As McCollum dribbled near the free throw line, Giannis did put his hand on the hip of the Blazers guard, which many people saw as a foul. McCollum himself didn’t make any official statement about the play, saying after the game that he didn’t want to lose any money by getting fined. He did, however, post a screen shot of Giannis’ hand on his hip to his Instagram live story. Though he didn’t put any caption, it’s pretty clear what he’s trying to say. Not that it would have mattered, as the Blazers already lost, but there was no vindication for McCollum in the NBA’s two-minute report on Sunday. The league announced that the refs were correct in not calling a foul on the play, saying, “Antetokounmpo (MIL) deflects the ball away from McCollum (POR). The contact to McCollum’s body with his other hand does not affect his SQBR and is considered incidental.”
It's hard to prove, but most coaches and front-office executives agree defenses get away with a little more bump-and-grind than in the mid-2000s -- when the NBA was obsessed with creating a more viewer-friendly game. The league has heard the concerns, and is monitoring the hand-check stuff. "That area is tough -- the freedom of movement, especially away from the ball," Vandeweghe said. "It's tough for referees to watch everything. But I think we've found a good balance." (As an aside, Vandeweghe confirmed the controversial last-two-minute reports aren't going anywhere. In fact, he said the NBA would "probably" start releasing full game reports at some point.)
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 6, 2023 | 12:26 pm EST Update
February 6, 2023 | 11:36 am EST Update
Nick Friedell: A couple of Nets notes from @BobbyMarks42 on @KeyJayandMax : 1. Ben Simmons has no value around the league right now in any potential deal. 2. If the Nets decide to move KD — their return would be greater this summer than it would be before Thursday’s trade deadline.
The Lakers will remain active on the trade market, exploring deals both small and large. In the wake of the Irving-to-Dallas news, the two teams that have repeatedly popped up as Plan B options for the Lakers are the Utah Jazz and Toronto Raptors, according to league sources. Both teams have been linked to the Lakers in recent weeks and have starter-level players who have been rumored to be available. However, talks remain preliminary and nothing is imminent. The Charlotte Hornets, San Antonio Spurs and Chicago Bulls are three other teams to watch, according to those sources.
But even if the Lakers determine the locker room chemistry can sustain the hits it took from the Irving trade drama, Russell Westbrook’s $47.1 million contract is its own issue. As SCNG previously reported, one of the reasons the Lakers decided to go into the 2022-23 season with Westbrook on the roster was to rehabilitate his trade value. But a rival front office executive told SCNG that Westbrook, who is averaging 15.7 points, 6.2 rebounds and 7.5 assists this season, still likely requires significant draft compensation to be moved, likely at least one unprotected first-round pick and maybe more.
The rival executive also told SCNG that one of the franchise’s recurring themes in discussions of multiple possible deals is a desire to limit the hit on their repeater tax, which increases exponentially next year as they fill out a cast around James and Anthony Davis.