Report: Bulls will not match Rockets’ Omer Asik offer sheet

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This was expected, we were just waiting for it to become official.

It will on Tuesday — the Bulls will not match the three-year, $25.1 million offer sheet the Rockets gave center Omer Asik, reports K.C. Johnson at the Chicago Tribune. Asik will become a Rocket on the exact same deal that make Jeremy Lin a Rocket.

This clears the way for the Bulls to sign Kirk Hinrich and make other promised moves.

The Tribune reported on July 8 that Hinrich verbally agreed to a two-year deal, but it’s closer to $8 million in value, sources said…. The Bulls will add another shooting guard as well, with the imminent signing of Marco Belinelli for the biannual exception of $1.9 million.

We have noted that the Bulls have made moves like these that kind of tread water right now on the court but will all expire in the summer of 2014 (along with the deals of Luol Deng) and once you amnesty Carlos Boozer suddenly the Bulls have the money to go after a max-deal player to pair with Derrick Rose.

Ironically, while not really getting better this year on the court the Bulls will pay the luxury tax for the first time in franchise history. But just a few million, by using part of the mid-level exception on Hinrich and the biannual on Belinelli to go over the luxury tax threshold ($70 million) the Bulls put a hard cap on themselves of $74.3 million. They cannot exceed that. So they couldn’t bring back Asik.

He’s now a Rocket. And with their new deals Asik and Lin will now make close to $30 million combined in the 2014-15 season. That should be fun for Houston to find a way out of.

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.