Winderman: Contraction not a bad idea, just bad negotiations

3 Comments

Contraction as collective-bargaining threat is lamentable on so many levels.

In does little to advance the process, offers a solution to nothing.

But contraction as a means toward competitive renewal?

It is an option that should not be summarily dismissed, albeit one better debated at a time other than amid the expiration of a CBA.

Making a case is not all that difficult. In fact, it merely requires scanning the box scores from the first two nights of the season.

What do these players have in common: Joel Anthony, Jamario Moon, Austin Daye, Jason Kapono, Spencer Hawes, Landry Fields, Reggie Evans, Darrell Arthur, Donte Greene, Wayne Ellington, Nazr Mohammed and Shelden Williams?

Each was an opening-night starter, not a late-season selection of last resort. Yes, injuries factored into some of those equations, but injuries only increase over the course of a season.

Amid his early-season tour, David Stern certainly makes compelling cases for the top of the standings, the theater of the Heat, Celtics and Magic in the East, of the Lakers and Thunder in the West.

Yet while teams are charging premiums to see such attractions, making single-game customers also buy everything from NHL tickets to D-League tickets, it’s not as if they also are offering rebates to those who will take tickets to the Timberwolves, Pacers, Kings and Nets off their hands.

As a national brand, the NBA has no issue with putting its best faces forward. There certainly are enough marquee teams to fill the ample network slots on ESPN, ABC, TNT and even NBATV.

But would there be an uproar if the 76ers, Raptors, Pistons and Warriors didn’t come to town?

In fact, with everything that’s wrong about Major League Baseball’s division-loaded schedule (please, please, please not another Marlins-Nationals game), there is plenty to be said about Eastern Conference teams getting to host the Lakers more than once, or Western Conference teams not being limited to a single visits by Wade, LeBron and Bosh.

Already, Glen Taylor has issued a not-my-team contraction warning about his Timberwolves.

But will the conviction be there in the Twin Cities for the Jan. 29 visit by Toronto?

The bottom of the NBA is where nondescript happens.

Sometime later this season, the NBA almost assuredly will come out with a release about how sales of its league-pass program have reached record levels.

Sure. Everyone wants to see the Heat, Lakers, Magic, Thunder and Celtics.

But only because it’s better entertainment than actually sitting through the Raptors. ‘Wolves, Pistons, Pacers and 76ers.

Contraction as labor threat? Reprehensible.

Contraction for the betterment of the league? A perfectly reasonable concept.

Ira Winderman writes regularly for NBCSports.com and covers the Heat and the NBA for the South Florida Sun-Sentinel. You can follow him on Twitter at http://twitter.com/IraHeatBeat.

Dorian Finney-Smith slams putback dunk on two Timberwolves (video)

Glenn James/NBAE via Getty Images
Leave a comment

The Mavericks have the best offensive rating (117.5 on Basketball-Reference) in NBA history.

That’s in part because Dallas is an excellent offensive-rebounding team.

Dorian Finney-Smith took it to the next level in the Mavericks’ win over the Timberwolves yesterday:

Poor Treveon Graham and Jarrett Culver.

Report: Woman drops sexual-assault lawsuit against Kings coach Luke Walton

Adam Glanzman/Getty Images
2 Comments

The NBA closed its investigation into Kings coach Luke Walton – whom Kelli Tennant sued, alleging sexual assault – without finding wrongdoing.

Walton – who denied the allegations from his time as a Warriors assistant coach and Lakers head coach – won’t face a civil trial, either.

TMZ:

The woman who accused Luke Walton of sexually assaulting her in a hotel room in 2017 has officially dropped her lawsuit against the NBA coach, TMZ Sports has learned.

Unclear if Walton and Tennant struck a settlement — but it’s not uncommon in situations like this.

We might eventually learn details of a settlement. But with Tennant not cooperating with the NBA investigation and now dropping her lawsuit, Walton will likely get to continue his coaching career without this hanging over him.

It’s often difficult for victims of sexual abuse to prove the crime occurred. Likewise, it’s often difficult for wrongfully accused people to prove their innocence. Tennant’s main allegation occurred in a hotel room with only she and Walton present.

Hopefully, justice prevailed here.

Blake Griffin inadvertently hits referee in face (video)

Leave a comment

Blake Griffin kept causing problems during the Pistons’ loss to the Bucks last night.

He and Giannis Antetokounmpo went face-to-face a couple times. At one point, Griffin bumped down and stepped over Antetokounmpo, prompting Khris Middleton to confront the Detroit star.

But Griffin saved his most devastating work for referee Scott Twardoski.

Griffin extended his arm and whacked Twardoski in the face, flooring the official. Play stopped for Twardoski to recover. The replay doesn’t do the contact justice. Twardoski was moving quickly up the floor when he ran straight into Griffin’s hand.

At least it wasn’t as bad as this legendary Carlos Boozer moment:

Out of game, shoeless LeBron James waves towel on court near play (video)

1 Comment

LeBron James wasn’t about that NBA-rulebook life last night.

Not only did he get away with a comically blatant travel, he – ostensibly out of the game – later wandered onto the court during play. He got pretty close to the action, waving his towel in celebration of consecutive Kyle Kuzma blocks.

And LeBron was wearing only socks on his feet. He had already given his shoes away to young fans – with 4:20 left! Sure, the Lakers were up 19 on the Jazz, but that’s a lot of time remaining. What a kind and totally disrespectful gesture, a real do-it-all move.

Restless-late-in-a-blowout LeBron is the best LeBron.