholzer was close to taking Knicks job in 2018

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It’s the lure of the New York market, that a coach would consider passing on coaching Giannis Antetokounmpo and a team on the rise in Milwaukee to take the job.

In the summer of 2018, Mike Budenholzer was out in Atlanta and the best established name on the coaching market. At the time, it was known Coach Bud was the top choice of the Knicks, but he was reportedly close to taking the job, according to Ian Begley at SNY.TV.

Discussions between the Knicks and Budenholzer in the 2018 offseason advanced to a point where some people who would have come with Budenholzer to New York were talking about places to live in the city because they felt Budenholzer was close to taking the job, per SNY sources…

One official from an opposing team involved in searches at the time confirmed that coaching the Knicks intrigued Budenholzer. “Bud was definitely interested,” the team official said recently.

Budenholzer, however, chose Milwaukee, which had Antetokounmpo and a roster that was talented but needed a more modern offensive style and more focus. Budenholzer brought that and the team won 60 games last season, and is a title contender this season (if and when the NBA season restarts).

The Knicks hired David Fizdale, who lasted less than a season and a half before being let go. New team president Leon Rose now has to hire a new coach, and that will say a lot about the direction he wants to take the team.

He’d be lucky to find someone as good as Budenholzer.

Watch Tom Brady tell Charles Barkley to ‘take a suck of that’ after he holes fairway shot

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It was the highlight of an entertaining — if not always pretty — afternoon of live golf, raising money for charity.

Tampa Bay Bay Buccanneers quarterback Tom Brady (it’s so weird to type that) was on his fourth shot on the par-5 7th hole at the Medalist Golf Club. Brady had a rough front nine to that point, and commentator Charles Barkley decided to up the trash talk (as if Barkley should talk about someone else’s golf game).

“How many shots do you want? Come on, I’m going to give you some shots man, I want some of you,” Barkley said.

“Don’t worry, it ain’t over yet,” Brady countered as he walked up to his fourth shot, 130 yards from the pin. “I think you just made him mad, Chuck,” host Brian Anderson said. “No, he can take a joke,” Barkley replied. Then this happened.

Brady earned that trash talk.

It wasn’t the only great exchange between the two; they had some fun on an earlier on a par 3 when Barkley bet Brady couldn’t get it on the green.

Increasing buzz teams well out of playoffs will not come to Orlando for games

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The Golden State Warriors have been public about it, they expect their season to be over. Golden State is far from alone, multiple teams well out of the playoff picture have questioned the expense and risk-to-reward ratio of coming back to play a handful of regular season games without fans in Orlando.

More and more, the buzz has been the NBA league office sees things the same way. I am not the only reporter hearing this: Steve Popper of Newsday wrote a column saying there was no reason to invite all 30 teams to the bubble city and the USA Today’s well-connected Jeff Zillgett added this:

This is where we throw in the caveat: There are no hard-and-fast plans from the NBA yet and every option is still being considered. One lesson Adam Silver took from David Stern was not to make a decision until you have to, and Silver is going to absorb more information in the coming weeks — such as from the recent GM survey — before making his call.

That said, the league seems to be coalescing around a general plan, which includes camps starting in mid-June and games in mid-July in Orlando.

For the bottom three to five teams in each conference, there is little motivation to head to Orlando for the bubble. It’s an expense to the owner with no gate revenue coming in, teams want to protect their NBA Draft Lottery status, and the Warriors don’t want to risk injury to Stephen Curry — or the Timberwolves to Karl-Anthony Towns, or the Hawks to Trae Young — for a handful of meaningless games.

The league is considering a play-in tournament for the final seed or seeds in each conference (there are a few format options on the table, it was part of the GM survey). That would bring the top 10 or 12 seeds from each conference to the bubble, depending upon the format, and they would play a handful of games to determine which teams are in the playoffs (and face the top seeds).

Either way, that would leave the three or five teams with the worst records in each conference home. Which is the smart thing to do, there’s no reason to add risk to the bubble for a handful of meaningless games.

Eight-year NBA veteran Jon Leuer announces retirement

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Jon Leuer is only age 31, but the big man has battled ankle and other injuries in recent seasons, playing in only 49 games over the past three seasons. Last July, the Pistons traded him to the Bucks in a salary dump, and Milwaukee quickly waived him. Leuer struggled to get healthy and did not catch on with another team.

Sunday he took to Instagram to announce his retirement.

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I love the game of basketball. I still want to play, but I know deep down it’s not the right decision for my health anymore. The past 3 years I’ve dealt with a number of injuries, including 2 that kept me out this whole season. It’s taken me a while to come to grips with this, but I’m truly at peace with my decision to officially retire. As disappointing as these injuries have been, I’m still thankful for every moment I spent playing the game. Basketball has been the most amazing journey of my life. It’s taken me places I only could’ve dreamed about as a kid. The relationships it brought me mean more than anything. I’ve been able to connect with people from all walks of life and forged lifelong bonds with many of them. What this game has brought me stretches way beyond basketball. I’m grateful for this incredible ride and everyone who helped me along the way. 🙏🏼🙌🏼✌🏼

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Leuer — a second-round pick out of Wisconsin for the Bucks in 2011 — averaged 10.2 points and 5.4 rebounds a game for the Pistons in the 2016-17 season, and for the years at the peak of his career he was a quality rotational big man teams could trust, either off the bench or as a spot starter.

Over the course of his career he played for the Bucks, Cavaliers, Grizzlies, Suns, and Pistons. He earned more than $37 million in salary, most of it from a three-year contract the Pistons gave him in 2016. It was not long after his body started to betray him.

Leuer has been riding out the quarantine in Minnesota is wife Keegan (NFL coach Brian Billick’s daughter) and the couple is donating thousands of meals a week to the needy in that community.