The Bounce: Rudy Gobert’s faked complaint, big CBA day and Ben Simmons’ uncertain steps

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An easy and boring Thursday evening in NBA means it's time to yell at Rudy Gobert. But first, let's start with Shams for some recent CBA news.

The latest from Shams

Friday could be significant for the NBA, with March 31 being the latest mutual deadline to opt out of the league and the National Basketball Players Association as part of ongoing talks on a new collective bargaining agreement.

The sides have extended the deadline before and, as The Athletic reported that both sides have advanced in talks to reach a new agreement.

What could happen on Friday with a new CBA deal, one of the two sides could opt out, or they could again extend the process to buy themselves more time to negotiate some of the finer points.

We will continue to provide updates as the situation develops.

Elsewhere, The Athletic have learned to Minnesota Timberwolves will be without one of its strengths, which Naz Reid expected to miss significant time as a result of a broken wrist. For more on that, Jon Krawczynski and I submitted a report to The Athletic.

Reid was injured in the second half against Phoenix Suns on Wednesday. His absence will be a big blow for the Wolveswho are fighting for positioning with a place in the Play-In or the play-offs in the balance.

Back to you, Zach!

Gobert or go home

Rudy is wrong

Wolves center Rudy Gobert believes the league is against him winning. It is not uncommon for NBA players to either complain or even think negatively about officials. It happens often and seems to deteriorate the relationship between players and referees.

Gobert just went one step further this time. He is not upset with a seemingly rogue official like most players who have a bad history with some — no! Gobert is convinced that all officials are out to hinder his team, as evidenced by his latest comments after a Phoenix loss:

“It's not fair. It's really not fair,” Gobert told reporters. “Every night. I've been in this league for 10 years, and I always try to give the benefit of the doubt, but it's hard for me to believe that they're not trying to help (the Suns) win tonight.

“It's hard for me to believe they didn't try to have it Warrior win the other night, or Sacramento Kings the second night. It's just as obvious as basketball players. I've been in this league so long, and it's disrespectful.”

You must be fucking me!

There is history for Gobert here. Let's return to March 2021, when he dropped this gem that his Utah Jazz teammates need to improve due to playing in Salt Lake City's small market (No. 24 among NBA teams, according to Sports Media Watch).

Well, now he plays for Minnesota, which is ranked 13th. Phoenix ranking 11 doesn't make a huge difference. And Sacramento, the team Gobert thought got favorable treatment the other night, is 18th. Maybe I should double check with a numbers guy like John Hollinger, but my math says 18th is a lower ranking than 13th.

So, Gobert moved up in market size but still conspired against?

What is he even talking about? Bad calls happen. There were confusing calls in the Phoenix game on both sides of the floor. Officiating needs a deeper look by the league office, although publicly criticizing referees is not allowed.

But do we have to send Gobert to midseason as both a New York Knick AND a Los Angeles Laker to make him realize what responsibility is? Maybe the Wolves lost because they were outscored by seven points. Did Gobert and Karl-Anthony Towns each with six turnovers against four total assists help? How about Gobert (seven points on Wednesday) scoring one more than Cameron Payne despite more than twice the playing time?

You cannot be a leader and an anchor of a team with an outward conspiratorial victim mentality. Sometimes it's your fault that you get burned Terrance Mann or Jalen Brunson in playoff matches.

Gobert is a good player and a mostly positive influence on the court. But he needs to stop whining through a bad theory and just get together.

From last night:

Simmons' suspension

What's next for Ben?

Remember the bubble? Everyone went to Orlando. They ended a season to save television money and crown a champion.

It's only been 2 1/2 years since it happened, but it feels like a decade ago. Such is the time in these accelerated days. Since the Orlando bubble in 2020, 26 years old Ben Simmons has played 100 games – 112 if you count the playoffs. That's all. He has barely made 100 appearances in three seasons. There have been no worthy memories then Game 7 vs. Atlanta in 2021.

Simmons is now out for the rest of this season while his back rehab continues. He had not played since February 15. Not much of his game before that was inspiring either. Simmons looks like a shell of his former self most nights. Before this season he was a three-time All-Star, two-time All-Defense selection and ranked in the top 15 in all-time triple-doubles.

This season, Simmons averaged career lows in points (6.9), rebounds (6.3), assists (6.1) and just about everything else. Once someone who uses his size and athleticism to force the issue, Simmons was assisted on nearly 62 percent of his buckets this season, marking a 20 percent increase over his time in Philly. Thirty-eight percent of these baskets were assisted by Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving, whose respective departures left Simmons creating for himself.

So, what happens next?

Simmons is owed $78.2 million over the next two seasons. Every penny is fully guaranteed with no options and on the books. He could theoretically mirror Draymond Greens impact on both ends of the floor, but Simmons seems to lack the competitiveness he used to achieve his aforementioned accolades.

Nothing gets fixed without Simmons' initiative and brilliant athleticism to clear obstacles to his return to form. Screw shoots a basketball. Simmons should be an offensive batter who gets opponents in foul trouble, but he finished his season ranked outside the top 250 in free throw attempts. The 2018 Rookie of the Year could still be a great player, but maybe it's too late. Maybe that bubble has burst.

Bounce passes

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LeBron James opened a remarkably unique Starbucks for workers.

Sam Amick talks about the wait and the emotions for the Kings' record playoff drought.

Steve Kerr joined Tim Kawakami to discuss the Warriors and if this is the last run of the kernel.

Mo Dakhil examines the determinants of Boston's title run.

Scott Henderson left a lasting impression with the G League Ignite program.

Screen Game (All times Eastern)

(Photo by Rudy Gobert: Dale Zanine/USA TODAY)

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