Jeff Zillgitt: As of now, there is no movement, I’m told, to get rid of the NBA’s Last Two-Minute Reports. But league constantly evaluates these things.
Add Steve Kerr to the growing list of prominent NBA people who don’t like the league’s Last Two Minute officiating reports. Four days after Kerr’s Golden State Warriors were on the wrong end of two late calls in a Christmas Day loss to the Cleveland Cavaliers, and in the wake of LeBron James and Kevin Durant both expressing their disapproval of the practice, the third-year coach explained why he sees the NBA’s approach as, well, the incorrect call. “I’m not a huge fan of the two-minute report myself,” Kerr began. “It does put the refs in a tough spot. I don’t know what it accomplishes, but I do appreciate that the league is trying to be transparent about what they’re looking at, and how the refs are judged and all that. But I’m not sure to what extent it really helps anybody.”
“In my mind, I think the league is trying so hard to be perfect with the officials, where every call is being judged,” Kerr said. “From what I gather, every official is graded on every call. There’s too much gray area in basketball. I don’t believe that you can just say that every call is right or wrong. I think there’s a feel element that’s lacking right now. I could give you a lot of examples, but I just think that there should be more feel involved.
The NBA’s “Last Two Minute Report” (L2M) is intended to help players and coaches better understand officiating and the rules. But it seems to be having an opposite effect on some. “I think all of us are a little bit confused with what our end goal is with it, and whether that is making coherent corrections so that future games are better officiated,” Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said of L2Ms after Thursday’s shootaround session. “I don’t know if any of us have that answer or conclusion right now. So, officials have a tough job to do. We study the rules and the angles like every other staff does. And I still have no idea who is responsible for three seconds, who is responsible for charges, who is responsible for hand checks. It changes based on different regions of the court. “There’s a lot of gray area right now, very confusing and it’s difficult for the officials to really be consistent.”
February 2, 2023 | 5:01 am EST Update
A similar line of thinking informs the discussion around VanVleet, although his on-court value and his status as a culture setter going back to the Raptors championship season makes his case different. The belief is that VanVleet wants to remain a Raptor, though fit and familiarity aside, money is a factor there too. “The worst thing that could happen to Fred is to be traded,” said one league insider. “Unless you’re a superstar who is getting the max no matter what, the best way to get paid is by staying with your own team.”
VanVleet hasn’t declared who his new agency will be, but industry insiders believe he will sign with Klutch, who – in addition to representing Trent Jr. – also represents Anunoby and Raptors head coach Nick Nurse. VanVleet’s one-time agent, Andy Miller, runs the coaching and executive division for Klutch. “I’m 99.9 per cent sure it will be Klutch,” said one source who is familiar with VanVleet’s situation.
The Minnesota Timberwolves have certainly not ruled out trading D’Angelo Russell, but he has played well in December and January. “He has been a good offensive player for them,” said Zach Lowe on his podcast. “That noise, to me, has kind of quieted. I know there are deals out there that they would do. I don’t think any teams have met those deal points yet.”
According to league sources, Trent could expect a deal in the $20-million range if he opts out of the last year of his contract, which is set to pay him $18.8 million next season. In other words, the idea of a Jordan Poole or Tyler Herro-like payday – two young scorers with comparable statistical profiles as Trent Jr. who scored extensions with their own teams in the $30-million per season range — may not be readily available in free agency.
Meanwhile, league sources peg Trent Jr.’s likely trade value at a protected first-round or two good second-round picks, along with a matching salary. From the Raptors’ point of view, the likelihood of improving your team by moving on from a 24-year-old who has proven himself as a quality perimeter shooter is relatively low. If Trent Jr. was determined to leave, or the Raptors didn’t believe they could re-sign him in free agency, the story might be different.
More and more, as the deadline draws near, I hear rival teams saying that they believe Detroit is poised to rebuff all trade inquiries for Bojan Bogdanovic. I was certainly among those who thought it was posturing when Detroit’s reluctance to trade Bogdanovic began to surface many weeks ago, but one league source went so far as asserting this week that the Pistons would refuse to surrender Bogdanovic even if offered that fully unprotected future first-round pick that everyone says Detroit covets.