Friday night, Dwight Howard picked up technical foul number 15 on the season, helping extend his league lead.
Once he gets his “frequent techicals rewards card” stamped one more time gets an automatic one-game suspension.
It’s really a matter of when — he has averaged a technical every four games this season and the Magic have 23 games left. Even on his best behavior he’s going to get another. Since he gets another one-game suspension for every second technical after 16, he may well miss a couple more games this season.
Then comes the playoffs.
Get seven technical in the playoffs and you are suspended a game (everyone’s total resets to zero). That may seem like a lot, but with emotions higher and the games more intense in the playoffs, technical fouls flow like water sometimes. Kendrick Perkins would have been suspended for a game in the Eastern Conference Finals last season if one technical assessed had not been rescinded by the league.
It will be interesting to see how much the referees relax the “respect the game” techs during the heated playoffs. If at all.
The playoffs are when Howard will really need to control himself. We’ve got questions about whether these Magic are contenders, but if they are to seriously challenge the Celtics and Heat at the top of the East, Howard has to be at the heart of the attack. Every game. He is riding and pushing his teammates right now, trying to get the team back up to the East’s elite. He is putting up monster numbers — averaging 27 and 15 while shooting 67.3 percent in his last 10 games — trying to carry his team up to the next level. He’s even hitting free throws.
He’s going to have to do all that and more come the playoffs for the Magic to really have a chance. Which means he needs to stay on the court.
Basically, starting today, he’s got to get the technical down to a minimum. Because this team needs him on the court to have any chance.
The Timberwolves, like the other seven teams not invited to the NBA’s restart at Disney World, are holding workouts.
Not in Minnesota: Forward Juancho Hernangomez.
Chris Hine of the StarTribune:
A team spokesperson said Hernangomez is filming Adam Sandler’s latest project in Philadelphia.
Netflix is producing the film, called “Hustle.”
And people thought LeBron James – also a producer of “Hustle,” which is about a basketball scout who finds talent oversees – prioritized Hollywood over hoops.
A Spain native, Hernangomez will be a free agent this offseason. The Timberwolves can make him restricted.
But how could anyone want a player who doesn’t respect the sanctity of voluntary workouts occurring several months before next season (besides his 3-point shooting, rebounding and defensive versatility)?
A rumor emerged about the Kings trading Buddy Hield to the 76ers. It didn’t seem particularly credible.
But then Hield himself liked this Instagram post promoting a potential trade and apparently made a pro-Philadelphia comment on Instagram:
Hield previously laid the groundwork for an offseason trade request. He seemed unhappy at times in Sacramento this season, losing his starting job and even riding the bench when the Kings needed a 3-pointer.
The 76ers could use more shooting – especially if they hire Mike D’Antoni. Hield would definitely add value. A lineup where Hield and Josh Richardson defend guards and Ben Simmons plays point guard offensively and defends a frontcourt player is intriguing.
Hield is set to earn $24,931,817 next season in the first year of a four-year extension. That’s in the range of Tobias Harris ($34,358,850) and Al Horford ($27,500,000).
However, Horford’s trade value is at rock bottom. Tobias Harris would add only so much value to Sacramento, which already has Harrison Barnes.
Kings fans can hope for Ben Simmons ($28,750,000) or Joel Embiid ($29,542,010). But those stars are FAR more valuable than Hield. Besides, the 76ers said they wouldn’t trade Simmons or Embiid (though it’s unclear who exactly is running the show in Philadelphia).
Regardless of whether the Kings and 76ers could connect on a trade, Hield making these public gestures is an issue in Sacramento. It’s on new Kings general manager Monte McNair to manage this. After years of supporting Daryl Morey with the Rockets, this is a new challenge – being in charge while a player makes waves – for McNair.
Relatedly, McNair must also handle Bogdan Bogdanovic‘s impending restricted free agency. These look like warning shots from Hield as Sacramento determines its priorities at shooting guard.
Philadelphia 76ers ownership (led by Josh Harris) reportedly has been very hands-on in picking the team’s new coach — even if that means a new direction for the roster. That hands-on style reportedly why ownership likes Elton Brand as GM and may balk at bringing in a big-name president of basketball operations — that person would want total control of basketball decisions. Right now, ownership is pulling a lot of those levers.
And ownership wants Mike D’Antoni as the next head coach in Philadelphia, reports Keith Pompey of the Philadelphia Inquirer.
Sources have been saying since last week that the job is D’Antoni’s to turn down. They say he’s the guy the ownership group wants. One source even said the 69-year-old would have to bomb his interview with the Sixers owners not to be offered the job.
The problem is that Brand is supposed to have a huge input on the hire. The ownership is only supposed to approve or deny Brand’s suggestion. Now, word is leaking out that Brand is pushing hard for the Sixers to hire D’Antoni and that Joel Embiid gave his blessing. In addition, there are reports that the Sixers will make trades if D’Antoni is hired. The expectation is that he’ll have a say in picking players for his freewheeling style of play.
With Billy Donovan taking over in Chicago, the list of top candidates for the Philadelphia job seems down to two: Tyronn Lue and Mike D’Antoni. Lue would be the conventional choice, a guy who would try to make it work with Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons together, along with Tobias Harris, Josh Richardson, and Al Horford. Roster tweaks would be coming, but with Lue the idea would be making better use of the roster and style the 76ers have already built.
D’Antoni would be a radical change of direction — he is coming from a team that just started 6’7″ Robert Covington at center. The current 76ers roster would need changes to fit with D’Antoni’s freewheeling ways, and even then the coach would need to adapt what he wants to do. (No contract is untradeable, but moving the four-years, $147.2 million left on Harris’ deal, or the three years and $81 million on Horford’s contract, would require Philly to throw in a lot of sweeteners.)
D’Antoni would mean another change of direction in Philly, but that seems to be what ownership wants.
In the final minutes of Miami’s Game 4 win, while Tyler Hero was knocking down shots and Jimmy Butler was getting to the line, Miami‘s Bam Adebayo was dealing with an injury, walking around holding his wrist, his arm dragging. He had gotten tangled up with Daniel Theis under the basket and clearly injured something.
The questions raised post game were about what happened, how serious it was, and could Adebayo be out for Game 5 on Friday? There was nothing official from the team but it looks like he will play, according to Tim Reynolds of the Associated Press and Ira Winderman of the Sun-Sentinel.
Adebayo had 20 points and 12 rebounds in Game 4, and his play is critical to Miami’s game plan against Boston. His ability to protect the rim at one end, then come out high to set screens and pull Theis out of the paint on the other end, is at the heart of what the Heat want to do in this series. If he is even slowed in Game 5 it is an advantage for Boston.
This time of year, and with the Heat one game away from the NBA Finals, no chance he sits if he can at all play.