James Harden says Matt Barnes’ trash talk towards his mom was ‘disrespectful’


Matt Barnes of the Clippers was fined $50,000 for “directing inappropriate language at a fan,” and that fan just happened to be the mother of James Harden.

Barnes apologized, and all seems to be well in the wake of this somewhat unpleasant incident.

But Harden called it what it was in advance of Houston’s Game 3 matchup in Los Angeles on Friday.

From Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle:

“In any situation you talk about somebody’s parents that’s just disrespectful,”Harden said. “But I’m focused on Game 3. We’re very focused. We’re locked in. There’s going to be some great intensity.

“I’m not really focused on that. I’m focused on Game 3. Hopefully, we go out and compete and get a victory on the road.”

Harden’s not wrong, and as voraciously as Barnes tends to go after his detractors, even he seemed to realize that a line was crossed.

Mark Jackson says ‘easy route’ was picking Stephen Curry for MVP


Mark Jackson chose James Harden over Stephen Curry as the MVP this season, and that’s only remotely interesting because of Jackson’s former position as Curry’s head coach.

Harden was every bit as deserving as Curry was of winning the award, and choosing between the two was essentially impossible.

Jackson, now an analyst for ESPN, didn’t need to double down on his remarks. But he chose to anyway during a recent radio appearance.

From Monte Poole of CSN Bay Area:

“The easy route was to go and say Steph. That’s easy,” Jackson said on Dan Le Batard’s ESPN Radio Show. “I’m not saying he wasn’t worthy. I’m not even saying he didn’t deserve it. I just had to make a pick.

“I love him. I’m happy for him. I’m proud of him. Tremendous speech. Tremendous accomplishment. I wish him nothing but the very best and we move on.”

Again, this is only relevant because of the prior relationship that exists.

But regardless of Jackson’s intentions, or whether or not he truly believes Harden over Curry is the better MVP choice (as I do), the comments will be viewed as sour grapes by plenty of outside observers.

Joakim Noah fined $25K for ‘pushing a fan’


Joakim Noah was fined $25,000 for “pushing a fan,” the league announced on Friday via official release.

The incident occurred as Noah and his teammates were exiting the floor at halftime of Chicago’s Game 2 loss to the Cavaliers.

Noah complained that a fan had spit on him as he was leaving the court, but it’s unclear whether or not that happened before or after Noah’s minor tap/push of this particular individual.

There are two sides here, obviously. Fans shouldn’t be allowed to hurl insults while in close proximity to players without consequences, but at the same time, athletes at the professional level simply cannot react physically (or even verbally) to fans, no matter the circumstances.

Matt Barnes fined $50K for directing inappropriate language at James Harden’s mother


Matt Barnes has been fined $50,000 for “directing inappropriate language at a fan,” the league announced on Friday via official release.

That “fan” happened to be James Harden’s mother.

Barnes reportedly told the woman “S— my d—, b—-” and later apologized after he found out who the woman was.

The reason for the fine being so steep is Barnes’ repeat-offender status.

Barnes was fined $25,000 in December for swearing at Washington fans and another $25,000 in January for doing the same to Phoenix fans (not Suns owner Robert Sarver, according to the league).

The fines are minuscule when compared to the salary of even the most modestly-paid NBA players, so don’t expect Barnes to change his behavior as a result of them anytime soon.

2015 NBA Draft Combine participant list released; a few big names noticeably absent


The NBA has released its list of participants for this year’s Draft Combine, which will be held in Chicago from May 12-17.

While there are plenty of interesting lottery-pick level prospects expected to attend, the guys near the tops of most teams’ draft boards are noticeably absent from the list.

Karl-Anthony Towns and Jahlil Okafor are the names frequently discussed as the top two overall picks, and neither will attend. Same goes for international prospects like Emanuel Mudiay, Mario Hezonja and Kristaps Porzingis, all of whom project as lottery picks in more than one of the respected mock drafts that exist.

The combine consists of drills, measurements and interviews, and while this year will also feature a five-on-five scrimmage format which could make for some competitive games, most of the top prospects (i.e., anyone there who is expected to be a first-round selection) will be sitting that portion out.