Carmelo Anthony says All-Star weekend a chance to decompress, not recruit

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I know this ruins a lot of conspiracy theories — and the Internet loves a conspiracy (did you know the Illuminati Controls the Red Cross?) — but when NBA players get together this weekend for the All-Star Game in New Orleans they are not spending time plotting their next free agent moves together.

Not even close. They may have casual discussions while in the VIP area of a club you can’t access, but the conversation more like you and your buddies sitting around watching football and saying, “we should totally go skiing in Aspen together next year.” There’s a slim chance you get it together and pull the trip off, but most likely that comment is as far as it goes.

Don’t take my word for it, listen to Carmelo Anthony. He can be a free agent and the New York Post asked if All-Star Weekend is like a college recruiting trip.

“I think All-Star weekend is just a time where you can relax, decompress, kind of reflect on the first half of the season and gear up for the second half of the season,” Anthony said, noting tales of recruiting “as always, as always” are blown out of proportion. “As far as recruiting and things like that, that never happens.”

“A lot of guys — especially the people I call friends, the people I talk to — it’s more making sure I’m all right, making sure I’m keeping my head up, making sure I’m staying positive,” said Anthony who takes his 27.1-point, second-best NBA scoring average against Sacramento in the Knicks’ pre-All-Star finale Wednesday at the Garden. “It’s not, ‘Whatcha gonna do?’ or ‘You should do this or you should do that.’ It’s more just being there during this time.”

Players talk all the time — about what it’s like playing for a team or a city, or about agents, or about women, or about a lot of other things. Sure, some of that is “hey, we should try to play together” but at the end of the day they will play where they can make the most money, feel the most comfortable and can win. If that works out with guys they like, great.

But sorry, there just is no great conspiracy going on behind your back with player movement. So you guys in the tin foil hats can return to focusing on how even retired David Stern will control the referees and the outcomes of playoff games. Obviously, Stern is high up in the Illuminati.

LeBron James, Dwyane Wade on time they faced off 1-on-1: “We was out there killing each other”

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LeBron James and Dwyane Wade are good friends, they go together like peanut butter and jelly. They and their families hang out and ride banana boats together in the off-season.

They are also both incredibly competitive men.

So you had to figure they went 1-on-1 against each other at some point. It happened, once. Wade and LeBron talked about it on Channing Frye’s Road Trippin’ podcast(transcription via the USA Today).

James: “We played 1-on-1 one time in our whole life, and it was during the finals. Eastern Conference finals 2010 (they meant the 2010-11 season, that ECF was in May 2011). Our first year.”

Wade: “It was more-so to set a precedent for our teammates because we got our ass kicked the game before, Game 1 by Chicago. They tore us.”

James: “MVP Rose tore our ass up in Chicago, and we came in the next day, we was like we need to set the tone, so we was out there killing each other playing 1-on-1.”

Wade: “We never finished.”

James: “We never finished. We got to the point where (head coach Erik Spoelstra) blew the whistle, like bring it in.”

Wade: “Everybody was just watching us. We was going at it. We competitive, we was going at it, but we was setting a tone for this is how it’s gotta go. You gotta be able to go at this. We’re two of the best players in this game. We going at each other in the Eastern Conference finals right now. We out there killing each other, and this is what ya’ll better do tomorrow. Because we got beat on the boards by 20-something and we have to come with it, and we won four in a row.”

A 2011 Heat practice? There has to be video of this somewhere.

Miami did win that Eastern Conference Finals, but LeBron and Wade should have gone at it again during the NBA Finals, where the Heat lost to Dirk Nowitzki and the Mavericks.

Report: Rockets’ Luc Mbah a Moute expected to miss 2-3 weeks

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The Rockets’ rotation is excellent, and their deep bench is lacking.

That’s part of the reason Luc Richard Mbah a Moute posted a ridiculous +57 in a 30-point win earlier this season.

But Houston will miss the forward for a while after he injured his shoulder against the Hornets yesterday.

Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN:

Rockets coach Mike D’Antoni’s first inclination might be to shorten his rotation. He should mostly resist it.

Home-court advantage is important, and P.J. Tucker and Trevor Ariza can play more power forward (with Eric Gordon absorbing more minutes at small forward). But it’s also better to play Troy Williams more now than to wear down the players Houston will rely on in the playoffs, when D’Antoni will surely keep his rotation tight.

PBT Podcast: Early trade deadline breakdown with Dan Feldman

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The NBA’s trade market did not collapse after the Jahlil Okafor trade.

There’s more to come, but with the trade deadline is less than two months away, we have more questions than answers. DeAndre Jordan very likely could be on the move from the Clippers (and Lou Williams, too). But what is Memphis going to do about Mark Gasol? New Orleans with DeMarcus Cousins? Oklahoma City with Paul George? And if any of those guys are available, who is a buyer? Cleveland? Milwaukee? Portland?

Kurt Helin and Dan Feldman of NBC Sports break down the high end of the trade market, plus talk about other guys who could be on the move — maybe Nikola Mirotic from Chicago, and what about someone like Michael Kidd-Gilchrist from Charlotte — before Feb. 8 gets here. The last couple of trade deadlines have been interesting, but will we see a move that changes the landscape of the NBA playoffs in a meaningful way?

As always, you can check out the podcast below, listen and subscribe via iTunes at ApplePodcasts.com/PBTonNBC, subscribe via the fantastic Stitcher app, check us out on Google play, or check out the NBC Sports Podcast homepage and archive at Art19.

Joel Embiid calls out Karl Anthony-Towns’ defense during Instagram trash talk

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Joel Embiid often gloats on Instagram after 76ers wins.

Of course he did after Philadelphia beat Minnesota on Tuesday, specifically calling attention to this move on Karl-Anthony Towns (and this 76ers fan custom):

Embiid:

Towns commented:

That caption was as trash as your picture quality

Embiid replied:

Better quality than your defense

Embiid insisted it’s all in good fun.

Jessica Camerato of NBC Sports Philadelphia:

https://twitter.com/JCameratoNBCS/status/941395953113804800

I’m not sure Towns is having as much fun as Towns. But I know this:

Embiid had a valid point.