Jazz to join NBA Summer League in Las Vegas

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The Jazz have never participated in the nine-year history of the Las Vegas Summer League despite their close proximity, and it has nothing to do with any type of faux moral outrage over the event being held in Sin City.

The reasons have been much more personal.

Utah once hosted a summer league of its own called the Rocky Mountain Revue, but the Vegas version became more appealing to teams and essentially put the Utah one out of business. The Jazz have held a grudge ever since, but have agreed to put that aside and will send a team to Las Vegas this summer.

From Steve Carp of the Las Vegas Review-Journal:

But the Jazz, which has had a connection to Las Vegas going back to the mid-1980s when it played some of its home games at the Thomas & Mack Center, has had an apparent change of heart. It will field a team for the first time when the NBA Summer League tips off its 11-day run July 11 at the Thomas &Mack and Cox Pavilion for what will be its 10th anniversary season of competition. …

“Las Vegas has always supported the Jazz, and it was clearly a consensus among my staff that Utah needed to be included,” said Warren LeGarie, who founded the summer league and helps run the event for the NBA. “I think it was just a matter of being persistent, and persistency won out. …

“Having our training camp in Orlando was difficult for us, and we felt it was time to move forward,” Jazz GM Dennis Lindsey said. “We feel there’s a natural tie-in with Las Vegas, and it’ll be great for our fans to follow us and be able to see our young players. We’re very excited about the move.”

The Orlando Summer League is very different than the one held in Vegas, in that it’s completely off limits to fans. Games are held on one of the practice courts inside the Amway Center, with only team personnel and media allowed in to witness the action.

The event in Las Vegas is hoping to continue to grow and become more of an off-season attraction, and adding a team like Utah that’s just a short drive away is only going to help in getting that goal accomplished.

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.