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Tuesday, November 19, 2019

Basketball

Giannis Antetokounmpo damages sign in frustration at halftime

Giannis Antetokounmpo

Giannis Antetokounmpo was frustrated with his team’s performance during the first half of Sunday’s game and took it out on a blockade.

The Milwaukee Bucks went into the locker room trailing the Oklahoma City Thunder 56-50 at halftime. It seems that half of play didn’t sit well with the Bucks star, who reportedly kicked a hole in this sign at Chesapeake Energy Arena.

Perhaps the frustration felt by Antetokounmpo reverberated throughout Milwaukee’s locker room, because they came out and outscored the Thunder 37-24 in the third quarter.

This sort of thing is nothing unusual, as we’ve seen plenty of other star athletes do it in the past. The important thing is to avoid injury while blowing off steam — and to buy a replacement item, which we’re guessing the Bucks will do.

Still no timetable on Marvin Bagley’s return from thumb injury

Marvin Bagley III

Marvin Bagley III still does not have a timetable on his return from a broken thumb.

During the Sacramento Kings’ season opener, Bagley suffered a nondisplaced fracture of his right thumb. After an MRI, it was determined Bagley would be out of action for four-to-six weeks. As the three week mark nears, there’s still no timetable when the Kings big man will be game-ready.

Bagley was the No. 2 overall pick in last year’s NBA Draft. As a rookie, he averaged 14.9 points, 7.6 rebounds and one block per game in 62 games. He is expected to be a big part of the Kings’ future, along with point guard De’Aaron Fox. Sacramento is looking to reach the postseason for the first time since the 2005-2006 season but they’re off to just a 3-6 start.

Dion Waiters’ edible incident will wind up costing him over $2 million

Dion Waiters

Dion Waiters definitely consumed one costly edible this week.

The Miami Heat guard was suspended by the team for ten games on Sunday for a highly-publicized incident this week where he suffered a medical reaction on a team flight after taking a THC “gummy.” ESPN’s Bobby Marks noted that the suspension would cost Waiters over $2 million: $834,483 in suspended pay for the ten games themselves and $1.2 million in a bonus that he would have been eligible for had he played in 70 or more games this season.

The 27-year-old Waiters has yet to play in a game for the Heat this season and will now only be able to appear in an absolute maximum of 64.

Granted, Waiters, who is in Year 3 of a four-year, $52 million contract, was already looking highly unlikely to hit the 70-game mark, especially after an earlier team-imposed suspension last month for complaining about his role. The edible incident guarantees that he will not though.

Heat suspend Dion Waiters 10 games after reported THC edible incident

Dion Waiters

Dion Waiters has been punished by the Miami Heat over the publicized medical incident he had on a team plane during the week.

The Heat suspended Waiters 10 games for conduct detrimental to the team, The Athletic’s Shams Charania reports.

Waiters reportedly took a “gummy”, which is a THC edible, before the team’s flight from Phoenix to Los Angeles on Thursday night. Waiters did not play in Thursday’s win over the Suns due to a stomachache and reportedly took the gummy as he sought relief for his issue. A report from Andy Slater said Waiters had a seizure from the gummy, while ESPN reported Waiters had a panic attack. Either way, it’s obvious Waiters reacted poorly to the edible, and the Heat are not happy about the situation.

The 27-year-old did not play in Friday’s loss to the Lakers due to illness.

Waiters is in the third year of a four-year, $52 million contract and has not played in a game this season. He was suspended two games for social media comments before the season in which he complained about his role.

Dwight Howard interested in competing in Dunk Contest again

Dwight Howard

Dwight Howard competed in the Slam Dunk Contest back during George W. Bush’s presidency, but he may not be done with the competition just yet.

Speaking this weekend with TMZ Sports, the Los Angeles Lakers center indicated that he was interested in competing in the Dunk Contest again.

“I thought about it,” he said. “I’m getting my legs back. I feel young again.”

Howard was quick to note though that his only priority was winning a title.

The soon-to-be 34-year-old Howard competed in the Dunk Contest three times, finishing third in 2007, winning in 2008, then placing second to Nate Robinson in 2009.

Averaging 6.1 points, 7.6 rebounds, and 1.9 blocks per game in a sixth man role for the Lakers this season, Howard appears fully healthy and in proper shape for the first time in years. Still though, there is another Dunk Contest alum we might want to see return first.

Lakers making Jason Kidd unavailable to media due to undercutting considerations?

Jason Kidd

Jason Kidd is perhaps the most prominent assistant coach in the NBA today, and the Los Angeles Lakers do not seem to want his profile to get any larger.

Mark Heisler of the OC Register reported on Saturday that the Lakers are so sensitive to suggestions Kidd might undercut head coach Frank Vogel that they have told the media that the former All-Star guard does not want to do interviews. Heisler adds that this makes Kidd their first assistant to shun the press.

Kidd, who is officially the Lakers’ associate head coach, was notably placed on Vogel’s staff by management rather than out of Vogel’s own volition. He is also the highest-paid assistant in the entire NBA.

The 46-year-old Kidd has an ominous history when it comes to power grabs, so the Lakers will try to do everything they can to quiet any concerns about his presence on staff.

Grizzlies holding out top rookies Ja Morant, Brandon Clarke for maintenance

Ja Morant

The Memphis Grizzlies appear to be taking load management a step further.

Michael Wallace of the team’s website reported that top rookies Ja Morant and Brandon Clarke, who were ruled out of Saturday’s game against the Dallas Mavericks, are sitting as part of a maintenance effort. Wallace said that the Grizzlies are taking a collaborative approach with training and performance staff as well as the front office and that the league was aware of the approach.

Memphis is currently on the second end of a back-to-back, part of a series of four games in six days. Clarke has also been battling back soreness with his absence listed as due to “injury maintenance.” Meanwhile, Morant, the No. 2 overall pick in this year’s draft, is not dealing with any known injury.

The Grizzlies are far from the only team implementing such measures — for one, the Mavs themselves are also sitting Kristaps Porzingis on Saturday (albeit a player in his first full season back from a torn ACL). But resting their two top rookies for maintenance purposes can’t create a good look for the league, especially with all the controversy over load management lately.