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Report: Rockets told NBA that officiating cost them 2018 championship, $20M revenue

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The Rockets are waging information warfare.

After Houston’s Game 1 loss to the Warriors – a game with plenty of officiating controversy – a study the Rockets conducted into their games against Golden State leaked. The result: Based on the NBA’s own review of calls, referees cost Houston 93 points – including 18 points in Game 7 – during the Western Conference finals.

How did Houston calculate those numbers? How significant was the effect?

Zach Lowe and Rachel Nichols of ESPN:

“Referees likely changed the NBA champion,” says the memo, addressed to Byron Spruell, the NBA’s president of league operations. “There can no be no worse result for the NBA.”

In their memo — which, again, the Rockets did not end up sending because they communicated its message in person instead — Houston recommended adding a fourth on-court referee, and that the league make full-game officiating reports available to every team for every game. They also claim a trip to the Finals would have netted at least $20 million in additional revenue.

The league provided Houston with what is essentially a full-game version for Game 7 of the last two-minute report it releases after close games. The report lists incorrect calls; fouls and violations that should have been called but weren’t; fouls and violations that would only have been visible, according to the league, with enhanced video review; and uncalled “potential infractions” where the league cannot come to a definitive conclusion on whether a foul was merited.

The Rockets appear to have included all such instances in the report, including those that benefited the Warriors.

Give Houston credit for suggesting solutions, not just whining. But there is a woe-is-me attitude that trickles through the organization from emphasizing a report like this. The Rockets might think they’re working told giving themselves a competitive advantage (or eliminating Golden State’s). More likely, Houston is just instilling a mindset that detracts from the focus necessary to win at this level.

I’m also not sure how much we should trust this analysis.

It seems the Rockets determined the expected value of possessions if calls were made it correctly then compared it to the actual points scored on those possessions, which is fine. But why count “potential infractions” where the league couldn’t make a definitive determination? What would the results have been without including those? I’d be shocked if they didn’t make Houston look like a bigger victim.

This methodology also leads to some uncomfortable results. In one example, James Harden got away with a possible infraction, an uncalled shooting foul on Kevon Looney. Without a whistle, the Warriors got an offensive rebound, and Kevin Durant made a 3-pointer. The Rockets said a correct call would have produced an expected value of one Golden State point (based on Looney’s free-throw percentage and two attempts). But because the Warriors instead scored three points on the possession, Houston claimed the missed call gave Golden State two extra points.

In other words, the Rockets claimed they were harmed by getting away with a foul!

Remember, Houston’s goal is helping Houston – not improving officiating. Everything the Rockets leak like this should be met with skepticism.

Rudy Gobert says he’ll relinquish DPOY to little girl playing adorably intense defense (video)

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I’ve been looking all day for an excuse to post this video on a site called ProBasketballTalk.

Jazz center Rudy Gobertwho just won Defensive Player of the Year – provided it.

Gobert:

Everyone frets about young basketball players emulating Stephen Curry. But Patrick Beverley apparently also has influence.

Report: Knicks considering offering DeMarcus Cousins big one-year contract if they miss on stars

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The Knicks will reportedly roll over their cap space if they don’t sign Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving or Kawhi Leonard this summer.

Of course, New York must still field a team for 2019-20. After six straight losing seasons – including a franchise-worst 17-65 this season – the Knicks might even want to be somewhat competitive.

A candidate to fill the roster: DeMarcus Cousins.

Marc Stein of The New York Times:

If the Knicks are intent keeping cap space clear for 2020 (when the free-agent class looks weak) if they strike out this year, Cousins could make sense. His shot-creation skills would raise their floor. He was a star not long ago.

But leg injuries have sidetracked Cousins’ career. He’ll turn 29 before the season. It’s not certain he’ll ever return to form.

For that reason, Cousins might prioritize multi-year offers with more total compensation, even if the annual average salary is lower. He can’t assume he’ll stay healthy and productive next season and that huge offers will follow in 2020.

Of course, Cousins might not get those multi-year offers this summer. That’s why a one-year deal in New York could work for him. It’d be another chance to improve his stock, much like his season with the Warriors was supposed to provide.

I doubt either the Knicks or Cousins want this. New York prefers better players. Cousins surely desires a larger long-term deal. But they might have to settle for each other.

Kevin Durant reportedly sells home in California, rumored to have bought one in New York

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Kevin Durant‘s company moved its office to New York. He could follow, to the Nets or Knicks, in free agency.

Maybe he’s already on the way?

Neal J. Leitereg of the Los Angeles Times:

Kevin Durant has wrapped up some business in Malibu, selling his oceanfront home on Broad Beach for $12.15 million.

Accounting for real estate commissions and other fees, the sale comes out as a bit of a wash for the 10-time all-star. He bought the place last year for $12.05 million, The Times previously reported in April.

Ric Bucher of Bleacher Report:

sources familiar with Durant’s off-court business say Durant has since purchased a new home in New York and moved his belongings there.

Many NBA players spend their offseasons in Southern California. I’m not sure what to make of Durant selling his house there. This isn’t Durant selling his condo in San Francisco, where the Warriors will open a new arena next season.

Buying a place in New York would be more significant, but a player buying a house in a city where he could sign is a classic rumor. It often gets spread whether or not it’s true. I’m skeptical of the sourcing here.

But if Durant no longer plans to play in California, it could make more sense to sell his Malibu home. Of course, he could buy another house near Los Angeles. We just know he sold this specific place on Broad Beach. We can’t extrapolate with certainty.

And Durant could buy a house in New York for the offseason. He might want to be closer to his company in the summer. That doesn’t mean he’ll play for New York or Brooklyn.

So, I’d nudge the odds of Durant leaving Golden State for the Nets or Knicks slightly higher based on this information. But I wouldn’t overreact to it.

Report: Allen Crabbe charged with DUI (video)

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The Nets will officially trade Allen Crabbe to Hawks in July.

In the meantime, he faces a legal issue.

TMZ:

we’re told he blew a .08 — which is EXACTLY the legal limit in California … so Crabbe was arrested and booked for misdemeanor Driving Under the Influence.

If convicted of drunk driving, Crabbe would likely receive a two-game suspension – the NBA’s standard punishment for that crime. But considering he appears to complete the field-sobriety test OK, breathalyzers have questionable reliability and his blood alcohol concentration tested relatively low, Crabbe has a chance to beat the charge.