Rudy Fernandez's agent ups the rhetoric, says holdout possible

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rfernandez_jumper.jpgUPDATE 9:25 pm: New Trail Blazers General Manager Rich Cho wasn’t moved by all this, according to a tweet from Marc Spears at Yahoo.

POR GM Rich Cho
tells Y! he has no plans of releasing Fernandez out of contract and he
will “make the best decision for the organization.”

6:40 pm: Rudy Fernandez wants to be traded. He likes the idea of playing in Europe.

In other breaking news, the sun rose in the east this morning, the Dali Lama is non-violent, bears do their thing in the woods, and boiled okra is the worst food on the planet.

There is nothing remotely new about Fernandez being unhappy in Portland or wanting to be traded. Or be allowed to go play in Europe. Or that he remains stuck in Portland as they have his contract are not giving it up easily.

The only thing new is that when Hoopshype.com called Fernandez’s agent Andy Miller he upped the rhetoric.

“Portland and I have had numerous discussions, almost daily, on the situation,” Andy Miller told HoopsHype.com. “I think this situation is headed for a collision course because Rudy’s perspective on where he wants to be and what he wants to do and how he wants to accomplish it is on the opposite of the spectrum from where Portland sees the situation.

“I don’t think (the relationship) is reparable.”

Collision course? What kind of collision could there really be?

When asked if he would go as far as to advice Fernandez not to show up for training camp, Miller answered: “Possibly.”

That’s not much of a collision. What does Portland lose? The services of a role player they now don’t have to pay. What does Fernandez lose? His entire paycheck and time for the limited number of years he can make money playing basketball.

Miller goes on to overstate Fernandez’s value (saying he was one of the top players in the NBA) and up the rhetoric ante like agents are wont to do.

That doesn’t move Portland the front office at all. It does make Fernandez sound like a whiner to the people of Portland, who are turning on him.

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.

Enraged Jason Smith restrained from Mario Chalmers (video)

AP Photo/Nick Wass
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During the Wizards’ win over the Grizzlies last night, Mario Chalmers tried to stop Jason Smith from shooting after Smith had been called for travelling. It’s a fairly common tactic, one pioneered by Kevin Garnett. Players don’t want their opponents to gain confidence by seeing the ball go through the net, even after play stops.

But Chalmers held onto Smith’s arm, and Smith took umbrage.

NBC Sports Washington:

I think it’s more likely, after halting Smith’s shot, Chalmers was trying to hold up Smith rather than yank him down. But I can’t know Chalmers’ intentions, and holding up a falling person by his arm isn’t very effective.

The double technical foul called seems about fair.