With under two minutes remaining in a tight game between the Thunder and the Clippers, Serge Ibaka chopped down with his right arm and struck Blake griffin in the groin, causing Griffin to crumble to the floor.
There’s no doubt the act was intentional on Ibaka’s part, but the referees didn’t see it as an actual punch, only ruling it as a flagrant-one which meant that Ibaka was allowed to remain in the game.
Ibaka went on to draw Griffin’s sixth foul by converting a three-point play a few possessions later, meaning Griffin had fouled out and was done, while Ibaka got to stay in and contribute to his team’s victory during the game’s most meaningful possessions.
It’s possible that Ibaka’s intention was to chop away Griffin’s arm that was keeping him out of position, and it’s even likely that Ibaka wasn’t intending to catch Griffin where he did with that shot. But it landed nonetheless, and the referees should have ejected him for it.
We’ll see if the league reviews the play and determines it was more deserving of punishment than the referees did on the spot.
Ex-Sacramento Kings executive to plead guilty to siphoning $13.4 million from the team
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Court records show a former Sacramento Kings top executive has agreed to plead guilty to siphoning $13.4 million from the team to buy Southern California beachfront properties.
Federal prosecutors in Sacramento, California, on Wednesday filed charges and a plea agreement signed by former chief revenue officer Jeffrey David admitting to forging the team president’s signature to divert sponsorship payments to a bank account he controlled. Court records show the properties have been sold for $14.8 million, and the team is expected to recoup the stolen funds.
David is expected to plead guilty to wire fraud and identity theft in January and faces at least two years in prison, court records show.
David’s lawyer, Mark Reichel, didn’t return a call for comment.
The Sacramento Bee first reported the plea deal Wednesday.
Report: Dirk Nowitzki will make season debut Thursday against Suns
Of course, sending Nowitzki back onto an NBA floor against Phoenix is perhaps the easiest test he could have as he comes back from an injury. The Suns are god-awful, and Nowitzki will need some time to readjust to playing at full speed (or at least at whatever speed he normally plays at).
The 40-year-old German star should be able to help the Mavericks as a bench contributor this season. Hopefully with Nowitzki on the floor Dallas can solidify their potential playoff berth.
Rumor: Pistons among teams considering Markelle Fultz trade
Let’s be clear, nothing is close on any Sixers trade of Fultz right now. Teams are just testing the waters.
It’s an interesting idea for Detroit, the chance to add a player who was a high draft pick — but only if they think he’s healthy and can get over his mental hurdles (his agent said there aren’t any, it’s all physical, and most of the league laughed at that). Also, the sides need to find a trade that works. Fultz, as a No. 1 pick, is not cheap, he makes $8.3 million this season and is guaranteed $9.7 next season, then $12.3 million the season after that (unless whatever team has his rights and just cuts bait on that last season).
The Pistons are flirting with the luxury tax line right now, their $123.3 million payroll is just about $500,000 below the tax line, so Detroit will not be taking on any salary in any potential trade. They also sent out last year’s first-round pick in the Blake Griffin trade, so they can’t trade this year’s, and likely would not include a pick anyway. A deal centered around Ish Smith or Langston Galloway plus Zaza Pachulia works (after Dec. 15 when Pachulia becomes available to trade). Both provide guard depth and Galloway offers Philly some shooting (34.9 percent taking 65 percent of his shots from three this season). Reggie Bullock also could be part of a trade.
There are options. Right now the Pistons are among the teams kicking the tires on a trade, but we are a long way from it actually happening.