Los Angeles Clippers v Houston Rockets

2014 PBT Awards: All-NBA team

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Though none of us have a ballot for the NBA’s official awards, we’ll be presenting our choices and making our cases this week for each major honor.

Kurt Helin

First team

  • G: Stephen Curry, Golden State Warriors
  • G: James Harden, Houston Rockets
  • F: Kevin Durant, Oklahoma City Thunder
  • F: LeBron James, Miami Heat
  • C: Joakim Noah, Chicago Bulls

Second team

  • G: Goran Dragic, Phoenix Suns
  • G: Chris Paul, Los Angeles Clippers
  • F: Blake Griffin, Los Angeles Clippers
  • F: Kevin Love, Minnesota Timberwolves
  • C: Dwight Howard, Houston Rockets

Third team

  • G: Paul George, Indiana Pacers
  • G: Kyle Lowry, Toronto Raptors
  • F: Tim Duncan, San Antonio Spurs
  • F: Dirk Nowitzki, Dallas Mavericks
  • C: Al Jefferson, Charlotte Bobcats

Forward was just brutal — Carmelo Anthony and LaMarcus Aldridge are not on here for me and if I could find a way they would be. I moved Paul George up to guard just to get him out of the forward slot and get him recognition he deserves. Glad to finally get Al Jefferson some deserved pub.

Brett Pollakoff

First team

  • G: Chris Paul, Los Angeles Clippers
  • G: James Harden, Houston Rockets
  • F: Kevin Durant, Oklahoma City Thunder
  • F: LeBron James, Miami Heat
  • C: Joakim Noah, Chicago Bulls

Second team

  • G: Stephen Curry, Golden State Warriors
  • G: John Wall, Washington Wizards
  • F: Blake Griffin, Los Angeles Clippers
  • F: Kevin Love, Minnesota Timberwolves
  • C: Dwight Howard, Houston Rockets

Third team

  • G: Goran Dragic, Phoenix Suns
  • G: Kyle Lowry, Toronto Raptors
  • F: Carmelo Anthony, New York Knicks
  • F: Dirk Nowitzki, Dallas Mavericks
  • C: Al Jefferson, Charlotte Bobcats

The biggest surprise when choosing these teams was how easy it was to leave off players from the two teams that finished with the best records in their respective conferences — the Spurs and the Pacers. Curry and Harden were interchangeable in the final guard spot on the first team for me, and third team features three guys who all had fantastic seasons and were instrumental in their teams’ success in Jefferson, Lowry and Dragic.

Dan Feldman

First team

  • G: Stephen Curry, Golden State Warriors
  • G: Chris Paul, Los Angeles Clippers
  • F: Kevin Durant, Oklahoma City Thunder
  • F: LeBron James, Miami Heat
  • C: Joakim Noah, Chicago Bulls

Second team

  • G: Goran Dragic, Phoenix Suns
  • G: James Harden, Houston Rockets
  • F: Blake Griffin, Los Angeles Clippers
  • F: Kevin Love, Minnesota Timberwolves
  • C: Dwight Howard, Houston Rockets

Third team

  • G: Damian Lillard, Portland Trail Blazers
  • G: Kyle Lowry, Toronto Raptors
  • F: Paul George, Indiana Pacers
  • F: Dirk Nowitzki, Dallas Mavericks
  • C: Al Jefferson, Charlotte Bobcats

Slotting all three centers was difficult, and I left out DeMarcus Cousins, who is close but might not get All-NBA credit from anyone. The forwards cleanly broke into two-man tiers. Anthony Davis just missed too many games in a crowded field for third team, and Carmelo Anthony was also a tough cut there. With all due respect to Tim Duncan and LaMarcus Aldridge, they didn’t play enough to claim a spot at this position. At guard, Harden stands in a class alone, below Curry and Paul, but above Dragic and Lowry. Separating Dragic and Lowry was difficult, but Dragic gets the edge for producing in the more-competitive West. Lillard narrowly beat John Wall and Mike Conley for third-team guard. None of those three seem All-NBA caliber, but one of them had to be with Dwyane Wade, Russell Westbrook and Derrick Rose missing too many games due to injury.

Carmelo Anthony on trade rumors: “I’m not going anywhere”

New York Knicks' Carmelo Anthony (7) smiles during the second half of an NBA basketball game against the Miami Heat, Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2016, in Miami. The Knicks defeated the Heat 98-90. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)
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Carmelo Anthony has the hammer — he has a no-trade clause in his contract. If he doesn’t want to be traded, he’s not getting traded. End of story.

Also, he loves New York.

So when he went on SiriusXM NBA Radio Saturday and was asked about the trade rumors linking him to Cleveland, ‘Melo shot those down.

There were exploratory talks involving Kevin Love going to Boston — the Knicks might have been the third team in such a deal — but the buzz around Toronto (where the NBA World has gathered for the All-Star Game) is those talks have stalled. It’s not impossible that they are revived, but don’t bet on it.

The Cavaliers are a win-now team, and if they move the floor-spacing Love they need to bring in pieces that get them closer to a title. They don’t see that now.

As for Anthony, he re-signed in New York and said he wanted to be there (and get paid.). While there may be people in his camp that think him moving on would be a good for his career, the man himself doesn’t want to go anywhere. And Carmelo Anthony has the hammer.

LeBron James amused by fuss over Tyronn Lue coaching All-Stars

CLEVELAND, OH - JANUARY 30:  LeBron James #23 of the Cleveland Cavaliers high fives Head Coach Tyronn Lue during the game against the San Antonio Spurs on January 30, 2016 at Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, Ohio. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2016 NBAE  (Photo by David Liam Kyle/NBAE via Getty Images)
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TORONTO (AP) — LeBron James is amused over all the fuss that accompanied Tyronn Lue getting the chance to coach the Eastern Conference in Sunday’s All-Star Game.

The honor typically goes to the coaching staff of the team leading their respective conference at the break, provided that staff didn’t also coach in the game the year before. So when the Cleveland Cavaliers fired David Blatt and promoted Lue from his assistant spot to being the coach in charge, that meant Lue also got the All-Star duty.

And while it might seem strange to some, James was quick to point out Friday at the All-Star media day that Lue “would have been here anyways, even if coach Blatt was still our coach.”

James has been criticized for what many presume to be his role in Blatt’s dismissal, and the four-time MVP says he isn’t letting that perception bother him. He also didn’t take the bait when asked to describe differences between Blatt and Lue.

James’ answer: “Their height.”

For the record, Blatt (6-foot-3) is listed to be about three inches taller than Lue.

 

The time Kobe Bryant tried to recruit Dirk Nowitzki to the Lakers

DALLAS, TX - NOVEMBER 05:  Dirk Nowitzki #41 of the Dallas Mavericks greets Kobe Bryant #24 of the Los Angeles Lakers after a game at American Airlines Center on November 5, 2013 in Dallas, Texas.   NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
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TORONTO — Kobe Bryant has been loyal to the Lakers for 20 seasons (if you ignore some “trade me” tantrums along the way). He’s also been über competitive.

Those same qualities are what he most appreciates about Dirk Nowitzki.

Kobe talked a little Dirk during his All-Star media availability Friday.

“Dirk and I have always had a great relationship because we’re both extremely competitive. Also both extremely loyal to our teams,” Bryant said.

“I’ll tell you a story about Dirk. He was up for free agency, and I knew what his response was going to be. But out of respect, everybody’s looking around at all these free agents, I felt I’d shoot you a text, if you want to come to L.A. He goes, ‘I would love to play with you, but Dallas is my home. This is my team. I’m not leaving here.’ So he and I think a lot alike in that regard.”

Nowitzki’s last couple free agencies have been mere formalities, nobody around the league thought he would leave Mark Cuban or Dallas. The only questions were money and years — in 2014 the Lakers reportedly offered the max to Nowitzki, who took three-years, $25 million from Dallas so the Mavs could rebuild their roster. It’s all part of that loyalty — and it’s worked out, Nowitzki and Cuban have a ring.

Kobe’s respect for Nowitzki was clear when Dirk nailed a game winner against the Lakers this season, Kobe just nodded his approval from the bench.

One of the best things the past couple seasons about Kobe, and especially this season with just about to retire Kobe, is that he is giving honest answers. He doesn’t care what people think. That leads to honest moments and great stories.

Watch Kristaps Porzingis drop 30 at Rising Stars Challenge (VIDEO)

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TORONTO — Knicks’ fans were in full throat at the Air Canada Centre Friday night. Kristaps Porzingis was the second most popular player in the Rising Stars Challenge (behind Canada’s own Andrew Wiggins).

Porzingis didn’t disappoint, dropping 30 and sparking a World Team comeback against the USA that just fell just short, with the USA winning 157-154.

“Not great defense, but it’s about having fun, I guess” Porzingis said. “And I think we had fun out there. In the second half we got more competitive, as both teams wanted to get the win, and we fell a little short.”