Storyline: Officiating Complaints

1,324 rumors in this storyline

More Rumors in this Storyline

Mavericks unhappy with officiating

Doncic said he didn’t even know who hit him from behind to cause his laceration but strongly believed a loose-ball foul should have been called. He also complained to referee Mark Lindsay about being hit in the face by James on a pass that resulted in a turnover in the opening minute of overtime, pointing to his face and the back of his head repeatedly during a conversation with the official while James shot the free throws that put the Lakers up nine points with less than a minute left. “I was just asking if I got hit in the head, how’s that not a foul?” said Doncic, who on multiple occasions showed referees scratches on his arms after drives that didn’t result in foul calls, once leading to a stoppage in play for infectious disease control because he was bleeding. “Just should have concentrated on the game and not talked to the refs. That was my fault.”

John Hollinger: The league has worked really hard to develop a pipeline of young refs via the G League, but the fact is that nobody went to college on an officiating scholarship — officiating is something a person tries to pick up later, and few turn out to be a natural at it. Finally, the faster-paced game that has developed over the past few years has created another issue — people who are NOT world-class athletes having to keep up with them from end to end. How do you feel, Seth, about adding additional officials and/or keeping one ref on each baseline the whole game?

John Hollinger: From the front office side during my time with the Grizzlies, we absolutely had times we wanted to show players and/or coaches that we had their backs. An awful game-deciding call went against us early in one coach’s tenure, and we made sure to howl about it with the league for that purpose. We also had a situation where a particular player felt like he wasn’t getting a fair whistle, and we made a big stink about that too. (But “take that for data” was the only time we did it publicly. Too often it just looks like sour grapes and whining. A lot of times that’s because it is.)

“I think we have to learn how the game is officiated,” Harrison Barnes said. “I think there are some plays that we’re kind of used to how the NBA officiates things. We get the ‘no call’ but then at the other end it just looks like we’re fouling every single time. Whether it’s post defense, whether it’s coming off screens. Whether it’s bumping a guy after driving, so there’s a learning curve we’re getting better at, but tonight it was definitely evident.”

With Collins’ sneaky athleticism he had officials apologizing and admitting they, at times, had wrongfully called a foul. “There were a couple of plays where I’d block a shot and the ref would come up to me and apologize to me and say, ‘well, you were so far away from the play, we didn’t think that you’d be able to get there, so it was a foul’.” Collins went onto say, “which I understand… I don’t think it’s like a respect thing, but hopefully they’ll know me better and they’ll know that maybe I could get there this time.”
6 months ago via ESPN

Speaking of Tuesday’s GMs meeting: Multiple sources say the liveliest topic of discussion centered around the possibility of implementing a coach’s challenge at some point soon. Some in the room favored a more limited challenge system focused on black-and-white rulings: out of bounds plays, goaltending, and the like — but not fouls. Others argued coaches should be able to challenge foul calls. The league would likely favor the more restricted concept, if anything. Allowing coaches to challenge fouls is something of a Pandora’s box. Should they be able to challenge non-calls, too? There was also discussion of whether a challenge should cost a team one timeout regardless of whether the coach “wins” or “loses” the challenge. Some in the room were wary of coaches using the challenge to create an extra timeout. Also: What if a team is out of timeouts?

“We know how many free throws [Antetokounmpo] has shot per game,” Irving said. “He’s a great player in our league. We know how many times he goes to the basket and gets contact. We also know how many times we go to the basket and get contact. “It’s a playoff game. Guys are playing very aggressive. When you get into the bonus with 8 minutes left in the third, it’s a shocker. It will put something in your mind where you don’t want to touch anyone.”

After everything that happened in the wake of Game 1, when the Rockets were incensed with the officials and The Athletic story that followed fueled so much worldwide disdain for their Beautiful Mind style system, one had to wonder: How did all of the reaction land with Morey, who built this program that is designed for players to play the probabilities on a basketball floor as if it were a craps table? “I mean, I’ve been dealing with it for a while,” Morey said before deciding not to go any farther.

Spend half an hour talking to NBA vice president of referee development and training Monty McCutchen about this week’s hot topic — a divide between players and officials overshadowing the start of the league’s highest-profile series — and you get the feeling that conspiracy theories so often floated by fans, players, coaches and even general managers are mostly laughable. “It really is,” McCutchen told Yahoo Sports by phone on Wednesday. “That’s often the case. What’s on the inside is much more normal and mundane than human. We’re trying to get plays right. We want to serve the game well. We have the same desires individually for success in our careers that other people do in their careers, and you do that by being impartial and upholding standards with a certain resolve and will. You most certainly don’t do that by being vindictive and living through your emotions. I’m proud of our group that they consistently do good work.”

Several themes ran through our discussion, none more than the constant battle against public perception to ensure the game he loves remains impartial. McCutchen is essentially tasked with molding the NBA’s referees into a robot army capable of upholding standards void of emotion. “It’s like a race-car driver,” said McCutchen. “If you and I start driving 75 or 80 miles per hour, we might start to feel really uncomfortable behind the wheel. Like, I don’t feel like I’m able to take in the necessary information that allows me to be a good decision-maker at higher speeds, and those aren’t even high speeds compared to a race-car driver, but because they’ve trained, they’re able to process that information in ways that you and I can’t. It’s the same for referees.”

“If people can’t remove themselves from those emotions, then they’re not capable of working this time of year or they expose that they’re not capable if given the opportunity and can no longer handle this, and they go backwards instead of forwards,” said McCutchen. “It’s all in the training. If we don’t train well, then we have to live with the results of giving into our emotions, but don’t mistake in my opinion the fact that refereeing is not the same as playing. “Playing is a much different emotional experience, because you’re banging, you’re playing a physical game. It’s much different as a referee, where your job is to rise above emotion and get to standards. If we can uphold standards, then we’ve had a successful night, which is sort of the antithesis of emotion. You’re saying to yourself, ‘It doesn’t matter what the situation is, I have a standard to uphold.’ Through our process of vetting who’s having the best years, we feel highly confident — not perfect — that we have the people to rise above and uphold our standards.”

It did not match the extent the Rockets had at the beginning of this playoff series. Nonetheless, Warriors coach Steve Kerr said the team plans to ask the NBA league office to rescind a double technical issued to Draymond Green and Nene late in the third quarter of the Warriors’ 115-119 Game 2 win over Houston on Tuesday at Oracle Arena. Green has four technicals, leaving him three shy of receiving a one-game suspension during the playoffs without pay. “Every time there’s an altercation, it’s a double technical. If you’re playing in the playoffs for a few rounds, those add up,” Kerr said. “If the way to handle it is to call a double technical, I think the league needs to consider that.”

It appears likely the NBA will rescind the double technicals based on recent precedent. Following Game 3 of the Warriors’ first-round series against the Los Angeles Clippers, the NBA rescinded a double technical on Kevin Durant and JaMychal Green. After Green fouled Durant on a hard screen, the two players engaged with what appeared to be playful banter as the two walked toward the other side of the court. Both players looked perplexed after they were issued with double technicals. “It’s a competitive atmosphere out there,” Kerr said. “It’s a playoff game. Guys are going to get tangled up.”
7 months ago via ESPN

“I think both teams just realized what the hell was going on the last two days,” Green said. “You can’t really turn a blind eye to anything in today’s day and age, with social media and all these things. So everyone was aware of all the talk about officiating and about foul calls — come out and play the game. And I think both teams did a great job of that. “They weren’t complaining about many calls, we weren’t complaining about many calls, because it’s kind of embarrassing for the game of basketball, how much has been talked about, about fouls and officiating. What about beating your man? What about stopping your man? No one talked anything about schemes the last two days. It’s all been about foul calls. I think both teams were locked in on coming out and playing the game to the best of their ability. You have to give credit to both clubs, both teams did that.”

“My brother is a referee,” Iguodala told Yahoo Sports. “He’s on the cusp of trying to get to the next level and I ask him a lot of questions. More times than not, he’s saying the referees are right. But my questions to him, and this is the one that gets him, is how do teams guard Steph and Klay [Thompson]? And he says, ‘Oh, they get hacked every time. He says Steph gets fouled 80 percent of the possessions that he’s in. He’s getting held, he’s getting pulled. They just hold him down.’ And teams are like, just get physical with him. We see all the memes where somebody is just knocking Steph down and it’s funny, right? But you never see it on the other side. You don’t see us knocking other people down and it becoming something because it’s just a foul. Foul, foul, foul, foul, foul.”

There’s been talk for years that the way to fix bad calls is to have robot or computer refs take the court over (seems terrifying), but when we got Gobert out he said all that ain’t necessary. “I think it would take something away from the game if you do that.” Gobert, one of the best defensive players in the league, says that carbon-based refs are fine, as long as the players are able to have honest talks with them. “Dialogue is the most important thing.”
7 months ago via ESPN

The Houston Rockets believe officiating in last season’s Western Conference finals cost them an NBA championship, and in a report since sent to the league, tabulated the net result of 81 potential missed calls and non-calls in Game 7 of that series between Houston and the Golden State Warriors, according to the report and an accompanying memo, both of which have been obtained by ESPN. “Referees likely changed the eventual NBA champion,” says the memo, addressed to Byron Spruell, the NBA’s president of league operations. “There can no be no worse result for the NBA.”

Rockets fuming about officiating

According to sources with knowledge of the situation, the Rockets have been making a data-driven case with the NBA for quite some time that these Super Team Warriors are getting a major officiating advantage in these heavy-hitter matchups. And of all the specific examples that have been discussed with league officials, none has left them more suspect of the system than the 2018 Western Conference Finals. This series opener, more than anything, was salt being poured directly into that Rockets wound.
More HoopsHype Rumors
November 13, 2019 | 5:03 pm UTC Update
Memphis plans to wait on a buyout with Iguodala until February’s trade deadline. The Grizzlies are still holding out hope that a trade can be worked out and have been holding firm on their asking price of a first-round pick. If not, Iguodala will be cut loose from Memphis and free to sign with whomever he chooses—around the league, that’s expected to be the Lakers.
Storyline: Andre Iguodala Buyout?
But there are still teams in the mix. All, according to speculation from league executives, are in the Western Conference. “He’s got more value in the West,” one GM told Heavy.com. “I can’t see a team in the East moving for him. He has the experience guarding LeBron and that’s what you want out of him. That and you want to keep him off the Lakers, you want their bench to be a weak spot. He doesn’t have those same kinds of good matchups in the East. You don’t want to put him on Giannis (Antetokounmpo) in a seven-game series, for sure.”
But the Grizzlies have yet to show interest in that deal and whether the Mavs would revisit the offer is a question. Sources indicate that the Mavs’ intent as the season progresses is to hunt for a piece with the trade exception they hold from the Harrison Barnes deal, worth $11.7 million. The Mavs can take on a player with a contract less than that value without giving up anything in return.
The Milwaukee Bucks have assigned Thanasis Antetokounmpo and Dragan Bender to the Wisconsin Herd of the NBA G League. Antetokounmpo has appeared in one game for the Bucks this season while Bender has yet to play in a game for Milwaukee. Bender started the first two games of the season for the Herd and averaged 19.0 points, 6.5 points, 1.5 blocks, 1.0 assist and 1.0 steal in 29.9 minutes per game.
During an episode of ESPN’s “The Jump” on Tuesday, former Celtic Paul Pierce and longtime NBA reporter Jackie MacMullan touched on the difference in the team’s leadership. Specifically, the departure of Kyrie Irving and the arrival of Kemba Walker. “They got better leadership in there,” Pierce said. “Let’s just call it how it is.”
After ESPN reporter Rachel Nichols — the show’s host — offered a clarification that the leadership was simply “different,” Pierce jumped back in. “It’s better,” reiterated Pierce. “Kemba, he’s known throughout the league as being a great leader. I mean, he played on losing teams, he stayed positive. He went out and played hard every night, and that can be infectious. That can be the difference between losing and winning and chemistry. That’s what he’s brought to the Celtics.”
The entire article was brief, straightforward and, yet, extremely bold. Silver was the first acting commissioner of a major U.S. sports league to come out in support of legalized sports betting. In 437 words, he pivoted the NBA’s long-held public opposition to sports betting and ignited a discussion about a taboo subject for all professional leagues. “I think it was ground-breaking,” Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban said of Silver’s op-ed in an email to ESPN. “Leagues for decades were hypocritical about gaming, pretending it doesn’t exist. Adam ended that hypocrisy.”
Behind the scenes, though, the leagues were studying the issue, preparing for the day when more states would offer sports betting. Former NBA commissioner David Stern believes Silver’s op-ed had an enormous impact on the other leagues’ approaches to the issue and was very influential overall in the movement toward expanded legal sports betting. “It indicated that the horse was about to leave the barn and it would be smart to jump on your own horse and follow along,” Stern said. “And they did.” “It was critical,” added Cuban. “Prior, those in favor of gaming expected pro sports to fight back. With the hypocrisy gone, the legal steps could move forward.”
Leonsis was on the forefront of the league’s shift on betting and was one of the owners Silver consulted with on the op-ed. “My notion was what are we afraid of, when we know all this money is being spent offshore [with bookmakers] in an unregulated, untaxed and unmindful way?” Leonsis said in a phone interview Tuesday. Today, the professional leagues’ opposition to sports betting has vanished. Their focus now is on how to monetize the growing regulated industry through data and fees based on the amount wagered on the games.
November 13, 2019 | 3:54 pm UTC Update
Through their first nine games, James had assisted Davis on 26 baskets, 10 more than any other teammate, per ESPN Stats & Information research. Compare that to his first nine games with Bosh, when it was 17 assists, and his first nine with Love, which produced only 11. Their pick-and-rolls have resulted in the highlight dunks that fans love and a schematic nightmare for opposing coaches. And even though they sometimes are caught a little out of position, there’s a natural flow that’s easy to see. “I think that’s part of [LeBron’s] genius that he’s able to morph into whatever he needs to be, to bring out the best out of the other players,” said Heat coach Erik Spoelstra, whose team faced the Lakers last week. “His connection with [Bosh] was pretty natural, and I think this is, this just fits like a glove. … When both guys want to do it, commit to the process of getting better with it, you’re just going to see that improve dramatically as the season goes on.”
Storyline: LeBron-Davis Dynamic
Amid the ongoing debate about resting players in the NBA, count Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban among those openly willing to support load management. “The problem isn’t load management, per se,” Cuban told reporters in Boston on Monday. “I think teams have to be smarter about when to load manage. I’m all for load management. Worse than missing a player in a [regular-season] game is missing him in the playoffs.”
2 hours ago via ESPN
“He had a tough couple of weeks before training camp,” Dunn said. “Most people, when I get at them and I see fear, they’re done. They’re outta there.” But White didn’t budge. He showed no fear, no quit. He refused to back down. He just kept coming. “Training camp came and he turned it on,” Dunn said. “That showed he’s still learning, but he’s going to bring it. He’s going to keep bringing it. He kept the same intensity. He kept the same energy. And I love it.”
Though some of the feelings were foreign to him, he could recognize them as a threat to his well-being. “That kills more dreams, careers, on and off the court, basketball-related and just (in) regular life,” Brown says. “As soon as you start not believing in yourself, it’s over. So I had to quiet that voice that was in the back of my head. Everybody has it. It’s not something that, like, just Jaylen has been through it. I think everybody on this planet probably has that voice in the back of their head telling them to stop or to quit or not to keep going. And that voice had been louder last year than it had ever been. So I had to make sure to quiet that fucking voice because it was pissing me off.”
He found the best response was sometimes to detach from a situation, even if others did not always understand the tactic. He wasn’t doing it out of a lack of care, he says, but because he needed to preserve his positive energy and keep moving in the right direction. While he says he didn’t lean much on others for advice, his grandfather recommended a number of helpful books. “A lot of it had to do with astrology and stuff like that,” Brown says. “Finding out what you’re made of. I had to remind myself of who I was. That was good for me.”
Brown has a bigger role again. Head coach Brad Stevens inserted him into the starting lineup from Day 1. Through nine games, the Celtics lead the NBA with an 8-1 record and a plus-9.5 net rating. Brown is averaging 19.8 points and 7.2 rebounds per game on 53 percent shooting. Those marks would all establish career highs. He has lived near the rim so far — which he called a conscious decision — but he does not want to pigeonhole himself into a slashing style. If teams start backing up, he says, he may need to start lacing 3-pointers again. “The media or analytics, they always try to put you in a box and say this is the type of player he is or this is the type of player,” Brown says. “I don’t think anybody knows what type of player I am. I can try to continue to grow and get better. In two years I might be improved at anything just because I work on my game that way.”
November 13, 2019 | 8:14 am UTC Update

Knicks players back David Fizdale

Despite their frustrations following the loss at Chicago — one in which they turned the ball over 18 times and were outscored 52-46 in the paint — Knicks players were still adamant in their support of the second-year coach. “We’ve got 9-10 new guys? We’ve got 10 guys that have not played together at all and me who hasn’t even been in the league yet,” said rookie RJ Barrett. “You’re gonna have some challenges, but you’ve got to keep pushing, keep pushing through everything. That’s all I can really say. You’ve just got to stay together. “He’s up to the challenge. We believe in him,” he continued. “We’re staying together, and like we said, we’re all-in with him and are just gonna keep fighting together.”
9 hours ago via ESPN
This rumor is part of a storyline: 20 more rumors
Knicks owner James Dolan spoke with team president Steve Mills and others in management on Monday, the day after Mills and GM Scott Perry held an impromptu press conference to express their frustration with the Knicks. Dolan speaks with Mills and other top decision-makers regularly, just as most NBA owners do, but this conversation seemed to carry a little more weight. Sources familiar with the conversation told SNY that management came away with the impression that their jobs would be secure as long as the Knicks ‘showed progress’ this season.
Stadium: NBA Insider @ShamsCharania reports Dion Waiters will return to the Heat when his 10-game team suspension ends after “gummy” incident. “There isn’t a buyout on the horizon … he has to get back into the good graces of the organization”

The Houston Rockets made the signing-and-trading for veteran Chris Paul in the summer of 2017 the landmark move of their offseason, but the All-Star floor general only experienced two seasons in Clutch City before being quickly shipped off again on his career. Speaking to comedian and actor Kevin Hart on his cold tub show that we all knew existed before this moment, the 34-year-old Paul called his 2019 offseason trade to the Oklahoma City Thunder a “stab” in the back (via Dan Feldman of NBC Sports). Hart: Do you feel like there’s been times where, “Damn, that’s a little eye-opening. I got stabbed in the back”? Paul: Absolutely. This last situation was one of them. The GM there in Houston, he don’t owe me nothing. You know what I mean? He may tell me one thing but do another thing. But you just understand that that’s what it is.
David Levy is resigning as chief executive officer of the Brooklyn Nets and Barclays Center, abruptly walking away from the fast-growing sports operation owned by Alibaba Group billionaire Joe Tsai. Levy, a 33-year veteran of Turner Broadcasting, was named to the CEO job less than two months ago. Oliver Weisberg, head of J Tsai Sports, will now take over as interim Nets chief.
Storyline: Nets Front Office
Turkish NBA player Enes Kanter, a vocal critic of Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan, teamed up with two Democratic U.S. senators on Tuesday as they introduced a bill to condemn the alleged violation of human rights in Turkey. As Erdogan arrived in the United States for a White House meeting on Wednesday with U.S. President Donald Trump, Senators Edward Markey and Ron Wyden held up Kanter as a victim of the Turkish government’s targeting of political rivals.
November 13, 2019 | 3:01 am UTC Update
November 13, 2019 | 2:40 am UTC Update
Atlanta’s training staff wanted him to take accountability and ask for help, but he was too stubborn. The NBA lifestyle had messed with his priorities. Instead of focusing on his diet and cracking the rotation, Spellman did favors for friends and hobnobbed with celebrities. Today, he calls that dark period a “time of self-sabotage.” And injuries only worsened his depression. A hip issue, likely the result of his rapid weight gain, sidelined Spellman for seven games last winter. In early March, a high ankle sprain ended his season.
Those closest to him have seen a changed man. After slogging through a year-long depression, Spellman is finally finding reasons to smile again. “I have a great opportunity with the Golden State Warriors,” said Spellman, who had his third-year option of $2 million picked up two weeks ago. “They’re helping me every day. I’m losing more and more weight, and I can really get to whatever point they want me at. I know what I need to do.”
November 13, 2019 | 2:22 am UTC Update