One day after the Golden State Warriors forward vented at the league for its handling of his latest leg-flailing flagrant foul call, telling reporters “I didn’t know the league office was that smart when it came to body movements,” vice president of basketball operations and former player Kiki VanDeWeghe came to the defense of himself and his fellow competition committee colleagues. “Our rules are for every player,” VanDeWeghe told USA TODAY Sports. “We want each play judged according to the rules, as best possible, and the rules applied fairly across our whole league. That’s very important to us. We don’t make exceptions for players. They are applied to everybody. In Draymond’s particular case (against the Houston Rockets on Thursday), he had an arm flail which struck the player (James Harden) in the neck-head area. And then in addition to that, he had a kick up above the head of the defender. As he brought his leg down, his heel hit him in the face. It wouldn’t matter what player we’re talking about (it’s a foul).”
“We spent a long time over two meetings looking at what I would just call unnatural acts,” VanDeWeghe said. “What came out was looking at, ‘What’s a natural movement in basketball? What’s a natural reaction in basketball?’ And then looking out for the safety of our players. Is an arm flail or a leg kick a natural act? And they were judged by not natural acts, depending on the severity, the angle, things like that. And is it an appropriate (reaction) to a foul or a fall, or things like that? Most of these are done to draw the attention of the referees. We noticed an uptick in these last year, and they needed to be addressed by the competition committee.”
Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban, appalled at a missed call on the opening possession of Tuesday night’s Los Angeles Clippers-Brooklyn Nets game, is publicly calling for the NBA office to discipline referee Ken Mauer. “Suspend him, demote him, make him ref a game in the D-League,” Cuban said during his pregame workout Wednesday night.
Mauer watched as Bogdanovic caught the ball above the top of the 3-point arc, dribbled once with his right hand, picked the ball up, dragged his pivot foot and dribbled again with his left hand before passing to a teammate. “That call? At the beginning of the game? Right in front of him?” Cuban said. “That wasn’t an error in judgment. “Refs are going to miss things because there’s other things going on, but there was nothing else going on. It was the first or second play of the game, and he was standing right there.”
Cuban indicated that Mauer’s missed calls was evidence of a bigger issue, but Cuban declined to be more specific when pressed on what that problem might be. “This wasn’t just a missed call. This was something else,” Cuban said. “I don’t know what it was. Sometimes it’s the problem; sometimes it’s the symptom of a problem. I think this is more reflective of a symptom of a problem.”
“I’m almost ready to get fined after watching that double-dribble yesterday,” said Cuban, who has been fined more than $1.5 million over the years for comments about officiating. “That was a classic. If that was us, I probably would have protested it, even if we would have lost, because then every SportsCenter would have played it over and over and over again. That was ridiculous and hopefully they take action. … That call at the beginning of the game, right in front of him, that wasn’t an error in judgment.”
Dwyane Wade is not a fan of the NBA’s last two minute officiating reports. The All-Star guard reiterated that position in the wake of two close losses the Bulls suffered during their annual “Circus Trip” last week. “I hate ’em,” Wade said. “I hate the two-minute reports. I’ll go on record again saying that. It’s bad for our game to come back with those two-minute reports. Because they come back and they show the imperfectness of our game in two minutes. It’s imperfect the whole game, let’s not just breakdown the [last] two minutes. Players get called out and get fined for saying something to the refs, but the NBA is calling our refs out for making the wrong play or the right play, whatever the case may be.