Here is our regular look around the NBA — links to stories worth reading and notes to check out (stuff that did not get its own post here at PBT) — done in bullet point form. Because bloggers love bullet points.
• The rumors are true: We will have a new look Pierre the Pelican mascot All-Star weekend in New Orleans. The team went about this in a clever way, here are the highlights of the press release:
New Orleans Pelicans mascot, Pierre, suffered a broken beak on Saturday, Feb. 8 at the Pelicans Practice Facility during a pickup game of basketball with fellow NBA mascots Grizz (Memphis Grizzlies), Rocky (Denver Nuggets) and Slamson (Sacramento Kings), as well as NFL mascot, Gumbo (New Orleans Saints)…
Later today, Pierre will have surgery at Ochsner Medical Center to reconstruct the broken beak. Pelicans Team Physician Dr. Mathew McQueen will perform the surgery.
“This will be a rather unconventional surgery for us. I am not sure we have something to compare this to,” said McQueen. “It will be quite complicated and will require the use of some unconventional tools and instruments to reconstruct his beak.”
The press release goes on to blame Grizz, the Memphis mascot, for the injury. I guess everyone associated with Memphis plays physical ball.
• Pierre’s home — and the arena where the All-Star Game will be played this weekend — has a new corporate sponsor, this is the Smoothie King Center. This is a 10-year deal for the arena naming rights. Smoothie King was founded in 1973 (a few years before the smoothie craze took off) in New Orleans.
• Great read on Jason Collins, Michael Sam and the education of sports.
• Another great read on building a strong defense in the NBA, from Zach Lowe at Grantland.
• But if you’re going to read just one long-form thing on basketball today, make it this from Grantland on the use of analytics in the game and how it has grown.
• Kevin Love took out this ad to thank Minnesota fans for voting him into the All-Star Game.
• Dwight Howard’s Orlando mansion is up for sale — five bedrooms, huge kitchen, seven bedrooms, 11,025 square feet of living space, and it can all be yours for just $4.9 million (Howard bought in 2008 close to the top of the bubble, he’s taking a $3 million loss on it).
• Interesting tweet.
• Jason Richardson hopes to be back on the court come March.
• Nerlens Noel is ramping up what he is doing in practice.
• Kevin Durant has a puppy now. A cute puppy.