Report: NBA warned stars against participating in clinics in the Philippines

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It’s common for the NBA’s biggest stars to spend part of the offseason on promotional tours overseas, which are usually tied to contracts as shoe company endorsers.

But there are apparently rules in place as to exactly what types of basketball activities players can undertake while on these trips, and some that were scheduled to take place in Manila didn’t meet the league’s guidelines.

From Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports:

The National Basketball Association warned a touring group of its stars that they could face financial fines for participating in clinics in Manila, Philippines, that include short scrimmages and games of “H-O-R-S-E,” league sources told Yahoo Sports.

Several NBA stars, including Blake Griffin, James Harden, Kawhi Leonard and Damian Liillard, were scheduled to participate in promotional appearances in Manila this week, and the NBA has told its Players Association that the event organizers failed to gain league approval, sources said. …

The NBA warned against violations that included “some kind of exhibition of basketball skills,” including shooting games and dunk contests, an NBPA memo obtained by Yahoo Sports said.

In the memo, the Players Association informed player agents and players that the NBA “has taken the position that any such exhibition or competition is unallowable and is not approved for player participation under the [Collective Bargaining Agreement], regardless of whether it is incorporated into a ‘clinic’ or other ‘benign-sounding activity.’

The group of players who are in Manila also includes Kyle Lowry, Terrence Ross, DeMar Derozan, Tyson Chandler and Brandon Jennings.

It appears as though some of these players were set to take on the Philippines national team in some sort of exhibition, but the league, clearly protecting its investment, has decided to pull the plug.

If you’re wondering why so many NBA stars would agree to do something the league might frown upon, as always, money is the answer. Wojnarowski reports that some players were set to receive $150,000 to participate in the two-day event.

Some may see this as the NBA being overly-cautious, but I’m sure Shannon Brown wishes there were some stricter policies in place last summer before he experienced this minor bit of humiliation that could have resulted in a fairly serious injury.

LeBron James finishes reverse alley-oop from Russell Westbrook (VIDEO)

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LOS ANGELES — The new format for the NBA All-Star game brought a little more defense to the first half of the annual showcase, but it didn’t do much to enliven the game. That said, the game has been better than the pre-game “entertainment.”

Midway through the second quarter, his team down 15, LeBron James decided to make it a game again and played with some energy. That included a three, and a couple impressive alley-oop finishes. The best came via Russell Westbrook.

There also was this one courtesy Kemba Walker.

Those may be the two best dunks of the first half.

Anthony Davis opens All-Star game wearing DeMarcus Cousins’ jersey

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LOS ANGELES – Anthony Davis often relies on his Pelicans teammates to set him up.

Tonight, he gave a nod to one of them.

Davis started the All-Star game wearing DeMarcus Cousins‘ No. 0 jersey. Cousins and Davis were both voted starters then drafted by LeBron James, but Cousins can’t play due to injury.

Marc J. Spears of The Undefeated:

Very cool gesture by Davis. He’s an excellent teammate.

No, Joel Embiid didn’t cheat during the NBA Skills Challenge

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The Internet got itself all in a huff on Saturday as they watched the 2018 NBA All-Star Weekend Skills Challenge. In particular, the matchup between Chicago Bulls rookie Lauri Markkanen and Philadelphia 76ers big man Joel Embiid stirred up a bit of controversy.

Specifically, folks accused Embiid of cheating.

During the passing section of the obstacle course, Embiid didn’t actually make any of his passes into the ring. He then proceeded on the next section and was neck-and-neck with Markkanen as they tried to finish out the head-to-head competition. Markkanen won, but that didn’t stop folks from saying the 76ers All-Star had circumvented the rules.

We now know that’s not true.

According to the rules (provided on the NBA media site, page 47 of the 2018 NBA All-Star Media Guide) Embiid was allowed to move onto the next section even though he hadn’t completed any of his passes. A player only has to exhaust the rack, not complete a pass. It appears rules sort of assume that if a player stands there trying to complete a pass three times they’ll fall so far behind they won’t be able to catch up.

Re-watching the video, it appears Embiid knew this rule to the game and figured if he didn’t make the first one he would quickly try to blast the next two passes off the rack so he could then move onto the next section.

Embiid even took to Twitter to head off accusations that he had cheated.

Via Twitter:

Trust. The. Process.

Rumor: Jeff Hornacek shoved Joakim Noah during confrontation

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The saga between the New York Knicks and Joakim Noah has been ongoing for sometime, with the latest story being that there was some kind of verbal altercation between the former All-Star big man and head coach Jeff Hornacek.

Noah has not played for the team since Jan. 23, and he is now separated from the Knicks as they try to find a solution to shed him from their roster.

We now have a better idea of what kind of urgency New York has to make that move.

A report from the New York Daily News has given us more information about the confrontation between Noah and Hornacek. The latest addition to the story is that it was not just words between the Knicks coach and Noah, and that Hornacek actually pushed Noah first during the confrontation.

The two then had to be separated.

Via NYDN:

Noah was banished from the Knicks after an altercation with coach Jeff Hornacek during a practice last month. The disagreement stemmed from Noah’s lack of playing time, and it turned physical the day after he logged only five minutes against the Warriors.

While no punches were thrown, the Daily News learned that Hornacek was the first to shove Noah before they had to be separated.

In our last update on this story, Dan outlined how that could be made possible. No team is going to trade for Noah at this juncture in his career, so the only real option for New York is to waive him.

Here’s how that looks, according to our own Dan Feldman:

If the Knicks waive Noah without a buyout, they’d have two options after paying out the rest of his $17,765,000 salary this season:

Pay Noah $18,530,000 next season and $19,295,000 the following season
Pay Noah $7,565,000 each of the following five years via the stretch provision

It just keeps getting weirder and weirder during a lost season in the Big Apple.