DeMarcus, DeMarcus, DeMarcus. When will you ever learn. DeMarcus Cousins of the Sacramento Kings has had many discipline issues this season including being fined by the team and missing a game in February after fighting with a teammate. There has also been a list of incidents involving DeMarcus, his coaches and his teammates and some verbal jousting. It doesn't end there. The latest involves DeMarcus being ejected from a game against Minnesota on Sunday after shoving the Timberwolves' Martell Webster. In the third quarter, DeMarcus attempts to set a screen and gets 'involved' with Minnesota's Luke Ridnour. Feeling no love from DeMarcus, Ridnour shoved Cousins, who then shoved Ridnour back. Then one of Ridnour's teammates Nikola Pekovic jumps into the fray to push DeMarcus out of the way and when Webster returns with his two cents, DeMarcus shoved him too. DeMarcus gets tossed from the game and Ridnour gets a technical foul. There are two problems with this scenario. One, DeMarcus already has a target on his back from his propensity for 'getting into it' with everyone around him. This leaves the referees with no grey area in which to judge his actions. Two, this is DeMarcus' rookie year and he is not making the best first impression. If he wants longevity in this league, he needs to go cold turkey and box his temper before it gets out of hand. As a player, you can have all the talent in the world but if you act as if you know everything and can't learn or be coached, your professional basketball career will be short lived. Andrew Bynum feels his pain. Let's talk about his suspension and a looming NBA lockout.
Bynum is suspended for two games
This call makes no sense. Compared to DeMarcus Cousins, Andrew Bynum who has little prior history of committing hard fouls, is not the type of player who is deserving of a two game suspension for fouling Minnesota's Michael Beasley. Lakers Coach Phil Jackson agrees with the flagrant foul and game ejection but like myself, does not understand how the further penalties were calculated. Even Timberwolves Coach Kurt Rambis thought Bynum wasn't up to anything malicious and thought he was just trying to protect the basket. But then Coach Rambis flips on this answer two days later after watching replays and supports the suspension. Andrew Bynum missed Sunday's game against Portland and will sit out Tuesday's game against Phoenix. In addition, Bynum will loose $250, 000 during this suspension for lost pay. This all seems a little suspicious and excessive to me. Is it a coincidence the DeMarcus and Bynum incidents came against the Timberwolves? Are the referees coming down on certain players and letting others go to appease Coaches like Kurt Rambis? Think back to our discussion last week : reporting inconsistencies in refereeing and 'making up' for mistakes or bad calls. It just makes me shake my head.
"It doesn't look good right now" - Dirk Nowitzki
Lockout or no lockout, some NBA players are preparing for the worst. Even if a possible lockout just cuts into next season, Mavericks forward Dirk Nowitzki repeated his desire to rejoin the German national team as it tries to qualify this summer for the 2012 Olympics in London. I was thinking about this over the weekend - the last time the NBA had a lockout which cut into the regular season was 1998-1999. Back then, Dirk Nowitzki was just a wee pup by NBA standards, was drafted in June of '98 but stayed in Germany to play with his pro team. His desire to play with his German teammates again depends on how well his Dallas Mavericks do in the post season. Nowitzki says if the Mavericks go far he may just stay put. But knowing Nowitzki turns 33 in June and considers the 2012 Olympics as possibly his last shot at competing for Germany, I wouldn't count on him crying if the Mavericks fall in the first round.
The crux of the issue is money. The NBPA (National Basketball Players Association) believes only a small number of NBA teams are loosing money. The League thinks otherwise and wants a hard salary cap because they say more than half of NBA teams are loosing money to the tune of more than $300 million a year. According NBPA Chief Billy Hunter the hard salary cap would put an end to guaranteed contracts which he calls the "lifeblood" of professional basketball. He has a point. The hard cap gives the owners a guaranteed profit - so the security of income just switches sides and no one wants to budge. But Hunter's claim the league's money problems can be magically fixed by revenue sharing among the so-called small number of cash-strapped NBA teams is a little off base. I think part of the problem comes from decision-making. Letting buyers pick up NBA teams for the short-term gain of making their primary businesses look good without the focus being on the club itself. Both sides are contending to one version of the story. But think about it. If the NBA is threatening to lock out it's players because they say they are losing money, are they really? Wouldn't locking out your players/assets put you farther in the red if that was the case? I think the league has made ill-advised decisions and created a situation they don't like and now the players have some bargaining power, hence the hard stance against the NBPA. Something to think about.
Thanks once again for joining me this week. I have been enjoying all of your comments and suggestions - I have been really touched by the number of you who have taken the time to send me personal messages and providing me with feedback. I will endeaver to return all of them in a timely manner - I appreciate your support. Keep the feedback coming by following me on Twitter (@ddegraauw) and on Facebook (Danielle de Graauw). See you on Thursday for our continued discussion on the playoffs - remember we will be chatting MVPs on Thursday so be sure to drop in on the discussion. Have a great week.