Spurs Rumors

Rockets Hope For Replay After Loss To Spurs

The NBA hasn’t replayed part of a game in more than a decade, but the Rockets believe they have a strong case for one after Tuesday’s double-overtime loss in San Antonio, writes Tim MacMahon of ESPN.

Houston was denied two important points when a dunk by James Harden was disallowed with 7:50 left in the game. The ball went through the hoop, but got caught in the net and popped out in front of the basket. After some initial confusion, officials ruled it no basket. The dunk would have increased the Rockets’ lead to 15 points.

Team sources told MacMahon after the game they are optimistic the league will review the situation and either award them the victory or demand a replay of the final 7:50 of regulation.

“When the play happened, Harden goes in for a dunk, and then the ball appears to us to pop back through the net,” crew chief James Capers explained to a pool reporter after the game. “When that happens, that is basket interference. To have a successful field goal, it must clear the net. We have since come in here and looked at the play. He dunked it so hard that the net carried it back over the rim a second time, so in fact it did clear the net and should have been a successful field goal.”

“As to could the play have been reviewed, it is a reviewable matter, but you have a window of 30 seconds to challenge the play during that timeout that he had and while they were protesting the call, trying to get clarification of it, that window passed. So therefore, it elapsed, and they were not able to do it.”

 Rockets coach Mike D’Antoni said confusion among the officials cost him a chance to challenge the play.

“I heard that they said the ball hit James and went back through, so it was a goaltend on James. I challenged that, and I didn’t get a response,” D’Antoni said. “Then another guy said it wasn’t a goaltend; it went out of bounds on us. And I said, ‘Well, I challenge that.’ Can’t do that.”

The Rockets may file a formal protest, tweets Jonathan Feigen of The Houston Chronicle, but are waiting to see if the league takes action first.

The last time the NBA ordered that part of a game be replayed came in 2008, according to MacMahon. The Hawks defeated the Heat in overtime, but the official scorer mistakenly determined that Miami center Shaquille O’Neal fouled out with 51.9 seconds to go, so that portion of the game was replayed when the teams met again.

Execs Explore Aldridge's Potential Trade Value

Western Notes: Murray, Iguodala, Roberson

Dejounte Murray has come off the bench for the Spurs recently and the point guard says that he’s not stressing over his role.

“I am just here to play basketball, man,” Murray said when asked how he’s handling coming off the bench (via Tom Orsborn of the San Antonio Express-News). “Try to be a great teammate. And on the basketball end, play as great as I can on both ends of the floor and just compete.”

Murray was set to enter the 2018/19 season as the starting point guard before suffering a knee injury that cost him the season. Derrick White stepped up as the starter last year and coach Gregg Popovich believes that inserting White into the starting lineup this season will help the team improve its game.

Here’s more from the Western Conference:

Free Agent Stock Watch 2019: Southwest Division

Every week, Hoops Rumors takes a closer look at players who will be free agents or could become free agents next offseason. We examine if their stock is rising or falling due to performance and other factors. This week, we take a look at players from the Southwest Division:

Brandon Ingram, Pelicans, 22, SF (Up) – Signed to a four-year, $23.8MM deal in 2016
More appropriately, Ingram’s stock is way, way up. Ingram’s last season with the Lakers was cut short by a blood clot issue. He averaged 18.3 PPG but there was still skepticism just how good Ingram was. He’s answered that emphatically in his first 13 games with the Pelicans, posting All-Star level numbers (26.1 PPG, 7.2 RPG, 4.2 APG, 45.9 percent on 3s). The Pelicans will make him a restricted free agent by extending a $9.48MM qualifying offer. Will Ingram re-sign with New Orleans, sign a big offer sheet, or sign the QO and test unrestricted free agency the following summer? For sure, he’ll get paid.

Courtney Lee, Mavericks, 34, SG (Down) – Signed to a four-year, $48MM deal in 2016
Lee’s value to Dallas is mainly his expiring contract, which could prove useful as the Mavs look to acquire another piece to their vastly improved squad. Lee’s playing time has been mainly limited to garbage-time minutes. After two solid seasons with the Knicks, Lee’s career has declined the past two seasons. His 3-point prowess (38.7 percent for his career) might earn him a short-term deal next summer but he won’t be making anywhere near $12MM next season.

Gerald Green, Rockets, 33, SG (Down) – Signed to a one-year, $2.56MM deal in 2019
Have we seen the last of Green in the NBA? That’s a strong possibility, considering his age and long-term rehab from a foot injury. He underwent surgery in late October and is expected to miss the regular season and likely the postseason as well. Green, a 12-year NBA veteran, has made prior stops with Boston, Minnesota, Houston, Dallas, New Jersey, Indiana, Phoenix and Miami during his professional career. He was a major contributor off the Rockets’ bench last season, averaging 9.2 PPG and 2.5 PPG in 73 contests. Another veteran’s minimum deal is his best hope.

Marco Belinelli, Spurs, 33, SG (Down) – Signed to a two-year, $12MM deal in 2018
Belinelli’s perimeter shooting has made him one of the league’s most reliable second-unit players for years. The shooting touch has abandoned him, one of the many reasons the Spurs have struggled this season. Belinelli is shooting just 29 percent from the field while averaging 5.2 PPG. He has averaged in double figures off the bench for the past four seasons. Gregg Popovich has continued to give him steady minutes, so Bellinelli’s production should return to the norm. But if his playing time is reduced, he may have to settle for the veteran’s minimum next summer.

Dillon Brooks, Grizzlies, 23, SF (Up) – Signed to a three-year, $3.8MM deal in 2017
Brooks was limited to 18 games last season, mainly due to a toe injury that required surgery in January. He has come back at full strength and started every game this season for the Grizzlies. He’s the team’s third-leading scorer at 13.3 PPG while making 38.7 percent of his 3-pointers. It’s a foregone conclusion the Grizzlies will extend a $2MM qualifying offer to make him a restricted free agent this summer. The 2017 second-round pick will get a substantial pay raise regardless of how his free agent journey unfolds.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Pops Shares Thoughts On Female Coaches

  • Spurs coach Gregg Popovich thinks it will be a while before a NBA team names a woman as its head coach, Chase Hughes of NBC Sports Washington writes. “It’s a process and it doesn’t happen quickly. But I think the more women there are [in the game] and as it becomes more commonplace and more the rule, it will then depend on an organization realizing there are women that can do this,” he said. Every woman can’t, every man can’t. But the point is there gotta be enough to choose from and it’s gotta be pretty commonplace before I think somebody’s gonna pull the trigger.”

Community Shootaround: How Can The Spurs Save Their Season?

What is going on with the Spurs this season? LaMarcus Aldridge doesn’t believe it’s any one thing that is causing the team to struggle.

“I can’t pinpoint a certain thing, movement, whatever. It’s just a unit, you know? We have to figure it out together. It’s about all five guys on the floor. We try to be better, try to figure it out, and we haven’t,” as the big man tells Tim Bontemps of ESPN.com.

Three of the team’s top players (Aldridge, DeMar DeRozan, and Dejounte Murray) are not strong long-range shooters, which has forced coach Gregg Popovich to play big men who can stretch the floor, such as Trey Lyles.

“They’re playing Lyles? Come on,” one rival scout told Bontemps. “Not in the West. Maybe you can play him and hope to get to ninth in the East or something.”

Bontemps mentions a possible DeRozan trade as something that could help the team improve by rebalancing the roster with shooters. However, the Spurs haven’t made an in-season trade in five years.

So that leads us to tonight’s topic: Should the Spurs make a deal to try and save their season? Which player should they ship away? Or should they stay pat without making meaningful improvements and potentially land a top-10 draft pick for the first time since 1997?

Let us know your thoughts in the comment section below. We look forward to what you have to say!

Nets Notes: Dinwiddie, Defense, Allen, Carroll

Spencer Dinwiddie has been playing so well in Kyrie Irving‘s absence that he might remain in the starting lineup once Irving returns, writes Brian Lewis of The New York Post. Dinwiddie poured in 30 points in Sunday’s win over the Knicks and has averaged 25.0 points and 6.2 assists per game since becoming a starter. Irving is sidelined until at least Friday with a shoulder impingement, and coach Kenny Atkinson said he will consider using them together as the starting backcourt.

“Kyrie is still learning exactly what we want to do. Spencer’s got a little more corporate knowledge,” Atkinson said. “It’s going to take time for Kyrie to completely understand what we’re doing on both sides of the ball. That being said, for not understanding he’s been pretty darn good. So it just gives us a lot of different options. I think about Spencer playing so well right now, when Kyrie comes back what does that look like? Is Spencer coming to start? You have [Garrett Temple] with the defense. There’s a lot [of options] … which is a good problem to have.”

Dinwiddie started 58 games during the 2017/18 season, then excelled as a sixth man last year, so he’s comfortable with either role. He understands that his place on the team will continue to evolve as Caris LeVert returns from injury later this season and especially when Kevin Durant is healthy enough to play in 2020/21.

“The role just changes, like an amoeba. Sometimes it’s defense, sometimes it’s going to be scoring,” Dinwiddie said. “Obviously usage rate is probably through the roof right now because Kyrie is out, Caris and obviously the monster is going to be back probably next season. For now my job is to do this, and then it’ll shift when they get back.”

There’s more this morning from Brooklyn:

  • The Nets have been successful without Irving because of improvements on defense, Lewis notes in a separate story. Brooklyn has won four of its last five games and is posting a 102.4 Defensive Rating in that span, which ranks fifth in the league. The changes came about after Temple replaced LeVert and Iman Shumpert entered the rotation after being signed last week.
  • Improved play from Jarrett Allen has also lifted the Nets, observes Alex Schiffer of The Athletic. Allen got off to a slow start while adjusting to the addition of DeAndre Jordan, but through 16 games his averages of 10.9 PPG and 9.4 RPG are in line with last season’s.
  • DeMarre Carroll respects the Nets for letting him know he wasn’t in their future plans before free agency began, relays Stefan Bondy of The New York Daily News. Carroll signed with the Spurs after spending two years in Brooklyn. “They just let me know they weren’t going to be able to pay me what somebody else would pay me. All they really had the minimum because they wanted to go out and pursue other guys,” Carroll said. “They went out and got Kevin Durant and Kyrie and DeAndre. They already kind of laid it out before I went into free agency.”

NBA G League Assignments/Recalls: 11/24/19

Here are Sunday’s assignments and recalls from around the NBA:

O'Connor: Could Spurs Be Kevin Love Suitor?

Over at The Ringer, Kevin O’Connor tries to identify a few teams that might match up with the Cavaliers in a Love trade, writing that rival team executives believe GM Koby Altman is “just posturing” when he insists Cleveland has zero interest in moving the five-time All-Star. However, O’Connor has a tough time finding ideal fits, listing the Kings, Spurs, Heat, Trail Blazers, and Rockets as some teams that might work in theory.

Paul George Talks 2017 Trade Request, Teaming Up With Kawhi

After sitting out the Clippers‘ last three games due to a left knee contusion, Kawhi Leonard will suit up tonight against Boston, marking the first time that Leonard and Paul George will play together for the franchise, per Ohm Youngmisuk and Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN.

For George, it will be the culmination of what has been a years-long desire to team up with Leonard, as he tells Youngmisuk in a separate ESPN article. According to George, when he requested a trade out of Indiana in 2017, the Lakers were widely believed to be his desired landing spot, but he also had interest in being sent to the Spurs, who still had Kawhi on their roster at the time.

“I wanted to be traded to San Antonio,” George told Youngmisuk. “We wanted to go to San Antonio first, and we didn’t make that happen.”

A source confirms to ESPN that the Spurs and Pacers talked at the time, but San Antonio lacked the assets necessary to make a move for George. The Lakers ultimately passed too, since they were reluctant to surrender too many assets for a player they thought they might be able to sign in free agency, writes Youngmisuk. George was eventually dealt to Oklahoma City, but still hoped to team up with Leonard at some point down the road.

“Since that moment, we were trying to pair up with one another,” George said. “We were trying to make it work. [After being traded to the Thunder] I had obligations that I wanted to come back to Oklahoma and give it another shot. … And then I felt that I needed to move on, I needed to go in another direction and I needed to at that point do what I wanted to do my whole career.”

About four or five days before news broke this summer that the Clippers had reached deals to acquire George and sign Leonard, Kawhi reached out to PG13 to see if the time was finally right to try to play together. Although it took another trade request from George, the two star forwards did ultimately end up on the same roster in Los Angeles. Now, they’ll take the court together as teammates for the first time.

“Just seems like it was destined,” George said over the summer. “We were supposed to play together.”