courtesy Bobcats.com

It is official: The Charlotte Hornets are back

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The Hornets are back where they belong — in Charlotte.

The team name Hornets should never have left Charlotte, a city that sees the hornet as part of its identity. Back during the Revolutionary War British General Charles Cornwallis said the resistance in Charlotte was like a hornet’s nest, and ever since the city’s residents have worn the moniker with pride. Police badges in Charlotte even have a hornet on it.

Now the basketball team has that logo again — the changeover officially happened Tuesday. Check out the Web site for the team:

source:

This is a good thing. A very good thing.

The NBA has done so many things over the decades to try to ruin Charlotte as a market. It all starts with George Shinn, one of the legendarily bad owners in NBA history, getting accused of rape (he was exonerated but in the legal process stories of his affair with a team cheerleader came out), being tone-deaf in his response, then right after the NBA lockout ends in 1999 he starts saying the city needs to build him a new arena. Then Shinn moved the team to New Orleans and took the Hornet name with him, even though it has no tie to that city. Then David Stern gave us Robert Johnson to save the Charlotte market with an expansion team, but Robert’s Bobcats (notice how that name ties in) never won and he never got the market.

Michael Jordan has had a steep learning curve as an owner, but more and more he seems to be getting it. He had a learning curve as a player, he had to learn how to win leading teammates but he figured it out, and he had a learning curve as an owner. This year Charlotte was feisty on the court and was sold out and loud for the playoffs.

And now they are the Hornets again — New Orleans owner Tom Benson wanted something local to them and changed the team to the Pelicans, which freed up the Hornets name.

Now the name is back in Charlotte. It’s a step. An important step on the road back to what should return to being a great NBA market.

Warriors pose for photos with Jahlil Okafor’s dad’s ‘FREE JAH’ shirt

AP Photo/Chris Szagola
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Jahlil Okafor‘s father has not been shy about speaking out on his son’s behalf. NBA players are advocating for the 76ers to grant Okafor, who’s out of the rotation and on an expiring contract, his desired trade or buyout.

When both join forces…

Kevin Durant, Draymond Green and Stephen Curry appear to really enjoy Chukwudi Okafor’s shirt. That doesn’t mean they’re necessarily calling on Philadelphia to do anything. But they hadn’t to know how it’d be perceived.

It’s easy to predict free agents will avoid the 76ers as a result of the Okafor situation, but few anticipate getting stuck similarly. Players overwhelmingly value money, winning, role and location. If Golden State’s stars are applying any external pressure, it shouldn’t really move Philadelphia more than anything that has already been said and done.

A couple of Lonzo Ball’s triple-double assists look dubious (video)

Harry How/Getty Images
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Lonzo Ball draws outsized attention because his father, LaVar Ball, lures onlookers and because the rookie plays for the high-profile Los Angeles Lakers.

So, when Lonzo gets a triple-double – like his 11-points, 16-rebound, 11-assists game against the Nuggets yesterday – it draws scrutiny.

Mo Dakhil of The Jump Ball:

The NBA defines an assist as a “pass that directly leads to a basket. … An assist can be awarded for a basket scored after the ball has been dribbled if the player’s pass led to the field goal being made.”

I wouldn’t describe either of those passing as leading directly to a basket. Ball’s teammates each hold the ball for a moment after receiving the pass then take two dribbles against set defenses.

But assists are subjective, and the Lakers aren’t alone in offering a home-court scorekeeping advantage.

Kyle Neubeck of Philly Voice

So, criticize/laugh at the Lakers. But your favorite team probably manipulates assists in its favor, too.

Robin Lopez and T.J. Warren exchange contact, heated words (video)

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Robin Lopez whacked T.J. Warren in the head while chasing an offensive rebound. Warren didn’t like that, so he ran to the opposite end of the court and shoved Lopez to the floor. A heated confrontation ensued, though it didn’t escalate beyond yelling.

Warren received a flagrant foul, and Lopez was hit with a technical in the Suns’ 113-105 win over the Bulls.

Lakers blow 5-on-1 fastbreak (video)

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Corey Brewer is better at finishing fastbreaks than leading them.

Nice defense by Emmanuel Mudiay, too.

But at least the Lakers won.