Shaq says new technical rules make refs stars, “you might as well start selling their jerseys at Footlocker”

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Why do you go to basketball games? The players? The passion and emotion? The skills?

Shaquille O’Neal is on board with all that and he thinks the NBA’s new crackdown on complaints and handing out of technicals gets in the way of all that, as he told Holly McKenzie of The Score (via Trey Kerby). Shaq said fans want the emotion and the players to be the focus — unless you’re serious about making the referees stars.

“I just think that if you give those guys that much control you might as well start selling their jerseys at Footlocker. This is an emotional game. I know when I pay the money to different arenas and I take my sons and my daughters, I want to see everything. I want to see them talking smack, I want to see it all. You can’t try to just cut off an emotional game — expect people not to have emotion.

“[I’ll] say that you can probably cut out the secondary and the third emotion, but if you hit me with this mic right here, like this, I’m gonna at least go, ‘Whoa, what you doing?’ I can’t just let you hit me with the mic and just keep talking, ‘Yeah, everything’s good, I love Toronto,’ you know what I’m saying? I’ve got to at least have that, ‘What are you doing?’ I think they [should] give us room to respectfully react once, sometimes maybe twice. Matter of fact, just keep it like the way it was.”

“The other night, I don’t think KG did anything to get tossed out. Like I said, [you’re] going to give them that much control you might as well start selling their jerseys. Might as well make them stars.”

The new rules tell referees to call a technical on any overt expression of displeasure with a call, or any discussion of a call with a referee that goes on too long. That led to four techs in 16 seconds the other night in the Boston/New York game. Soon it will change the outcome of games. And right now, the problem — well, one of the problems — is the consistency. Amare Stoudemire yelled at a referee about a no call just minutes before KG got tossed the other night. Different standards. It’s like that everywhere.

We said it before — problem number one with the NBA’s new technical foul enforcement is you put the referees right in the spotlight. In an ideal game they blend into the background, this forces them front and center.

But Shaq really said that better than we could have.

Report: Dewayne Dedmon opts in for $6.3 million with Hawks

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The Hawks’ rebuild got going with big John Collins. Though they’re reportedly eying Luka Doncic with the No. 3 pick, they could easily draft another big – Jaren Jackson Jr., Mohamed Bamba, Marvin Bagley or Wendell Carter.

And then there’s veteran center Dewayne Dedmon.

He no longer fits in Atlanta (never did, really). But he’s not bypassing a chance to earn $6.3 million.

Shams Charania of Yahoo Sports:

There just wasn’t going to be that much money for the 28-year-old Dedmon in a tight market this summer.

Dedmon is a good defender, and he developed his ball skills – as a 3-point shooter and passer – in Atlanta last season. The Hawks could look to trade him. Maybe, in a deal primarily about his expiring contract, he adds extra value to the other team due to his playing ability.

If Atlanta doesn’t move him, Dedmon will be a fine player on a likely tanking team. At least he’s not good enough to subvert the Hawks’ tank, especially with the new lottery format.

Nick Young says ‘everybody needs to do cocaine,’ later insists he was joking

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Nick Young will say and do nearly anything for attention.

Empowered by the Warriors’ championship, he swung for the fences when asked about Canada passing marijuana legalization.

Young, via TMZ:

“I want people to pass cocaine,” the NBA star told TMZ Sports outside 1 OAK on Tuesday night … “Everybody needs to do cocaine!”

Predictably, that caused a bit of an uproar. Then, Young backtracked:

Chill. You know I was just joking

A post shared by Nick Young (@swaggyp1) on

Too late, Nick. People are already asking questions you don’t want asked.

Report: 76ers trade No. 39 pick to Lakers

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The 76ers have too many 2018 draft picks – Nos. 10, 26, 38, 39, 56 and 60.

Philadelphia already has 11 players under contract for next season. Plus, the 76ers have the space to add premier players. There just isn’t room for everyone on the roster.

So, Philadelphia unloaded one of those selections.

Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN:

This is good return for the 76ers, who everyone knew had to trade a draft pick. The rebuilding Bulls could easily land a higher second-round pick than No. 39 next year.

Why do the Lakers want an extra second-rounder this year? Second-round picks don’t count against the cap until signed, and they can always slightly sweeten a trade offer. They’re helpful for a team with big plans and little wiggle room.

Kyle O’Quinn opts out of Knicks contract

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The Knicks have the No. 8 pick, and tomorrow’s draft will be the most important part of their offseason.

Will they also have cap space to add talent in free agency? That hinges on Enes Kanter‘s player option.

If Kanter opts out, New York will have even more room to operate thanks to Kyle O'Quinn declining his $4,256,250 player option.

Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN:

The Knicks expected this for a while, and they’re probably not disappointed. Steve Mills and Scott Perry want to put their stamp on the franchise. O’Quinn is a leftover from the Phil Jackson era and a reminder of the recent tumult in New York.

O’Quinn’s combination of block percentage (6.1) and defensive-rebounding percentage (27.8) was unmatched last season. He just really struck a nice balance between contesting shots and remaining in position on the glass. He’s also a smooth mid-range shooter with an improved ability to distribute.

How much is that player worth?

It’ll be a tight market, especially for bigs. For his sake, I hope the 28-year-old O’Quinn already has assurances from other teams. He might get a similar salary or, more likely, a larger overall guarantee on a multi-year deal. But it’s also possible he comes out behind by testing free agency.