Solomon Alabi

Raptors assign Solomon Alabi to the Erie BayHawks, Ed Davis may join him

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Solomon Alabi was among a notable class of second rounders in the 2010 draft, but his NBA career will be put on pause after just 18 seconds of action. The Toronto Raptors announced that they have assigned Alabi to their D-League affiliate, the Erie BayHawks, and it’s a move that certainly makes sense for all parties.

While the Raps could theoretically use a player like Alabi at center, he’s far too unpolished and inexperienced to provide much help to the current core. Sadly, even Toronto’s current group of slow-rotating, weak-rebounding, outside-in big men are more effective than a rookie center project. I like Alabi’s chances of becoming a productive NBA player eventually, but he needs extended burn and specific instruction to improve his NBA effectiveness, and that’s just what he’ll receive in Erie. As icing on the cake, Alabi will now be the only player on the BayHawks’ roster designated as a center. Head coach Jay Larranaga will benefit from Alabi’s length just as much as Alabi benefits from seeing some actual playing time, though Toronto hopes to benefit most from all of this.

Also, according to Doug Smith of the Toronto Star, Alabi may not be the only Raptor on the BayHawks’ roster. Smith reports that rookie first rounder Ed Davis will likely be sent to Erie while he works his way back from knee surgery, a strategy that more NBA teams would be wise to employ. The D-League isn’t only a great place to send fringe NBA talent or projects. It can also be an invaluable tool for rehabbing players, although currently it can only be used for those within their first thee years in the NBA. The D-League is a terrific option for younger players trying to improve their conditioning and timing after surgery or major injury, so kudos to the Raps for taking full advantage of the D’s offerings.

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.