Leonsis won't be bringing back the 'Bullets' moniker

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UPDATE 11:09 AM: Leonsis further clarified his stance on a potential name-change on his blog (also courtesy of Mike Prada): “In regards to a name change of the team, we have a lot of work to do
right now on re-crafting the team itself, focusing on the draft, our
number 1 pick, free agency, selling season tickets, suites and club
seats, new interactive outreach programs, working with customers,
prospects and media, crafting a new organizational structure aimed at
maximizing our services to customers, working on making the Verizon
Center the best it can be for our community, and finding new and
improved ways to serving our communities of interest.

…With all of that going on understanding that to effectuate a name
change could take two to three years. This simply isn’t a priority for
us right now. We can’t change the name of the team for next season. It
is June and the new season starts in October. There will be no name
change. We can’t change the name. It is pretty simple.”

10:28 AM: ‘The Wizards’ is kind of a goofy team name, and at this point it serves as a constant reminder of the more disappointing years in franchise history. Rather than think of what the Big Three in D.C. did or could have been, the Wizards name reminds us of an aging Michael Jordan that couldn’t let go, Kwame Brown being Kwame Brown, and guns in the locker room. Pretty much all unicorns and rainbows.

The Wiz, behind new owner Ted Leonsis, a roster clearing, and the probable selection of the fantastic John Wall, is set for a clean slate. As such, many thought the team should revert to the name it held from 1974-1998: the Washington Bullets.

Leonsis thinks otherwise, but noted that a uniform change could be on the way in the future. From Mike Prada of Bullets Forever:

Ted’s not changing the name, saying he’s amazed that, of all the things
they need to do, it seems to him that many fans care about a name
change the most.  He did say that, at some point, he would look into
changing the team uniforms back to “more traditional colors,” noting
that “it’s no secret I like red.”

So Wizards they shall be, and for the moment, still clad in blue, white, and gold. Maybe in a way, it’s a good thing; Leonsis has an opportunity to breathe new life into the Wizards brand, and drafting Wall would be a huge first step in accomplishing that feat. Reverting to the Bullets name would be running from the team’s recent history, while staying as the Wizards is confronting that history head-on.

Salah Mejri kicks at Patty Mills as Mavericks and Spurs leave court for halftime (video)

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Mavericks center Salah Mejri has a history of agitating, including against the Spurs.

Two years ago, Mejri dunked while Dallas got blown out by San Antonio and yapped at the Spurs bench – drawing laughter from Gregg Popovich and Tim Duncan. Last season, Mejri had Trevor Ariza and other Rockets trying to confront him after reportedly saying something about Ariza’s family.

In the Mavericks’ win over the Spurs on Tuesday, Mejri got into it with Patty Mills.

Earl K. Sneed of Mavs.com:

Mejri and Rudy Gay received double technical fouls, and Mejri went to the bench. Everything could have cooled down at halftime, but Mejri escalated tension

Watch the full sequence above, but the key moment:

giphy (2)

That’ll probably draw a fine.

NBA introducing 2-for-1 All-Star voting days

AP Photo/Chris Carlson
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The NBA changed its All-Star format this season from East vs. West to captain-picked teams (though still naming players equally from each conference).

That apparently wasn’t a big enough overhaul.

After including media and player votes last year, the league is making All-Star starter selection even more complex.

NBA release:

NBA All-Star Voting 2018 presented by Verizon will tip off with an early voting period exclusively on the NBA App and NBA.com beginning Thursday, Dec. 21 at 1 p.m. ET.

Voting via all other channels, including Amazon Alexa for the first time, will launch on Monday, Dec. 25 at 11 a.m.

Additionally, new for this season, five “2-for-1 Days” will allow fans to have their votes count twice on Dec. 31, Jan. 4, Jan. 11, Jan. 12 and Jan. 15 when voting through the NBA App and NBA.com, along with Sina Weibo and Tencent in China.  All “2-for-1 Days” will be designated 12 a.m. – 11:59 p.m. ET.

TNT will reveal the All-Star Game starters, including the two captains, on Thursday, Jan. 18 during TNT NBA Tip-Off

The network will announce the reserves, as selected by NBA head coaches, on Tuesday, Jan. 23 during TNT NBA Tip-Off at 7 p.m. ET. 

The team rosters for NBA All-Star Game 2018 in Los Angeles will be revealed on Thursday, Jan. 25 during a special one-hour edition of TNT NBA Tip-Off at 7 p.m. ET.

I suppose this is to drum up interest on otherwise quiet voting days. After all, this is really just about the NBA selling itself.

But the All-Star voting process has always left something to be desired. I don’t see how this changes that.

Report: Lakers ‘longshot’ to sign LeBron James

AP Photo/Jae C. Hong
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Preeminent NBA reporter Adrian Wojnarowski called it “likelyLeBron James would sign with the Lakers or Clippers next summer. The Clippers have since been somewhat debunked as a LeBron destination. There’s circumstantial evidence linking LeBron to Los Angeles.

Ramona Shelburne and Brian Windhorst of ESPN:

So imagining James’ last act coming in purple and gold isn’t without basis. But as of now, it’s also a longshot, according to league sources.

Shelburne and Windhorst are highly credible. I doubt they’d report this without connected sources.

LeBron’s agent, Rich Paul, and manager, Maverick Carter, have recently publicly downplayed the importance of Los Angeles to LeBron. That felt like a coordinated attack on the LeBron-Lakers rumors, and this fits as a continuation.

But why wage that campaign? To keep the Cavaliers focused while LeBron still plays for them, even if he might leave after the season? To lower expectations among the Lakers’ massive fan base, so as not alienate those people (potential customers of the many LeBron-connected brands) when LeBron inevitably signs elsewhere? Both could be true, but there’s obviously a difference between each driving LeBron’s camp.

DeMarcus Cousins barrels in for powerful putback dunk over Bucks (video)

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When DeMarcus Cousins builds up a head of steam like this… poor John Henson (and kind of Khris Middleton).

This helped the Pelicans pull away for a 115-108 win over the Bucks last night.