Lakers set final deadline to renew season tickets for May 19, NBA Draft Lottery is May 20. Coincidence?

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The Lakers are wrapping up one of their worst seasons in franchise history, and with a future full of uncertainty, the team appears to be taking no chances in terms of its season ticket sales.

L.A. has always had a waiting list for people to purchase season tickets, which is a product of the team’s long-standing success as well as its large market location. So it isn’t likely (at all) that they wouldn’t max out season ticket sales once again next year, despite how dreadful the past two campaigns have been.

But if any current customers were considering waiting to make their decision until the team’s first round draft position was revealed, the Lakers have made a move of their own to ensure that’s not possible.

We have obtained a copy of the renewal notice that was sent to current season ticket holders, and have excerpted the message from the team to its fans below — along with its drop-dead date to renew, which doesn’t at all appear to have been chosen by accident.

“On behalf of the entire Los Angeles Lakers family, I would like to thank you for your passionate support this year. This has been a tough season for all of us; however the support from our loyal fans has never wavered. While all of us can appreciate the unprecedented excellence and success we’ve experienced over the years, none of us are content simply resting on the laurels of our past achievements. Please know that our goal and our mission to deliver you a championship caliber team every year remains the same. We hope that you will be a part of the excitement once again.”

“The Final renewal deadline for your 2014-2015 Lakers Season Tickets is May 19, 2014.”

The NBA will hold its Draft Lottery on May 20.

Now, this may seem sinister on the surface, but in reality, it’s simply good business sense.

If the Lakers happen to land the number one overall pick in the draft, there will be a buzz around the team that will make selling tickets that much easier, and knowing exactly how many season ticket packages are available will help the marketing machine kick into high gear just as soon as that pick is announced.

It doesn’t matter much in the grand scheme of things, because again, the Lakers are likely to sell out of their allotment of season tickets regardless of how the lottery turns out. But just in case anyone on the alleged bandwagon was thinking about jumping off based on where the team drafts, the team has officially removed that as an option.

Joel Embiid having fun, will compete in three events All-Star Weekend

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LOS ANGELES — Joel Embiid is going to enjoy his weekend in Los Angeles. And his first All-Star Game.

Embiid played 9 minutes for the World in its dominating Rising Stars Challenge win (which is more than most people expected him to play). He’s scheduled to take part in the All-Star Saturday Skills Challenge, then is a starter on Team Steph in Sunday’s All-Star Game.

Like he always is, Embiid is just trying to enjoy himself.

“When I have fun, that means I’m dominating on the court, kicking someone’s ass, and I need that,” Embiid said Friday afternoon in Los Angeles. “Every time I have fun that’s what I do. One thing that I told myself when I came back (from injuries), just go out there and have fun because that’s another way for me to dominate the game. If I’m frustrated, usually it doesn’t go well. It can go both ways, but usually, it doesn’t go well.

“Social media, on the court, it’s all about having fun.”

When he returns to Philly, he’s got to focus on the fun of making sure the Sixers make the playoffs. But for a weekend, he’s soaking up the sun and fun in Los Angeles.

LeBron James responds to Laura Ingraham: #wewillnotshutupanddribble

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A month before the latest school shooting and mass killing in a Florida high school, Kevin Durant and LeBron James recorded a video for the Uninterrupted where they vented that president Donald Trump does not care about most people not does he try to unite them. That video dropped just after the school shooting, where the president took heat for his comments on the situation.

Taking a lazy intellectual path designed to fire up her base, Fox News host Laura Ingraham took the “stick to sports” argument to an  offensive level, saying LeBron and KD should “shut up and dribble.”

Jaylen Brown of the Celtics had already done an excellent job taking down Ingraham’s misguided attack, Durant had responded as well and called the comments ignorant and racist.

Now LeBron has responded on Instagram.

#wewillnotshutupanddribble

A post shared by LeBron James (@kingjames) on

LeBron and Durant are citizens with the right to speak out, and they should.

Hopefully, this can be the end of this “controversy,” only because Ingraham isn’t worth it.

Team USA turned Rising Stars into dunking exhibition (VIDEO)

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Nobody tunes into the Rising Stars Challenge on All-Star Friday night to see a tight defensive shell and quick rotations to help the helper. We want the game’s great young players to entertain us with their skills.

Team USA may have gotten blown out in the game, but they put on a show — they were dunking everything. As you can see above.

The best dunk of the game? Had to be Donovan Mitchell‘s self alley-oop. Which a good sign heading into Saturday’s dunk contest.

I’m the one — Quavo named MVP of All-Star Friday Celebrity game (VIDEO)

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LOS ANGELES — Turns out, Quavo can ball a little.

The rapper/record producer dropped 19 points to lead Team Clippers to the win in the NBA’s All-Star Friday Celebrity Game.

Turns out Quavo was a high school quarterback who has a little athleticism, which separates him in this setting. But he had some skills too — he actually pulled off a Euro-step in transition to get the and-1 at one point.

Not that anyone tunes into this for the quality of basketball, it’s all about seeing the stars. Still, here are some highlights from the game, enjoy.