Dirk Nowitzki explains Mavericks not giving Rajon Rondo a playoff share, says ‘I think that got blown out of proportion’


The Mavericks and Rajon Rondo agreed to a mutual parting of ways after he seemed to quit on on his team early in the second half of a first-round playoff game against the Rockets.

The Dallas organization, clearly not pleased with how the midseason acquisition of Rondo transpired, seemed to stick it to him on his way out the door by excluding him from the customary distribution of bonus money each club gets for making it to the postseason.

But Dirk Nowitzki says the players had nothing to do with it, and believes too much was made of the Mavericks’ decision.

From The Dallas Morning News:

Mavericks forward Dirk Nowitzki joined KTCK-AM 1310 on Monday afternoon. Here are some highlights:

On if the team voted to not give Rajon Rondo a playoff share:

“No, we actually didn’t vote. It was just the guys who were there that day got a playoff share. What we usually do is give a lot of weight to the guys that work for you all season long; the locker room guys, the equipment guys, the trainers, the massage guys [or] whoever you feel helped you get through the season. We usually divide it up and then give them a lot of money. I think that got blown out of proportion. It’s not like it was that much money. I don’t think Rondo would have cared either way.”

The total amount the Mavericks had to distribute was $208,940, which gets fairly small individually when divided up as many ways as Nowitzki explained. And, his assertion that Rondo wouldn’t have cared seems especially true when we’re talking about professional athletes who have earned in the tens of millions of dollars.

When hearing the logistics of it how it all went down, it no longer sounds as anything that would resemble an intended slight, despite how it seems on the surface.

Manu Ginobili seems to indicate that if Tim Duncan returns to Spurs, he will too


Immediately after the Spurs were eliminated from the postseason in seven games by the Clippers, questions arose about the future of the franchise.

Tim Duncan and Manu Ginobili are both unrestricted free agents, and while it would be difficult to see them leaving to play somewhere else under any set of circumstances, retirement remains a real possibility for each.

Somewhat understandably, the two weren’t ready to commit to anything right after a devastating loss that ended their season somewhat unexpectedly. But in the days that followed, Ginobili penned a piece that seemed to indicate he might be ready to hang ’em up, if not for the sense of commitment he feels to Duncan, Gregg Popovich and the rest of the Spurs franchise.

From Manu Giobili at (translated from Spanish to English):

Pop said he wanted us to Tim and me in next season. They are words that make me the most difficult things. The truth is that if the franchise had said they did not want me or it was time to rebuild and wanted a younger team, I would have greatly facilitated the task. You may have done a little hurt because even though one is on the ledge, falling just want to not give you the push. So he had hurt a little but it had facilitated the decision. He went backwards, these words help you in the emotional, in confidence, feeling, but I’m not in a time when I need the job.Bypasses feel that if I want to follow, but if you really define feel like doing and get into all this bustle.

In the team meeting I had a couple of nice conversations with Pop and Tim, because we are the ones who are in this particular situation a little, but what he said Pop has made clear what his idea. Well … Tim chatted with some of the possibilities and it’s like we’re on the same page saying we want to wait a little. We need time, see what happens, how we feel, what our families say. Our body is not the same, though in his case it is not noticeable. But other things start to happen mind. …

I do not feel that San Antonio can feel a blow by the departure of some of us. If I were preparing a total reconstruction … it comes and goes Pop another coach Tim retires, Tony does not play anymore. That would change the situation much. I understand it’s time to change things on the computer, or the appearance of the whole and understandably so. But if Pop continues and Tim can follow, everything is different. Because one would have less commitment to colleagues and everything. I guess we’ll have a little talk with Tim, who seems to be on the same ledge as me. We’ll see where the wind blows.

The translation is a little rough, but there are two things Ginobili seems to make clear.

The first is that he’d be ready to retire of the organization simply told him that it was ready to rebuild, and go in a different direction. The second, and perhaps most important, is that he seems to feel a strong sense of loyalty to his teammates and his head coach, and if they all return — Duncan especially, because Popovich and Tony Parker are still under contract — then Ginobili would be hard-pressed to choose to do otherwise.

Doc Rivers on whether Chris Paul plays in Game 2 vs. Rockets: ‘Right now, I just don’t think so’


UPDATE 12:59 p.m. ET: At Wednesday morning’s shootaround, both Doc Rivers and Chris Paul expressed doubt that Paul would be ready to go in Game 2.

“I pretty much doubt it, to be honest, just from talking to him,” Rivers said, via Arash Markazi of “But we’ll see. Right now, I just don’t think so.”

“It’s one of those things that you don’t want to make it worse than it already is,” Paul said.

12:30 p.m.: Chris Paul was sidelined with a hamstring injury in Game 1 of his team’s second-round series versus the Rockets, but thanks to a historically-great performance from Blake Griffin, L.A. managed to win anyway, and steal Houston’s home-court advantage in the process.

With the Clippers now playing with house money, there might be a temptation to sit him once more, ensuring he’s as right as possible for the remainder of what would then be a relatively short five-game series.

But Doc Rivers doesn’t seem to be leaning that way just yet.

From Arash Markazi of ESPN Los Angeles:

There’s a “50-50” chance Los Angeles Clippers point guard Chris Paul will play in Game 2 of the Western Conference semifinals against the Houston Rockets on Wednesday, Doc Rivers said Tuesday. …

“I’d say 50-50,” Rivers said when asked what his gut feeling on Paul playing Wednesday was. “I honestly don’t know. My gut before last night was there would be a good chance [he would play Wednesday] so I’d probably lean that way. He looked good walking today.”

Rivers said he would not play or rest Paul based on the Clippers winning the first game of the series without him.

“If he can play, he’ll play,” Rivers said. “We just want to make sure he’s healthy.”

The schedule for this series doesn’t exactly lend itself to rest; games take place every other day until there are two days between a possible Game 6 and a Game 7, which would take place in Houston on May 17 if necessary.

The Clippers undoubtedly want to give themselves the best chance possible at winning Game 2, a feat that would put the Rockets in an 0-2 hole that may seem insurmountable. But Rivers shouldn’t be short-sighted, here. If there’s even a chance Paul isn’t right, and could aggravate his injury to the point where it could affect him in the later rounds, then L.A. should take the cautious approach and once again sit him out.

Thunder GM refutes report he didn’t consult Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook before hiring Billy Donovan as coach


As the Thunder moved quickly to install Billy Donovan as the team’s new head coach — a process that couldn’t possibly have included looking at multiple candidates, considering it was completed in less than a week’s time — reports emerged that the team’s GM, Sam Presti, was doing so without consulting his star players.

Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook would simply be stuck with whomever was chosen, and would be forced to make things work, at least as long as the two are under contract in Oklahoma City.

According to Presti, however, that wasn’t entirely the case.

While he may not have discussed specific candidates with his players, Presti insists that he, Durant and Westbrook were all on the same page in terms of the qualities they would look for in the team’s next head coach.

From Darnell Mayberry of The Oklahoman:

There was a report that management consulted with Kevin Durant on the hiring of coach Donovan but not with Russell Westbrook and Westbrook is now upset with the organization because of it. Is there any truth to that report, and have you spoken to Westbrook since Donovan was hired to get a sense of what he’s feeling?

As I have stated before, I do not feel it is in the best interest of the guys, or team collectively, if we were to poll our players in regards to specific personnel or staff decisions. However, we have spent a significant amount of time over the last seven-plus seasons discussing, observing and defining our culture with our players, which we feel is important given their role in building the identity for the Thunder. One aspect of this recent process was to have specific conversations with several core members of the program, including Kevin and Russell, regarding important qualities that should be considered in looking for our next head coach. Fortunately, our continuity and communication over the years in combination with our more recent discussions gave us an understanding that there is an alignment with regards to the qualities that we felt were important to our progression and evolution. Multiple people within the organization have been in contact with Russ and he will be in town later this week to meet with the staff.

It would be foolish not to have cursory discussions with both Durant and Westbrook, considering each player’s ability to bolt the franchise in free agency in the coming seasons.

The reality is that the Thunder hit the jackpot in drafting two guys who are now unquestionably on the list of the league’s top 10 players, and with star free agents not exactly lining up to come play in Oklahoma City, the franchise needs to do everything in its power to entice them to re-sign — and that includes consulting them on the team’s next coaching hire, at least in a minimal capacity.

Wizards’ Paul Pierce levels Hawks’ Jeff Teague with hard foul in Game 2 (VIDEO)


Late in the first half of the Hawks’ unimpressive Game 2 win over the Wizards, Paul Pierce leveled Jeff Teague in the open court, using a body block of sorts to make sure Teague didn’t get loose for an uncontested fast break.

Pierce has had no trouble playing the villain in these playoffs, which is a strategy that worked to perfection during Washington’s first-round sweep of the Raptors.

But this seemed to be an isolated incident. And though the fans had a derogatory chant ready for Pierce after this play, he responded with nothing more than a few words and a smile as he headed to the bench.

[via Larry Brown Sports]