Orlando mayor: NBA has “moral obligation” to bring All-Star Game to city

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All-Star Weekend — from the rookie game to the dunk contest to the parties and, oh yea, the game — is at the top of the list of the things looking like it is toast because the NBA and its players can’t find a rational middle ground. Even if there is a condensed season, the showcase weekend may be called off as it was in 1999 (the last lockout-shortened NBA season).

That does not make the mayor of Orlando happy. This year’s game was going to be a showcase weekend for his city’s downtown.

And if it’s not happening in 2012, he wants it to happen soon, he told the Orlando Sentinel (via SLAM).

“I would think they [the NBA] would have a moral obligation to give us a second All-Star game since we wouldn’t be getting the All-Star game in the fashion that it was promoted to us,” Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer acknowledged.

First off, never use the phrases “moral obligation” and “All-Star Game” in the same sentence, Mayor. You have moral obligations to help keep your constituents safe, you have a moral obligation to help the homeless in your city; you do not have a moral obligation to bring them some kind of NBA-fueled party. Maybe an All-Star Weekend would be good for the city and a nice boost for some hotels and restaurants, but “moral obligation” overstates the case.

Dyer’s follow-up point that even if there is an All-Star Game this season, it will be tainted is valid. At this point, the NBA celebrating itself the way All-Star Week would come off as more out of touch with reality than the owners and players already seem to most fans. Which is hard to do. It may be better to just walk away for a year.

Hey, Dyer and Orlando, if you want the game in 2014 (it looks like 2013 is returning to Houston) then push the league for it. You and Brooklyn and whatever other cities are clamoring to host the event (not Las Vegas, they didn’t enjoy the experience) can fight it out. But nobody has any “moral obligations” to play a basketball game anywhere.

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.

PBT Extra: Two months from trade deadline watch DeAndre Jordan and… Paul George?

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The NBA trade deadline got moved up this season to Feb. 8 so the league can avoid the spectacle of DeMarcus Cousins being traded during the All-Star Game and then doing an uncomfortable press interview afterward where he had to be told of the situation.

That means we are less than two months away from the trade deadline, and in this PBT Extra I look at the big names that could be on the market.

The Clippers seem likely to move DeAndre Jordan, the only questions are where and what will they get back? But three other teams have big decisions to make about their stars: Oklahoma City with Paul George, New Orleans with DeMarcus Cousins, and Memphis with Marc Gasol. Right now none of those guys are on the market, but that could change.