LeBron's rooting interest in the Chris Paul ordeal. Also, Freemasonry.

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LeBron_Chris Paul.jpgIf we’ve learned anything from free agency this summer, it’s that NBA superstars are a part of some secret, underground, Freemason-esque society. LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, and Chris Bosh have been conspiring to team up for the last 15 years, and only now, with all of the planets in perfect alignment in their orbits and all three stars unrestricted free agents, could their vision finally be made a reality.

Of course, Chris Paul was in on everything. He too is a part of the superstar fraternity, and as such, LeBron has fully endorsed Paul’s decision to attempt to force his way out of New Orleans, with a caveat. It seems that even relationships formed in super secret underground lairs have their limits, and according to Brian Windhorst of the Cleveland Plain Dealer, James would prefer it if Chris Paul stayed in the Western Conference, to make for a better rivalry.

I’m sure this has absolutely nothing to do with the possibility of Paul ending up in Orlando (improbable though it may be), and teaming up with Dwight Howard to cut James, Dwyane Wade, and Chris Bosh down in the conference finals. Nope, nothing to do with that at all.

LeBron just wants to make a better rivalry by putting Chris Paul miles and miles away rather than in his own backyard, by playing him two or three times a season rather than four, and in a completely different division that wouldn’t have the two highly-competitive stars battling it out for regional supremacy. This all makes perfect sense.

There’s no question that having Chris Paul, regardless of what team he’s on, in the NBA finals against LeBron, Wade, and Bosh would make for a fantastic show. However, there’s plenty more to James’ wish than simply wanting to meet Paul on the league’s biggest stage, and to ignore his more selfish interests here would be foolish.

Rockets’ Clint Capela on Warriors: ‘I expect to beat them’

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During the 2014-15 season, Rockets star James Harden said the Warriors “ain’t even that good.”

Golden State went on to reach the last three NBA Finals, twice beating Houston in the playoffs, and win two championships.

The Rockets have since re-tooled around Harden, Chris Paul and several quality role players and are in first place. Houston looks like the biggest threat to the Warriors in the Western Conference.

Rockets center Clint Capela on the Warriors, via Dave Schilling of Bleacher Report:

“I expect to beat them,” Capela says.

That’s a fine sentiment. Saying it publicly is another matter. Not even Harden did that a couple years ago. He was recorded during a pregame team huddle.

There’s a fine line between self-fulfilling confidence and providing bulletin-board material to the opponent. There’s already some animosity between the teams stemming from the Stephen Curry-Harden MVP race in 2015, and it has bubbled since. No matter how harmless Capela’s remark might have been intended to be, it’ll be met contentiously in the Bay Area.

PBT Extra Player of the Week: Victor Oladipo

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Oklahoma City traded for Victor Oladipo out of Orlando to be their third scorer, behind Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook. It didn’t exactly work out that way, Durant bolted town and when Westbrook went off Oladipo was looking for a place to fit in.

That place turned out to be the Pacers.

Oladipo has been playing like an All-Star this season with Indiana, and last week he was key in snapping Cleveland’s 13 game win streak, then turned around and dropped 47 points on Denver. For the week he averaged 35.7 points a game, shot 45.7 percent from three, plus grabbed 7.7 rebounds per game.

That will get you named the PBT Extra Player of the Week.

Watch Pacers fan boo Paul George during introductions (video)

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Paul George – who told the Pacers he’d leave in free agency, prompting them to trade him to the Thunder – expected boos in his return to Indiana.

Pacers fans delivered.

They’ve also booed him every time he has touched the ball, which will certainly persist.

John Wall returns for Wizards-Grizzlies

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WASHINGTON (AP) — Point guard John Wall was in the Washington Wizards’ lineup Wednesday night against the Memphis Grizzlies after missing nine games with a sore left knee.

Coach Scott Brooks said Wall would play in the mid-20-minute range, perhaps a bit more.

The Wizards (14-13), currently in first place in the Southeast Division, went 4-5 in Wall’s absence.

“He such a force offensively,” Brooks said of Wall. “He’s a two-way player and he’s one of the few guys in the league that can find open 3-point shooters going 100 miles an hour in transition.”

Wall, 27, is averaging 20.3 points and 9.2 assists per game.