There are plenty of things to look forward to tonight in the NBA, including the announcement of the All-Star game reserves as well as the follow-up showdown between the Warriors and Clippers, whose Christmas Day match-up gave us a taste of how intriguing the playoff atmosphere in the Western Conference could be come April. Shortly after the 105-103 loss, Clippers forward Blake Griffin spoke about being ejected and didn’t seem too happy with Golden State:
“If you look at it, I didn’t do anything and I got thrown out of the game. It all boils down to they (referees) fell for it…To me, it’s cowardly basketball. I don’t know their intentions, but it worked…If I knew the answer I’d probably be in a different position. Tonight I got two technicals for nothing.”
Although Warriors coach Mark Jackson continues to insist that LAC-GSW isn’t a rivalry, Matt Moore of CBS Sports provides the evidence which suggests otherwise. In the meantime, here are some links to pass along from around the Association this afternoon:
- Kevin Durant‘s decision this summer to sign with Jay Z’s Roc Nation Sports agency came from a desire to enhance his off-court marketing, and it had nothing to do with his feelings about Oklahoma City, sources tell Steve Kyler of Basketball Insiders.
- An agent with ties to the Knicks tells Bleacher Report’s Jared Zwerling that he thinks Carmelo Anthony is “too Hollywood” to choose the Bulls in free agency and prefers New York or Los Angeles instead.
- Some executives around the league were put off by the public negotiating the Rockets did when Omer Asik was on the block, and other front-office types were annoyed with Houston’s boasts after the Dwight Howard signing, as Zwerling reports in the same piece.
- The Bulls would be “ecstatic” if Nikola Mirotic signed this summer for the mid-level exception, tweets Nick Friedell of ESPNChicago.com. He’s almost certainly referring to the non-taxpayer’s mid-level, which would allow for a starting salary of $5.305MM.
- Marco Belinelli says the Bulls didn’t make an offer to re-sign him this past summer, and he finds that surprising, as Nick Friedell of ESPNChicago.com observes. The Bulls chose to sign Mike Dunleavy instead, reportedly because they felt he was a better fit with Derrick Rose.
- Emiliano Carchia of Sportando relays a report from El Mundo Deportivo that China and Russia have decided to withdraw their bids from the FIFA World Cup Wild Card. Ryan Wosltat of the Toronto Sun (via Twitter) says that with those two teams out of the picture and Brazil, Greece, and Turkey locks for the tournament, then Canada should have a shot to make it as well.
Chuck Myron contributed to this post.