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Rockets’ Bickerstaff Rips Refs Over Treatment of Howard

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Rockets interim coach J.B. Bickerstaff went on a rant ripping the officiating following Houston’s 123-122 loss to the Washington Wizards on Saturday. He said the referees need to be held accountable for failing to protect his star center, Dwight Howard. Bickerstaff was upset about losing Howard, who was ejected for drawing two technical fouls in the game. Bickerstaff said Howard suffered injuries as a result of some of the physical contact he endured against the Wizards.

“It’s not fair the way the referees ref Dwight,” Bickerstaff said. “You can go back and look at clip after clip after clip. They initiate contact with him, they grab him, they hold him. Dwight gets punished more than anybody in the league. The referees need to be held accountable. They want to keep the game clean. The referees need to do their job from the beginning of the night. Over and over again, the same situation happens. At some point in time, you want to protect the league’s players on a night in and night out basis.

Source: Calvin Watkins of ESPN

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Sources: Nuggets Will Decline Nikola Jokic’s Team Option

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The next major contract domino for Denver is [Nikola] Jokic’s max deal. As of Sunday morning, one league source told The Denver Post that the Nuggets had not yet declined their $1.6 million team option for Jokic for 2018-19 but “will” do so, making him a restricted free agent and eligible to sign a max contract with Denver.

“Nikola’s going to be here for a long, long time,” president of basketball operations Tim Connelly said following Thursday’s NBA draft. “I think whatever we do, we’re going to ensure he’s here as long as possible. When that moment happens, we’re going to talk to Nikola and his brothers and his representation. He’ll be in Denver for a long, long time. He’ll be buying (a home) here.”

Source: Gina Mizell of The Denver Post

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Sources: Milos Teodosic Exercises Player Option with Clippers

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Los Angeles Clippers guard Milos Teodosic has exercised his $6.3 million player option for the 2018-19 season, league sources told Yahoo Sports.

Teodosic’s salary will become fully guaranteed for next season if he is on the Clippers’ roster past July 15.

Teodosic, 31, had impressive moments in his rookie NBA season in 2017-18. He averaged 9.5 points, 4.6 assists and 25.2 minutes per game in 46 contests with the Clippers. Teodosic served as a starter for 36 games and was one of the Clippers’ key playmakers.

Source: Shams Charania of Yahoo Sports

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Sources: Mike Muscala Exercises Player Option with Hawks

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Hawks forward Mike Muscala has exercised his $5M player option, source tells ESPN. He will be back with Atlanta.

Source: Adrian Wojnarowski on Twitter

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