Troy Williams, the Knicks swingman, played for him in Memphis and gushed over his hire. He remembers a coach who made him feel at ease with the team. Williams holds Fizdale in high esteem for his motivational tricks. He pointed to the Fizdale’s fluency in playing mind games, noting the coach riled him up last season during a game against Golden State. Fizdale accused Williams of playing scared and not hard enough, finding the right buttons to push, Williams said, to tweak him into a state of utilitarian anger on the court. “He’s a laid-back person himself but he brings out the best in a person,” Williams told The Athletic. “He puts people in the best positions.”
October 21, 2018 | 2:06 pm EDT Update
The NBA is evaluating a video shot courtside that appears to capture Los Angeles Lakers guard Rajon Rondo spitting into the face of All-Star Chris Paul on Saturday night at Staples Center, league sources told ESPN. With 4:13 remaining in the game and the Rockets ahead 109-108, a fight occurred with multiple participants. The Rockets’ video staff took the video courtside during the game, and it has been shared with the league office, sources said. The NBA is planning to render its discipline on Sunday prior to the Rockets-Los Angeles Clippers game at Staples Center, sources said.
NBA vice president of basketball operations Kiki VanDeWeghe was in attendance for Saturday night’s skirmish that included Rondo, Paul and Lakers forward Brandon Ingram. VanDeWeghe is leading the NBA’s probe into the incident and helping to interview participants and witnesses on Sunday in Los Angeles, league sources said.
The last major fight in the NBA was almost 12 years ago, when current Rockets forward Carmelo Anthony received a 15-game suspension while playing for the Denver Nuggets. “I got 15 games, and it was a tough time,” Anthony told ESPN’s The Undefeated. “You can’t go to the arena. You can’t go to the practice facility. It was a lot to deal with.”
World Peace, a former Laker, was in attendance with a close viewing seat to the altercation at the Lakers-Rockets game. “I hope everyone doesn’t get fined,” World Peace told The Undefeated. “It was a fight. It was unfortunate. The first time they’ve ever thrown punches. They shouldn’t do it. … It happened. I’ve never seen them fight before. It was the first time. I don’t think anyone should be suspended.”
October 21, 2018 | 1:12 pm EDT Update
Adrian Wojnarowski: Whatever case Rondo’s making, NBA is evaluating a video clip captured courtside that shows saliva/spit shooting from Rondo’s mouth onto Chris Paul’s face. It appears Rondo will have to sell league on fact that it was unintentional — and that appears to be a tough case to make.
Sam Amick: There is a video clip being reviewed by the league that clearly shows Rajon Rondo spitting on Chris Paul before Chris wipes his face & raises his finger, sources tell @theathletic. It’s quick, as if he’s spitting a sunflower seed, & validates Chris’ story. theathletic.com/603529/2018/10…
The Chicago Bulls are walking away from the oft-injured Omer Asik, announcing they had waived the center on Sunday. Asik hadn’t played for the Bulls this season after he was ruled out indefinitely with inflammatory arthritis in September. Asik’s $11.3 million salary for 2018-19 was fully guaranteed, and he is owed $3 million for next season as a partial guarantee. The Bulls would owe him the full $14.3 million unless a team claims him off waivers, which is unlikely.
Malika Andrews: Shaquille Harrison addressed media for the first time this morning. He says this is the first time he’s been to Chicago. He said he was surprised to be cut by the Suns. “I didn’t see it coming at all, but that’s the NBA for you.” He wished the Suns luck.