Mike D’Antoni wants to return to coaching next season

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Mike D’Antoni is leaving New York but he does not want to leave NBA coaching.

Which isn’t really a surprise but is confirmed in a story by Marc Berman in the New York Post.

But D’Antoni is not bitter he lost a power struggle with Anthony and hopes to coach next season, according to the person debriefed by D’Antoni.

“Mr. Dolan picked a different prom date,’’ the person said. “There will be other dances.’’

What the story really shows is how fit matters with coach and players but often gets overlooked by fans and even front offices. It’s not like Mike D’Antoni forgot how to coach on the plane ride from Phoenix to JFK, but the fit with players was never right in New York. His system worked with a veteran point guard who could make good decisions on the fly, it failed with the roster and personalities he was given in Madison Square Garden. D’Antoni would not change his system or who he was to fit the personnel given. He’s stubborn that way.

The Knicks have responded better to Mike Woodson’s louder, more disciplinarian style. They are 3-0.

(By the way, Knicks fans calling for Phil Jackson next year, know he is much more D’Antoni than Woodson is style. Just sayin’.)

Some team should hire D’Antoni next season. But that comes with a caveat — you have to get players that fit the system. If you hire D’Antoni, you have to get him a point guard who can run the offense, bigs who are strong in the pick-and-roll (or pick-and-pop) and good shooters to space the floor. Don’t and he is not going to be a great fit, get him those things and you’ll win. But the GM and coach (and owner) need to be on board with building to a style, not just assembling pieces as was done by the Knicks.

Elfrid Payton slams chasedown block on LeBron James (VIDEO)

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LeBron James is usually the guy handing out chasedown blocks. He’s famous for them, and has carted out his signature move in the biggest moments of his career.

He’s also not used to having his own shots blocked from behind, and certainly not by opposing point guards.

Enter Elfrid Payton.

During a play halfway through the first quarter against the Orlando Magic on Thursday, LeBron was on a drive to the hole with Elfrid trailing far behind.

Thanks to a pinch by two Magic defenders, LeBron had to try and use brute force a bit deeper in the paint than he wanted to.

That allowed Payton — running at full speed — to catch up and pin The King on the glass.

Cleveland still got the best of the Magic, as Isaiah Thomas hit a clutch free throw to win the game with 11 seconds left, 104-103.

All-Star Joel Embiid doesn’t need Rihanna: “On to the next one”

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For about as long as we can remember, Joel Embiid has famously thirsted after Rihanna on Twitter. Fans have tried to boost his standing with the singer, but it apparently that has not been enough.

In 2014, Embiid mentioned on social media that a “famous girl” — presumably Rihanna — told him to “Come back when you’re an All-Star.”

Well, today is that day.

Embiid is a starter out of the Eastern Conference, and on Thursday night he had his chance to speak to Rihanna (or whomever) via national TV on TNT.

Did Embiid decide to reach out to this famous person? Apparently he’s off it.

Via Twitter:

This is like that scene from Private Parts when Howard Stern hits No. 1 and he tells Paul Giamatti’s character to get lost.

Embiid had the chance to curve Rihanna (or whomever) and took it. Long live The Process.

Here are the weirdest NBA All-Star voting results for 2018

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NBA All-Star voting is over, and now we have the results. The starters are in, and what’s left is for us to wait until they announce the teams after they are picked in double secret ceremony.

Of course, the NBA did release the full voting results via their PR website this week, and as such there are some head scratchers. My boy Patrick Redford over at Deadspin did an excellent job rounding up some of the players who got exactly one (1) vote from other players.

The gag here is that these guys presumably voted for themselves.

Of course, what I found most interesting was actually the guys who got multiple votes from their compatriots without being All-Star caliber players.

My favorite list of player-voted non-All-Stars includes: Michael Beasley (4), Gordon Hayward (2), Boban Marjanovic (2), Jahlil Okafor (4), Quincy Acy (2), Tyler Zeller (4), T.J. McConnell (2), Elfrid Payton (2), Zaza Pachulia (3), Taj Gibson (6), Zach Randolph (5), Maurice Harkless (2), Deyonta Davis (3), Lonzo Ball (9), Mike Conley (3).

There’s a whole smattering of guys in there who either didn’t play enough, aren’t stars, are injured, or who aren’t very good.

That multiple players took time to vote for these guys really speaks to the frivolity of the NBA All-Star Game. At least outside of player contract incentives.

Bring on February!

LeBron James throws behind-the-back, nutmeg pass for assist (VIDEO)

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LeBron James is one of the best passers the NBA has ever seen, but even this is too hard to believe.

During Thursday’s game between the Orlando Magic and Cleveland Cavaliers, LeBron through a ridiculous behind-the-back pass that nutmegged Orlando’s Aaron Gordon.

The result of the play was a bucket for Dwyane Wade.

Via Twitter:

I mean, that’s just … insane.