Cavs' Amar'e talks highlight power plays

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Oh, what a tangled web we weave.

As you can imagine, NBA All-Star Weekend isn’t about the festivities, or the quotes, or the MCs throwing free stuff to fans. No, it’s about talk. Business talk, strategy talk, and naturally, lots and lots of trade talk. And as ESPN’s rumor section lays out, some of that talk is double talk.

The Cavs are attempting to get the sweetest deal they can before deadline, negotiating with both the Suns and the Wizards in an attempt to get an impact power forward. Ric Bucher is reporting that the Cavs are using the talks with Phoenix to put pressure on the Wizards, essentially saying, “Look, we’re going to get a deal done. If you want to make sure you get Jamison off your books, we’re one of the only suitors, and we’ve got other options. Your choice.”

The kink in that chain may be the fact that it’s pretty obvious that Amar’e’s not the top target. The “stretch four” everyone’s talking about is ideally Jamison, who would be devastating offensively beside LeBron James, much like Amar’e, but who doesn’t come with the defensive baggage. Then again, LeBron and Amar’e were chilling at All-Star availability, feeding the fires.

Now, ESPN’s Chris Broussard also notes that the Cavs’ interest works in the Suns’ favor, So you’ve got the Cavs working to get the best deal out of the Wizards, who have already pulled the trigger on moving Caron Butler. You have the Suns working to get the best deal for Amar’e. If a team wanted to make a late run to take advantage of the situation, this would be the best time.

Talk may be cheap, but that doesn’t mean that the sheer volume of it doesn’t have value.  

Lou Williams hits halfcourt buzzer-beater (video)

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Yeah, the Lakers lost to the Rockets, 134-95, Wednesday. But consider how lopsided that margin would’ve been without Lou Williams‘ halfcourt buzzer-beater.

And if this headline looks familiar, it is.

LeBron James, Cavaliers do water-bottle challenge on bench during blowout win over Knicks (video)

Cleveland Cavaliers forward LeBron James, left, and Cavaliers forward Richard Jefferson entertain themselves by flipping a water bottle trying to get it to land on it's flat bottom during the fourth quarter of an NBA basketball game against the New York Knicks at Madison Square Garden in New York, Wednesday, Dec. 7, 2016. The Cavaliers defeated the Knicks 126-94, and most starters left the game for the bench at the end of the fourth quarter. (AP Photo/Kathy Willens)
AP Photo/Kathy Willens
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LeBron James did his part – scoring 25 points (on just 10 shots!), dishing seven assists and grabbing six rebounds – to give the Cavaliers an insurmountable lead over the Knicks through three quarters. So, he didn’t even play in the fourth quarter.

As Cleveland put the finishing touches on its 126-94 win, boredom set it. LeBron and a few of his teammates tried to flip a water bottle and have it land upright on the floor. LeBron even dove onto the court to pull the bottle back in after an errant flip!

No, Phil Jackson should not have used the word “posse” to describe LeBron’s business associates and friends. But this is the most disrespectful thing I’ve ever seen – and I love it.

DeMarcus Cousins says Mavericks’ rumored interest flatters him, but he loves Kings

Sacramento Kings center DeMarcus Cousins (15) receives a blow to the head from Dallas Mavericks' Dwight Powell as Cousins works to get to the basket in the first half of an NBA basketball game, Wednesday, Dec. 7, 2016, in Dallas. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)
AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez
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The Mavericks’ long-rumored interest in DeMarcus Cousins took its most direct public turn before the season, when Dallas signed Cousins’ brother, Jaleel Cousins. Jaleel is now on the Mavericks’ D-League affiliate, and I bet he will remain there as DeMarcus approaches 2018 free agency.

Brad Townsend of The Dallas Morning News:

So, DeMarcus Cousins, what do you think about the Mavericks’ long-rumored interest in acquiring you?

“It’s flattering,” Cousins told me, with a laugh, after the Kings’ Wednesday shootaround at AAC. Then, turning serious, he added of the Mavericks, “I respect them.”

“But,” I said, “I’ve also heard that you like it in Sacramento.”

“No,” Cousins corrected, “I love Sacramento.”

Cousins is getting good at this, toeing the line between appreciating another team’s interest and expressing his satisfaction with the Kings.

And give Cousins credit. He keeps producing at a star level for a team that hasn’t provided him with the proper support. Sacramento again appears headed toward the lottery, even as Cousins averages 29-10.

Questions remain, though: How much of Cousins’ attitude is him trying to make the best of an inescapable situation, and will expanded options in the summer of 2018 test his loyalty?

LeBron James dunks, struts past camerapeople and toward crowd, spooks fan (video)

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LeBron James is dominating, and the Cavaliers are rolling over the Knicks.

It’s almost as if something has LeBron particularly riled up. But maybe ease up a little? That cowering fan isn’t Phil Jackson.