Unanimous LeBron James leads All-NBA First team

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He wasn’t the MVP, but LeBron James was the only player to be unanimously selected to the All-NBA first team.

The actual MVP — Chicago’s Derrick Rose — and runner up Dwight Howard were both one vote short of being unanimous. Here are the teams.

All NBA First Team:

Forward: LeBron James, Miami
Forward: Kevin Durant, Oklahoma City
Center: Dwight Howard, Orlando
Guard: Kobe Bryant, L.A. Lakers
Guard: Derrick Rose, Chicago

All NBA Second Team:

Forward: Pau Gasol, L.A. Lakers
Forward: Dirk Nowitzki, Dallas
Center: Amar’e Stoudemire, New York
Guard: Dwyane Wade, Miami
Guard: Russell Westbrook, Oklahoma City

All NBA Third Team

Forward: LaMarcus Aldridge, Portland
Forward: Zach Randolph, Memphis
Center: Al Horford, Atlanta
Guard: Manu Ginobili, San Antonio
Guard: Chris Paul, New Orleans

Rajon Rondo ends up as the guy with the most votes who didn’t make it. He actually had more points than Horford and Randolph, but by position he was behind the other guards. A fourth team of guys who just missed would have been Rondo and Paul Pierce (I’m making PP a guard, just to go in vote order), Carmelo Anthony and Kevin Love at forward, Tim Duncan at center.

We can have a debate if Kobe Bryant really had a first-team kind of season, if Wade or Westbrook might not have been better, but it’s not a disaster of a choice. I’d have had Chris Paul farther up, as well, but injuries and a second half decline in the regular season hurt him. It’s good to see Randolph get voted in after the fans didn’t put him in the All-Star game.

If you go on down the list of who got votes, it again begs for transparency. We don’t know who voted for whom, but you should have to defend your choices. While the groupthink of the top three All-NBA teams ends up being defensable, there are some votes that are not.

Like three people voting Kendrick Perkins at center to an All-NBA team. Perkins played in just 29 games and has no offensive game to speak of — that is just a terrible vote. Also two people voted Toronto’s Andrea Bargnani on to All-NBA Third Team, and one person gave Eric Gordon of the Clippers a vote. So did Emeka Okafor. Someone really should explain those.

J.R. Smith replacing Dwyane Wade as Cavaliers’ starting shooting guard

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The Cavaliers are 2-1, but their starting lineups have been outscored by 19 points in 32 minutes. Dwyane Wade has been so bad as the starting shooting guard, his struggles have overshadowed J.R. Smith‘s miserable play as the backup.

But at least Wade volunteered a solution to this predictable problem.

Joe Vardon of Cleveland.com:

Dwyane Wade is headed for the Cavaliers’ bench at his own request and J.R. Smith is returning to the starting lineup.

Wade, 35, a 12-time All-Star who struggled in his first three games with Cleveland, asked coach Tyronn Lue to make the change, Lue said. But this wasn’t exactly Wade’s idea, either.

Lue told him when he signed with the Cavs Sept. 27 that the second unit may be the best fit for him.

“I just decided, earlier than later, just to get to the unit where I’d be more comfortable in and can probably better with this team in that lineup,” Wade said. “Why wait? Three games in, why wait? Wanted to get in there with those guys.”

Cleveland’s starting lineup needs more shooting and defense around LeBron James – especially with Derrick Rose starting over an injured Isaiah Thomas (though Rose is out a couple games with his own ankle injury). Smith provides that.

Bench-heavy units need more playmaking. Wade provides that.

This was a tricky situation given Wade’s status as a future Hall of Famer and friendship with LeBron. Whether Wade simply suggested the change or Lue is trying to give Wade public credit after coaxing it behind the scenes, the result is the same.

The Cavs can now use their most logical rotation, and they should be better for it.

Suns GM Ryan McDonough: Eric Bledsoe hair-salon claim about tweet was unbelievable

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Eric Bledsoe reportedly requested a trade from the Suns before the season then tweeted yesterday:

Clear message?

Apparently not.

After sending home Bledsoe today, Suns general manager Ryan McDonough explained his rationale:

The hair salon! What a wonderful excuse.

Is it true? I’m not going to call Bledsoe a liar. It might be.

It’s also probably true that Bledsoe isn’t long for Phoenix.

Report: Suns send Eric Bledsoe home, expect to trade him

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In a shocking twist, the Suns firing Earl Watson did not end the dysfunction in Phoenix.

Chris Haynes of ESPN:

John Gambadoro of Arizona Sports 98.7:

Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN:

Bledsoe:

That is a first-rate tweet by Bledsoe. It’s great that he’s having fun with the wild situation, because the rest of us sure are amused peering in.

This was always going to be a long season in Phoenix, but things got out of hand in a hurry. The 0-3 Suns have been outscored by 92 – the worst three-game start in NBA history by 16 points. Now, comes the fallout.

At 27, Bledsoe was getting to be a little too old for a rebuild centered on Devin Booker, Josh Jackson, Marquese Chriss, Dragan Bender and T.J. Warren. The Suns could have dealt Bledsoe in the offseason. Now, they’re negotiating from a position of weakness.

Bledsoe is a good starting point guard when healthy. He’s earning a reasonable $14.5 million this season and due $15 million in the final year of his contract next season. There should be suitors, and Phoenix can gain long-term assets while stepping up its tank.

But this sure seems like a crisis-control move more than anything else.

Willy Hernangomez ‘mad’ about falling from Knicks rotation

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Knicks president Steve Mills started his second tenure talking about rebuilding and listed Willy Hernangomez as a core piece.

But Hernangomez, coming off an All-Rookie first-team season, barely played in New York’s season-opening loss to the Thunder– drawing scrutiny.

Then, he didn’t play at all in a loss to the Pistons – eliciting a strong reaction from Hernangomez himself.

Hernangomez, via Fred Kerber of the New York Post:

“The same. I’m still mad,” Hernangomez said. “I cannot help the team win if I’m sitting on the bench. Two games in a row. It’s tough. I have to wait my moment. I cannot say nothing more.”

The Knicks are moving in different directions. Management is talking about building for the future. Coach Jeff Hornacek, who was hired by previous president Phil Jackson, is trying to win now.

There’s a fine line between developing Hernangomez through playing time and making him earn his minutes. Enes Kanter and Kyle O'Quinn might be better right now.

But being marginally better this season won’t get the Knicks anywhere meaningful except lower in the lottery. On the other hand, even on rebuilding teams, winning is most important to a coach’s job security. Earl Watson implemented the Suns’ tanking scheme, and look where that got him.

Hornacek is backed into a corner, and now one of the team’s most important young players is publicly expressing his displeasure. It’s the latest troubling sign in a locker room already suspicious of Hornacek.