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LeBron, Ibaka lead NBA All-Defensive team voting

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Few things can be counted on for a consistent laugh like the NBA All-Defensive team voting. It is always a laugh. This year it didn’t disappoint — somebody voted for Carlos Boozer. Yes, that Carlos Boozer. For his defense.

But no complaint about the top vote getter, LeBron James. He was a defensive force this year for the Heat and deserved to be on top of the list. It also was good to see Tony Allen make the first team, that is well deserved.

But then it gets interesting. Serge Ibaka is a fantastic shot blocker but when it comes to man defending or defending in space he has work to do. Dwight Howard made the first team over Defensive Player of the Year Tyson Chandler. Chris Paul makes it and Dwyane Wade doesn’t? Really? And Kobe Bryant does not deserve to be on these teams anymore — he brings the defensive intensity sporadically now. It’s another reputation vote.

As for the really funny stuff, go down to “others receiving votes” list, where you can see Carlos Boozer got as many votes as Luc Richard Mbah a Moute. Or that Russell Westbrook got more votes than Thabo Sefolosha.

I’d say these are voted on by the coaches, but we all know this is really voted on by whoever the coach hands the ballot to. Could be anyone.

NBA All-Defensive First Team (points in parenthesis):

Forward: LeBron James, Miami (53)
Forward: Serge Ibaka, Oklahoma City (47)
Center: Dwight Howard, Orlando (41)
Guard: Chris Paul, L.A. Clippers 35
Guard: Tony Allen, Memphis (33)

NBA All-Defensive Second Team (points in parenthesis):

Forward: Kevin Garnett, Boston (26)
Forward: Luol Deng, Chicago (20)
Center: Tyson Chandler, New York (36)
Guard: Rajon Rondo, Boston (29)
Guard: Kobe Bryant, L.A. Lakers (17)

Other players receiving votes, with point totals (First Team votes in parentheses): Andre Iguodala, Philadelphia, 19 (4); Joakim Noah, Chicago, 14; Iman Shumpert, New York, 13 (4); Paul George, Indiana, 10 (2); Russell Westbrook, Oklahoma City, 9 (2); Josh Smith, Atlanta, 8 (2); Dwyane Wade, Miami, 5 (1); Thabo Sefolosha, Oklahoma City, 5 (1); Grant Hill, Phoenix, 5 (1); Tim Duncan, San Antonio, 5 (1); Avery Bradley, Boston, 3 (1); Marc Gasol, Memphis, 3 (1); Metta World Peace, L.A. Lakers, 3; Shawn Marion, Dallas, 3; Joe Johnson, Atlanta, 2, (1); Mike Conley, Memphis, 2; Derrick Rose, Chicago, 1; Jrue Holiday, Philadelphia, 1; Carlos Boozer, Chicago, 1; Luc Mbah a Moute, Milwaukee, 1.

Charles Barkley hung out with King Cake Baby to celebrate his birthday (VIDEO)

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One of the New Orleans Pelicans mascots is a Pelican. His name is Pierre, and after a makeover he’s looking pretty normal these days. But the Pelicans also have a second mascot of sorts. His name is King Cake Baby — named after the Mardi Gras pastry — and he’s horrifying.

So when you have an NBA All-Star Game in town, what do you do? Trot out a giant baby mascot to mix in with the league’s elite, of course.

Or at least have him bother Charles Barkley on his birthday:

Ok it’s actually weirder that Kenny Smith wanted to see what was under King Cake Baby’s bib. I can never unsee that.

Vlade Divac on DeMarcus Cousins trade: “I had a better deal two days ago”

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The DeMarcus Cousins trade to the New Orleans Pelicans just gets weirder and weirder.

Speaking to reporters on Monday, Sacramento Kings GM Vlade Divac said that he had a more appetizing deal on the table for the All-Star center. Why didn’t they take it?

Divac would not say:

Perhaps even more confusing is that Divac said that owner Vivek Ranadive did not have input on the trade process. That seems highly unlikely, given how hands-on Ranadive has been in the past regarding keeping Cousins.

“[Ranadive] didn’t have any idea,” Divac said of the trade. “I just told him what I was going to do.”

Let’s cut right to the chase here: this makes no sense.

First, because ownership in the NBA always has some kind of contact on trades, if only as a heads up. When it comes to franchise players, I’m hard-pressed to believe Ranadive wasn’t involved.

Meanwhile, what explanation could possibly be given for not pulling the trigger on a deal Divac admits was better than the one he got from New Orleans? That would appear to imply outside pressure not to take the better of the two trades, which again would point to Ranadive.

The offer from the Pelicans was one that Ranadive has reportedly been a big fan of, particularly because he feels that Buddy Hield is has the potential to be in the range of Stephen Curry.

That’s a lot to unpack.

Then we have to get to the Kings and their press release, which takes an unsubtle potshot at Cousins with regard to his character:

“It was time for a change and I decided this was the best direction for the organization, said Divac. “Winning begins with culture and character matters. With the upcoming draft class set to be one of the strongest in a decade, this trade will allow us to build the depth needed for a talented and developing roster moving forward.”

Ah, ok. Couple that with Kings play-by-play announcer Grant Napear going nuclear on Cousins moments after he was traded and you’ve got an extremely confusing, bad looking coming out of Northern California.

The Kings are a mess.

Rumor: Kings owner sees Buddy Hield having Stephen Curry potential

World guard Buddy Hield (24) of the New Orleans Pelicans (24) goes to the basket against U.S. guard Devin Booker of the Phoenix Suns during the Rising Stars Challenge, part of the NBA All-Star events in New Orleans, Friday, Feb. 17, 2017. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)
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The Sacramento Kings made one of the more disastrous trades we’ve seen in recent years involving a superstar player. They traded DeMarcus Cousins — franchise center who sometimes torpedoes his own team with his temper — for a sharp-shooting rookie, a first round pick that sits outside the top 3, and a player they already traded away and are apparently unlikely to keep long term. Gross.

This is not going over well with Kings fans, but it is said to be sitting well with Sacramento owner Vivek Ranadive.

Via Twitter:

Ah, what?

Hield was an excellent scorer in college, and has the kind of range that makes him a prime candidate for the type of offenses being developed in the modern NBA. But that’s where the reasonable comparisons end for him and Curry. Come on.

For one, Hield is a true shooting guard. No part of his game is crafted to be the primary ball handler at an NBA level. He’s not the passer Stephen Curry is, nor was he even as good at that as Klay Thompson was in college.

It’s OK that the Kings like Hield in a vacuum. Within context it appears they’ve sold themselves on something patently ridiculous. We’ve never seen a player in Curry’s mold before. Hoping an incomparable player somehow matches up with his talent and skill set — and trading away Cousins because of it — is wild.

Sacramento is going to be bad. Call a Kings fan today, tell them you love them. They need you now more than ever.

Stephen Curry tries to pass off backboard to himself (VIDEO)

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NEW ORLEANS — LeBron James can do it.

Stephen Curry? Not so much.

The Golden State Warriors PG tried to pull the Trady McGrady in Sunday’s All-Star Game but found himself coming up just a little short.