Every weekday, SI’s Chris Mannix will check-in with his Bubble Bits, a quick hit on something notable from inside the NBA’s campus
LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. – Lou Williams is serving his NBA-mandated ten-day quarantine after getting caught popping into an Atlanta-area gentleman’s club during an excused absence from the Clippers, and regardless of what the truth is behind Williams’s reasons for being there—he screwed up. It’s not hard to believe Williams went to Magic City for the wings—he has a style named after him. It’s a little more difficult to believe he went there only for the wings. If he had, knowing what was at stake, he could have sent a friend or family member to pick them up. Williams will miss the Clippers first two seeding games, and perhaps more. It will be near impossible for Williams to stay in game shape while locked in his hotel room, and teams have been wary about throwing players in without a ramp up, fearful of soft tissue injuries. For the Clippers, who have been ravaged by health and COVID-19 related issues since the re-start, Williams could be out longer than we think.
· An interesting question was thrown at Gordon Hayward this week: With no fans, would players take to heckling opposing players at the free throw line? Hayward was skeptical, so I followed up after his interview session with reporters. Would teams appoint a designated heckler, akin to Happy Gilmour’s nemesis?
“I can’t see it,” Hayward told me. “There’s got to be a rule about that.”
Indeed there is: Per NBA rules, “no opponent in the game shall disconcert the shooter once the ball is placed at his disposal.” Disconcerting, per the NBA, includes “talking to the free throw shooter or talking in a loud disruptive manner during any free throw attempt.” If caught, and the attempt misses, referees can award a substitute free throw.
· Rich owners shouldn’t have to bleed money, but I cringed when Orlando laid off 31 full-time employees earlier this month, including John Denton, the team’s beat writer and a staple in central Florida NBA coverage for decades. The Magic are owned by the DeVos family, whose net worth is reportedly in the neighborhood of $5 billion. The COVID-19 pandemic has cost team owners millions, Orlando included, but laying off 10% of your work force four months into it just doesn’t sit right. Ex-Magic coach Stan Van Gundy agrees.
· Speaking of owners, the Timberwolves are on the market and if I’m the NBA, I’m steering ‘Wolves owner Glen Taylor toward Kevin Garnett’s group of potential buyers. KG took to social media to make it clear he was very interested in buying the team, and what better way to super charge a rebuilding franchise than to install its greatest player in the owners box? Minnesota is headed in the right direction, with Gersson Rosas running the front office and Ryan Saunders on the bench. Garnett as the face of an ownership group would be an energizing figure.