Dwight Howard Gets No Sympathy Over Early Technical Flurry
Old-school GM Otis Smith likes the new rule, which has cracked down on the unsightly and constant complaining about calls by officials.
Players around the league mostly have been unhappy about the strictness of the rule, which also penalizes most any display of outward displeasure with a call.
It's why Howard is leading the NBA with four technical fouls after just seven games. He received a technical foul in each of the last two games, Monday against Atlanta and Wednesday against Utah.
"For us, I do (like the rule),'' Smith said after Friday morning's practice. "My team bickers at the officials too much, from top to bottom, from the head coach all the way to the point guard.''
Smith was speaking Friday within ear shot of Howard, hoping he would hear his comments. It's a topic they have discussed several times over the last couple years.
Howard has recorded 15 technical fouls in each of the last two seasons, leaving him just one shy of the number that triggers an automatic one-game suspension (without pay).
He is on an early record pace now.
"He (Howard) has earned them. Rules are the rules,'' Smith said. "It's just in our best interest to leave the officials alone. They aren't going to change their calls.''
Fines for technical fouls have doubled this year, going from $1,000 to $2,000 for the first five. The fines escalate as the numbers rise after five.
The NBA Players Association, during the exhibition schedule, hinted a possible legal action against the league in regard to the change in the technical foul rules. Billy Hunter, head of the Players Association, called the changes "unnecessary and unwarranted over-reaction'' by the league.
During the exhibition schedule, Howard said he did not have any problem with the toughening of the rule, saying that his "private school'' education growing up taught him enough discipline to adhere to the no-tolerance policy.
He changed his tone somewhat Friday. It was both funny and consolatory.
"I thought about have a round-table discussion with our referees, discussing my concerns,'' Howard said. "Not before the game, but sometime next week, just to sit down and have a meeting with them, tell them I love them.''
Howard routinely shakes hands with game officials each night before tip off. Now he wants to do more with them.
"I thought about taking them to dinner the night before (our games), or maybe taking them to Disney World or bowling,'' he said. "Just find a way to tell them when they're in town. Maybe I have to go back to learning sign language."