Players cry foul over new rule
EL SEGUNDO – Midway through the second quarter of the Los Angeles Lakers’ pre-season game against the Sacramento Kings on Monday, Lamar Odom was whistled for a shooting foul against Carl Landry.
After the call was made, Odom kept his offending arm up in the air for several seconds to indicate he believed his defence was legal and within the rule of verticality, and an official promptly issued him a technical foul.
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The explanation? Even though Odom’s mouth was silent, his arm was raised for more than three seconds. Automatic technical.
“That was one of the weirdest technicals I’ve ever gotten,” Odom said after the game.
The situation surrounding the NBA’s new guidelines for technical fouls – which will expand to include “overt” player reactions to referee calls this season – is becoming even weirder.
The National Basketball Players’ Association issued a strongly worded statement Thursday that threatened legal action and said the changes “may actually harm our product”.
“The new unilateral rule changes are an unnecessary and unwarranted overreaction on the league’s behalf,” NBPA director Billy Hunter said. “We have not seen any increase in the level of “complaining” to the officials and we believe that players as a whole have demonstrated appropriate behaviour toward the officials.
“Worse yet, to the extent the harsher treatment from the referees leads to a stifling of the players’ passion and exuberance for their work, we fear these changes may actually harm our product. The changes were made without proper consultation with the players’ association, and we intend to file an appropriate legal challenge,” he said.
While an NBPA lawsuit against the NBA in the midst of the two sides’ negotiations for a new collective bargaining agreement would certainly be a bad thing for business, Lakers head coach Phil Jackson does not think the rule change is necessarily a bad thing.
Players and coaches will now be docked $2 000 for each of their first five technical fouls. The cost rises to $3 000 for the next five, followed by $4 000 for Nos. 11-15. Starting at 16, players are suspended one game for every two technicals, along with a $5 000 fine for each.
Even if Odom doesn’t agree with the rule, he does think that the fastest way to a player’s mouth is through his wallet.
“You have to zip it,” Odom said. “If they call you for a tech, it’s $2 000. That’s a lot of money in America or anywhere. (courtesy of ESPN)
HERE, ROUGH STUFF! Utah Jazz guard Earl Watson (left) and forward Andrei Kirilenko (below) and Los Angeles Lakers forward Pau Gasol, of Spain, vying for a loose ball during the first half of a pre-season NBA basketball game on Sunday in Los Angeles.