Adam Silver says Jason Collins not on NBA team for basketball reasons

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Jason Collins, 12-year NBA veteran, came out as an openly gay man last April. At the time he was a free agent clearly near the end of his career but one expected to be in play for a handful of spots on NBA rosters for this season.

Now as we are past the NBA season’s midpoint, Collins is not on an NBA team. He didn’t get a contract offer this summer, didn’t get a training camp invite, hasn’t landed a 10-day contract with a team.

Is his coming out part of the reason for that? The topic came up again in the wake of NFL-bound Michael Sam coming out as gay prior to the draft. Collins spoke with Sam about what to expect in terms of reaction.

Newly seated NBA Commissioner Adam Silver was asked by Darren Rovell of ESPN if Collins coming out is the reason for his not having a contract.

“In terms of Jason not getting signed, based on everything I’ve been told, it’s a basketball decision,” Silver said. “Our teams want to win and Jason waited until the very tail end of his career to make that announcement….

“We want teams to make the best possible decisions from [a] basketball standpoint,” Silver said. “Ultimately that’s what it’s all about. I’m sure Jason was never looking for a special favor or a special slot because he had publicly come out.”

No doubt Collins had a limited market at this point. He’s a good defender in the post, however the league is going small. He’s good on the boards, can set a big pick, but he averaged a point a game last season at age 35.

There are teams that should have considered Collins for a 10-day contract at least this season. Whether those teams decided based on basketball reasons or not, we may never know. To think that he wasn’t discussed — and how his sexuality and standing would play both in the locker room and in terms of marketing in that market (some are better fits than others) — is foolish. To think there were people lobbying against him in those organizations also is naïve.

I’d like to think that the decisions about Collins were all basketball, but I’m too cynical to believe it completely.

That said Collins pushed the conversation along — in NBA locker rooms, in NBA front offices, among fans on Web sites like this and even into American living rooms the debate about gay athletes and how they would fit and should be accepted were aired openly. That was a big step. Sam is taking the next big one.

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.