Money isn't everything, but it better be for Granger

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Danny Granger signed a massive extension before last season. He hadn’t been to the playoffs, but the Pacers had drafted well, had a good core in place, and it was, you know, a ton of money. An epic load of money.

And that money? Still good. Still buying batcaves. But the rest of the team has fallen apart. Roy Hibbert’s turning into a good, but not great, center. Brandon Rush is getting there, but not getting to the top. A.J. Price? Again, pretty good. Tyler Hansbrough? Ear infection.Okay, freak accident, whatever.

But the team is horrible. Some people toss out the Nets as the worst franchise, because they’re not winning games. Just so we’re clear, winning games is a good indicator of a good franchise, it gets more complicated in determining bad ones. Others dish the Bobcats as the worst, because they’re not shedding salary and planning for five years in the future, and instead trying to win now and trusting their ability to get out of it in the future.

But the Pacers? They’ve been mediocre and getting worse for the last four years. They rely on Granger to save them every game. Larry Bird has done a valiant thing in taking the time to rehab the Pacers’ image, but they’re still waiting on either Granger to become a real superstar or to draft/sign one. As far as Granger’s concerned though, he has no regrets about putting his lot with the Pacers.

Granger told the Indianapolis Star that not only does he not regret the extension, but that it was a “no-brainer.” It’s a good thing, since his contract is big and long enough to make a deal for him tricky, and that’s before you factor in the fact that he’s the Pacers’ best player. It’s also just good to see a player loyal to his team. It says something for the Pacers’ organization that he has faith in them, even if the on-court results aren’t particularly confidence inspiring.

Elfrid Payton slams chasedown block on LeBron James (VIDEO)

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LeBron James is usually the guy handing out chasedown blocks. He’s famous for them, and has carted out his signature move in the biggest moments of his career.

He’s also not used to having his own shots blocked from behind, and certainly not by opposing point guards.

Enter Elfrid Payton.

During a play halfway through the first quarter against the Orlando Magic on Thursday, LeBron was on a drive to the hole with Elfrid trailing far behind.

Thanks to a pinch by two Magic defenders, LeBron had to try and use brute force a bit deeper in the paint than he wanted to.

That allowed Payton — running at full speed — to catch up and pin The King on the glass.

Cleveland still got the best of the Magic, as Isaiah Thomas hit a clutch free throw to win the game with 11 seconds left, 104-103.

All-Star Joel Embiid doesn’t need Rihanna: “On to the next one”

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For about as long as we can remember, Joel Embiid has famously thirsted after Rihanna on Twitter. Fans have tried to boost his standing with the singer, but it apparently that has not been enough.

In 2014, Embiid mentioned on social media that a “famous girl” — presumably Rihanna — told him to “Come back when you’re an All-Star.”

Well, today is that day.

Embiid is a starter out of the Eastern Conference, and on Thursday night he had his chance to speak to Rihanna (or whomever) via national TV on TNT.

Did Embiid decide to reach out to this famous person? Apparently he’s off it.

Via Twitter:

This is like that scene from Private Parts when Howard Stern hits No. 1 and he tells Paul Giamatti’s character to get lost.

Embiid had the chance to curve Rihanna (or whomever) and took it. Long live The Process.

Here are the weirdest NBA All-Star voting results for 2018

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NBA All-Star voting is over, and now we have the results. The starters are in, and what’s left is for us to wait until they announce the teams after they are picked in double secret ceremony.

Of course, the NBA did release the full voting results via their PR website this week, and as such there are some head scratchers. My boy Patrick Redford over at Deadspin did an excellent job rounding up some of the players who got exactly one (1) vote from other players.

The gag here is that these guys presumably voted for themselves.

Of course, what I found most interesting was actually the guys who got multiple votes from their compatriots without being All-Star caliber players.

My favorite list of player-voted non-All-Stars includes: Michael Beasley (4), Gordon Hayward (2), Boban Marjanovic (2), Jahlil Okafor (4), Quincy Acy (2), Tyler Zeller (4), T.J. McConnell (2), Elfrid Payton (2), Zaza Pachulia (3), Taj Gibson (6), Zach Randolph (5), Maurice Harkless (2), Deyonta Davis (3), Lonzo Ball (9), Mike Conley (3).

There’s a whole smattering of guys in there who either didn’t play enough, aren’t stars, are injured, or who aren’t very good.

That multiple players took time to vote for these guys really speaks to the frivolity of the NBA All-Star Game. At least outside of player contract incentives.

Bring on February!

LeBron James throws behind-the-back, nutmeg pass for assist (VIDEO)

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LeBron James is one of the best passers the NBA has ever seen, but even this is too hard to believe.

During Thursday’s game between the Orlando Magic and Cleveland Cavaliers, LeBron through a ridiculous behind-the-back pass that nutmegged Orlando’s Aaron Gordon.

The result of the play was a bucket for Dwyane Wade.

Via Twitter:

I mean, that’s just … insane.