Tag:Stu Jackson
Posted on: February 24, 2012 6:25 pm
 

NBA to make 13-man rosters permanent

ORLANDO, Fla. -- The NBA’s competition committee voted Friday to make the transition rule allowing teams to dress and play 13 players permanent and to shorten and streamline the waiver period, said Stu Jackson, the league’s executive vice president of basketball operations.

The roster rule was approved unanimously by the committee consisting of league and team executives and will be recommended to the Board of Governors for formal adoption pending approval by the players’ union. The waiver period, currently 48 business hours during the season and seven days from the end of the season until August 15, would be changed to 48 hours year-round, including weekends.

The long-held practice of the league maintaining three daily waiver reporting times – 10 a.m., 2 p.m. and 6 p.m. ET – would be replaced by a single daily reporting time of 5 p.m. ET, Jackson said. The changes could take effect as soon as this summer.

The roster rule initially was employed with the intention of allowing teams to dress 13 players but only play 12. It was subsequently decided that all 13 who dressed would be able to play. The committee voted Friday to recommend making the rule permanent.

“It just makes more sense for our teams,” Jackson said.

One team representative made what Jackson characterized as a “somewhat humorous” proposal that actually might achieve the league’s goal of shortening games: Penalize players for moving around the lane area and slapping fives after free throws. The committee didn’t pass that proposal, but adopted an informal recommendation that in extreme cases – such as a player walking to half court to high-five after a free throw – the team should be assessed a delay-of-game warning.

“It’s more of a referee interpretation,” Jackson said.

Jackson made the usual presentation on the quality of play, including the fact that scoring is down -- from 99.3 points per team per game at this point last season to 95.0. About half the difference can be attributed to fewer fouls, fewer free-throw attempts and lower free-throw percentage, Jackson said. Free-throw attempts are down 2.3 per team per game, fouls are down 2.7 per game and points from free throws are down 2.1 per game.

“Possessions are down very slightly, we’re not shooting the ball as well and then there’s the cumulative effect of what happened before the season,” Jackson said. “You had a shortened preseason, you don’t have as much time to prepare, and teams are going deeper into their bench and playing the 10th, 11th and 12th guy more.”

The committee also viewed a presentation on player tracking, a technology that digitally illustrates every movement a player makes during a game -- such as how high they jump when getting a rebound and how much space is between the shooter and defender, and how shooting percentage varies with that space. About 10 teams currently use a version of this technology to evaluate players, and the committee discussed the idea of someday providing it at the league level to all teams.

“That won’t happen for quite a while, but it’s certainly worth monitoring,” Jackson said.
Posted on: December 13, 2011 12:02 am
Edited on: December 13, 2011 12:02 pm
 

Clippers still resisting CP3 deal

UPDATED 12:01 p.m. ET

The Clippers were still resisting overtures for a Chris Paul trade Tuesday after the talks were revived for the second time in 24 hours under pressure from the league office to reach a resolution, sources told CBSSports.com.

Having claimed veteran point guard Chauncey Billups off amnesty waivers as a possible precursor to the deal, the Clippers nonetheless were under no pressure to dive back into the talks. The league office, which is assisting the Hornets in the trade discussions in its role as the de factor owner of the team, already has nixed a trade that would've sent Paul to the Lakers. The Knicks used what few assets and cap maneuverability they had to get free-agent center Tyson Chandler, and Paul has not indicated a willingness to give a long-term commitment as part of a trade to the Golden State Warriors.

"They have no choice" but to make sure Paul is traded to the Clippers, a person on the periphery of the talks said Monday night.

The talks that would never die were revived Monday night, with a twist that was enraging some rival general managers. The Clippers' winning waiver claim on Billups allowed them to include point guard Eric Bledsoe in the deal, which observers believed could push it over the finish line, league sources told CBSSports.com.

By claiming Billups for about $2 million, the Clippers were able to solve the dilemma of not having another point guard on the roster -- Mo Williams likely slides into the Jason Terry sixth man role, if he isn't included in the trade or waived with amnesty. Thus, L.A. could responsibly include Bledsoe in a blockbuster package for Paul.

The fact that Paul is dictating the terms by limiting the teams he'd agree to stay at least two years with to those that reside in L.A., Clippers GM Neil Olshey has plenty of leverage. So Olshey's resistance to including Bledsoe, sharpshooting guard Eric Gordon and the Timberwolves' unprotected 2012 first-round pick is no longer an issue. The deal, if finally consummated, will be better than what the league was demanding earlier in the day, when the Clippers wisely walked away from the talks.

Nonetheless, the Clippers were signaling to rival teams that they've "moved on" from the Paul saga and already had reached out to Billups in an effort to assure him his status as a leader and intergral part of the team were secure, sources said. Another person tied to the talks said he does not believe the league wants Paul traded out of New Orleans, where prospective owners are being sought to rescue the troubled franchise.

"Seems like a charade to me," the person said.

That set up a fascinating duel of who has the leverage and whether the franchise would be more valuable with or without Paul. In rejecting the three-team trade with the Lakers and Rockets, the league office obviously was saying that the franchise would be better off keeping Paul than trading him for veteran players Lamar Odom, Luis Scola, Kevin Martin and Goran Dragic, plus draft picks. A package from the Clippers including Chris Kaman's expiring $12 million contract, Al-Farouq Aminu, Bledsoe and either Eric Gordon or the Timberwolves' unprotected 2012 first-round pick would seem to allow the Hornets to rebuild with prospects and picks -- which certainly would be preferable to Paul leaving as a free agent after the season with the Hornets getting nothing in return.

Paul's options, however, would be somewhat limited since the major-market teams he prefers are mostly capped out next summer, starting with his preferred destination, the Knicks. Paul would, however, have the option of going to Dallas, or to Brooklyn if Deron Williams opted out and decided to sign with his hometown Mavericks. Both players would have to take one year and about $25 million less than their current teams would be able to offer them under the new collective bargaining agreement.

The Paul negotiations were declared dead earlier Monday, after which Olshey spoke with the Los Angeles media and said, "We felt it was in the best interest of the team to keep this roster intact." But rival executives were circulating this conspiracy theory Monday night: Was it a coincidence that the Clippers were able to get Billups for $2 million when they were negotiating a related trade with the league office, which knew the competing bids?  The salacious banter was perpetuated by the conflict of interest inherent in the NBA's handling of the trade for the Hornets, who were taken over by the league in December 2010. 

A previous deal sending Paul to the Lakers was nixed by the league office in its role as overseer for the Hornets' personnel moves when commissioner David Stern and executives Joel Litvin and Stu Jackson determined that the package of players New Orleans was getting from the Lakers and Rockets wasn't acceptable. While rival GMs saw little problem with a package of Odom, Scola, Martin, Dragic and draft picks, the league wanted younger prospects and draft picks instead -- a package closer to what the Clippers have to offer, which would be more attractive to prospective buyers.

While it was understood that Paul would gladly sign a new five-year, $100 million contract next July with the Lakers if traded there, his commitment to the Clippers would only be for two years. As part of the deal, Paul would not promise to sign a new contract, only that he would not opt out of his current one after the season, sources said. That, and the league's limited options for trade partners, compressed the list of assets the Clippers were willing to give up.

The two-year period would give Paul time to survey the landscape in Clipperland and determine what notoriously penny-pinching owner Donald Sterling would do in two years with an $11 million center (DeAndre Jordan, whose four-year, $43 million offer sheet from Golden State was matched Monday); a 30 percent max player under the new rules in Blake Griffin; a close-to-max player in Gordon, if he stays; and himself. Those are a lot of big bills for the Donald, and Paul would need assurances that the Clippers are going to fully capitalize on their unique position of talent and cap flexibility and stop being second-class citizens to the Lakers at Staples Center.

As for Billups, a proud champion who'd warned teams not to claim him so he could pick his own team as an unrestricted free agent, does it make sense for him to spend perhaps the final year of his career on the Clippers' bench, watching Paul dribble between his legs and throw alley-oop passes to Griffin?

"That is not the league's concern," said a rival executive who is upset about the arrangement.

In finding the Billups solution to getting the Paul deal a chance to be completed, the league also sent a letter to Billups' agent, Andy Miller, warning him that there could be consequences if Billups caused problems for a team that claimed him off waivers, Yahoo Sports reported. Billups was waived with the amnesty provision by the Knicks to create room for a sign-and-trade arrangement that landed free-agent center Tyson Chandler in New York. Billups' $14.2 million salary came off the Knicks' books for cap and tax purposes, and the actual financial obligation to New York is offset by the $2 million that will be paid by the Clippers.

In a cruel double-whammy, Billups would become a pawn in delivering a superstar to a major market for the secod time in 10 months if the Paul-to-Clippers deal went down. In February, Billups was a necessary piece that facilitated the trade of Carmelo Anthony from Denver to the Knicks in another saga in which a star player threatened to bolt as a free agent if he wasn't traded to the team of his choice.

"I'm tired of being viewed as the good guy," Billups told Yahoo Saturday. "After a while, you just kind of get taken advantage of in these situations."
Posted on: October 21, 2010 9:39 pm
 

Stern: Players, refs will adjust to new tech rule

NEW YORK – Lost in David Stern’s no soup for you proclamation Thursday about slashing player salaries by one-third was this nugget from the NBA commissioner: There is “widespread support” among NBA owners for the league-ordered crackdown on players’ complaining, and the referees will have to adjust to the new enforcement, too.

“In some cases, players were a little confused,” Stern said, referring to the flurry of preseason technical fouls resulting from the lower tolerance for complaining and demonstrative protests about calls. “They’re being illuminated with respect to it. In some cases, a referee might have reacted too soon, and they’re being alerted to it. So overall, we think it’s moving its way. We don’t take it as a major problem.”

Stern went so far as to invite the National Basketball Players Association – with which the NBA is locked in a challenging labor negotiation – to “exercise all of their rights” in challenging the league’s new guidelines. The day after the CelticsKevin Garnett was ejected with a double-technical last week against the Knicks, the union threatened to file a grievance with the National Labor Relations Board over the NBA’s anti-whining campaign.

“We’ll be talking to them,” Stern said of the union. “I don’t think it’s going to come to that. I think you’ll see that they will come to understand that we actually have a joint goal here. To have the greatest athletes in the world whining up and down the court is nothing that anyone that loves this game would want to see. … This, to me, is about protecting and promoting the players.”

While Stern gave a little ground in admitting that some referees have overstepped in the early enforcement of the anti-whining rule, he tried to take the ground back with this statement: “I think the players will do more adjusting than the referees, but there will be some referee adjustments as well. I don’t think it’s going to be a problem.

“They’re the best athletes in the world,” Stern said. “And they do have passion, intensity, teamwork and the like. We just think if we can clear the stage for them to demonstrate those skills, and they’re not perceived as debaters and whining, that elevates them to a place where they should be.”

Several players have spoken out publicly against the new guidelines, which call for an end to emotional outbursts over referees’ calls as well as repetitive complaining about the officiating during the games. The owners, however, are on board with the league’s determination to clean up the whining.

“The owners are behind that,” Timberwolves owner Glen Taylor said after the league’s Board of Governors meeting wrapped up at the St. Regis Hotel. “We all see that as the best for the game – not only for the appearance of the game, but it’ll speed the game up by having the players not demonstrate or talk too much.”

Stu Jackson, the NBA’s executive vice president for basketball operations who is overseeing enforcement of the new policy, showed the owners video examples of techs that have been called or not called during the preseason to drive home the point that a middle ground can be achieved. Taylor said the owners were “pretty comfortable that it was being handled all right.”

“If we say to our players, ‘You can’t go up and throw your fist in the air in the face of a referee,’ they stop that, and they run over to the other side [of the court] and they throw their fist in the air,” Stern said. “We say, ‘OK, guys, stop it.’ Guess what? They’re stopping it. … They know exactly how to adjust. They will adjust here and the referees will call fair games, and our fans will have a better appreciation for how good our players really are.”

Posted on: October 14, 2010 12:55 am
 

NBA's new rule causes technical difficulties

NEW YORK – Last season, the Celtics had one of the most gifted technical-foul accumulators in NBA history on their roster. With 14 techs, Rasheed Wallace was one behind teammate Kendrick Perkins and the Magic’s Dwight Howard for the league lead.

So after pushing the limits of on-court indecency on their way to the NBA Finals, the Celtics now have the equally impressive distinction of defining how quick a tech trigger is too quick under the league’s crackdown on griping about calls. On Wednesday night, Jermaine O’Neal discovered that under these rules, pillow talk can get you T’d up.

O’Neal was called for a foul while defending Knicks center Timofey Mozgov with 4:39 left in the second quarter of the Celtics’ 104-101 victory. O’Neal described the following exchange with official Zach Zarba.

“I walked up to him and he said, ‘Jermaine, walk away,’” O’Neal said. “I said, ‘I can’t talk to you now?’ Just like that. Soft, bedroom voice. And he gave me a tech. … To me, that’s too quick. Way too quick.”

Seconds later, noted loudmouth Kevin Garnett was whistled for a tech by referee Kane Fitzgerald, and then for another one, resulting in an ejection. Those two extremes, seconds apart in a preseason game played just a few city blocks from NBA headquarters, highlighted the problem David Stern has with his latest attempt to sanitize the league.

“I see what the league is trying to do with the consistent talking to the refs all the way down the court,” O’Neal said. “I can understand that aspect of it. But when guys walk up and ask, ‘What did I do?’ We should be able to do that.”

Officials from the NBA’s officiating department were on hand for the Knicks-Celtics game Wednesday night to explain the new threshold for technical fouls to the media. I got the shpiel last week in Miami, and this is my interpretation: What Garnett did certainly warranted two techs and an ejection. What O’Neal did warranted an explanation and that’s it.

This is what the NBA is wrestling with on the eve of its most anticipated season of the post-Jordan era. Stern went after the players with a dress code years ago, and he’s got the barber sheers out for all the haircuts owners have in mind for players in collective bargaining. Now, Stern is out to strip the players of more control by stopping the constant bickering about calls. If anything is more inherent to basketball than complaining about calls, I don’t know what it is. But this is where we are.

Until both players and referees adjust to Stern’s latest new world order, we have a mess – a needless controversy of the NBA’s own making, as if the league isn’t good enough at unintended controversy and conspiratorial hooey, especially when it comes to the officiating.

“It’s going to make it look like it’s about the officials,” O’Neal said.

Zarba, Fitzgerald and Kevin Fehr were on a roll Wednesday night, as if they were the Big Three everybody came to see. But it isn’t their fault. According to O’Neal, the look in the officials’ eyes after dishing out four techs to O’Neal, Garnett and Mozgov in a matter of minutes was, “I’m just doing my job.”

And they weren’t the only ones. I counted 12 techs in seven preseason games Wednesday night. I didn’t go to the videotape, but I’m willing to bet that a good number wouldn’t have been techs a year ago.

“I think they’re going to have to take a second look and see how it affects the games and especially the stars,” the Celtics’ Paul Pierce said. “You know people pay good money to come out and see the stars play. Even though we have to play by the rules, I think there has to be some kind of leniency. When a guy turns and just looks at you for a technical, that can cost you a game. That can cost you a player coming out of the game. I think that’s something they’re going to have to look at real hard. This is an emotional game and players are going to use emotion and that’s not going to stop.”

There is a middle ground to be found here, and it isn’t Pierce’s position. (It certainly isn’t Celtics Hall of Fame announcer Tommy Heinsohn’s .) But whatever it is, someone had better find it before the story of Miami’s dynamic duo of LeBron James and Dwyane Wade is overwhelmed by the story of technical fouls.

“Our research shows that fans think NBA players complain too much,” NBA vice president Stu Jackson said on a recent conference call. Just wait until they find out what fans think after watching highlight after highlight of players getting T’d up and tossed during the first week of the regular season.

This is the way Joe Borgia, the NBA’s vice president of referee operations, explained it in the media seminar held last week prior to the Heat’s preseason opener in Miami. Demonstrative and continuous displays of emotion will not be tolerated under the new rules. Players will be allowed to display emotion in the heat of the moment, as long as it isn’t over the top – and as long as they get under control and walk away. To drive home the point, the league has raised the fines for technicals, too.

But Borgia also said that give-and-take between players and refs would be allowed to continue in a civilized way. In other words, what O’Neal did Wednesday night should have been allowed. If a player simply is asking for an explanation of a call, he is supposed to be entitled to the explanation. Just no follow-up questions, and no aggressive displays of emotion.

Pretty simple. But to no one’s surprise, neither the players nor the refs understand where the line is yet. That’s a sign that the line needs to be moved.

“I think officials will have a better feel on it,” Celtics coach Doc Rivers said. “J.O., I was very surprised because he never raised his voice. He didn’t walk away, but it wasn’t anything demonstrative. We’re going to figure it out; it’s just going to take some time. When you talk to the officials, they don’t get it yet. They’re trying to figure it out. It’ll get figured out by Game 1.”

There was an effort a couple of years ago to crack down on the players’ excessive complaining. It was a story for a while, and then things went back to business as usual. With the players wielding all the control in free agency this past summer, and with a potentially ugly CBA fight under way, the days of zero tolerance are here.

The players will adjust. Once they do, the refs will give them more leeway. There has to be give-and-take. Every call and non-call on an NBA court can be debated and reviewed all night. Some disagreement is OK, if done respectfully. A lot of it isn’t OK, and that’s the part Stern is trying to get his referees to eradicate.

“It’s about all of us,” Rivers said. “It’s not just the officials. It’s the players and the coaches. We’ve got to keep trying to make this a better product. And so if people smarter than me have decided that this is what we need to do, then we need to do it and we need to adhere to it. I don’t think it’s that hard.”

No, it shouldn’t be. And ultimately, it won’t be. As long as what you're seeing so far in the preseason isn't the norm.
Posted on: June 8, 2010 8:57 pm
 

NBA's Jackson defends Finals officiating

BOSTON – NBA executive vice president for basketball operations Stu Jackson dismissed complaints from both coaches about the officiating in the NBA Finals, saying Tuesday night that blown calls and missed calls in the first two games were “within the range” of what has been seen throughout the postseason.

“We felt pretty confident that both the first two games of the Finals were officiated very well,” Jackson told CBSSports.com on the court before Game 3. “As expected, in the playoffs in general but certainly during the first few games of the Finals, the level of intensity and aggression is very, very high. You couple that with the fact that both of these teams have a great deal of movement in their offenses and the officials’ emphasis on allowing freedom of movement, and you’ve got a situation where when you put those factors together and you’ve got a lot of fouls called.”

The first two games resulted in 57 personal fouls called against the Celtics and 55 against the Lakers. Overall in the postseason, fouls called are up roughly one per game over last year’s playoffs, Jackson said. The difference has been in the free throws – 72 attempted by the Lakers in Games 1-2 compared to 62 by the Celtics. That’s an average of between six and seven per game more than last year’s Finals between the Lakers and Magic.

“That’s not controllable,” Jackson said of the preponderance free throws, which obviously depends on the timing of fouls and whether they are shooting or non-shooting fouls. Though Jackson refused to give a percentage grade for call accuracy through the first two games, he said the officials are aware of two areas of emphasis based on how these teams play.

“One is, both teams have a lot of movement by perimeter players,” Jackson said. “But also there’s a great deal of post play in this series. When you add up the sum total of Big Baby [Davis] , Rasheed [Wallace], [Kevin] Garnett, and [Kendrick] Perkins against [Lamar] Odom, Pau [Gasol] and [Andrew] Bynum, it’s a war in the paint in this series. And it needs to be called as such.”

Both coaches have complained about there being too many whistles – and the direction of the whistle – in the first two games. That’s just standard politicking in the NBA playoffs. But the pace of both games was slowed by the number of fouls called, and the way particular players have been officiated – such as all the Celtics’ big men getting into foul trouble and Kobe Bryant getting whistled for five fouls in Game 2 – has raised awareness about the refs’ performance. But Jackson said the league’s video review of the first two games showed nothing out of the ordinary.

“I’m just miffed and amazed how the other team complained about the fouls since we’ve been the team that’s been in foul trouble for two games,” Celtics coach Doc Rivers said before Game 2. “Maybe they do different math there or something. I don’t get that one.”

The best indication of how the officials have done might be the simple fact that both teams are complaining. When I mentioned that to Jackson, he smiled and said, “That’s not in our analytics.”
Posted on: April 29, 2009 8:19 pm
 

No roundhouse from Rondo

CHICAGO -- I think the NBA got this exactly right. I think.

I'm not going to waste valuable time debating Dwight Howard's suspension; that one was easy. "Pretty cut and dried," Stu Jackson, the NBA's vice president of operations, said on a conference call with several reporters Wednesday afternoon. Jackson also revealed a piece of information that proves that NBA's system of reviewing every call and non-call actually works. None of the three officials actually saw Howard's lightning quick but blatant elbow that hit Samuel Dalembert in the head. Had they seen it, by rule it would've called for an automatic ejection. Since they didn't, that's why no flagrant foul was called, and it's why Howard wasn't ejected. Upon review, the NBA got that one right. But even the WWE could've gotten that one right.

The interesting case is Rondo, and it provides an especially delicious opportunity for debate. Not only did it happen on the same night, but it also provided another fertile debating point. This was a little man fouling a giant man, whereas the Howard incident was a giant picking on someone his own size.

Technically, the relative size of the players involved in a potentially flagrant foul shouldn't matter. But referees are human, and humans have to make decisions based on their experience and their ability to see something happening extremely fast. The most interesting point Jackson made came when he described the criteria for determining whether a foul crossed the line between a hard foul and a flagrant foul.

"In terms of the criteria that we use to evaluate a flagrant foul, penalty one, generally we like to consider whether or not there was a windup, an appropriate level of impact, and a follow through," Jackson said. "And with this foul, we didnt see a windup, nor did he follow through. And so for that reason, we’re not going to upgrade this foul to a flagrant foul, penalty one."

Jackson described Rondo's foul on the Bulls' Brad Miller -- an open-handed blow to the head which resulted in Miller missing a game-tying layup with two seconds left in overtime Tuesday night -- as a "basketball play." He said the league determined that Rondo was "going for the ball after a blown defensive assignment by the Celtic team." That's exactly what I saw at the game. Now I'm in Chicago, and when the local newscasts show the play in frame-by-frame slow motion, it drives home the point that Rondo realized he had no play on the ball and simply hit whatever he could -- that being Miller's face.

He didn't do it maliciously, and as Jackson said, he didn't wind up as if throwing a punch, nor did he follow through on the blow. Whereas Howard's play was blatant, Rondo's was borderline. It could've gone either way. The league made a reasonable choice, and backed its on-floor officials on this one. This is an important point. Had the foul been upgraded to a flagrant, it might've opened the door for the Bulls to file a protest because they would've been entitled to possession after the flagrant. The last thing this crazy and suddenly violent series would need is a protest. But more to the point, the officiating crews for Games 6 and 7 (if necessary) are going to have to have control of the action. There cannot be any outside influence hanging over the action on the floor, or chaos will ensue.

I don't know -- and Jackson didn't say -- if that factored into the league's decision. I also don't know for sure if the league made the technically correct decision on Rondo. But it made the right one.




 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com