Tony Jones: Whiteside: that call was bullshit. I stand on that. He said Smith jumped in front of him and fell down
The Timberwolves were 26-for-31 from the charity stripe, while the Nets took just 15 free throws. Harden — outplayed by former Net D’Angelo Russell — shot 4 of 13 and was just 4 of 4 from the line, not getting the benefit of the whistle. “I don’t know [why],” Harden said. “When I go to the basket it’s the same calls that other guys are getting. Obviously you can’t call all of them, but there’s ones where there’s clearly stiff-arms and trips and things; but on the other end there’s no consistency. It’s frustrating, but whatever. [This] was a tough one for us.”
When Nash and Harden were asked if the All-Star wasn’t getting the benefit of the whistles he always had, both emphatically said no. “I just go to the basket. I have the right to do that,” said Harden, who added he’s gotten no explanation from the refs. “Nothing. Honestly. Like I didn’t see it, or I didn’t think it was a foul. But it’s clear — extremely clear. I don’t want to talk about it. I’ve got to keep going. That’s not going to stop me. Keep getting to the basket, keep being aggressive and keep making plays for my team.”
Dave Early: Reporter: "Do you feel like you're getting the benefit of the whistle in the same way [you have in the past]?" James Harden "No." Reporter: "Why do you think that is?" James Harden: "That's a good question. I mean, I dunno. I don't even want to talk about it." pic.twitter.com/O8og8HG1Pe
Brian Lewis: Kyrie Irving: "We just want to start the game with a consistent whistle." Says Harden gets fouled "and deserves that respect" of the appropriate call. #Nets
Nash said that he feels Harden is the poster child for the new emphasis from officials this season. "I think it's been well-documented that he's one of the poster childs," Nash said. "I think the start of the year was rough, [the officials] were really trying to correct the point of emphasis. I think they overcorrected. Now we come back to the middle, but tonight was one of those nights where I felt like some of the calls that should go his way didn't."
Chicago head coach Billy Donovan had strong words about the play, and about Allen, after the game. "It was really bad," he began. "It was really, really bad. We lost Patrick (Williams) on a flagrant foul, a pretty significant injury. I said this after the game, (New York's) Mitchell Robinson was trying to make a legitimate play on the basketball. For Alex to be in the air and for him to take him down like that, he could’ve ended his career.
"He has a history of this. That to me was really, it was really dangerous. I hope the league takes a hard look at something like that because they could have really, really seriously hurt him. He’s dealing with his wrist right now. I don’t know to what extent his wrist is, but just being there, it was really, really dangerous to go after somebody like that. "I personally thought it was – it wasn’t good. It was not good. For it to be even be extended to a Flagrant 2 and be thrown out of the game, clearly the officials must have felt there was some intent there, the way he yanked him and snapped him to the floor, his head bounced off the floor. Really, really, really dangerous play."
Rob Schaefer: Alex Caruso, asked if Grayson Allen came over to check on him after taking him out: “No.”
This was the first time Allen has been called for a flagrant foul this season and the second such foul in his career -- although he was tossed from a Summer League game in 2019 after committing two flagrant fouls within seconds of each other. "I don't think Grayson's a dirty player," Bucks forward Khris Middleton said. "He's been great with us all season long. Competing. Defending. Never really crossing the line. So I think we're all disappointed to see him ejected for that foul."
During postgame interviews, officiating crew chief Ben Taylor said none of the officials saw the infraction and that there is no mechanism in place for such a play to be reviewed. “That was also horse s---, too,” Kuzma said of the play after the game. “You’ve got Steve Nash blocking the ref’s view. He can’t see s---. I don’t know what else to say. It’s very unfortunate, but you’ve just got to live with it.”
Jon Krawczynski: Referee Bill Kennedy, from the pool report, on Edwards' ejection: "The first was for an overt gesture and the use of profanity directed toward an official. The second was for aggressively approaching the official while continuing his use of profanity."
Dane Moore: D'Angelo Russell: "The refs made up some stuff throughout the game. It was all over the place, honestly. There was a few plays -- and I'm not saying it was the refs -- but I'm sayin it was a few calls. There was a play where I'm not sure if it was a flagrant or a jump ball."
Dane Moore: Karl-Anthony Towns on the flagrant foul: "I've never seen it in basketball before. I've never seen it in the NBA... All I'll say is Dirk Nowitzki got put on the floor for the same shot." No more on the topic from KAT. He said, "telling the truth gets you fined, so no comment".
With just under six minutes left in the game, the Wizards faced a 109-103 deficit. Spencer Dinwiddie handled the ball at the 3-point line and attempted a pass to Kyle Kuzma in the corner, but Nets coach David Vanterpool stuck his hand out from the bench and forced a slight misdirection. It was enough for Kuzma to bobble the ball, which was recovered by Nets forward Kessler Edwards. With just under six minutes left in the game, the Wizards faced a 109-103 deficit. Spencer Dinwiddie handled the ball at the 3-point line and attempted a pass to Kyle Kuzma in the corner, but Nets coach David Vanterpool stuck his hand out from the bench and forced a slight misdirection. It was enough for Kuzma to bobble the ball, which was recovered by Nets forward Kessler Edwards.
In the aftermath of Sunday night’s 125-102 loss to the Jazz, Aaron Gordon offered perhaps the most forceful defense Nikola Jokic has ever received from a teammate regarding officiating. “It’s crazy that Jok doesn’t get more free throws,” Gordon began. “Jok was 3 for 3 from the free-throw line. That’s unbelievable. … The fact that Jok was 3 for 3 from the free-throw line is just not even right. He’s fouled every play. Obviously, the refs aren’t going to call it every play. They’re all over his arms, they’re all over his body, they’re grabbing him. He’s just not officiated the same way as everybody else. “It’s not right,” Gordon continued. “He’s the reigning MVP of the league, and he’s getting three free throws a game, still doing what he’s doing. But he needs more foul calls because they’re fouling. It’s not like begging, it’s not asking for something that’s not there. We’re just asking for him to be officiated like everybody else is being officiated because that’s not right. He’s being fouled all the time. He needs more foul calls.”
Mike Singer: Asked Nikola about the 29-8 free throw disparity and what he says to the refs: “I’m really trying not to talk to them because I try to and then I get technical, ejected," he said. "So I don’t even try to talk to them anymore.”
Michael Singer: Asked Aaron Gordon whether he could sympathize with the way Nikola Jokic is whistled. This is perhaps the biggest defense I've ever heard from a Jokic teammate. pic.twitter.com/XWk4T0tXjv
Omari Sanfoka II: Cunningham on who he pointed at: "I had my people right behind the bench. I went baseline to dunk the ball, and he's right in-between me and my people. I probably should've read that situation better. I don't get into taunting too much, I'm usually chilling after a play."
Eric Nehm: Bucks coach Mike Budenholzer: "Giannis gets 17 free throws, but I think you could argue he could have 27 or 30 free throws. As a team, we had 35. I think you could argue we could have had 45 or 50."
Fox let the ball hit the floor and alerted officials, expecting them to reset the clock and award possession to Sacramento, but that’s not what happened. After a lengthy discussion, officials called a jump ball because neither team had established possession when the whistle was blown. The Lakers won the jump ball and held on to win the game. Gentry said officials correctly interpreted a “dumbass” rule. “Before you ask me about that play, it’s a horse s--- rule in the NBA,” Gentry said. “The referees did exactly what they were supposed to do. It is the rule. They enforced the rule the way it is, and so if anything needs to be changed, the rule needs to be changed. I think there’s got to be some common sense. We had the basketball right there. They started the clock. We didn’t start the clock. It wasn’t our error and so we got punished for a dumbass rule. That’s the bottom line, but it had nothing to do with the officials. All they did was exactly what they were supposed to do.”
“I didn’t realize that, and I don’t know why it would be a rule anyway,” Gentry said. “I mean, I think you’ve got to use common sense somewhere along the line. There’s a missed free throw. We have the basketball in our possession. We didn’t start the clock, so it was not our error, so we get punished for somebody else’s error. I don’t understand that. I don’t understand how that works. “I just want to make sure everybody understands, the referees, all the they did was enforce the rule as it was written. It wasn’t their decision. It wasn’t anything. The just enforced the rule as it is written, so the rule is the thing that needs to be changed in that situation. There’s no way in hell that ball shouldn’t have been in our possession in a five-point game with 25 seconds to play. That’s an eternity in the NBA.”
Nikola Jokic got fed up after multiple no-calls with six minutes left against the Wizards. He vented to the officiating crew and it backfired. The Nuggets’ reigning MVP got ejected with a double-technical Monday night at Ball Arena. “To be honest, I think I didn’t deserve it, especially an ejection,” Jokic told reporters after a 113-107 victory. “I just said: ‘Call a foul.’ Because I thought it was a foul.”
After the game, Paul was asked about his incident with the official and if he got a reason for the technical foul. “Did I get an explanation on why I got the tech? No, I didn’t get an explanation,” Chris Paul explained. I had an exchange with that official a few games ago about a rule about taking the ball out on one side of the court, you know when you get fouled if you can take it out. He tried to flex. I’ve been doing this 13 years, you know what I mean. They cleared up the rule with him, though, you know what I mean. They let him know what the rule was when he tried to tell me what the rule was. He must be salty about it. It’s all good.”
Tomer Azarly: “I had an exchange with that official a few games ago about a rule about taking the ball out on one side of the court… He tried to flex. I’ve been doing this 13 years. They cleared up the rule with him though… He must be salty about it. It’s all good." Chris Paul on his tech.
Ajayi Browne: “It’s difficult for the officials to officiate a different way — That was very difficult at first … The officials have realized there was an over correction.” ⁃Steve Nash on James Harden not getting foul calls earlier this season.
JD Shaw: Grizzlies guard Dillon Brooks has been fined $25,000 for aggressively confronting a game official and failing to leave the court in a timely manner after his ejection.
After his second technical foul with 27.5 seconds left, Brooks was restrained by Grizzlies assistants after his first ejection of the season. He left to cheers from the FedExForum crowd despite the Grizzlies' five-game winning streak ending. During his postgame press conference, he saved his venom for the referees afterwards when he only answered one question about the officiating before leaving. "As you saw in the game, we've been playing physical basketball for about a week now. And all of a sudden, new officials come in here and they call an inconsistent game. They want to call ticky-tack in the first half and then in the second half they want to call nothing," Brooks said. "And then you got guys getting undercut, getting hit on the floor, no call. There's a lack of protection of the players and that's the main thing, I felt like this crew came out there and just made it about them and that's bull."
"Obviously I can't put it all on them. We got to get the 50/50 balls, you got to be able to rebound the basketball, you got to be able to hit shots in timely ways. But this crew did not protect the players. They just wanted to get the game over with and that's (expletive). That's (expletive) from the very beginning. That's bull." The comments will likely draw a fine from NBA in the coming days for criticizing the officiating. In his five seasons, Brooks has yet to be fined for in-game or postgame comments.
Callie Caplan: Kristaps Porzingis just got a tech, seemingly delayed for clapping at an official while the Grizzlies ran back in transition. He responds with a ferocious dunk on the next possession.
Omari Sanfoka II: Casey on Cunningham’s lack of foul-drawing: “There’s been opportunities for him to get contact at the rim and get fouled. Over his career he will get there, he will draw fouls, just because of his game and how he gets to the rim”
"I would lean toward playing 5-on-5 a bit more," Kidd said when asked about Doncic's frequent discussions with the referees. "You're not going to get any calls. Officials, they tend to not stop the game to change calls. You have to understand there's a point in time in games -- dead balls -- to be able to talk to officials. "While the game is going on, transition defense is one of the things we've talked about that we have to get better. If we're lobbying for calls during live play, it puts us in harm's way ... Just some things have got to be a little bit more important. I think we're going to get better at understanding as a team when to talk to officials. Not just Luka."
Casey Holdahl: According to an analysis of Twitter data by @betonline_ag, Trail Blazers fans complain the least about referees while Lakers fans complain the most pic.twitter.com/XgCtQjpQSS
The Knicks' Julius Randle and coach Tom Thibodeau walked off the Barclays Center floor on Tuesday night talking to each other and "pissed" at the officiating during their 112-110 loss to the Brooklyn Nets.
Randle had 24 points, nine rebounds and eight assists but went to the line only twice the entire game. The Knicks' star forward initially did not want to talk about the officiating until he was asked whether he was surprised he isn't getting the benefit of calls usually reserved for a team's star. "Got to ask them," Randle said of the officiating crew of Scott Foster, Mark Lindsay and Jason Goldenberg. "I don't know what they're watching or what they're seeing. As aggressive as I played, attacking the paint, I can't be penalized for just being stronger than people. And that is an answer that I got today."
The 6-foot-8 and 250-pound Randle said the crew told him that his stature and strength are why he isn't getting more calls. "They said because certain contact doesn't affect me like it affects other players," Randle said. "Because I am stronger, they miss the calls." "It pisses me off even more," Randle said when asked what his reaction is when he hears that. "To be honest with you, because that is not how you officiate the game."
But what really set Thibodeau off was how Randle was officiated. "I want to watch the film but ... something's not right," Thibodeau said. "I don't know [why]. I don't know. I am watching what is going on both ways. [The Nets] are a good team. They played well. But I know Julius is driving that ball pretty darn hard. "And I'm pissed."
"I want to take a look at the film but ... there is a big discrepancy in free throws, I can tell you that," Thibodeau said. "So Julius is driving the ball, and he gets two free throws? "I don't really care about how the game is called. I really don't. You can call it tight. You can call it loose. But it's got to be the same."
Josh Lewenberg: VanVleet on tonight’s foul/free throw disparity: “I promise if you write about it I will not be mad, but unless you have $25,000 to spare I’m gonna stay away from officiating comments other than to say it was a tough night for us on that end of the whistle.”
Kerith Burke: Kerr on Steph's tech: "When he knows he's right, the competitor in him comes out. He'll kinda of lose his mind a little bit. It'll often spurn him."
Sean Cunningham: Portland’s Robert Covington gets a $15k fine for tossing his mask at an official from Wednesday’s game vs. Kings. pic.twitter.com/7DdOGx3CN3
Speaking to reporters after Wednesday's 118-113 loss to the Houston Rockets, Chicago Bulls head coach Billy Donovan said he "didn't quite understand" the reasoning behind a controversial fourth-quarter foul call made by officials, and upheld after review, on Lonzo Ball. "The call made zero sense to me," Donovan said. "Now, I'm not saying it made zero sense to me because I don't agree with what they said. The way they explained it to me, and what I was able to see (on the in-arena cameras), did not make sense. So if I can get a different camera view, I can maybe understand what they're talking about. "But it seemed so far-fetched about what they were telling me, it just didn't make sense to me. And I'm not sitting there saying they were wrong on it, they're obviously looking at it and reviewing it. But I really don't know how you make a call like that based on what I saw."
The call came at the 5:13 mark of the fourth quarter with the Bulls trailing 99-94. Ball had knocked down a 3-pointer, but was whistled for an offensive foul on the play — presumably for initiating contact with the contesting defender, Kevin Porter Jr., after or in the process of releasing the ball. "I was told he (Ball) shot it, he came down and fell down and kind of grabbed the guy (Porter Jr.)," Donovan said, emphasizing that "the way the video was in the arena," he didn't get a clear look at the play.
The play proved a pivotal moment in the game. Had Donovan's challenge been successful, the Bulls would have cut their deficit to 99-97 with just over five minutes to play. Instead, Danuel House buried a 3-pointer on Houston's next possession, making the score 102-94. "It was such a big play in the game, that's why I challenged it," said Donovan, who typically reserves his coach's challenge for high-leverage plays in the final moments of games. "I lost the timeout, but I figured it was three points, potentially four if they would've reviewed it and he (Ball) would have been fouled. If it was a four-point play, it would have cut the lead to one."
Calls/missed calls happen all the time. That’s sports. But he’s felt for a while there’s a deeper issue: A lack of his respect for his team. Asked specifically about matching Brooklyn’s intensity, Bickerstaff quickly shifted the conversation. “We matched intensity, but what we have to do and have happen is match consistency,” Bickerstaff said. “That’s in our performance. That’s the referee’s performance. That’s in all aspects of the game. We saw it tonight, we saw it the other night. We have to find a way -- as a staff, as players -- to earn people’s respect, where it is consistent. That’s what this league is about. This league is about your reputation and you earn your reputation. Those guys have earned their reputation. What’s right is right. I thought there were some calls that were definitely missed tonight that favored (Brooklyn), and that’s wrong. Our guys deserve better than that.
That wasn’t the only call Bickerstaff -- and the Cavs -- felt went against them during a back-and-forth 117-112 loss to star-studded Brooklyn. A source texted cleveland.com with a full list following the game. Two “phantom” calls on Kevin Durant jumpers -- one early and one late. Constant uncalled contact on Darius Garland drives that led to just four free throws. Allen getting mugged in the paint. And, of course, the Rubio offensive foul.
Bill Oram: Russell Westbrook was asked if he got an explanation for his technical foul. “I got a tech? Oh wow. Why did I get a tech. I didn’t know I got a tech. For being Russell Westbrook I guess.” A full minute later he’s still shaking his head about it.
Michael Corvo: Lakers HC Frank Vogel was not pleased with the ref tossing Anthony Davis: “Typically, the ref will wipe the ball, let the guy get his shoe on, have some common sense. Quick inbound, AD said ‘that’s BS’, which happens 15 times (per game) in the NBA. Quick tech, ejection.”
Lillard said, "The way the game is being officiated is unacceptable. I don't want to go too deep into it so they make a big deal out of it, but the explanations that's getting missed, I mean, come on... I felt like coming in, the rule change wouldn't affect me, because I don't do the trick the referees, I don't do the trick plays. It's just unacceptable."
James Harden didn’t want to speak about the refs after the Nets’ loss to the Bulls on Monday night. No matter. His on-court demeanor spoke volumes. After repeatedly driving into contact and not getting calls — he took just three free throws all night — Harden was so vexed after one instance he stared incredulously at the ref, then plopped down on the stanchion looking the other way. When he finally did get a call after getting raked across the arm, he threw his arms aloft and looked to the heavens in mock thanks.
Following the game, he deflected any questions about the calls on Monday or on the new so-called Harden Rules in general. “I don’t want to talk about it,” Harden said. When it was pointed out the Bulls seemed to take him out of his driving game, he replied, “No, I don’t want to talk about it. I never got … it didn’t take me out of my game. I felt like I played well to the fourth quarter. In the fourth quarter, none of us played well. It definitely didn’t take me out of my game.”
Chris Kirschner: I asked Trae Young why he picked up a technical foul with the Hawks up 2 late in the game. "Dre was getting hounded by CP in the post. I asked him, 'You didn't see that? You didn't see that?' He gave me a tech. I guess it's personal with some of these guys."
Kevin Chouinard: Referee Kevin Scott making crybaby eyes to someone in the direction of the Hawks' bench. I'm howling.
Josh Lewenberg: OG: “Yeah, I don’t get any calls. Hopefully that changes because I’m driving and getting hit and the refs aren’t calling it.” pic.twitter.com/EmBGO353eV
Harrison Faigen: Frank Vogel, on the refs taking 2 points away for Bazemore getting free throws he shouldn't have. "That's definitely something the league has got to look at... They can't give us that possession back... You can't correct that at that point, so I'm very frustrated by that."
Vogel’s point is valid — the Lakers lost a possession in the final three minutes of a tight game. Davis said he and LeBron James made the same argument to the officials. “What me, Bron and coach were explaining to the refs was we lost a possession,” Davis said. “We didn’t take the ball out or anything. We shot free throws, [they] take the points away, and now we just lose the possession. Which could have cost the game.”
Ryan Ward: Frank Vogel says he's "very frustrated" by the two points being taken away by the refs. Wants the NBA to look at it.
Ajayi Browne: “In some of these plays, the refs are naturally trying to catch up to this change — We’re all just trying to get through this period.” ⁃Steve Nash on adapting to the league new rules concerning fouls.
Brian Lewis: Steve Nash said Nic Claxton could miss 7-to-10 days. Asked if his conversation w/ the refs impacted James Harden subsequently getting 19 free throws that night, he quipped "I can be very convincing." #Nets #NBA
Eric Walden: Asked about the Jazz talking about the extra physicality they’ve faced from defenders this year, Quin intimated that the new point of emphasis rules have had the unintended consequence of enabling defenders to apply excessive contact in disrupting offensive players.
Mark Murphy: Udoka admits Tatum has a tough habit to break when he complains to refs: "We tell him to move onto the next play. But it’s not easy - it’s a league-wide thing. And for him it's just playing through it, and understanding that he’s gonna get calls if he keeps being aggressive."
Indiana Pacers head coach Rick Carlisle said he was shocked that Brooklyn Nets forward Kevin Durant was not ejected after throwing the ball into the stands during the Nets' win Friday night. After being fouled with 4:40 left in the third quarter, Durant threw the ball overhand toward the hoop, and it sailed over the backboard and into the crowd. "I think I saw Kevin Durant wind up and throw the ball overhand, 10 or 15 rows into the stands and not get ejected," Carlisle said with a laugh after the game. "I think that's what I saw. And so that was shocking."
Asked what the officials' explanation was for not ejecting Durant, Carlisle replied, "I'm not going to share the explanation because I don't want to embarrass the officials. I don't want to embarrass the league. These guys are nice guys. They just made a big error. The league will address it." "You don't want to hear the explanation," continued Carlisle, who is the president of the National Basketball Coaches Association. "And at this point, it doesn't matter, because it's not going to change the outcome.
Jeff Zillgitt: Re: Trae Young's $15K fine "for making contact with a game official" in last night's game vs. Wizards. Hawks had three player techs vs. Wiz; frustrated most of the night, and Young expressed that frustration after game about new rule regarding "non-basketball moves."
Hawks guard Trae Young paused in the middle of his postgame comments, perhaps wondering if he was going too far -- or sensing that he already had. "I don't want to get fined too much, but it's frustrating," the Atlanta star said. There's no telling how the league will receive Young's latest words. This wasn't some unhinged rant, but he certainly had plenty to say about the officiating after the Hawks lost 122-111 to Washington on Thursday night. Young was one of five players who received a technical foul during the game, and another one was given out for delay of game.
"There's a lot of missed calls," he said. "It's basketball. It's just, it feels that they're learning, and they're just -- I don't know. It's frustrating." Young went into more detail moments later. There's a new crackdown this season on non-basketball moves designed to draw contact. Officials aren't supposed to call defensive fouls when that happens, and Young and James Harden are often mentioned as players who could be significantly affected. Young averaged 8.7 free throw attempts a game last season. He's averaging 4.4 this season after taking only three Thursday. "I saw James said it's about him, but it's not targeting just one player or two players," Young said.
Young mentioned Damian Lillard and Devin Booker, a couple of other star scorers off to relatively slow starts. "You can watch basketball. Damian Lillard's never averaged 17 points probably since his rookie year," Young said. "There's a couple guys. I mean, Book's averaging 18. There's a lot of things that, when guys are driving straight and guys are getting knocked off balance -- it's still a foul, whether they're using their lower body or their hands."
Sarah K. Spencer: I asked Nate McMillan about the Hawks looking frustrated tonight, and he basically said they've got to overcome it: "The officiating can't be a distraction. We had 4 or 5 techs tonight. That's ridiculous. It wasn't the officiating that was beating us, it was our play."
August 17, 2022 | 4:55 am EDT Update
With the start of training camp just six weeks away, league sources continue to insist that the Celtics are not close to a deal that would bring Kevin Durant to Boston, and that there have not even been any real discussions of substance.
NBA analyst Brian Windhorst discussed the trade situation earlier this week on ESPN’s Get Up. Windhorst inferred that Durant has lost all of the leverage in the trade talks but so did the Nets. “The dynamic around Kevin Durant hasn’t changed at all. There hasn’t been an urgency in trade talks. There hasn’t been a change in strategy by the Brooklyn Nets,” said Windhorst. Windhorst reported, “I think what we have here is really a study of leverage. First off, the Nets do not have leverage in trade talks with other teams. They are not giving them the offers that they want. They see no reason to increase them. So, they’re not making any progress there. Kevin Durant clearly does not have leverage with the Brooklyn Nets. He is asking for things: ‘Get me traded. Fire the coach. Fire the GM.’ He is being told no. So, when you have denied leverage, you have a stalemate.”
While Kevin Durant continues to prefer a trade from the Brooklyn Nets and the trade offers the team has received haven’t satisfied them, the two parties have remained in limbo throughout the offseason. The Nets will continue to listen to trade offers, but they are also hoping Durant changes his mind and gives their team another chance this season. “What’s kind of developed over those 47 days is we now kind of have two different negotiations,” said Brian Windhorst on NBA Today on Tuesday. “One, of course, is with all those teams interested in Kevin Durant and the Nets. We just haven’t seen significant traction with any of those deals. The Nets’ asking price is very high. Their leverage for getting those teams who are interested in offering so much just hasn’t materialized.
“The other negotiation that is now developing is between Durant and the Nets. That separate negotiation about what it would like for him to come back. That’s what a big part of the discussion he had with owner Joe Tsai in London about 10, 11 days ago was. Joe Tsai and the Nets believe they have a really good team. They don’t believe they have a good trade for Kevin Durant. They want him to consider coming back. But Durant has very clearly made it known he doesn’t want to play for the Nets under the current situation with the current coach and current GM.
That leaves three roster spots, and the Celtics will be required to fill at least two of them. League sources said the preseason essentially will serve as a final audition for a collection of veterans seeking a new opportunity. Rookie guard JD Davison and veteran forward Mfiondu Kabengele will be in training camp on their two-way contracts.
Speculation ran rampant: pundits and fans alike wondered whether he had any desire to play on the team, whether he’d be the first player in NBA history to turn down a max rookie extension, whether he’d prove one of the most significant busts in NBA draft history. Much of the chatter focused uncomfortably on his size. As he’s so often done during difficult times, Williamson turned to his favorite show for guidance. I ask if there’s a point in Naruto’s story that he feels is synonymous with where he is right now. His answer is immediate. “It’s when Sasuke was going rogue,” he says, referring to Naruto’s close friend and rival. “All of Naruto’s friends and teammates came to him like, ‘Dude, you’re gonna have to make tough decisions if you really want to be Hokage.’”